Violence can be a sensitive and challenging issue so it's important that all the work done within the Stop the Violence campaign or Voices against Violence curriculum is delivered in a safe and supportive space. Especially where young people are involved.
Violence can be an emotional subject to talk about. People may know someone who has experienced violence or they may have experienced it themselves. As such, any Voices against Violence curriculum or Stop the Violence campaign activities must be delivered in spaces where children and young people feel supported and equal so they can seek support and talk about sensitive subjects.
Key points to creating a safe space:
- Know how to handle disclosures of violence, from both children and adults. Child Protection is explored in the Voices against Violence Leader’s Handbook and WAGGGS’ Child Protection Policy provides guidance in a global context
- Inform the group about how to access support at every session, whether you are running the Voices against Violence activities or planning a raising awareness activity
- Protect any data collected from the participants as per data protection legislation in your country
- Risk assess the suitability of meeting places and activities
- Do not accept or tolerate any abusive language, harmful attitudes or behaviour - find a way to sensitively challenge these, but do ensure they don't go unchallenged. Again, guidance can be found in the Voices against Violence Leader's Handbook.
Before beginning any activities you should research and connect with local support services. These support services can provide expertise and guidance for your activities, and can also provide support for people in your group who are survivors of violence.
To find support services you can:
- Conduct research on the internet. Use search terms such as ‘violence support service’, ‘girl support services’.
- Speak to local schools to see what partnerships they have with support services
- Check your local government or council website to see what support services they use and work with
- Talk to local women’s organisations to see what contacts they have
- Consult on-line support service directories, to find appropriate services in your area
Safeguarding of minors is crucial to your work with young people. When conducting activities and events on violence it is important that your association has a Child Protection Policy and that you are aware of it, where to access it and the procedures around how to handle disclosures of violence. Consult and become familiar with this Child Protection Policy and ensure that you listen, respond, refer and report any disclosure of violence.
If your association doesn’t have a Child Protection Policy they can work with the World Association to develop one, using tools and templates provided, while they attend ACTIVATE events and train Leaders to deliver the curriculum. The only limitation on this is that the Voices against Violence curriculum cannot be run with anyone under the age of 18 before the association’s Child Protection Policy is complete, has been signed off by the World Association and has been officially adopted into the association’s governance. ACTIVATE training will train organiations on safeguarding and Child Protection policies. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org assistance and advise on child protection policies and procedures.
An ACTIVATE event prepares an individual to be able to create safe and supportive spaces. The Leader’s Handbook also runs through all the necessary safety measures you need to prepare before delivering the Voices against Violence curriculum.
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