Network of Violence-Free Schools in Croatia: Peer violence reduced by 50 percent
SIBENIK, Croatia - November 10/11, 2008
More than 121 schools gathered at the 2nd Annual Meeting of the Network of Violence-Free Schools to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the UNICEF Violence prevention programme and its accomplishments in reducing peer violence in schools. Good news was received from the recent evaluation of 37 elementary schools that were awarded Violence-Free status in 2004 in which peer violence has been reduced by more than 50 per cent since the implementation of the UNICEF project.
During the two day meeting, children, teachers, parents, headmasters and representatives of local government discussed ways to continue working on reduction of peer violence. All groups have made recommendations to UNICEF about next steps to be taken in the fight against violence.
Special guest of the meeting was UNICEF National Ambassador Slaven Bilic who congratulated schools on their good results and invited the general public to further support this project, stating “we all have responsibilities in preventing violence among children”.
“After five years of continuous work we all, gathered here, have proved that violence in schools can be reduced. This is a great accomplishment but also responsibility for the future as this important work we are all doing cannot stop.” Tanja Radocaj, Head of UNICEF Office for Croatia said in her opening speech.
The Network of Violence-Free Schools is a forum of 133 schools awarded Violence-free status. This award stands for the successful completion of Seven Steps to Safe Schools, UNICEF’s project for creating safe and enabling environments in schools. The whole project was launched by UNICEF in 2003 with nation-wide campaign Stop Violence among Children. Through the campaign and later activities, UNICEF has raised more than 700,000 US$ from private donors in Croatia.
The meeting was closed with a “Millenium photo” shoot in which all 440 participants formed “Stop the violence”, a call for communities in Croatia to create safer and enabling environments for children. The photo was taken by well-know Croatian photographer Sime Strikoman.
For this occasion, UNICEF has launched a website dedicated to the work of the Network of Violence-Free Schools: skolebeznasilja.unicef.hr.
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