Updated: Sunday, 22nd September 2019 @ 6:10am

Changing teenage attitudes to violence is 'crucial' in tackling domestic abuse, claims Manchester uni researchers

Changing teenage attitudes to violence is 'crucial' in tackling domestic abuse, claims Manchester uni researchers

By Phil Jones

Teenage attitudes towards violence can be altered in a matter of weeks through use of domestic abuse prevention programmes, according to University of Manchester researchers.

With teenage girls across Europe two or more times as likely to be the victim of domestic violence than older women, the REaDAPt project aims to educate teens.

Principle investigator Professor David Gadd, found educational interventions can take effect in the space of a few weeks and encouraged governments to make them compulsory.

“Appraising young people about the risks of domestic abuse in intimate relationships is crucial to any strategy to seriously reduce gender-based violence in European countries,” he said.

“We now know that domestic abuse prevention programmes can have a positive impact on the attitudes of young people.

“The challenge is to encourage governments to incorporate this across the mainstream curriculum and build a workable infrastructure at every secondary school-age year.”

The European Union funded project studied 2,395 young people across Europe, finding many, especially boys, believe it to be acceptable to hit their partner.

A 180-page toolkit instructing teachers how to tackle the topic has been produced, aiming to strengthen efforts to combat domestic violence among school-age children.

And Professor Gadd wants teachers to be given support in listening to their students as well as incorporating the subject into other areas of education.

“A top-down, standardised approach from government won’t work – teachers need to know what their class is thinking before they teach them,” he added.

“Rather than confining relationship education to special sessions, geography or maths could tackle domestic abuse prevalence in different parts of the world.

“The experience of victims could also be appropriate for literature or even music classes.”

Through a Child’s Eyes, a film in which a young boy discusses his domestic violence through pictures, has been re-fashioned by the project.

The film is designed as another tool in tackling domestic violence, with pupils now capable of sharing it with their teachers via YouTube.

“It is critical that evidence-based materials are provided to schools, teachers and educators,” said Professor Gadd.

“This has to involve seeking out young people’s perspectives on the content and delivery of prevention tuition, and asking how they would improve it.

“This is really a question of finding a way to build capacity so that we can tackle one of the most serious problems facing young people today.”

Through a Child’s Eyes - YouTube.

Image courtesy of REaDAPt project via YouTube, with thanks.

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