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1st Conference of the European Anti-bullying Network

11-12 June, 2014, Athens - More than 500 people across Europe took part in the 1st Conference of the European Anti-bullying Network hosted by the Greek NGO "The Smile of the Child" during a high-level event that was held under the auspices of the Hellenic Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The conference allowed academia, civil society organizations and national and international governmental organizations to discuss on the serious problem of bullying, exchange good practices in the area and present interesting data and studies on this serious problem. The official establishment of the Network will be announced on 13 June, 2014in an effort to promote a common strategy against bullying and coordinate anti-bullying actions and initiatives.

More specifically, thehigh-level Conference was organized in the framework of the European Anti-bullying Network project that was coordinated by "The Smile of the Child" and was implemented in cooperation with 16 organizations across 12 EU Member States under the funding of the Daphne III Programme of the European Commission.

Highlight of this conference was the speech by Dan Olweus, Professor of Psychology, and world leading researcher in the area of bullying, who provided some interestingfactson the phenomenon and some myths andintervention programs to address bullying in schools. He underlined the importance of analyzing cyber bullying in the right context and revealed that most cases of cyber bullying originate in the school setting. According to him,most students are bullied or bully other children in traditional ways, while he provided evidence showing that there has been no systematic increase in cyber bullying despite the common belief."Bullying among children and youth is a serious problem in most countries but by no means an intractable problem. With knowledge and research-based counter-efforts, it is possible to considerably reduce bullying problems, eliminate much personal suffering and make society save large amounts of money" he highlighted.

In his opening address, "The Smile of the Child" Chairperson Costas Yannopoulos presented the continuous work of the Greek organization in the area of bullying prevention and framed the importance of the initiative of the Greek NGO to establish the European Anti-bullying Networkin cooperation with 16 organizations from 12 EU countries.

A plenary panel discussion co-organized by "The Smile of the Child" and ILGA-Europe focused on the European policies against bullying. Vaso Artinopoulou, Professor of Criminology at Panteion University in Greece presented the European strategy against bullying developed in the framework of the EU-funded project "European Anti-bullying Network" and highlighted the need of a European approach and response on a European level.

Special Rapporteur on Child Protection in Ireland Shannon Geoffrey contributed his expert input analyzing the human rights standards related to school bullying, while the Head of the LGBT Unit in the Council of Europe Eleni Tsetsekou focused on what the Council of Europe can do towards ensuring a violence-free education in Europe. Frank Pierobon, Head of Equal Opportunities in schools from DG Education and Culture, framed the importance of human rights education as a prerequisite for equality, while Joe Koswic from GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) presented how a global knowledge base on homophobic and transphobic bullying is promoted in the United States.

During the conference, interesting data was also presented showing that Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Greece are the countries with the higher percentage of students being involved in bullying either as victims, bullies and bully-victims among 41 countries across the globe. According to the same study, Sweden is the country with the lowest percentage.

A new poll conducted and presented by BeatBullying shows that more than half (55%) of children in Europe who have been bullied said they became depressed as a result, with over a third saying they harmed themselves (35%) or thought about suicide (38%). The poll of more than 2,000 adults and children from across Europe found that worryingly, 34% of adults thought that bullying is regarded as a ‘normal part of growing up’, and one in six adults (16%) said it is regarded as "character building" by most people in their country.

Studies conducted in Greece show that 6.3% of teenagers have been cyber bullied more than once over the last 4 months, while 40% of teachers believe that the incidents of school violence remain hushed up and 84% of parents that school bullying and violence is on the rise. Equally alarming, professional assistance in Greece is provided to less than 1 in 10 children who experience some sort of violence and victimization.

The conference offered dynamic small group sessions covering wide-range areas in the bullying phenomenon such as cyber-bullying, teen relationships and bullying, prevention projects in schools, teachers’ and students’ perspectives, victimization of children and risk factors for bullying. During the conference participants had the opportunity to attend experiential workshops provided by field wEAN greeceorkers and professionals, highlighting good practices and educational tools in tackling bullying. These sessions were based on different schools of psychotherapy and techniques such as role playing, expression of feelings and drama therapy and aimed to empower teachers and professionals dealing with bullying incidents. 

For further questions please contact: JoeHemington@expandinghorizons.co.uk

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YALIM - The Story of a Mobility Experience in Palermo Italy

Youth Support System - Sub action 4.3– Support to Youth Workers’ Mobility

YALIM - Youth Active Learning in Moving

Adam Robson voluntary youth worker for Merseyside Expanding Horizons shares his experience of spending 6 months in Italy as part of a youth worker mobility project, YALIM Youth Active Learning in Moving". 

A six month placement at Centro per lo Sviluppo Creativo Danilo Dolci (CSC) in Palermo, Italy gave me the chance to live and experience another cultural and working environment, enriching my social skills and adaptability and giving me the opportunity to grow professionally.

