More than half of the young people in the municipality of Strumica know what peer violence is, and some of them were witnesses or victims of bullying. Their trust in the professional services and educational staff in schools is at a low level. Young people believe that continuous education and increased cooperation between them, parents, teachers and professional services in schools will contribute to reducing peer violence in Strumica and the Strumica region.
These are the data from the answers to the online survey that the Organization of Women from Strumica conducted during September and October 2023 among 121 students (71 girls and 50 boys) from the three secondary schools in the Municipality of Strumica, as part of the action “Active youth for life without violence”, supported by the NGO Info-center, with financial support from the European Union.
The purpose of the survey was to determine whether and how much young people are informed about peer violence, whether they were victims of any type of violence, as well as to identify their needs and priorities for the prevention of violence between peers.
• More than half of the young people surveyed (68%) are informed about peer violence.
• Boys, unlike girls, have less knowledge about the term and forms of peer violence. Girls’ awareness and knowledge about peer violence is 65%, and boys’ 35%.
• A high 13% of young people were victims of some form of peer violence.
• Girls are more susceptible to peer violence. Of the total number of surveyed young people who were victims of this type of violence, 8% are girls and 5% are boys.
• The most prevalent types among young people are verbal and psychological violence. Boys’ insults and ridicule are directed at their physical appearance, and girls at their behavior and appearance.
• Young people do not trust professional services and educational staff in schools. When asked who they trust the most to report peer violence, only 12 out of 121 respondents would report it to teachers and professional services. They trust their parents the most – 64%, and 11 young people do not trust anyone.
• Both boys and girls believe that the most common reasons/factors for peer violence are:
– the insufficient education of all stakeholders, especially the education of young people by institutions and adults (teaching staff and parents);
– impatience and intolerance among young people;
– the availability of violent media content and the excessive time spent on social networks;
– decreased mutual respect and empathy;
– home upbringing, social – economic status;
– the overall situation in the country.
Recommendations from young people:
• Strengthening of cooperation between young people, parents, educational staff and professional services in schools
• Continuous formal and informal education about peer violence
• More frequent campaigns to raise awareness of recognizing peer violence and its harmful effects on the mental health of young people.
This analysis was prepared with the help of the European Union, within the project “Alliances for active citizenry”. The content of the analysis is the sole responsibility of the Organization of Women from Strumica and in no way can be considered to reflect the views of the European Union.