CONCEPT FOR THE ANTI-VIOLENCE AND COMPETENCY TRAINING: (ACT-TRAINING)

KONZEPTION FÜR DAS ANTIGEWALT- UND KOMPETENZ-TRAINING „VERANTWORTUNG ÜBERNEHMEN – GEWALTFREI LEBEN“

CONCEPT FOR THE ANTI-VIOLENCE AND COMPETENCY TRAINING: (ACT-TRAINING)

Gangway e.V.
Geschäftsstelle
Schumannstraße 5
10117 Berlin
Tel.: 030/28 30 23 0
Fax: 030/28 30 23 19
Email: info@gangway.de
www.gangway.de

„Taking Responsibility – Living Violent Free“

Table of Contents

1. Organizational structure and areas of activity

2. Social background of the Issue

3. Agenda and goals of the training

3.1 Target populations

3.2 Workshop goals

3.3 Workshop subjects

3.4 Methodology

4. Framework conditions

4.1 Selection criteria for choosing the participants

4.2 Individual requirements for participation

4.3 Material requirements for training

4.4 Time frame for the training

4.5 Personnel requirements for the training

4.6 Quality assurance

4.7 Data protection

5. Success criteria and long term goals

6. Appendix:

Curriculum for training session „Taking responsibility – Live non-violent“, a best-possible- scenario of the training’s units.

1. Organizational structure and areas of activity

GANGWAY E.V. – Straßensozialarbeit in Berlin

„Gangway“ is the name of a street work project targeting youth populations in Berlin, Germany. About 50 streetworkers working in teams, are covering nine districts. We go to locations, where the youth populations gather: public areas and streets. Our work is oriented toward their interests and needs. We offer proposals for real life changes and we act as partners and youth advocates.
Our goal is to support them in taking responsibilities for their own lives. (Together,) we find solutions for their problems, assist them in dealing with administrative issues, help them find a job, and act as mediators in conflicts with school or with parents. Youth shall discover and enhance their potentials.

GANGWAY was created in 1990, it is sponsored by the Government of Berlin and the districts and supported by contributions.

2. The social background of the issue

Violence is an everyday phenomena in our society. Within the last years it has increasingly become a matter of public attention and discussion. People have developed an emotional response to the issue.
It is alarming that young people, who have fallen through the cracks of our social network are using violence more and more as a normal means of expression.
For many youth with difficult histories, the experience of violence and the expression of violence, has become a common occurrence.

Violence is part of the human cycle from abuse and mistreatment to becoming a perpetrator.
Violence is defined as: an act of harming or creating pain toward another person in a physical or mental way. The personal boundaries of a human are crossed.
Violence appears in various forms. It includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, and/or use of psychological pressure, disintegration, delegating of violence as well as verbal attacks or threats creating fear. Violence and criminalization are more commonly found among youth and adolescents than other age populations. The reason for more deviant behaviors are to be seen in connection with the process of growing up and the experience of violence itself.

3. Agenda and goals of the training

Young people who are socially at risk, have the opportunity through a social training seminar to UNLEARN violence and to make new choices to interact in an open tolerant manner and take personal responsibility to not act in violent ways.
The training concept is based on an accepting and non-humiliating approach. It uses elements out of several scientific methods, such as behaviorism, systemic therapy, group psychotherapy, an educational approach which uses elements of confrontation and provocation, the constructive conflict resolution theory (nonviolent communication and meditation),elements utilizing the experience pedagogic and political education. Methods and contents are used according to the actual needs and the training’s state of progress.
Considered as a core component of the training is the incorporation of relatives, important close relationships and the various living structures of the youth into the training process.

3.1 Target populations

The project’s agenda is targeted towards youth ages 13 to 21 years old, who have already become the subject of attention in context with violent actions, and who have developed a pattern of violent episodes.
Targets may be young people in different contexts, but also closed peer groups, when reachable by the GANGWAY approach.

3.2 Workshop Goals

Goals of the anti-violence training seminar are:

• The participants understand and change their own violent behavior.

• The participants take responsibilty for their own actions.

• The participants are enabled to develop an ability to stay out of violent group dynamics.

• The participants are trained in non-violent conflict strategies.

