Beyond Digital Violence

Capacity Building for Relevant Professionals Working with Children and Young
People Who Experienced Sexualised Violence Using Digital Media

Beyond Digital Violence. Capacity Building for Relevant Professionals Working with Children and Adolescents Who Have Experienced Sexualised Violence Using Digital Media (ByeDV) started in May 2021 as a joint project of SRH University Heidelberg and DGfPI e.V. The overall goal is to initiate, at the federal and EU-levels, a transformation in how mediatised sexualised violence against children and adolescents is approached. The project team’s strategy is elaborated below.

Background

As everyday life continues to incorporate more and more digital media, so too do predators’ strategies. They employ information and communication technologies as well as technical devices and data storage devices to initiate, carry out and perpetuate sexualised violence against children and adolescents. Gradually, aspects of the so-called mediatisation of sexualised violence are also being taken into account in the existing prevention and protection strategies. However, appropriate guidance for crisis intervention, secondary and tertiary prevention is largely lacking in Germany.

Against this background, the project, „HUMAN. Entwicklung von Handlungsempfehlungen für die pädagogische Praxis zum fachlichen Umgang mit sexualisierter Gewalt mit digitalem Medieneinsatz“ (HUMAN. Development of recommendations for pedagogical practice in dealing with sexualised violence using digital media) was funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) from December 2017 to April 2021 in an effort to determine the features of a professional approach to the subject and to develop case-based recommendations for practitioners.

Further information about HUMAN and the empirically developed recommendations are available below and on the project website www.human-srh.de.

The recommendations developed in HUMAN will be applied, reflected upon, discussed and implemented across five counselling centres actively working in sexual violence crisis intervention as part of ByeDV. These centres, which were recruited via a tendering process, will be provided with project funds and supported by the teams from SRH University Heidelberg and DGfPI e.V. over the course of 18 months.

Objectives

Application and Applicability

of empirically developed recommendations for professionals working in the field of mediatised sexualised violence against children and adolescents

Quality Criteria

for the professional implementation of the recommendations when dealing with mediatised sexualised violence against children and adolescents at the German and EU levels

Implementation

of recommendations for professionally dealing with mediatised sexualised violence against children and adolescents in professional practice

Dissemination

of the quality criteria and their corresponding European blueprint

Scope of the Project and Implementation

In order to achieve the ambitious goals of the project, the teams from DGfPI e.V. and SRH University Heidelberg will support the counselling centres in all aspects implementing the recommendations. The participating organisations will come together for regular intervision workshops to set interim goals, define measures for achieving those goals and reflect together on the state of the implementation process. The purpose of this process of reflection is, among other things, to identify the factors promoting or impeding successful implementation, including the applicability of the recommendations in practice. The teams from DGfPI e.V. and SRH University Heidelberg are also available to the counselling centres between intervision workshops to assist individual professionals and institutions with the sustainable implementation of the recommendations. 

The entire implementation process will be evaluated by the team from the SRH University Heidelberg according to a systematic and participatory approach. The results of the process will serve as the basis for the development of quality criteria for the broadest possible implementation of the recommendations within pedagogical practice. 

In order to reach other EU countries with the quality criteria, the teams from DGfPI e.V. and SRH University Heidelberg as well as the ByeDV advisory board are developing national and international dissemination strategies. The focus of the international strategy is to understand the various national support structures for affected children and adolescents, because only with this knowledge can the project succeed in presenting our European neighbors with a useful EU blueprint for replicating the quality criteria in their home countries.

Evaluation

The implementation process will be evaluated according to a systematic, participatory and formative process in order to:

  • support the departments with the implementation based on their needs and requirements

  • develop quality criteria for implementation in (international) pedagogical practice.

The evaluation has four goals:

  1. Assessing the applicability of the empirically developed recommendations for professionally addressing mediatised sexualised violence.

  2. Deriving criteria that will strengthen the applicability of the empirically developed recommendations when addressing mediatised sexualised violence.

  3. Identifying quality criteria for the sustainable federal implementation of the recommendations when addressing mediatised sexualised violence during childhood and adolescence.

  4. Identifying quality criteria for the sustainable EU implementation of the recommendations when addressing mediatised sexualised violence during childhood and adolescence.

The achievement of these four goals will be measured according to various evaluation criteria.

Reaction

To what extent is the implementation gaining acceptance? How is the effort-benefit ratio perceived?

Learning

Are the participating centres taking advantage of the new information?

Behaviour

Are the recommendations being applied and implemented?

