A REFLECTION OF MY FIRST WORK TRIP ABROAD

Warm greetings to my fellow young people, as well as other readers! I would like to share with you my experience as I went abroad for my first work trip at the The IARS International Institute. Recently, I had the tremendous fortune of travelling to and attend the Promyse staff training event in Vilnius, Lithuania. This took place as part of a short-term staff training event put on through IARS International institute among other representative, including Diesis COOP based in Belgium, Diversity Development Group in Vilnius, ICSE & Co in Italy and finally, KMOP in London. All teams came together to discuss Promyse – a project that was founded by the European commission, with the objective to promote social entrepreneurship in the health and social care sector. The whole journey was an unreal experience and greatly expanded my own perspective on the world, youth engagement and of the increasing importance of social enterprise. My fellow colleague, Natalia and I met at Liverpool Street Station to get the train to Stansted Airport. Upon arriving at the hotel at 1am, we retired for the night and prepared ourselves for the busy week ahead. On our first day, we all ushered into the meeting room where we would experience our first encounter with the rest of the team and prepared for the introduction and team building, along with the social networking. Towards the evening, we had a relaxed walk around the beautiful city of Vilnius. There is a variety of Soviet architecture in the city and remarkable buildings like the Seimas Palace which is a symbol of resistance of the Lithuanian nation...
Other Side of the Coin: Teenage Abuse of Parents

Other Side of the Coin: Teenage Abuse of Parents

From Oliver Twist to Cinderella, the idea of overly oppressive parenting is not new and beyond the world of children’s fiction, there is much data showing that parental control transform into violence against children. While child abuse is horrendous, it is at least widely recognised, giving authorities and charities the opportunity to tackle it. There is, however, another aspect of domestic violence which often goes un-reported. This is the reciprocal to parental abuse of children: it is parental abuse by children. New research by Oxford University suggests teenage abuse of parents is a widespread problem, with over 1,892 reported cases of 13-19 year-olds committing violent assaults against their own parents in 2009-10. In interviews with the researchers, parents who had been abused by their children described feelings of intense shame and a belief that the violence of their children was a consequence of their own failings as parents. This, along with a fear of the consequences for their children if they reported the problem, led many adults abused by teenagers to avoid contacting police. It is therefore difficult to know how many cases of parental abuse by children there really are. But why is parental abuse by children happening? This 2010 report by Parentline Plus suggests that there are socio-economic factors which can make teens aggressive towards their parents. One such factor is parental unemployment. Research has shown that children whose parents are unemployed are 3 to 4 times more likely to have an emotional or conduct disorder. Furthermore, children from households with the lowest 20% of incomes have a three-fold increased risk of mental health problems than children...
Teenage Domestic Violence, IamAston and the Political Power of Humour

Teenage Domestic Violence, IamAston and the Political Power of Humour

As you may be aware, we at the 99% campaign are currently running a feature on teen domestic violence. It’s already been the subject of a fantastic blog by Holly Whittaker. As part of the feature, I was asked to do a bit of research. As part of this, I looked up the videos that the Home Office have uploaded to YouTube to try to raise awareness of the issue. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZzsAKwEqH0&w=640&h=360]  This blog isn’t about the video. It’s about a comment on it by a user called IamAston. Now, IamAston is a gifted young man. He speaks on the complex, sociological, cultural and economic factors that underpin the issues of teenage domestic violence with great clarity of thought. Specifically, his views on the subject were; “what a fucking lad”.  This blog isn’t about censorship. IamAston is well within his rights to be an idiot, and it’s unfortunate that the internet has given him the opportunity to broadcast his idiocy to a wider audience. Although the judgement of the uploader of this particular video (nb: not the official This is Abuse campaign) in opening comments is highly questionable, when it comes to internet censorship, I’ve always been of the view that UniLad and Sickapedia were a price worth paying for when we have Wikipedia, FreeRice and the 99% Campaign  alongside it.  This blog is about the role this sort of humour has in undermining the political power of young people. I’ll explain. The specific problem with this sort of humour is that it is always about siding with the strong against the weak. If a generation of young people grow...
How Much do You Know About Teen Domestic Violence?

