This module is a resource for lecturers
This section contains suggestions for in-class and pre-class educational exercises, while a post-class assignment for assessing student understanding of the Module is suggested in a separate section.
Exercise 1: Data on VAC
Can you identify sources of data (using the internet or the library) on the incidence of violence against children in your country?
Lecturer guidelines: Students are invited to use the Internet, in class or after class, to find statistical data on the prevalence of various forms of VAC. Alternatively, students may be asked to find statistical data on one particular type of VAC. This can be followed by a discussion of what the data reveal, or alternatively, of the fact that reliable data are not available.
Exercise 2: Criminalization of VAC
Are there forms of violence against children that are not criminalized in your country?
Lecturer guidelines: This would involve inviting students to review existing law, based on a list of various types of violence against children that should be criminalized or on the behaviours listed in the Model Strategies. This could be an independent study task, or an exercise that students undertake in small groups. Students should be invited to report their findings to the class, to stimulate discussion about the obstacles to criminalization, and strategies to improve the legal protection of children.
Exercise 3: Social tolerance of VAC
What evidence is there in your country that certain forms of violence against children are being tolerated? What social norms in your setting are protective of children? What norms are harmful? Are these norms different for girls and boys?
Lecturer guidelines: This exercise differs from the previous exercise, as it invites students to analyse the normative basis (rather than the legal basis) that apparently tolerates certain forms of violence against children. This first component of the exercise is followed by a strengths-based component, in which students are invited to reflect on social norms that are protective of children as opposed to those that are harmful. Time permitting, students may also be asked to identify local initiatives that challenge the tolerance/acceptance of VAC, and reflect on other potentially effective means of challenging that tolerance.
Exercise 4: Legal obligation to report incidents of VAC
Who in your country has a legal obligation to report incidents of violence against children?
Lecturer guidelines: This research-based exercise invites students to research existing laws, policies and regulations in the country to determine who is under legal obligation to report VAC and what is the nature of that obligation. Depending on the situation in the country, sub-questions can be added to help students think critically about existing laws, policies, and practices with respect to reporting of incidents of VAC. For example, students may be asked to find out whether the law provides penalties for failure to report VAC, and whether such penalties are ever applied.
Exercise 5: Legal protection for individuals who report VAC
What protection does the law offer in your country to people who report in good faith incidents of VAC?
Lecturer guidelines: This research-based exercise invites students to research existing laws, policies and regulations in the country to determine whether effective legal protection is offered to individuals, including children, who report in good faith incidents of VAC to the authorities. As a second part of the exercise, students may be invited to reflect on whether these legal protections are sufficient and whether they could be improved.
Exercise 6: Improving current measures to prevent and respond to VAC
How can existing measures to prevent and respond to violence against children in our country be improved?
Lecturer Guidelines: As an exercise or home assignment, students can be directed to read the following document, and consider the extent to which the situation in their own county aligns with the Model Strategies and Practical Measures.
UNODC (2015) Planning the Implementation of the United Nations Model Strategies and Practical Measures on the Elimination of Violence against Children in the Field of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice: A Checklist.
Exercise 7: VAC against children in detention
Are children currently detained in your country at grave risk of violence and how can this risk be mitigated?
Lecturer guidelines: Students can be invited to find publicly available information on the incidence of VAC during any form of detention. The exercise can serve several purposes: make students aware of the fact that there are many forms of detention and many forms of violence against children in detention; raise the students' awareness about the lack of publicly available information on incidents of violence in child detention facilities and the related issues of lack of transparency and accountability; support a discussion of the issue of the lack of effective complaint mechanisms or independent inspections of detention facilities; initiate a discussion of the kind of concrete measures to could be taken to mitigate the risks of VAC in detention.
Optional questions for discussion
- The participation of children in the prevention of crime and the development of prevention strategies is important. How can the participation of children in the formulation of policies and prevention strategies be facilitated?
- Why and in what way can the removal from national legislation of legal provisions that justifies harmful practices against children be controversial?
- Are there groups of children in this city (or region) who you think are particularly vulnerable to violence? How are they vulnerable?
- Do you believe that people in your community are sufficiently aware of the issue of violence against children and its impact?
- To your knowledge, in this country, are there safe, child-friendly and gender-sensitive procedures and mechanisms for reporting incidents of violence against children? Are these mechanisms easily accessible to all children without fear of reprisal or discrimination? How could these mechanisms be improved?
- What measures should be taken in this country to build the capacity of the criminal justice system and criminal justice professionals to respond more effectively to violence against children?
- Is bullying a big problem in our schools? What measures can be taken to prevent violence against children in school (including bullying)?
- What are the measures currently in place to detect, assist, and protect children victimized as a result of their involvement with the justice system as alleged or sentenced offenders?
- Are there presently any obstacles to the conduct of such independent inspections of places of detention where children are detained?
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