Peer Violence Rising
In the last few months, we have witnessed a large number of cases of peer violence.
One of the horrific examples happened recently in Bor, Serbia, in one of the city parks when a 14-year-old boy cut a 13-year-old girl on the face and thigh with a broken bottle, who was defending her brother.
On that occasion, Marija Šutulović, a clinical psychologist and Advisor to the IPO founder President for the prevention of domestic and peer violence, spoke for RTV Pink.
For the specific case, a lot of questions arise:
Why are such small children outside in the late hours?
Where do their glass bottles come from?
If it is alcohol - who sold them alcohol since they are minors?
And the most important question - What can a child at that age lead to so much aggression and such violence, which could have been fatal for the lives of other children?
Let us remind you, every fourth child suffers from peer violence, and in as many as 85% of cases, no one helps children who are victims of peer violence, while 22% of them suffer violence constantly. During one year, up to 5,000 adverse events occur in schools, of which only 1,500 reach the police, while 3,500 events end in disciplinary proceedings.
Precisely for these reasons, June 4 - International day of Children Victims of Violence and Pink T-Shirt day - International day for the Fight against Peer Violence, which is on the last Wednesday in February, were established.
The goal is to draw attention to the more frequent and more severe forms of peer violence, both at school and outside school. Also, it is very important that violence against children is not talked about only these two days of the year, but constantly. The most important thing is prevention, both by parents and teachers.
Peer violence is any violent act, verbal or non-verbal, which is repeated, and which aims to lead to potential or actual psychological and physical consequences and endanger the health, development, and dignity of children/students. If the violence is repeated and directed at the same person, then it is abuse.
TYPES AND FORMS OF PEER VIOLENCE
• Physical violence: pushing, slapping, hitting, scratching, strangulation, kidnapping, destroying things, shooting.
• Verbal violence: insults, ridicule, belittling, calling derogatory names, threats.
• Social violence: exclusion from group activities, gossip, ignoring, spreading rumors about others.
• Psychological violence: threatening looks, blackmail, surveillance,
• Economic violence: stealing, taking or extorting money
• Sexual violence: making obscene words, forcing sexual intercourse, indecent and inappropriate touching of intimate parts of the body, throwing vulgar comments….
• Internet violence: abuse of the Internet by sending messages (insults, threats, lies, name-calling), chatting, and has the consequence of endangering dignity.
Children become violent for several reasons:
• to follow someone,
• to imitate someone,
• to be accepted in a group of peers,
• to imitate a model of behavior from the family,
• to imitate behavior from violent games, TV content.
HOW CAN TEACHERS AND PARENTS CONTRIBUTE TO THE PREVENTION OF VIOLENCE?
In addition to education, the school also has an educational role.
Teachers should emphasize and explain to students what their behavior is not acceptable and what behavior can encourage or discourage the bully, they should emphasize to them and never respond to violence with violence.
They should also explain to them that student observers are responsible for their behavior in situations of peer violence (they must be aware that they will bear the negative consequences). Like parents, teachers should teach children not to join violent groups and not to associate with violent children.
It is very important to educate children, parents, school staff and to have good communication with parents, as well as to organize work in the classroom so to encourage the development of positive relationships between students because then they will rather help each other and will not tolerate violence.
Also, the role of parents is necessary, who could greatly contribute, above all, to an open and honest relationship with children. Parents need to know who the child is hanging out with and where he or she is moving. Parents should teach the child how to react to violence, as well to encourage the strengthening of self-confidence.
The family is the environment that should encourage the normal growth and development of the child, and that is the first zone of child safety.
Unfortunately, for many children, this is not a family.
Our task is to notice the violence, as well as to try to prevent violence.
Our task is to teach children not to be bullies, to notice violence, and to condemn violence.
Our task is to protect children and to teach them that they also protect themselves and others. It is extremely important to talk to children about all forms of violence and negative behavior towards others because they themselves (especially younger children) are sometimes unaware that some forms of their behavior belong to violence or at least inappropriate forms of behavior.
Despite the efforts, there is still a large number of children in Serbia who are exposed to both psychological and physical violence, but also to various forms of abuse and neglect.
IPO Serbia is in February 2020. launched the action "STOP peer violence", where we distributed about 15,000 flyers in 15 cities in primary and secondary schools in Serbia.
The aim of the action was to draw attention to this problem and introduce students to behaviors that are characterized as violence. After this, the course "Prevention of Peer Violence" was created, with which we educated a large number of our members, and our goal is to educate both parents and teachers.
This whole campaign has grown into a form of continuing education approved by the Institute for the Advancement of Education.
On this topic, Marija Šutulović gave a comment for Pink TV, which you can watch at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=It8AIqdnO5c
Graduated Psychologist (clinical department)
Advisor to the IPO founder President for the prevention of peer and domestic violence
IPO Education and Crime Prevention Department