These six guiding principles help to ensure Prevention work is effective. It should be:
Trauma-informed care is grounded in an understanding of, and responsiveness to, the impact of trauma. You can learn more about trauma and how to offer trauma-informed support here.
Taking an intersectional approach to Prevention means acknowledging that not everyone is affected equally by gender-based violence (GBV). It ensures your response is equitable and prioritises the needs of racialised and marginalised young people.
A strengths-based approach recognises and celebrates young people’s individual resilience and collective strength. This approach builds confidence and self-worth – protective factors against abuse.
Content should be relevant and suitable. Where appropriate, young people should be provided with options about what is covered and how. You can read more about youth participation here.
Delivery should meet the needs of the children and young people it is for. This means adapting content and making material accessible and inclusive for all. As an example, LGBTQIA+ relationships need to be part of the RSE curriculum.
- Gender responsive
Acknowledges the gendered nature of violence and abuse, provides tailored support to those most affected, actively promotes gender equality.
A Trauma-informed Approach
What is trauma?
Trauma can be defined as an event, series of events or set of circumstances that are experienced as physically or emotionally harmful or life-threatening. Trauma has long-lasting adverse effects on an individual’s sense of self and safety, their functioning and their mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health and wellbeing.
Responding to trauma
It’s important to note that everyone responds to trauma differently, depending on a number of internal and external factors. This includes a person’s racial identity, which influences how they see and are seen by the world. Racism itself causes trauma; becoming aware of how your community has been treated over time because of their ethnicity causes historical trauma; intergenerational trauma refers to the harm caused by racism in families and across generations. Trauma-informed care is anti-oppressive and alleviates harm.
What is a Trauma-informed Approach (TIA)?
A TIA is a strengths-based framework that is:
- Grounded in an understanding of and responsiveness to the impact of trauma.
- Emphasises physical, psychological and emotional safety for survivors and providers.
- Creates opportunities for survivors to rebuild a sense of control and empowerment.
How can I be trauma-informed in my work?
The ‘4 R’s’ can support you to be trauma-informed in your work caring for young people.
- Realise the widespread impact of trauma and understand potential paths for recovery.
- Recognise the signs and symptoms of trauma in young people, families, staff and others involved within the system.
- Respond by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices.
- Resist the re-traumatisation of young people and colleagues.
“All inequality is not created equal”Kimberlé Crenshaw
Intersectionality has its roots in Black feminist thinking, activism and practice. Kimberlé Crenshaw, a legal scholar and civil rights activist, coined the term in 1989 to describe the double discrimination of racism and sexism faced by Black women. Intersectionality has expanded over time but should never be divorced from the[se] core issues that necessitated it (Ijeoma Oluo). In an interview she gave in 2020 Crenshaw said:
“We tend to talk about race inequality as separate from inequality based on gender, class, sexuality or immigrant status. What’s often missing is how some people are subject to all of these, and the experience is not just the sum of its parts.”
Intersectionality recognises how our identity affects the way we see and experience the world, including our experience of gendered violence. Inside and outside of school, Black and minoritised children are under-identified as victims of abuse an over-identified as perpetrators, sexual harassment is racialised, as is online abuse. Black and brown girls are not just sexualised, they are hypersexualised.
Intersectionality and a Whole School Approach (WSA)
Intersectionality is important because of the significant impact of inequality and systemic oppression on young people. If we want to end gender-based violence (GBV) we have to acknowledge the higher rates of incidence for racialised and marginalised young people, and their lack of access to support. We cannot achieve gender equality without addressing other forms of inequality.
We advocate talking to young people about intersectionality and recommend the short video below as an introduction to the topic. Having a conversation about intersectionality encourages young people to reflect on their identity and identities of others – the discrimination they face and the privilege they benefit from.
You can read about adultification bias here.