The WIDE Project to overcome the effects of Child-witness Intra-family Violence

Witness intra-family violence (VAI), though poorly perceived at the social level, is a large phenomenon with serious consequences both on the psychological balance and on the adaptive capacityand social integration of the children victims. In Italy, there are about 690,000 cases, which more than 60% are cases of direct witness violence.

The consequences of exposure to physical and psychological maltreatment include, in particular, the adaptive and social skills, the area of behavioural, cognitive and problem solving skills (such as incompetence and difficulty in learning ability, difficulty in academic inclusionand low performances with consequences of school abandoning).

The WIDE project launched in September 2016 and funded by the Erasmus + program aims at defining a training model for school workers to overcome the effects of child-witness intra-family violence and to coordinate school interventions with the network of Institutional bodies that operate locallyto prevent and hinder the phenomenon.

The school context is an important juncture in terms of pedagogical/relational approach to the recognition of child victims of VAI, as well as linking and co-ordination with families and institutions responsible for preventing and contrasting the phenomenon.

Teachers are culturally and professionally sensitive subjects to the problem and often close to the student by important affective relationships. Strategic elements that can be further enhanced and consciously oriented to safeguard and educate the child about the abuse.

The proponent who coordinates the initiative is the Spazio Donna Onlus Association, which for over twenty years in the area of Caserta, acts for hindering domestic violence.

Project partners are several European public realities:

  • The Autonomous University of Barcelona – UAB, Spain
  • Liceul George Calinescu of Constanta, Romania
  • The Agrupamento de escolas Dr Costa Matos of Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
  • The School Comprehensive School L. Van Bethoven of Casaluce, Italy
  • The Institut Escola Industrial De Sabadell

The project is developed in four stages: the first one, completed in January 2017, produced an initial research on the topic “School Discomfort from Witness Violence”, i.e. the implementation of a qualitative collection of school activities on the topic of witness violence. The second phase, launched in February 2017, led to the design of the WIDE intervention model, methodologies and tools to be implemented in the classes.

The third phase involves testing the course on a small sample in each partner country and will be launched from September 2017. Finally, at the end of the project, a report will be made of the model experimentation of the results achieved, thus reaching the objective of the fourth and last phase.

Co-ordination and exchange activityamong partner countries is also enriched by the organization of international meetings. The first was held in Barcelona in March 2017 and the last one in the city of Constanta in Romania.

At the end of the project, an event open to citizenship will be organized to inform and raise awareness of the population.


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