Almost 600 professionals have been trained to prevent violence in Czechia

The project has increased the capacity of the police and child protection services to provide effective assistance to survivors of gender-based violence, according to Radan Šafařík, Director of the Gender Equality Department in the Czech Republic.

“We managed to train a total of 577 members of NGOs, the Authority for Social and Legal Protection of Children and teachers," says Radan Šafařík. Here from one of the workshops held in Czechia. (Photo: The Gender Equality Department in Czechia)

The bilateral project has boosted Czech policy making with respect to gender-based violence prevention, including a new national action plan for the prevention of domestic and gender-based violence and legislation. 

“This is thanks to close cooperation with our Norwegian partner Alternative to Violence,” says Radan Šafařík from the Czech department. 

The project was also awarded the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) prize in Czechia, for the best project, in the category diversity, equality and inclusion. 

“This prize is confirmation that domestic and sexual violence is becoming an important issue in Czech society,” he says. 

Training in the use of the film Angry Man

Training professionals on prevention of domestic violence and a series of workshops for students across primary and secondary schools in Czechia on the prevention of sexual violence are two of the main activities that have been accomplished during the project. 

The training was organised as workshops intended mainly for employees of NGOs, the Authority for Social and Legal Protection of Children and teachers in the Czech Republic.

“We used the animated Norwegian film Angry Man, which the participants could later use in their own practice, either at schools or during therapeutic sessions with clients,” says Šafařík.

Here from one of the workshops held in Czechia. (Photo: The Gender Equality Department in Czechia)

The film Angry Man depicts a family where domestic violence occurs, and the trainees learn how to explain the issue of domestic violence in the film example and how to help people experiencing domestic violence in similar cases. 

“We managed to train a total of 577 members of NGOs, the Authority for Social and Legal Protection of Children and teachers. We received positive feedback from several of the training sessions,” Šafařík explains. 

The workshops were carried out in cooperation with Norwegian partner Alternative to Violence. 

The vital cooperation has been of mutual interest, according to Barbora Schön Jakobsen from Alternative to Violence. (Photo: Jozef Rafael)

“We have contributed at all levels on prevention of domestic violence in the Czech Republic; through competence-raising, conferences, consultations for the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic and dissemination of the prevention programme ‘Angry man’ for primary schools,” explains Barbora Schön Jakobsen, psychologist from Alternative to Violence in Norway. 

The training sessions were developed with the aim of enabling professionals such as psychologists and teachers to train other professionals in the use of the film Angry Man and the programme "Say it as it is", Jakobsen explains.

Very successful school workshops

However, the second activity was most successful, according to Šafařík.

“The workshops for primary and secondary school students on prevention of sexual violence is probably our most successful project activity,” he says. 

Although the project team originally planned to organise 90 workshops that included 1,350 students, they managed to conduct a total of 420 training sessions in primary and secondary schools.  

“We trained 8,300 students aged between 12 and 16, and this figure underlines the success of this project activity,” Šafařík explains. 

The workshops lasted for three hours each, and included information about what sexual violence is, how it can occur, how to stop it and how to help someone experiencing it. 

“Most of the schools gave excellent feedback after the workshops, and we returned to some of the schools each year during the four-year project,” says Šafařík. 

A vital mutual cooperation between Norway and Czechia 

The cooperation between the Gender Equality Department and Alternative to Violence dates back twelve years, and the first time they cooperated was in 2012. During their first project that preceded this project, they published a book together, called Violence can be stopped whose main authors were Barbora Jakobsen and the director of ATV, Marius Råkil, explains Šafařík.

The cooperation with Alternative to Violence has been vital to the project for multiple reasons, according to Šafařík. In addition to the training and workshops, Alternative to Violence has contributed expertise to Czech policies relating to domestic and gender-based violence, he points out. 

Alternative to Violence has also joined them in over 60 online sessions, made several presentations in the UN Commission on the Status of Women and co-hosted side events such as a seminar on the role of men in prevention of violence. 

Alternative to Violence also co-organised three conferences held by the Czech department during this project period (see fact box). 

The vital cooperation has also been of mutual interest, according to Jakobsen from Alternative to Violence. 

“What have you achieved from the cooperation?” 

“We have made several study trips, exchanged experience and expertise and collaborated on implementation.”

“During the second project period, Alternative to Violence has, among other things, been part of a study group with Czech colleagues and received training in the ‘Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics’ (NMT), developed by psychiatrist and researcher Bruce Perry,” says Jakobsen. 

PROJECT ACTIVITIES AND RESULTS

The project has included the following activities:

  • Methodological support and training of staff at ministries, regional and municipal offices on gender-based violence
  • Prevention of sexual violence among youth through development of educational materials and educational activities and training of professionals
  • Enhancing the use of the animated film “Angry Man” in the work with children as witnesses of domestic violence, and development of a webpage with educational materials
  • Mapping of laws and policies in the Czech Republic as regards on-line sexist hate speech and an analysis against Council of Europe standards
  • Capacity building of police at regional to local levels to combat DV/GBV, including emerging forms of violence through e.g. introduction of the Police Handbook and development of trainers
  • Bilateral cooperation through study trips from Alternative to Violence, including production of a unique handbook “Violence can be stopped”.

More about the SDG prize: 
The project won the SDG award in 2022. The annual Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) prize is granted to projects helping to fulfil the UN SDGs in the Czech Republic.

Read more about the project here: Project “Enhanced capacities and methodological support in prevention of domestic and gender-based violence“ 

 

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