The chaos of Palermo due to the noise, traffic and behavior of the local people (they use to shout everywhere without any concerns) was at first a culture shock but then suddenly became part of my daily life, involving me and making me feel comfortable and welcome in my new surroundings.

Although the staff and working atmosphere of CSC was similar to my working context as part of my activities were focused on EU projects, I had the chance to work at local level getting in contact with the local community and getting to understand the different cultures.As a multicultural city, Palermo is home to people coming from different countries and from different social contexts and backgrounds. These different communities live together in the city centre with its upsides and disadvantages.

The activities and projects carried out by CSC enabled me to communicate with and know more about these people from different cultural backgrounds, for example the Leonardo da Vinci TOI project “Interpreter training as Stepping Stone to work” targeted at immigrants.

The open desk and centre created by the Centro per lo Sviluppo Creativo Danilo Dolci in collaboration with local partners within the project “Inventare il Futuro” funded by APQ – Regione Sicilia, allowed me to stay directly in contact with the local young people living in a disadvantaged area of the city, planning and participating to local workshops targeted at them. For example, I actively participated at the info desk for the promotion of mobility for young people funded by EU programmes such as the Youth in Action Programme, using myself as an example and sharing my experiences with others. This info desk along with the workshops I participated in aimed to increase the activeness and self esteem of young people living in this disadvantaged area of the city.

I participated in Reciprocal Maieutic Laboratories, delivered by staff of CSC in local schools within the ‘Sustain’ project and local activities in general aimed to promote this approach. This allowed me to experiment and further my understanding of this non formal education methodology and increase my knowledge in several thematic topics including as legality, citizenship, sustainable development and my self esteem.

Within the project ‘GIVE’ I learned about vocational education and about the Sicilian rural context, which I could also discover during my free time.

My 4.3 experience at CSC in Palermo exceeded my expectations and I acquired knowledge and social skills that will be useful for my future career goals.  I plan to spread my experience and encourage other people to do the same experience as me.

To download the YALIM good practices click here

To read about Italian Youth Worker Irene La Pera's 4.3 experience in Liverpool click here

For more information about the Youth in Action Programme 2007-2013 please click here

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The ETOS project is a two and a half year project funded through the EU Lifelong Learning Programme.  The aim of the ETOS project was to create an attractive, practical training model not requiring in classroom attendance, but allowing on the job learning, to transfer and certify basic skills to the target population.

As the project is coming to an end there is an international conference in Birmingham on 21st March 2014.  The conference is free to attend and will demonstrate the ETOS model as well as discussing other models of training and employability.

To find out more information on the event  click here


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Bullying has no place on the internet. Celebrate Safer Internet Day!

Safer Internet Day is celebrated on 11th February in many countries. Safer Internet Day (SID) is organized by “Insafe” and occurs every February. Its aim is to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially amongst children and young people across the world.

The theme for this year’s Safer Internet Day is “Let’s create a better internet together” in recognition that young people, parents, teachers, policymakers and stakeholders all have an important role to play.

Given that young people are Europe’s most active users of the Internet, efforts to tackle bullying and particularly online bullying play a crucial role in ensuring a safe online environment for the younger generation. Sadly, cyber-bullying has become a daily reality for many children and young people in Europe causing terrible consequences that may scar both the victims and the bullies.

The increased occurrence of the phenomenon illustrate that a coordinated response to bullying is needed at European level. To this end, 17 organizations from 12 EU Member States in the framework of a project, funded by the European Commission’s Daphne III Programme, are working towards the establishment of a European Anti-bullying Network (EAN) that will contribute to the coordination of anti-bullying actions and developing a common strategy against the problem at EU-level.

As part of EAN project, the Europe-wide campaign “One Day in Europe, every Day for children” is calling on civil society organizations and citizens to visit www.antibullying.eu, sign the online petition and support the establishment of a specific European Anti-bullying Day.

As final products of the project, a Good Practice Guide will incorporate a selection of good practices within member states and at European level upon which an interactive application for Smart Phones will be developed in order to raise awareness and provide children, young people, teachers and parents amongst others with useful tools and resources. In addition, a documentary in 6 European languages will raise awareness by exploring the phenomenon and the actors involved, while a draft of recommendations on a common European strategy will be presented upon the completion of EAN in June 2014.

Costas Yannopoulos, Chairman of “The Smile of the Child” organization said: “Ensuring a safe internet environment especially for children and young people should be a matter of concern for all of us. Providing useful information and raising awareness among the public is the right way in order to protect children against the risks of the negative use of technology”.

EAN is calling on European citizens and organizations to join its anti-bullying activities and support its efforts towards creating a better reality for millions of children and young people across Europe.

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