Hundreds of young people across Merseyside have completed this vital training empowering them to help prevent gender-based violence, bullying and other forms of abuse.
Funded by the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP), the Mentors in Violence Prevention programme is delivered by Merseyside Youth Association and supports a ‘whole school’ approach which encourages young people to intervene to help prevent bullying, harassment, and risky behaviours.
The programme is designed to help young people recognise and challenge the attitudes and language which often underpin violence, particularly racist, misogynist, and homophobic behaviour, by adopting a mentoring approach to discuss issues with younger pupils.
This, in turn, empowers pupils to identify and communicate concerns with both their peers and school staff, promoting leadership skills and motivating them to challenge behaviours in a safe way, whilst encouraging others to do the same.
The training is based on five key themes:
- Exploring violence through a gendered lens;
- Developing leadership;
- Adopting a bystander approach;
- Recognising the scope of violent behaviour; and
- Challenge victim-blaming.
By engaging with pupils through a series of scenario-based workshops, the scheme provides a platform to discuss a range of situations and behaviours which many young people encounter in schools and communities on a regular basis such as name-calling, sexting, controlling behaviour and harassment, equipping them to become active bystanders with the ability to support and challenge safely.
Temporary Head of the MVRP, Superintendent Georgie Garvey, said:
“If we are going to prevent serious violence in the future, it’s vital we intervene early to tackle and prevent the negative and abusive attitudes that, if left to fester, can often act as a trigger for violence.
“The Mentors in Violence programme funded by the MVRP is such an important tool in achieving this. It gives young people the opportunity to explore healthy and unhealthy relationships at a critical time in their lives and equips them with the skills and confidence to be proactive when they identify behaviour which is unacceptable and abusive.
“I’ve been absolutely amazed by the understanding and confidence shown by our young graduates, and it’s inspiring to see how they are using this training to create a lasting legacy in their schools and communities.”
More information about the background to the Mentors in Violence Prevention programme is available here.