Partners Bulgaria Foundation has collaborated with Save the Children, Italy /leading partner/ and PAR – Portugal, to implement A child rights approach to combat bullying in detention and residential care settings. This project was co-founded by the European Union as part of the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (JUST/2014/AG/).
The project intended to address the lack of perception and understanding of bullying both on the part of operators in the field of juvenile justice as well as among children within the structures, by providing them with practical and sustainable instruments to recognize and deal effectively with individual cases. The aim of the project was to reduce the incidence and impact of bullying in detention and residential care settings and to improve the ability of juvenile justice services (particularly detention and residential care settings) to prevent, detect and deal with cases of bullying.
Partners developed and implemented a child rights-oriented methodology and approach, which took into account existing standards and best practices at international level. A set of actions have been carried out in three different national contexts – Italy, Portugal and Bulgaria – ensuring mutually beneficial learning experiences and understanding:
1. Assess the perception of bullying by structures’ (juvenile justice services’) staff – educators, social workers, penitential police officers, psychologists, authorities, etc. – and young people, within detention and residential care settings involved in the project;
2. Develop tools to be used by juvenile justice services to assess their capacity to prevent and/or deal with bullying, as well as to support them in creating anti-bullying policies and procedures or strengthening existing measures. It involved implementation of a self-assessment process, on the part of the structures involved, to determine how effective they are in relation to bullying; identifying their strengths and weaknesses and measures needed to develop a comprehensive Anti-bullying Policy and a set of procedures;
3.Carry out, on the part of the structures involved, an experimental phase in which the measures that have been prioritized are implemented. This phase included development of Anti-bullying Policy and Action Plans, including a Training program of six modules that strengthened both children and staff’s capacity to identify bullying and apply measures for its prevention, management and reduction.
4.Produce a set of guidelines for all the players involved in detention and residential care settings on how to prevent and deal with bullying, which should be disseminated and shared across all the juvenile justice services in each of the countries involved in the project. The Guidelines include a set of recommendation to achieve a more child friendly settings.
Within the frame of the project, the General Guidelines represent the final product of the work done in each country in collaboration with juvenile justice services. The Guidelines sum up the overall experiences, analyzes the reports and recommendations produced within each phase of the process carried out in structures, and produces a useful instrument for detention and residential care settings in implementing anti-bullying policies.