In the project “Applying Safe Behaviours”, SOS Children’s Villages has worked to enable children, young people and professionals to prevent and appropriately respond to peer violence amongst children and young people in alternative care and vulnerable families.

“Applying Safe Behaviours: Preventing and Responding to Peer Violence Amongst Children Without or At Risk of Losing Parental Care” was a two-year project (2021-2023) co-funded by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship (REC) Programme of the European Union.

Through the project, we have aimed to make children and young people active agents in creating a safe environment for themselves and their peers, and to enable professionals who work with and care for children and young people to respond appropriately to peer violence amongst them.

The project was run in cooperation with SOS Children’s Villages’ member associations in Belgium, France, Italy, Romania and Spain.

Why do children and young people need “Safe Behaviours”?

Children and young people without parental care and in vulnerable families often have a history of abuse, neglect or toxic stress, emotional, social or behavioural challenges, or have witnessed or experienced violence in the family.

As a result of these adverse experiences, children and young people without parental care are more vulnerable to becoming victims of violence from their peers, or carrying out violence towards their peers.

Peer violence is one of the most common ways that children and young people experience violence, and children in care have consistently raised the issue of peer violence and bullying as a significant problem affecting their lives. Research in Italy found that 6 out of 10 young people have experienced peer violence in the form of bullying and/or cyberbullying.

Unfortunately, despite the prevalence of peer violence against children and young people without parental care, professionals who care for and work with them often experience challenges in responding effectively.

For children and young people who have experienced peer violence, it is crucial that both they themselves and the adults around them are equipped and enabled to respond to such situations.


Applying a “Safe Behaviours” approach

By training and informing children, young people, and professionals on peer violence, we aim to provide them with the knowledge and tools needed to understand the issue and act against it.

Children and young people are able to apply a Safe Behaviours approach in their lives, resulting in a safer environment for them and their peers, and professionals who care for and work with them have an improved capacity to prevent, identify and respond appropriately to peer violence.

The “Safe Behaviours” methodology focuses on children’s right to feel safe at all times, the development of self-confidence and resilience, as well as the importance of acceptance and understanding. It promotes a child- and youth-centred approach to both the prevention of and response to peer violence, which is also reflected in the meaningful participation of children and young people throughout the project.

Project beneficiaries

The target group for the project has been children and young people who are in alternative care and who are supported by child protection authorities throughout Belgium, France, Italy, Romania and Spain. However, as peer on peer violence happens everywhere and between children and young people from all backgrounds, the project has also targeted children and young people within the wider community. 

In addition, the project targeted professionals in the project countries who work directly with children, young people, caregivers and families at risk on a daily basis. This includes roles such as field staff supporting disadvantaged families, caregivers, foster parents, teachers, youth workers, day care staff and social workers. 


Key project activities

Throughout the project, we have developed and implemented:  

  1. Peer-to-peer workshops for children aged 11-15 years old to build the capacity of children and young people to apply a Safe Behaviours approach, and empower and equip them to recognise and speak about peer violence.
  2. Face-to-face trainings to train professionals to prevent, identify and respond to peer violence amongst children in a balanced, safe and caring manner, ensuring the best interest of every child.
  3. A Practice Guidance to inform and equip professionals to better support children and young people who may have been affected by peer on peer violence.
  4. A children’s booklet for children aged 8-11 years old on peer violence. The booklet has been developed by children and young people in each of the five countries that implemented the project.
  5. An online awareness-raising module for adults on the prevention of peer violence amongst children, and three accompanying explainer videos (1, 2, 3) on key issues related to the topic. A trailer video for the modules can be seen here
  6. Awareness-raising videos for young people aged 16-19 years old (12) on the impact of peer violence.
  7. Evidence-based policy recommendations in order to advocate for systematic changes to improve outcomes for children affected by peer violence.


This project was co-funded by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship (REC) Programme of the European Union. Responsibility for this content lies solely with SOS Children's Villages International. The European Commission is not responsible for any information contained here.


Project contact

Ms. Florence Treyvaud-Nemtzov
Project Manager, “Applying Safe Behaviours”

Final project publication


The training manuals are not available to download in order to ensure that the training content is used and delivered in the correct way, with consideration of the necessary safeguarding measures that must be in place. Peer on peer violence is a sensitive topic and we want to ensure that participants who complete the course are provided with a quality training that is run safely. In addition, the training has been designed to include the participation of care-experienced young adults as trainers, which again must be done in a safe and structured way. 

For this reason, the training manuals are only available for trainers who have first attended an 8-day Training of Trainers course. If you are interested in arranging a Training of Trainer course, please contact us

Read more about the project