• The participants’ skills in communication and conflict resolution are strengthened.

• Based upon their individual strengths which are enforced, a positive future plan is put in place.

The training is intended to initialize a change in the participants’ way of thinking, involving all of the above-mentioned issues.

For the youth this means to start “A Farewell to Violence”, a long-term learning process, which does not end with the graduation from this training.

After the graduation from the training, the youth are subject to a special educational approach of GANGWAY and its network resources, intended to secure further support, empowering them to stabilize their actual learning process and to create opportunities for new life experiences.
In this sense, anti-violence work is a integrative and long-term process.
The established and intensified relationships with the youth are the crucial prerequisites for the success of this process, which the “anti-violence and competency training” is based on.

3.3 Workshop subjects

Youth are empowered to understand their acts of violence in connection with their history. A contemplation on the definition of violence in its various and distinctive forms is followed by a conversation about the participants’ own fears and motifs for violence.
This will be followed by an analysis on the ratio of costs and profits of violence.
The mythology of violence becomes a subject matter for discussion and is disenchanted.

Other issues are, personal experience with violence, individual ways of dealing with conflicts or violence, the role of the individual’s peer group and the impact of drug and alcohol abuse within this context.
Another main emphasis is on the training for self-confident behavior in conflict situations, the competency training and – a very relevant component – future planning.

Future planning is done individually, it may include concrete support in the struggle for independence, the search for accommodation, for education or jobs, plus after-care, once the training is over.

3.4 Methodology

The biographic dialogue and the genogram analysis is the subject of a one-on-one session. The youth is asked to describe his/her violent acts in detail in a group session.
This “violence unit” is characterized by an approach, which is positioning (possibly confronting), appreciative and revealing, because only a non-humiliating, non-judgmental post socialization can enable a violence-oriented person to learn new – non-violent- behaviors.
The person’s personal boundaries stay untouched. His/her complete personality is not questioned. As a result of this session, the youth takes unlimited responsibility for his/her violent actions.
This requires dealing with – and a solving of – denial and justifying /rationalizing strategies.
The violent act is subjected to a detailed, step-by-step analysis in order to make it comprehensible for all participants, which are the reasons leading to the violent act, the “sense” of violence, and possible ways of change in the situation.
By comparing it with other violent episodes and by analyzing it in context with a person’s history, a possible pattern of violence is disclosed.
Only by revealing the special violent pattern, can a person’s violent behaviors be disrupted. By turning the view towards the victim – stepping into the victim’s shoes – , short and long-term consequences of the violent act is becoming a subject of consideration.
Alternative and realistic modes of behavior to prevent violent acts are discussed.

A safety plan is worked out with the youth. It includes not just behavior in conflicting situations, but as well the change of attitudes towards all areas of life.
The safety plan embraces the youth’s positive resources as an important opportunity for alternatives.

Special attention is given to the necessity of an early withdrawal in potentially violent conflict situations, as the dynamics of emotionally loaded situations leaves only a few non-violent options for reactions.

Further, the participants are subject to a test of their emotional control, when confronted with provocations, and the ability to avoid the influence of emotional affect reactions in violent group dynamics.
Constructive exercises in verbalisation and dicrimination skills are following.

4. Framework conditions

4.1. Selection Criteria for choosing the participants

Each training group consists of not more than to 6-8 people. It is possible to run the training with smaller groups (3-5 participants) or in individual sessions.

Working with fringe groups is particularly difficult.
Their motivation to participate is known as uncertain, their aggression potential is high, and their verbal skills are low. This makes the selection procedure an important issue, determining the success of group and learning process. The following aspects must be considered:

• Group skills, i.e. the ability of the participant to act as a group member must be predictably developed, as group members shall not obstruct each other in the learning process. It is necessary to create cooperative and equal work relations between allgroup participants.

• Group participants who aim for a status of power and domination over the group may be inappropriate for the training.

• When selecting candidates for the group it is important not to mix youth who have
exhibited clear „perpetrator behaviors“ with youth who have „victim histories“ (for
example a sexual abuse victim and an individul who has sexually abused others).

• The group shall not have more than one participant who has extreme difficulty in control of his/her emotions, or a destructive group process can escalate.

• All group members must have one main issue in common, or topic of central
importance, in order to serve as the group’s focus.

