Childhood Without Violence is a 12-hour online learning course training teachers, justice professionals and advocates in the importance of violence prevention and new legislation. In 2015, Peru passed Law 30403, which prohibits the use of physical and humiliating punishment on children and adolescents. This online course seeks to bridge the gap by equipping professionals across the country with the knowledge to eliminate violence in their communities.
Results & Impact
Around one in three Peruvian mothers use corporal punishment against their children, despite it being outlawed in 2015. This educational project registered 2,509 users, mostly lawyers and teachers, who completed the full course. Thousands more subscription requests were also registered. Development of a second course is now underway.
Salgalú Communications, Bernard Van Leer Foundation, World Vision, Save the Children, Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Vulnerable Populations, Office of the Ombudsman for Children and Adolescents and Public Defenders of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights.
Childhood Without Violence is a 12-week course of hourly online seminars broadcast every Friday to subscribers. The course is free to access and comprises theories of violence, recent data on the prevalence of violence against children, and the intricacies of Peru’s latest violence prevention legislation. The course concludes with the drawing up of an action plan to commit service users to putting their knowledge into practice.
Cost & Value
The project’s development and distribution cost $50,000 in total, reaching 2509 subscribers directly — less than $20 per user. Removing start-up expenses, the cost is significantly less.
Running since 2016
As a communications experiment, the project has struggled for funding. While the Peruvian government has provided technical assistance to Salgalú Communications, the course’s developer and broadcaster, it has provided no financial aid. As the course is administered online, reliable internet connections are also required. Only 46% of Peruvians used the internet in 2016 which may have inhibited uptake.
The course is yet to be replicated elsewhere, though violence specialists in Mexico and other Latin American countries have expressed an interest in the project. As a digital-first project, there are minimal barriers to replication.
Across Peru, nearly one third of mothers use corporal punishment to discipline their children. This rate rises among the young, single, less educated and poor. Over 80% of adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 have experienced either psychological or physical violence at some point in their lives. Most violence is perpetrated at home, while school—whether in the form of teachers or fellow pupils—takes second place.
To combat the violence epidemic, the government turned to legislative measures. On December 31, 2015, Law 30403 was passed, prohibiting physical and humiliating punishment of children and adolescents, the ninth Latin American country to pass such legislation.
Translating legislative reform into meaningful social change, however, has been sluggish. Disseminating information about new legislation—particularly in Peru’s remote regions—has posed challenges to government ministries and civil servants.
Salgalú Communications, a social enterprise communications firm, have spearheaded violence prevention efforts by developing an online course dealing with both violence prevention theory and the substantive changes Peru’s child protection laws have undergone in recent years. Working with NGOs such as World Vision and Save the Children, and government departments including the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Vulnerable Populations, Salgalú has sought to bridge the chasm between the statute book and the legal realities of Peru’s youth.
“It’s about socialising knowledge,” said Salvador Herencia, Salgalú’s director, about transporting legislative knowledge from arcane circles of experts into the fabric of daily life.
The course, a 12-hour long program broadcast in one-hour transmissions every Friday between December and April reached some 2509 users, many of whom reported passing on their knowledge to colleagues.
The course content is expansive: national and international law, recent data assessments, behavioural impacts of violence and case management are all on the syllabus. The course aims both to provide working definitions of violence, and explore a range of preventative strategies and solutions across a range of different public and private sectors.
“We hope to expand the course into something more permanent,” says Herencia, who is now working to develop a second online course. Its final report, seen by Apolitical, will be released later in the year with a range of suggestions for the Peruvian government.
The recommendations include community-led interventions in the Amazon and Andean regions, increased provision for childhood mental health, and encouragement to the Ministry of Justice to support programs which educate the population on law and children’s rights.
In a country where only 1% of government budgeting for children is spent on protection and participation, however, funding remains a pressing issue. While the Peruvian government has worked to sign a range of legislation protecting children and helped Salgalú with technical assistance and facilitation, it has provided no financial contributions. Herencia hopes that the low cost of digital learning and its increasing popularity will attract greater investment from both government and NGOs.
(Picture credit: Pexels)