Results

Are transfer processes being developed? Are there any signs of multiplier effects?

Reflection

What role does (self-) reflection play in the implementation and evaluation?

Use of the evaluation results

Will the quality criteria/evaluation results be used beyond ByeDV?

Various types of knowledge are necessary to achieve the evaluation goals and to verify the evaluation criteria …

Target Knowledge

With which professional standards should the work with children and adolescents affected by mediatised sexualised violence comply?

Systems Knowledge

Which organisations and processes are responsible for providing support for children and adolescents who have experienced mediatised sexualised violence?

Transformation Knowledge

what are the measures of success for the implementation of professional standards for supporting persons affected by mediatised sexualised violence (the recommendations)?

These areas of knowledge will serve the purpose of transformative transdisciplinary research within the real world laboratory of ByeDV. 

* A real-world laboratory is the setting (e.g. Intervision Workshops) in which actors from academia and practice come together to investigate and find solutions to a meaningful problem observed in practice.

More information about evaluation is available here.

Project Activities

  • May 2021
  • July 2021
  • August 2021
  • September 2021
  • October 2021
  • November 2021
  • December 2021
  • January 2022
  • February 2022
  • March 2022
  • April 2022
  • September 2022
  • January 2023
  • April 2023
  • Kick-Off

    The DGfPI e.V. and SRH met for a joint KickOff in May 2021.
  • Selection of the participating counselling centres

    In July 2021, following a tendering process, the team from DGfPI contacted the five counselling centres to inform them that they had been selected to implement the recommendations for professionally dealing with mediatised sexualised violence against children and adolescents.
  • Team SRH participating in international conferences in Prague and Barcelona

    Team SRH gave three presentations at the International Congress of Psychology in Prague and two presentations at the 15th Conference of the European Sociological Association in Barcelona. They also made networking connections that will be relevant for the EU quality criteria development and dissemination.
  • Intervision-Workshop 1

    The first intervision workshop will take place in September 2021. Basically, it is about getting familiar with the recommendations for action for professionally dealing with mediatized sexualized violence against children and adolescents as well as setting up the subsequent implementation process.
  • Website Launch

    Thanks to the support of Webdesign SI, the project website was launched October 31, 2021. Please share the link to our website with your network. Feedback is always welcome to byedv.hshd@srh.de.
  • Start of the formative evaluation

    Taking into account the topics discussed in the first intervision workshop and the needs articulated by the five participating counselling centres, the SRH team developed a reflection sheet to evaluate the first implementation phase between Intervision Workshop 1 and Intervision Workshop 2. Any questions about the data collection and evaluation instruments can be addressed to […]
  • Publication of the recommendations for professionally dealing with mediatised sexualised violence against children and adolescents

    In December 2021, the recommendations for professionally dealing with mediatised sexualised violence against children and adolescents, developed empirically in the HUMAN project, were published in German under the title “Sexualised Violence and Digital Media. Reflexive Recommendations for Professional Practice” (title translated) by Springer VS. The recommendations for action are available for free download as .pdf […]
  • Intervision-Workshop 2

    The second intervision workshop will take place in January 2022.
  • Safer Internet Day

    On February 8th, 2022, ByeDV takes part in Safer Internet Day. The campaign is part of the national dissemination strategy of ByeDV activities. For Safer Internet Day 2022, the DGfPI team, in cooperation with the EU initiative klicksafe.de, carried out a social media campaign via Facebook and Instagram to draw the attention of a broad […]
  • Participation in the Quebec City Congress of ISPCAN

    As part of ByeDV’s International Strategy, Team SRH will attend the Quebec City Congress of the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) in March 2022 and present 5 papers.
  • Intervision-Workshop 3

    The third intervision workshop will take place in April 2022. The ByeDV team is eager to hear how each of the counselling centres is doing since the last workshop.
  • Intervision-Workshop 4

    The fourth intervision workshop will take place in September 2022. As the end of the project approaches, the question on everyone’s mind is: how is the implementation process progressing?
  • Intervision-Workshop 5

    The fifth and final intervision workshop will take place in January 2023. The ByeDV team along with the five counselling centres will review the results of the implementation process to determine quality criteria for the future use of the recommendations when dealing with mediatised sexualised violence against children and adolescents.
  • Final Symposium

    The project team looks forward to the opportunity to host a dialogue on mediatised sexualised violence and the implementation of the recommendations with colleagues from near and far as part of the final symposium of the project, likely to be held in Heidelberg. Details to follow.

