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1.1 The "Respect" project involved primary prevention work to address violence against women and was the first example in Scotland of the use of an integrated approach to this issue. The staff delivered an educational package which had been developed by the Zero Tolerance Charitable Trust, which aimed to promote relationships based upon equality and respect, through raising awareness amongst young people. The work took place in 2 primary schools, 2 secondary schools and 4 youth work settings in Edinburgh and Glasgow in early 2001, and was carried out as a pilot project, in order to assess the impact of the initiative and to consider the potential for the future use of the material more widely in Scotland.

1.2 An evaluation of the project was carried out, using a number of methods, and this report summarises the findings of that research, pointing to the broad overall themes which emerged and their implications for work in the future. This report presents the findings relating to experiences of implementation of the project and its perceived impact, before summarising some of the key conclusions which emerged. It should be noted that the staff and young people involved in the project made many detailed suggestions in the course of the evaluation about the development of the material and the delivery of primary prevention work, and a full report of these comments has been prepared separately. This report, however, focuses upon the more general perceptions of the "Respect" project and the implications of the findings for primary prevention work in the future.


1.3 The development of the "Respect" pilot project was based upon the identification of the importance of undertaking primary prevention work with children and young people to address violence against women. Organisations which had been involved in work with women, children and young people experiencing violence and abuse had long recognised the need to raise awareness of this issue, and their views received considerable support in the findings of a range of research studies and other initiatives in the late 1990s. During that period, the profile of preventive work and service provision was raised, and primary prevention became embedded in the strategic approach to violence against women in Scotland.

Research Studies

1.4 A number of research studies highlighted issues relating to violence against women and the need for work with children and young people during the late 1990s. A 1998 research study by the Zero Tolerance Charitable Trust 2, for example, explored the attitudes towards violence against women, sex and relationships of over 2000 young people aged 14-21 in Glasgow, Manchester and Fife. The report identified a range of views which were of serious concern, with the "widespread acceptance of forced sex and physical violence", and findings such as that:

  • 1 in 2 boys and 1 in 3 girls thought that it was OK to hit a woman or to force her to have sex in certain circumstances.
  • Over a third of boys (36%) believed that they might personally hit a woman or force her to have sex.

1.5 In addition to this work, a number of other reports were produced during the same period which focused more specifically upon domestic abuse, with, for example, an exploration of the police response to domestic abuse 3, a report exploring domestic abuse as a public health issue 4, a report which examined service providers' responses to domestic abuse 5 and a report 6 which pointed to the need for partnership working to tackle this issue in Scotland. The Scottish Office also prepared an action plan 7 recognising the links between different forms of violence against women and to gender inequality. Women's Aid also explored children's experiences of domestic abuse and refuge provision, and all of this work suggested the need for preventive work.

Other developments

1.6 In addition to the research which was carried out, a number of other relevant initiatives were also taking place. The Scottish Office, for example, developed a new media campaign relating to domestic abuse (which was continued by the Scottish Executive and supported by a telephone helpline). In November 1998, the Scottish Partnership on Domestic Violence was also established, with a remit to recommend a strategy to address domestic abuse in Scotland.

1.7 The Partnership recognised and emphasised the need for preventive work, particularly (although not exclusively) with children and young people and the National Strategy to Address Domestic Abuse in Scotland (published in 2000 8) reflected the need for this. Amongst the many recommendations within the Strategy were, for example, the adoption of a primary prevention approach to policy development, the development of a national prevention strategy, the development of work with children of a range of ages in a range of settings, the involvement of specialist organisations in the training of teachers, the development of curriculum materials for pre-school and formal education, the development of training materials for use with staff and the development of teaching programmes to address violence against women.

1.8 At a local level, multi-agency groups were being formed and new initiatives undertaken. At a national and international level, there was also an increasing recognition of violence against women as a violation of human rights. All of these developments ensured that the issue was high on the political agenda and all contributed to the establishment of a receptive climate in which the development of this pilot project took place.

