Adolescents’ awareness raising workshops entitled “Building Healthy Intimate Relationships” were conducted and evaluated in 5 countries aiming to contribute to primary and secondary prevention of violence in the romantic/intimate relationships of adolescents. Namely, the specially trained teachers implemented workshops with adolescents (at schools), aiming to raise adolescents’ awareness on the harmful effects of gender stereotyping, IPV/dating violence/gender based violence and sexual violence and to encourage the development of attitudes of zero tolerance towards violence against girls and women at a relatively young age, with the ultimate goal being to promote the development of healthy, equal and violent-free relationships.
The educational system, at all levels, is the ideal setting for such an effort, where properly trained teachers can play a key role in the implementation of such interventions. However, the problem of IPV and the manner in which gender stereotypical attitudes contribute to the phenomenon, are rarely integrated -or at least non-systematically- in school activities.
The school-based awareness raising activities that were implemented in Greece, Cyprus, Croatia, Romania and Spain aimed at:
- offering students (of both sexes) the opportunity a) to assess and challenge -within a safe environment- their culturally “inherited” gender stereotypes and misconceptions and b) to explore the influence that gender stereotypical attitudes and socially imposed gender roles have on their relationships and how power inequality between the sexes may lead to the abuse of girls and women
- empowering students to recognize -at an early stage- the warning signs of an unhealthy or even abusive relationship and to enhance their skills for developing healthy relationships.
Therefore, the ultimate goal of the workshops is the achievement of young people being less accepting of IPV/Dating violence/GBV and sexual violence and more knowledgeable of the characteristics and consequences of intimate partner violence and equipped with “protection skills” against dating violence, IPV and other forms of gender-based violence, for both themselves and the people they know. The long-term objective of the workshops is for young people to relate to each other in a healthier, more equal way, as in such a relationship abuse is more difficult to occur.
The methodology that is followed for the implementation of the workshops in all countries, which is described in Booklets III and IV, was pilot-tested in the context of the former GEAR against IPV project that allowed their development and proven to be very effective (on the basis of the results of a very thorough evaluation).
Another, very important objective set, was to pilot-test the “GEAR against IPV” material as a means that will contribute to the breaking of “the cycle of violence” in children and adolescents who have already been exposed in violence (CAN and maybe exposure to parental IPV) at a very early stage of their lives. In other words, the specially trained educators/teachers and/or professionals implemented Awareness Raising Workshops with groups of children/adolescents/young people who are hosted or visiting the facilities of organizations offering services to vulnerable and high risk groups of children/adolescents, with the ultimate goal being to stop the intergenerational transmission of violence (victimization or perpetration) via promoting the development of healthy, equal and violent-free relationships.
A total of 81 workshops (65 with students and 16 with high-risk groups with the participation of more than 1.600 adolescents) were implemented and evaluated, in:
- Cyprus (8 workshops with the participation of 178 students)
- Croatia (12 workshops with the participation of 328 students)
- Greece (32 workshops with the participation of 500 adolescents)
- Romania (11 workshops with the participation of 274 adolescents)
- Spain (18 workshops with the participation of 323 adolescents)
The role of school: Evidence-based Policy Recommendations for Adolescents' Empowerment
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