Developing bystander responses to sexual harassment among young people

In this project, developed in Portugal (FPCEUP / UMAR), Slovenia (Peace Institute), United Kingdom (CWASU, London Met), Malta (University of Malta - MT) the researchers will develop, pilot, implement, and evaluate a school-based programme for bystanders to prevent sexual harrassment in high-schools.

September 1, 2016

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CWASU is one of five partners, who have been awarded a total of €544,000 by Daphne, to conduct the three year research into sexual harrassment among young people.  The project will be lead by University of Porto (lead partner), with partners Peace Institute, University of Malta, UMAR and Association of Nonviolence Communication.

Project background

The Fundamental Rights Agency found that sexual harassment (SH) was the most prevalent form of violence against girls and women, across the 28 EU member states (FRA, 2014). A promising new approach to the prevention of SH is targeting young people as bystanders, inviting them to notice and intervene in SH situations.

SH is defined by physical and nonphysical, verbal, and cyber unwanted sexual attention, including a wide range of behaviors that victimize women and girls. Boys and young men may also be victims of SH, especially when they do not meet the standards of the hegemonic masculinity socialization. Perpetrators can be people known to the victim, such as friends, partners, colleagues and others, as well as people unknown. Also, it’s important to consider how SH is experienced by people who may not be directly involved in it – bystanders – and their role in the situation.

We strongly believe that this study will provide valuable contributions to achieving the objectives of the call priority because: a) it will design, pilot and implement a training programme for students and staff to prevent and combat SH in schools; b) it focuses in schools, which are one of the contexts mentioned in the call; and c) the project will use new technologies and social media in the training programmes themselves and in the dissemination of the projects’ results.

The project has 7 main expected results. It will increase: 1) the knowledge of students and school staff about sexual harassment (SH); 2) the awareness of students and school staff about SH; 3) the capacity of students and school staff to act in situations of SH; 4) the motivation and willingness of students and staff to act in SH situations; 5) the capacity of school staff to protect the victims; 6) the capacity of school staff to hold perpetrators accountable; 7) the existence of school policies addressing SH and transforming schools into safer spaces for girls and young women.