1.9 Educational developments were also consistent with the development of the project, with the need identified, for example, for personal and social development to focus upon "values, qualities and dispositions" 9. Similarly, the curriculum design guidelines 10 stressed the need for the development amongst young people of respect and care for themselves and others and the development of social responsibility. Guidelines for health education 11 stressed the need to address physical, emotional and social health, and pointed to the importance of the development of positive personal relationships. A draft consultation document relating to environmental studies 12 also stressed the need to enable pupils to become informed about issues such as gender and diversity, equality of opportunity and their role in broader social issues.


1.10 All of these developments were consistent with the need for work with children and young people to address violence against women. Following the 1998 research, the Zero Tolerance Charitable Trust developed the first "Respect" initiative (a precursor to this package), aimed at young people. The initial materials focused upon the issue of "consent", using postcards and posters aimed at young people and educational materials in the form of an informal youth work programme. This work was piloted in Bristol, West Dunbartonshire and Fife and was evaluated, with a number of suggestions made, including that an "integrated" package should develop, using the notion of a "Respect" project as the basis of this.

1.11 At the end of the summer 2000, the Zero Tolerance Charitable Trust sought and received funding from the Scottish Executive to develop a new "Respect" pilot project.

The aims of the "Respect" project

1.12 The overall aims of the "Respect" pilot project were:

  • To encourage healthy relationships amongst young people.
  • To promote self-respect, respect for others and for difference.
  • To challenge and reduce tolerance of violence against women amongst young people.
  • To encourage a sense of social responsibility.

1.13 The more specific aims were:

  • To promote positive skills for healthy relationships, based on equality and respect.
  • To support equal rights for young men and women, boys and girls.
  • To present alternatives to models of masculinity and femininity which encourage or condone coercion or abuse.
  • To promote understanding of power relationships that provide the context in which abuse and victimisation occur.
  • To promote the rights and responsibilities of children and young people as citizens.
  • To encourage confidence, self-respect and emotional literacy in children and young people in preparation for adulthood and parenthood.
  • To help children and young people know what help and support is available to them.

For the older participants (in secondary schools and youth groups) there was an additional aim:

  • To provide accurate information about violence and abuse and try to challenge prevalent misinformation, stereotypes and attitudes that contribute to the acceptability of violence.

The materials

1.14 The Zero Tolerance Charitable Trust produced materials designed to address these aims, and the main focus of the project was upon the delivery of 7-8 sessions in each of the settings (secondary schools, youth groups and primary schools). Staff were provided with guidance and materials for each session, along with an outline of the intended objectives and suggested methods.

Secondary schools and youth groups

1.15 The materials for secondary schools and youth groups involved eight sessions covering a number of topics. Sessions 1 and 2 explored "the meaning of respect" and "showing respect". In Session 1, for example, there was a brainstorming of the meaning of "respect", statements about respect were ranked (on branches of a tree) and rules for the project and the rights and responsibilities of participants were identified. Session 2 then involved brainstorming about listening, an "active listening" exercise in groups of three, a "showing respect" role-play and a discussion of communication.

1.16 Sessions 3 and 4 focused on power and the misuse of power, and the sessions looked at examples relevant to young people, such as bullying, physical violence, and racial and sexual harassment. Session 3 involved an exercise entitled "It's Not Fair" (where the group was split arbitrarily and given materials of different quality to produce a poster) and "Difference and Discrimination", where young people brainstormed those who may experience unfair treatment. Session 4 involved brainstorming the meaning of "power", followed by a written exercise and class discussion of power, as well as using a "graffiti wall" to identify bullying behaviour.

1.17 Session 5 focused on providing accurate information about abuse and violence within relationships, identifying men as the main perpetrators of violence against women and girls. Young people were encouraged to explore their own attitudes to violence and abuse, through a quiz and discussion, followed by a brainstorming session about why women experiencing domestic abuse did not leave, then a discussion (or role-play) about responding to friends experiencing abuse.

1.18 Session 6 then explored stereotypes of women and men and allowed young people to consider "messages" about girls and boys. The young people watched film clips or made a collage of "the ideal woman and man", and this was followed by a discussion. Session 7 looked at changes over time, and explored the concept of collective power to address inequality. Statements from a "Respect Timeline", which reviewed changes to the status of women, were discussed, as were experiences of "Collective Power". Finally, an evaluation session, Session 8, was held, to give young people a certificate to indicate that they had completed the course.

