Daphne Toolkit

Safe From Harm! Creating a safe environment for children and young people in youth organisations

Project Reference Number: 
JUST/2012/DAP/AG/3492

Safe From Harm! Creating a safe environment for children and young people in youth organisations

The aim of the project was to address the question of harmful practices and violence against children and young people, in particular in scouting activities and more generally in the setting of youth organisations, through a methodology combing European and national approaches. 

The project had five objectives, relevant at the two levels of implementation, European and national.

1) Deepen the understanding of violence against children and young people as well as harmful practices. We will explore all forms of behaviour children or young people can suffer from, sexual abuse to bullying or practices in Scouting. This will happen at the European level by inputs of experts but equally important by the peer-to-peer exchanges. Rich of those new perspectives, the partners will explore their own reality with a new eye.

2) Offering a space for peer-to-peer learning and reflection. Peer to peer learning is very powerful as reflecting on the same activities with different point of views. It leads to unique outputs. We will facilitate it at the European level, but also at the national level, by encouraging the exchanges among national partners themselves. The collaborative platform will allow a constant exchange and facilitate the development of a community.

3) Review or create policies or tools about violence against children: some partners have already policies in place and feel that they need to review it, with the support of peers and experts. Others want to create such policies and are willing to open their process to European realities and inputs.

4) Training local leaders: Leaders are the primary link to children and young people. They are the one creating a safe environment. Their training is essential to ensure the quality of the delivery. The result of the work at the European and national levels will be to empower Scout leaders to become prevention tool themselves.

5) Spreading the knowledge, sharing the results. The project includes online collaborative platform as well as a website open to any other partner willing to contribute. The spreading of the findings, the best practices, during the whole project as well as the sharing of the final findings are key elements to allow other organisations to benefit from this project.

Results

The project included 9 partners, from 7 different countries: Spain, The Netherlands, Germany, France, Lithuania, Slovakia and Cyprus. It was indeed a diversified partnership in terms of both cultural backgrounds and prior expertise in the field of child protection. To positively manage such diversity has been in fact one of the main successes of the project: the sharing and exchange were extremely beneficial for both experienced and “newcomers” in field.

The partners with more experience had the opportunity to consolidate even more their previous work, develop new important elements as well and be a source of inspiration for the other. The “newcomers” had the unique opportunity to start working on child protection benefiting from the expertise of similar organizations with more experience and managed to create, nearly “from zero”, a lot of policies and tools that will now be extremely helpful in providing safe environments within their members.

The project ensured a quality, relevant and insightful outputs by combining European and national approaches. The European approach facilitated the exchange of knowledge, perspectives, practices and expertise but also the creation of a community like-minded that is now even more than before committed to continue working on child protection.

With all the partners, the European dimension enriched a lot the work they developed at national level and it was essential to achieve quality results. At the same time, the project facilitated also the delivery of tailor-made policies and tools for each partner, to better answer to the needs and the specificities of each of them. The partners were provided with a framework to first reflect on their own practices and standards, then review or create new policies and/or tools for their organization in an organized process, with experts’ inputs, exchange of practices, with the proper time and means to ensure the quality and relevance of the end result.

The partners had also the opportunity to organise partner to partner visits to expand even more the sharing and organised several national meetings firstly to consult with local leaders and experts, secondly to review/create new tools and thirdly to test the products developed in a specific training period to start equipping the leaders with necessary skills. The project comprised 4 main European events, including a closing conference with external partners in Brussels. Different products were created; they include codes of conduct, training modules and manuals, games, videos, posters and other awareness raising material. Being a volunteer based and led movement; volunteers achieved most of the work.

The dissemination strategy focused on implementing activities to national and local levels with many professionals/volunteers/leaders attending, creating webpage and Facebook page, producing a video, printing key findings publications also available online and organising events.