EVENTS - 11 June 2024

Side by Side: Working with partners to prevent violence against children

As part of the project “Side by Side: Reinforcing integrated child protection services,” SOS Children’s Villages International is working with partners to increase knowledge of effective social service mechanisms and responses to prevent violence against children within Europe.

Side by Side (2022-2024) is co-funded by the EU and is implemented by the European Social Network (ESN), together with SOS Children’s Villages International and national partners SOS Children’s Villages Italy, the Child and Family Agency Tüsla (Ireland), the City of Graz (Austria), and the Département du Nord (France).


Presenting “Safe Behaviours” as a good practice 

One of the key project activities has been the organisation of national study visits to four innovative projects on the prevention of violence against children, in order to raise awareness of existing good practices on integrated prevention models. In May 2024, delegates from around the EU were introduced to SOS Children’s Villages’ “Applying Safe Behaviours” programme which focuses on preventing and responding to peer on peer violence amongst children and young people. 

Within the study visit, SOS Children’s Villages Italy presented the Safe Behaviours methodology and led participants through an interactive workshop, focusing on recognising what peer violence is, reflecting on guiding principles on how to best support children affected by it, and understanding how to prevent and appropriately respond to peer violence incidents. The team also highlighted the importance of including peer on peer violence in the safeguarding policies and practices of all organisations and institutions working with and for children and young people (further information on this topic can be found in section 8 of the Safe Behaviours’ Practice Guidance).  

Coenraad de Beer, Head of Child and Youth Care Practitioner Support, represented SOS Children’s Villages International and participated in the study visits, and according to him it provided participants an opportunity to dive deeper into the mechanisms and responses required to prevent violence against children. “A key topic that consistently emerged was the gap in appropriate support and training for professionals and child and youth care practitioners who directly work with children and young people in an increasingly complex environment. In this context, SOS Children’s Villages were commended for their work on Trauma-Informed Practices and Applying Safe Behaviours.” 


Identifying the gaps 

The second key project activity has been the assessment of child protection professionals and practitioners’ knowledge gaps and training needs, in order to suggest future training topics that increases their capacity to act in line with international and EU standards on preventing violence against children. This assessment took place via a questionnaire disseminated among the networks of SOS Children’s Villages and ESN, and interviews conducted by each national partner. 

The assessment revealed significant challenges professionals working in child protection face in identifying and adequately responding to violence against children, particularly in issues such as recognising behavioural and physical symptoms of violence against children, and addressing online violence and violence against children who have experienced trauma. 

The full findings will be presented in an upcoming webinar, “Identifying gaps within professionals working in child protection services,” which will be hosted by ESN on 17 June at 10:00-11:30 CET. 

Would you like to hear more about the project and the results of the training needs assessment?


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