Primary schools

1.19 The primary programme covered broadly similar issues, using materials considered appropriate to the different age group. The first part of the primary curriculum focused on communication, and Session 1 involved making the environment safe and comfortable and establishing rights and responsibilities. As with the older participants, this was done by brainstorming the concept of respect, ranking statements (the tree exercise) and identifying the rules, rights and responsibilities of participants. Session 2 focused on mutual support and co-operation, and involved a "Rainstorm" exercise (where the group collectively generated and reduced a noise) and "Co-operative Jigsaws", where the children compiled a jigsaw together without talking.

1.20 Sessions 3 and 4 encouraged children to respect difference, recognise prejudice and challenge discrimination. Session 3 involved choosing (on the basis of appearance) between a nicely wrapped present which contained rubbish and an unattractive present which contained sweets. The session also involved the "It's Not Fair" poster-making (described previously) and discussion. Session 4 reviewed the ground rules before a name-calling exercise, where children identified and discussed names used to "name-call" and put insulting words in the bin. There was also an exercise entitled "Groups We Belong To", where the teacher called out groups of people and the children identified those which they belonged to.

1.21 Sessions 5 and 6 explored bullying, racial, sexual and other forms of harassment in the context of power. Session 5 involved "Talking About Power", where the children discussed power and the use of power, before listing what they thought bullying was. They then considered a bullying scenario and wrote a letter to a fictitious child who had experienced bullying, or other children who had been involved. In Session 6 groups discussed a range of situations and identified bullying or violence as a choice. There was then an exercise entitled "Just a Bit of a Laugh", where the children decided whether statements were acceptable or unacceptable, and tried to persuade others to change their minds.

1.22 Sessions 7 and 8 examined how stereotypes influenced and limited opportunities, to allow the children to recognise and challenge sexism. Session 7 identified and discussed girls' toys and boys' toys, and common descriptions and expectations of boys or girls. Session 8 involved a group discussion of stereotyping scenarios and a "Confused Alien" exercise about stereotypical images of men and women and the messages and impact of these.

Presentation of the material

1.23 The material was packaged in a plastic carrying case along with a booklet outlining the background to the work, information on the aims and overall context, and details of each of the sessions in the programme. Staff also received resource cards containing contacts, scenarios, statements and other material integral to the work. The packs also provided information to teachers relating to issues such as, for example, child protection/confidentiality and statutory responsibilities; violence against women and children; working with boys/working with girls; questions and support for staff.

Other materials

1.24 In addition to these sessions, three posters focusing on the concepts of respect, difference and gender stereotypes were displayed in the participating settings. Bus sides were also used in each area. A CD Rom with 4 topics (a timeline; "myth or reality"; a quiz and "ZT FM radio") was also made available for use with older participants. Finally, a large "Z" screen saver was developed, for use on the computers in the settings involved. All of this material, taken together, formed the basis of the "Respect" pilot project.

Participants in the pilot project

1.25 The organisations involved in the pilot project were:

  • Broughton High School, Edinburgh (through "friendship" groups and existing classes of between 13 and 20 young people in S4).
  • St Paul's RC High School, Glasgow (through largely existing S3 and S4 class groups of 15-22 young people).
  • Abbeyhill Primary School, Edinburgh (through existing classes of P6 and P7) .
  • St Bernard's RC Primary School, Glasgow (through existing classes of P6 and P7).
  • Pilton Youth and Children's Project (through an existing boys' group of nine 13-15 year olds and a self-selected girls' group of three young women).
  • Edinburgh City Youth Café - 6VT (through a mixed sex group of 16 young people aged 14-16).
  • Glasgow Community Education Area 4 (through single sex groups of six young women and three young men and an existing young men's group which met for only the first three weeks).
  • City Centre Services, Glasgow (with two young people in their early 20s).

1.26 The project was overseen by a Steering Group, comprising representatives from the Glasgow and Edinburgh Education Services, Learning and Teaching Scotland, the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Schools, the Scottish Executive and the Zero Tolerance Charitable Trust.

1.27 It was intended that the range of experiences in the different settings would provide a useful indication of the implementation and impact of this form of primary prevention work.