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BIC- Bullying in Institutional Care

Years: 2016, 2017
Programme: Rights, Equality and Citizenship
Applicant: Ai.Bi. - Associazione Amici dei Bambini
Partner: University of Florence (IT), Comune di San Giuliano Milanese (IT), Association Samuel Vincent (FR), EADAP (GR), GDSACP Bucharest 1 (RO), BIHR - Bulgarian Institute for Human Relations (BG), Università Babes Bolyai (RO), Katholische Hochschule Nordrhein-Westfalen (DE)

Issue and Objectives

In the past project “Protecting children in child protection systems – Daphne 2009-2011” aimed at the empowerment of social care providers operating in IT, RO, BG, in favor of children living in residential care, with special focus on inappropriate placement (secondary victimization) it was demonstrated that child protection systems are dominated by coercive processes, which produce a high risk for children and adolescents to experience high levels of violence between peers. The European Network of Ombudspersons for Children (ENOC 2011), in a survey on 39 members, reports that in many European institutional care centers, in spite of the presence of the explicit policy prohibiting all violent punishment, some interviewees said “a certain amount of violence can be deemed necessary in order to keep staff and other children safe, and separation from the group or isolation is still allowed as a sanction in many countries. The involvement in bullying leads to psychological problems in adolescence and in adulthood (e.g. depression for the victim; antisocial behavior and substance abuse for the bully, over and above pre-existing symptoms and genetic, familial or social risk factors for these disorders - see Ttofi et al., 2011). The project intends to Implement a Specific Program (BIC) to prevent and combat bullying in residential care settings, easily scalable up, to improve peer relations and make residential care settings more positive and safer places for children; to reduce existing bullying, by achieving better peer relations in residential care settings. The General Objective is to contribute to preventing and combating bullying in residential care settings through children empowerment and by encouraging greater collaboration between peers in 5 Countries (IT, BG, RO, GR, FR). The Specific Objective is to implement the anti-bullying BIC program in residential care settings in order to make those places safer. Detailed goals are: reducing existing bullying, preventing its development, achieving better peer relations. BIC, based on a preliminary field research as well as on existing good practices, will be founded on three pillars:
      1. Standardization and high customization of the service provided: definition of a sound methodology for easy tailoring of the anti-bullying BIC program for all kind of alternative care settings.
    • 2. Experiencing a non-violent environment by the care staff: improvement of skills and deeper understanding of the advantages of a non-coercive approach in managing concrete bullying situations.
    • 3. Empowerment of children in alternative care with the intention of enhancing the internal self-help in peers interaction.


The WS1 Preliminary research will be aimed at gaining a deep knowledge of the phenomenon through literature analysis, field research (interviews and focus groups), collection of care-leavers’ life stories, analysis of good practices, in particular: Kiva (Finland), No trap! (Italy). The WS2 Design is focused on KIVA and No trap! adaptation for professionals training and creative workshops for children. Peer review by partners and experts from RO, BG, FR, IT, GR, DE, FI will validate the program. Also the concept and guidelines for the participative peer to peer seminars will be designed. The WS3 Delivery and evaluation will provide training and information to 475 experts and 600 children. 1 expert/country will participate to the Kiva Master in Finland. The 5 teams (5 persons/country) will be trained on the new specific BIC methods and they will become trainers of personnel dealing with children (30 teachers, 15 civil servants, 45 professionals working in residential care/country). BIC will be implemented in the selected structures and local trainers will supervise workshops and the most difficult cases. 10 one day workshops with children will be implemented. An international supervision will be guaranteed by the scientific partner (University of Florence). The impact evaluation and analysis of results will be aimed at the refinement of the program and done by a specialized external evaluator. The WS4 Dissemination will be guaranteed by social media, by the editing and implementation of the participated campaign targeted to child protection systems and schools, by peer to peer seminars in schools. International care-leavers associations will experiment the method in order to disseminate it further in their country. One to one promotional meetings in Brussels with key stakeholders will be scheduled. Beneficiaries are 600 children are sensitized using participatory methods and their capacities to prevent and tackle bullying are built. 475 professionals are trained. 2000 students are sensitized through peer to peer seminars in schools and the awareness raising campaign. 10 European Care-leavers associations are involved and 10 international policy makers are informed.

Results and products

The BIC program is designed, awareness about bullying is raised, bullying in residential structures is reduced by 40%, staff are ready to tackle bullying, procedures to tackle bullying are in place in institutions, ”Peer education” and “peer support action” are developed. BIC program will be disseminate at EU level. A report on bullying in residential care will be produced, together with 3 transnational meetings, 200 Interviews and focus groups, 16 training sessions, 2 Manuals for professionals, learning toolkit for children and adolescents, 50 workshops, 600 Children and 475 professional Surveys, awareness campaign, anti-bullying protocols, scientific papers.

Contact person: Rebecca Zanuso


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