• Chosen candidates must show a personal motivation to change his/her conflict behavior/s, and a willingness to participate regularly in the training.

• The group shall be made up of individuals of homogeneous age, and there has to be the possibility to hold gender specific sub-groups with participants.

4.2 Individual requirements for participation

An inner readiness for a change is required from each candidate. After several interviews admission to the training is granted. Once admitted, participation in the anti-violence training is mandatory. A written agreement shall be signed by each participant.
In case the youth does not abide by these rules (if agreements are not kept), he/she can be excluded from the training session.
After successful completion of the sessions, the youth obtains a certificate.

„Successful completion means that behaviors have changed and new non-violent skills are being utilized“.

4.3 Material Requirements for the training

An adequately spacious room is necessary to host the group according to it’s size.

An atmoshere conducive to work undisturbed and enclosed must be arranged.

Increasing needs for work in small groups will make it necessary to have a break-out room available at all times. Also recommended is the opportunity to access sports and recreation sites nearby. These will be required in connection with some experiential and educational activities.

4.4 Time frame for the training

Each group training consists of 15 meetings, each meeting – or work unit – takes approximately 4 hours.
Additional time has to be considered for the appropriate preparation and evaluation by the trainer.
Also included in the training are 2 days of experiential-educational activities toward the end of the training. Apart from the group dates, it is possible to have individual in-depth one-on-one meetings.
Following the training a „coaching“ (support session) can be arranged for each individual participant on a voluntary basis. Follow-up dates will be agreed upon for the complete group. These are designed to evaluate the status and level of success of the educational process.

4.5 Personnel requirements for the training

The group training will be done by two trained AKT-Trainers. The minimum standards for a trainer’s education are set through a nationally certified degree in education (Erzieher), the completion of a certified 1.5 year training as an AKT instructor, according to the standards of „Violence Prevention Network e.V.“.

This dual/degree in education contains 338 study/work hours and covers: a curriculum designated to theoretical education on anti-violence work, and practical application, transforming accumulated knowledge into skills for real life situations. This is accompanied by professional mentoring/supervision.

4.6 Quality assurance

In order to keep track of the trainings’ process, records are made in the form of a transcript, documenting the proceedings and the contents of each session. A preparation and a follow- up for each session is done in written form. The professional supervision and evaluation of the training is provided by GANGWAY und Violence Prevention Company.

4.7 Data protection

The trainers are solely responsible for the group’s confidentiality throughout the training sessions.
All group participants will be assured that privacy rights will be kept during the group training. This will include: verbal communications, observations, assumptions and video recordings. Private information will not be shared with any third party or institution, unless the participant discloses the intent to harm him/herself or others.
Before or after the final conversation/s, it is solely up to each participant, to address or verbalize personal matters. Participants have the opportunity however, to authorize the trainers at any time, to talk to a third party about his/her personal issues.

5. Success criteria and long term goals

The concept of the group training is intended to initiate a process of reorientation which shall help youth in their everyday life, equipping them with a strengthened social competence, and the capacity for a non-violent alternative lifestyle. In their every-day life youth shall become stronger in social competency.
In detail:
• The youth are less irritable and act more self-confident in conflicting situations,
• They have skills to navigate conflict situations,
• They have a variety of alternative possibilities for behavior available in stress situations,
• They respect another human’s right for physical and personal integrity,
• They have better orientational options,
• They are feeling more self-confident, accepted and respected,
• They are more connected with their social envirenment,
• They get attention in their surroundings, free of fear and free of violence,
• They are motivated to process thoughts, have a greater mobility in self-experiencing,
• They reject violence as a mean of solving conflict,
• They are immune to being taken advantage of by others.

6. Appendix

Training „Taking responsibility – living non-violent !“
– A best-case possible scenario regarding the training units

1st Session: Selection interviews

• What kind of problems can this training address?
• General information about working with groups.
• Contents and agenda of the training (Role play, Homework, Exercises, Distinction between
• self-confident and aggressive behavior, etc.).
• Deciding for or against participation.
• Creating the personal goal and plan for each participant.