Supplement: The Recommendations

As everyday life continues to incorporate more and more digital media, so too do predators’ strategies. They employ information and communication technologies as well as technical devices and data storage devices to initiate, carry out and perpetuate sexualised violence against children and adolescents. Gradually, aspects of the so-called mediatisation of sexualised violence against children and adolescents are also being taken into account in existing prevention and protection concepts. However, appropriate guidance for crisis intervention, as well as secondary and tertiary prevention, is largely lacking in Germany. We believe that the case-specific nature of working with people who have experienced sexualised violence accounts for this deficiency. Additionally, the specialised knowledge and experience of practitioners colours their approach to casework. With this in mind, the project “HUMAN. Entwicklung von Handlungsempfehlungen für die pädagogische Praxis zum fachlichen Umgang mit sexualisierter Gewalt mit digitalem Medieneinsatz” (HUMAN. Development of recommendations for pedagogical practice in dealing with sexualised violence using digital media) (grant number 01SR1711) was implemented in an effort to identify characteristics specific to this field of work and to develop case-based recommendations for pedagogical practice.

Pedagogical practice refers to a broad group of professionals who work with children and adolescents - above all socio-pedagogical specialists in child and adolescent welfare and school pedagogues. At the same time, pedagogical practice describes activities of pedagogical work itself. The latter, according to constructivist pedagogy, includes providing a development framework in which young people have the opportunity to form and test new interpersonal relationships. As a space for the mutual dialogical shaping of reality, children and adolescents are sometime given “emotional answers” by pedagogues in response to the emotional reactions and problems they have expressed (Reich 2010).

First, the SRH team captured the range of mediatised sexualised violence and its complexity by assessing how professionals approach typical case structures and conflicts with regard to issues such as dissent, defining key terms, interpretations of the event in question and possible solutions. This research step was based on collaboration with people who have experienced sexual violence using digital media and those who are working with the subject. As a result, the team uncovered ambivalences and uncertainties, dilemmas and areas of tension as well as challenges and excessive demands experienced on a recurring basis by the range of “helpers” involved after an incident, victims, their families and researchers studying children and adolescents affected by mediatised sexualised violence. Subsequently, the team examined the scope for decision-making strategies used by experts in the field. By working together with people who have experienced sexualised violence and experts from research and practice, the project partners – not least through rigorous (self-) reflection – successfully identified suitable recommendations. These recommendations take into account the interests of all parties involved in the process of helping and supporting after incidents of sexual violence insofar as they: a) reveal each party’s perspective (qua reflection of the case study) and b) integrate these perspectives into options for action on the part of the affected person. Ultimately, the rights and obligations of each actor involved in the help and support process (e.g. school, adolescent welfare office, police, counselling centre), as well as their sense of responsibility to the affected person influence their own work and their cooperative efforts. The team used case studies to help facilitate reflection. Thus, each recommendation for action opens with a case study and its respective reflection. This is followed by approaches for dealing with the challenges presented in the reflection.

One challenge the team encountered was finding a way to reconstruct the problem statements according to the perspectives of the various research participants (e.g. specialised practitioners, experts and affected persons) using a qualitative empirical approach. The team highlighted characteristics commonly associated with mediatised sexualised violence without suggesting that these characteristics, however significant, represent the core problem in the reconstructed case constellation (e.g. experiences of flight, disability or discrimination) in order to avoid promoting stereotypes. Rather, the team aimed to be application-oriented, acknowledging that this project would not be able to expound upon every relevant discourse (e.g. on ethnosexism, ableism, etc.) in its entirety. The recommendations are, therefore, to be understood as approaches that must be transferred to one’s own work, or, more precisely, applied to the individual case at hand and expanded upon in the discourse. Encouraged by illustrative case studies, the focus is on dealing with and reflecting on technical questions and challenges. The main goal, within a given structural and legal framework, is to set the course to further develop a professional stance, to situationally gauge professional conduct, to justify that conduct, and to help practitioners gain confidence when faced with challenging situations (Kunz et al. 2016).

To learn more about HUMAN and the recommendations that will be implemented in ByeDV, we recommend the following:

Fact Sheet

Project title

Beyond Digital Violence

Capacity Building for Relevant Professionals Working with Children and Young People Who Experienced Sexualised Violence Using Digital Media

Acronym

ByeDV

Project duration

May 2021 – April 2023

Grant number

101005221

Sponsor

This project is co-financed by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (2014-2020) of the European Union.

Coordinator

Sylvia Fein
DGfPI e.V.

Contact

Katharina Kärgel
byedv.hshd@srh.de