Adolescents’ Awareness Raising Workshops

Adolescents' Awareness Raising Workshops "Building Healthy Intimate Relationships" in Croatia

Upon finalization of the two training seminars of 53 teachers of secondary education in 2015 started in the 2015-2016 school year the implementation of Experiential Awareness Raising Workshops of students on issues related to gender stereotypical attitudes, gender equality and of gender-based violence in adolesents' relationships.

After the seminars, 12 trained female teachers implemented 12 workshops in schools. Workshops were implemented in 12 high-schools (3 grammar schools and 9 vocational high-schools) from Split, Vinkovci, Koprivnica, Sisak, Bjelovar, Slatina, Đurđevac, Rijeka, Križevci and Varaždin. Duration of workshops ranged from 12.5 to 15 teaching hours. The workshops’ implementation lasted from December 2015 to April 2016 and evaluation included collection of data from students as well as from the workshops’ implementers. 

Total of 328 students voluntarily participated in the workshops (N=183 girls and N=145 boys). Out of this number 240 students (N=148 girls and N=92 boys) of 2nd grade (average age 16) completed the pre- and post- questionnaires. Questionnaires measured adolescents’ perspectives on the societal expectations for men and women, the extent of gender inequality in the settings of family and school in Croatia; and also students’ self-reported experiences of suffering or perpetrating gender discriminative and/or IPV behaviours. Last but not least, it was also investigated what is the percentage of adolescents who have already started their first romantic/intimate relationships, as well as their exposure to IPV behaviours on their own and their peers’ relationships.

The results, besides revealing the relevance of the GEAR against IPV Workshop, also provide a clear picture of the situation in Croatia with regard to the extent of gender inequality and IPV in adolescents’ relationships. After the intervention students’ knowledge on types of IPV increased, and results show a modification in some attitudes related to gender stereotypes and IPV. Adolescents’ personal satisfaction rating with the workshop was very high and majority expressed willingness to participate in another similar workshop in the future. Additionally, adolescents’ self-perceived usefulness rating of the workshop was also high.

Implementers evaluated workshops as useful for their students as well as for themselves. In their opinion, workshops offered opportunity for students to gain new knowledge, express their opinions and discuss it with others while implementers had the opportunity to learn more about students’ thinking and to identify potential issues for future work.

Besides participation in the workshops, students were invited to design and create messages and products to be used for the awareness raising campaign with the aim to inform and sensitize all adolescents throughout Croatia about the issues that they dealt with during the Workshops. Developed products include films, posters, collage, and drawings.