2nd and 3rd Session – Intensive one-on-one conversations

• Dialogue on the person’s history

• The youth’s individual developement

• Analysis of perpretators’ histories

• Detecting personal strengths and weaknesses

• Finding individual educational goals

• Working on a „genogram“, considering violent attitudes in family relationships

• Measuring private support systems

4th Session – Building trust

• The trainers introduce themselves
• Brief participants’ introductory round
• The trainings’ common theme: topics and training structure
• Time line and oganization of the training
• Role plays to introduce and to get to know each other
• Developing group rules and collecting expectations (small groups and plenary)
• How do we treat each other in the group?
• What are our expectations about the trainer and his/her function/role?
• What behaviors – both trainer’s or participant’s – are unacceptable under any circumstances
• What do the trainers expect from the participants ?
• What are each individual’s objectives for the workshop
• Feedback and a view of the next meetings
• Common recreational activity

5th Session – Introduction to the subject

• Warm-up and flash round
• What is violence? – Pro’s und Con’s dialogue about every-day conflict scenes ,
• presented through role playing or story telling
• Role play on anger management
• What ticks me off : what triggers violence ?
• Common sports activities
• Feedback and a view of the next meeting
• Recreational or group sports activities

6th Session – Sensing and stopping violent acts

• Warm-up and flash round
• Cost/Use-Analysis of violence (Small group work and Plenary discussion)
• What makes violence attractive ?
• What are the disadvantages of violence?
• What are the long-term consequences of violence for myself?
• What is my ultimative barrier for preventing violent actions ?
• Confidentiality role play exercises
• Analyzing and processing individual experiences with violence ( „violence session“ )
• How do I want to prevent violence in the future?
• Feedback and view of the next session
• Common sports activities

7th Session – Processing violent acts

• Warm-up and flash round
• A personal violence story („violence session“)
• How do I want to prevent violent acts in the future?
• Exercises: simple provocation tests
• Feedback and view of the next meeting.
• Common sports activities

8th Session – Processing violent acts

• Warm-up and flashround
• Two personal violence stories („Violent session“)
• Working out a safety plan to prevent violence in the future – by all group members.
• Exercises: simple provocation tests
• Feedback and view of the next meeting
• Common dinner ( Bar-B-Q? )

9th Session – Processing violent acts

• Warm-up and flash round
• Two personal violence stories („Violent session“)
• How do I like to prevent violent acts in the future?
• Feedback and view of the next meeting
• Common sports activities

10th Session – Processing violent acts and provocation exercises

• Warm-up and flash round
• A personal violence story („violence session“)
• How do I want to prevent violent acts in the future?
• Preparing a group travel excursion
• Exercise with more difficult provocation tests
• Feedback and view of the next meeting
• Common sports activities

11th Session – Processing violent acts

• A personal violence story („violence session“)
• How do I want to prevent violent acts in the future (safety plan)?
• Wrap up and evaluation of learning progress so far.
• Preparations for group travel
• Feedback and view of the next meeting
• Common sports activities

12th and 13th Session – A 2 day group tour with emphasis on experiencing

• Group tasks – Daily chores
• Building of survival huts to spend the night in
• Common meal preparation and cooking
• Campfire
• Canoe tour
• Role-plays on trust
• Feedback and view of the next meeting
• Common sports activities

14th Session – Practicing ( exercises in dealing with discrimination)

• Warm-up and flash round
• Evaluating the group excursion regarding the percepted social and conflict behavior
• Anti-discrimination training (What is self-confident behavior, what is uncertain and what is aggressive behavior?)
• Role plays with video feed-back
• Preparations for the group presentation (production of a photo board and a slide show)
• Feedback and Overview of the next meeting
• Common sports activities

15th Session – Wrap-up and Final Round of the training

• Warm-up and flash round
• The steps of escalation – where are the participants now with regards to the violence escalation scale?

Evaluating the training seminar:
• What advances or learning progressions can be documented? („silent task“ and group discussion)
• What are each participants’ strengths ? (With group feedback)
• What are the risks for participants have to acknowledge for the future? (With group feedback)
• Common evaluation of seminar
• Graduation presentation all group participants
• Celebration and handing out of certificates to include invitation of participants’ significant social groups, (family, partner, friends, etc.) and official representatives of the organization.
• Celebration (Feedback by the group)

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