Youth for Love

The aim of this European project is preventing gender-based violence among teenagers. While keeping a global and comparative approach,  the project focuses on the peculiarities of two areas (Lombardy and Sicily) to respond to the issue of peer violence in a precise and timely manner.

In progress Education Human rights

Starting date

16 January 2023


12 months

Realized by:

ActionAid Italy


Developing, implementing and assessing an integrated educational program for middle schools and high schools contributing to identifying, preventing and combating peer violence among adolescents.

Raising awareness among teaching staff, students, parents and local institutions about the consequences of peer violence and gender-based violence and the procedures to be set up within schools to prevent them.

Youth4Love will last one school year and will see the implementation of activities inside schools. Personalized awareness-raising and empowerment programs will be implemented for students, teachers and school staff, as well as brief, peer-to-peer interventions with the community. Students, teachers and school staff will be involved in a specific empowerment training program to raise their awareness and increase their competences, in order to prevent and combat peer and gender-based violence and to lay the bases of co-designed projects at a local level involving all the education community actors. The project will focus on technical and professional high schools and middle schools.

In particular, the following will be implemented:

  • 360 students and 60 teachers will improve their knowledge and competences on the issue of peer and gender-based violence, recognizing them as unacceptable.
  • 120 between teachers, student and teacher representatives, and institutional representatives at national level will be involved. They will become more aware of the issue and of effective methodologies to tackle, manage and prevent it.
  • A qualitative survey on the issue will be carried out and published, with a view to investigating the incidence at national level and collecting youth’s perceptions and needs.

According to the WHO, youth violence is an important public health issue. Youth violence manifests in many forms, including physical, verbal, psychological and sexual. A 2018 UNICEF report shows that half of the students aged 13-15 has been subjected to bullying or physical violence.

In Italy, violence is part of teenagers’ everyday life, both inside and outside schools. Many students do not perceive their schools as safe. In 2021-22, 22.3% of students said they had been subjected to bullying while 18.2% actively participated in bullying a schoolmate. 8.4% of students had been a victim of cyberbullying. 7% had been abused because of their ethnic background, 6.4% because of homophobic reasons, 5.4% because of their disability. It should be considered that a part of these phenomena doesn’t emerge, so schools and teachers are not aware of them.

Compared to boys, girls reported more frequently that they had been heavily ridiculed because of their physical appearance, almost always in connection with being overweight. Furthermore, in all schools surveyed, girls said they experience cat-calling episodes every day: from whistling and shouting (at a distance) as they walk alone or with other girls, all the way to sexual violence.

Local entities participating in the project: In the field of education and in particular about peer violence, ActionAid Italy has developed a solid local and national network of stakeholders collaborating in activities to strengthen the partnership network around schools. These include: Afol Metropolitana (Career counseling training in the Milan area), Scosse (an association for social development and support focusing on educating about diversity; it is the leader of Rete Nazionale “Educare alle differenze” (National Network on diversity education), Coordinamento Genitori Democratici (an association for social development and support focusing on training, education, culture and solidarity), Unione degli studenti (the major student movement and union for high schools).