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Published 26 September 2019

A new programme to educate young people about gender based violence, bullying and abusive behaviour is being launched in schools across West Dunbartonshire.

The Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) Programme uses a unique, creative, bystander approach, giving young people the chance to explore and challenge attitudes, beliefs and cultural norms that underpin gender-based violence and all types of bullying and abuse.

All secondary schools in the area will establish an MVP School Mentor Support Team ahead of the launch of the service. MVP lessons focus on developing a positive and inclusive culture to proactively prevent and challenge all types of bullying and abusive behaviour.  Young people in each school will be trained as peer mentors and deliver MVP sessions to their younger peers exploring issues such as: online bullying, domestic abuse, sharing of images and consent.

During MVP lessons students will be encouraged to play an active role in promoting a positive school environment, with the overall aim of preventing and reducing violence. This exciting new programme will enable schools to work closely with partners to deliver consistent and clear learning opportunities for young people in relation to their understanding of positive relationships, health and wellbeing.

Councillor Karen Conaghan, Convener of Educational Services, said: “I am pleased to see this programme being introduced in our schools, as educating our young people about positive relationships and the types of behaviour which are acceptable is vitally important.

“Showing our young people that their individual actions can make a difference to their surroundings is an important lesson too, and one that will be useful well beyond their school years.”

Councillor Ian Dickson, Vice Convener of Educational Services, said: “The MVP programme is peer to peer learning, which is an extremely effective way of getting a message across.

“Being taught by older peers about these harmful behaviours, as well as exploring with them how to react to bullying or abuse, means there will be a shared outlook, with each pupil playing their own part.

“These are essential life lessons for anyone, but especially important for our young people.”

MVP Scotland is led by Education Scotland, in partnership with the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), the Scottish Government and local authorities.

In West Dunbartonshire, the programme is being led by the Council’s Educational Service in partnership with WDHSCP, Working4U, Active Schools and Police Scotland.

It supports the national drivers of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) and Equally Safe.