How Much do You Know About Teen Domestic Violence?

When I was offered the opportunity to write about teen domestic violence and emotional abuse, I jumped at the chance. Mainly because when I was younger I experienced something similar and it was only until recently that I discovered it was emotional abuse. I guess my naivety at the time is what caused me to miss the signs and let it carry on for so long. Now I’m wondering how many teenage girls and boys also experience this problem and if there is anything to really help them to understand it or find a way out. While researching this topic I came across the NSPCC ‘Partner Exploitation and Violence in Teenage Intimate Relationships’ study from September 2009. Both girls and boys were asked about their experiences in their relationships (sample number was 1,353) The first statistic that stood out to me was ‘Girls aged 13-15 were just as likely as girls aged 16+ to experience violence in a relationship’. Boys also minimised their own use of violence as ‘messing around’ while boys who personally experienced an abusive partner claimed it hardly had an effect on them ‘apart from making them annoyed’. In stark contrast girls claimed it had a ‘highly detrimental’ impact on them. This clearly highlights a gender divide in attitudes towards abuse. Interviews were also conducted, during which many girls admitted they were too scared of what their partner’s reaction would be to challenge their behaviour and issues of self-blame proved prominent.  Boys and Girls were also more likely to keep their experiences of emotional and physical violence to themselves, or tell a friend; only a minority...
Young Women & Violence

Young Women & Violence

At the end of last year as the tragic news emerged of the Indian medical student’s death, who was subjected to the most unimaginable torture when she and a male friend boarded a bus in Delhi, the supposed true scale of Indian’s mistreatment of women was laid bare for the world to see. Digesting statics such as ‘according to official figures, a women is raped in Delhi every 14 hours’ (BBC:2013) is not a statement that many would find easy to comprehend. As word spread, people started to voice their concerns, particularly young women, who took to the street to protest. However, ‘not a single leader came forward to engage with protesting students demanding safety for women.’ (BBC: 2013) The government may have made their stance clear now, ordering a rushed trial with no lawyers or legal representative for the men charged with the murder and rape. The Government also stating that if found guilty, the accused will all be publicly hanged. Considering the worldwide media interest in the case, this reaction seems typically frantic of a government that is desperate to end discussion and anxiety surrounding women’s rights and safety. In spite of this, one thing is now undeniably certain, India must address its’ deep rooted, often accepted approach to treating women as second class citizens, not only politically, but in the horrendous struggles they face in everyday life. With extreme cases such as this one, as much as they make us feel saddened, uneasy and angry, for many there is a moment of comfort as we count our blessings that we do not live in Delhi, convincing ourselves...

Violence as a disease – have we found a cure?

Gordon Ramsay’s latest television project ‘Gordon Behind Bars’ (available on 4OD) has taught us several things, firstly, that impatient t.v. chefs and heavy security protocols don’t mix, secondly, that leaving ten convicted burglars to decorate fairy cakes can produce hilarious results, but most importantly that prisons that offer rehabilitation and education programmes for their inmates, can make a real difference. At the last count, the re-offending rate for prisoners receiving custodial sentences in England and Wales was 40%. It is clear that, when it comes to using prison as a correctional facility or a deterrent to further crime, we are doing something wrong. For almost a decade now, researchers such as Felton Earls of Harvard Medical School, and experts at the World Health Organisation have been describing violent or criminal behaviour as ‘a socially infectious disease’. Ramsay’s scheme shows that it could be beneficial for society as a whole to use rehabilitation, rather than punishment to tackle crime. A hundred years ago, we might have considered people with diseases such as leprosy as ‘evil’ and placed them together in colonies. Today we understand how to give them the help that they need to recover. So why not do the same for those prone to violence? The evidence from last year’s riots suggests that a key factor that contributes to a person committing petty crime is unemployment. A recent survey by The Guardian describes those convicted after the riots as ‘overwhelmingly young, male and unemployed’. If you get into work, you gain purpose, self-esteem, self-respect and the sense that you are part of building or contributing to your community. In...