REPORT ON THE RESULTS OF THE 3-DAY WORKSHOPS ON SEXUAL ABUSE AND SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN
This report fulfils the obligation of the Office of the Commissioner for Children´s Rights, as stated in Article 2 (h) of the Administrative Arrangement between the Council of Europe and the Office of the Cypriot Commissioner for Children´s Rights.
From July 10 to July 12, 2013 (a total of 15 hours), 41 youth from the Young Advisors Team, ages 13-18 years old, from the areas of Nicosia, Limassol, Famagusta and Larnaka, participated in a series of workshops, on the issue of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children, from a children´s rights perspective. The workshops comprised a comprehensive 3-day intensive training seminar (hereafter called “the seminar”).
The seminar was based on a non-formal education approach. The activities were carefully designed to:
i. Generate education to change misconceptions and attitudes regarding sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children
ii. Encourage participation from all participant youth in order to contribute to the discussions and learn from one another
iii. Encourage youth to translate their learning to simple but effective actions to demonstrate their rejection of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children.
The seminar revolved around the following goals:
1. Enable youth to recognize actions of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation, as defined in the Lanzarote Convention
2. Discuss the consequences of such abuse to the victim and identify means of support
3. Explore meaningful practices for prevention
4. Generate knowledge on possible ways to react to acts of sexual abuse in order to empower children to prevent abuse and protect themselves as well as others.
5. Raise awareness on the major provisions of the Lanzarote Convention and facilitate children to understand how these provisions add to the Convention of the Rights of the Child, as well as Cyprus law, in the areas of prevention, protection and intervention in order for youth to appreciate the importance of its ratification.
6. Inform about the aims of the “One in Five” Campaign so that youth understand the importance of the campaign´s promotion in Cyprus.
7. Facilitate and support youth to organize and carry out a street event to boost the launching of the “One in Five Campaign” in Cyprus.
First part of the Seminar: Generating knowledge and awareness on the issue of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of Children (Goals 1-6):
The first part of the seminar took place on July 10 and July 11, 2013 (total of 10 hours). The activities used to reach goals 1-6, as described above, are:
i. Goals 1-4 were achieved via non-formal education activities: debating, first in small groups and then as a big group, whether a specific act is sexual abuse or not, analyzing and discussing real case scenarios in small groups, discussing as a big group issues/concerns that arised in the small groups.
ii. Goals 5 and 6 were reached through:
a. A short presentation, made by staff, on the provisions of the Lanzarote Convention, how it is linked to the CRC and the national law followed by a discussion with the Commissioner on the reasons why its ratification is taking so long and what can be done to speed things up.
b. A short presentation of the goals of the One in Five Campaign
c. A discussion around the idea of youth taking action to promote the Campaign in Cyprus with the support of the Commissioner.
Overall, the first part of the seminar was evaluated to be a success in terms of reaching its goals, both by the participants and by the Commissioner and staff. In the evaluation, which had the form of discussion between participants, the Commissioner and the staff, youth reported the following:
1. Prior the seminar, they were not able to recognise acts of sexual abuse of children, did not know how to react in such situations, did not know which authorities are responsible in such cases or their role and responsibilities, had no knowledge of the Lanzarote Convention or of the One in Five Campaign.
Second Part of the Seminar: Youth taking action to promote the One in Five campaign in Cyprus (Goal 7)
2. The public school education system is far from sufficient in providing them with basic knowledge on issues of sexual abuse and making them able to protect themselves from related dangers. Attempts, within schools, to deliver such information fail, because both content and delivery methods used are inappropriate for the youth´s age and interests. Moreover, youth said that the sensitivity of the issue demands delivery methods in safe environments, meaning small groups of children with an adult they trust and after all trust issues are resolved within the group. Youth also said that some of the group meetings should be with both genders but some should be single-gendered. This would provide them with the security to discuss issues with their own gender. Based on gender, the issues discussed and the delivery methods could vary, in order to take into account any gender differences in learning modes or needs. Finally, any education they receive on the issue should be on an ongoing basis.
3. The ratification of the Lanzarote Convention in Cyprus is important and expressed their dismay to the fact that Cyprus did not proceed with its ratification.
4. Youth expressed their wish to work with the Commissioner to promote the One in Five Campaign and to convince parliamentarians to ratify the Convention. Following the discussion the YAT were informed about the Administrative Arrangement between the Council of Europe and the Office of the Cypriot Commissioner for Children´s Rights and declared their enthusiasm to help in the organization of a street event that will lead to boosting of the launching event of the Cypriot pilot project on 15 October 2013. They will also participate in the launching event of the Cypriot pilot project to be held on the 15th of October 2013.
The second part of the seminar aimed to assist youth to organize their own event, in order to boost the launching of the One in Five Campaign in Cyprus as aforementioned. Activities will be implemented on two days Saturday October 12 (the Ledras Street Event) and Tuesday October 15 (the launching event). The end-product is a complete, high standards and feasible schedule of an event, generated by youth who reported very excited about it and who committed themselves to work for its success.
Before brainstorming ideas, the staff and the youth agreed on the following standards: the event must be massive (reach as many people as possible), have the biggest impact possible and be simple in its preparation. Youth were divided in small groups and did a brainstorming of ideas. The ideas of each group were discussed in the whole group and finally youth decided on the following activities/programme:
A. STREET EVENT SCHEDULE
(Ledras Street, Nicosia, Saturday October 12, 2013)
The street event will take place in Ledras Street, the busiest street in Nicosia. A minimum of 40 children will participate (youth from the seminar and their friends). In the middle of Ledras (the main point of the event) a button will be placed with the written instruction “PRESS THE BUTTON”. Youth will wait until someone from the people walking in the street presses the button. When this happens the following actions will take place:
1) Music will be heard and a flash mob will follow (children dancing break dance).
2) The music stops and one of the children who participated in the dance will take a big drum and start playing a rhythm. From various points in Ledras children will start coming to the main point of the event playing the same rhythm using various instruments. When all youth are gathered to the main point they all stop playing at the same time in order to build a momentum. At the same time, all youth will sit down in the street.
3) Two youth will carry a table to the place where the children are sitting. A child will stand on the table and read the resolution that youth will have prepared by which they are asking the parliamentarians to ratify the Lanzarote Convention.
4) Youth will then spread out in Ledras and in other main streets in the center and have people sign their resolution, handout a leaflet they prepared specifically for the event along with other campaign material.
Note: All youth will wear shirts with the logo of the campaign in large print. For every 4 children who wear a white shirt there will be one child with a red shirt to point out the One in Five analogy. Youth will also carry balloons with the campaign logo.
The last activity of the seminar was devoted to preparing the details of the event as well as the youth´s resolution and the leaflet. Youth were divided into groups, according to their interests, and worked together.
(Nicosia, Tuesday October 15, 2013)
1) During the open format session at the launching event, members of the YAT will present brief scenes of the Ledras Street event and other related activities.
2) The YAT will wear the same shirts with the logo of the campaign in large print. For every 4 children who wear a white shirt there will be one child with a red shirt to point out the One in Five analogy.
3) A member of the YAT will deliver a presentation as to how their team worked on the project.
4) A member of the YAT will read their resolution regarding the ratification of the Lanzarote Convention in Cyprus.
REPORT TO COUNCIL OF EUROPE FOR ONE IN FIVE FINAL.docx
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