The Final project’s event in the UK

The UK Team joined their partners, South London Rape Crisis, to publicise the Bystanders programme at the national Feminism in Schools conference on 17th November 2018. This was a full day event with approximately 300 participants, many of them students starting Feminist Societies within their own schools and devising agendas for actions going forward.

Sexual harassment repeated as a concern throughout the day. We provided a taster session on the Bystander Intervention to a group of ten students from different schools at which we engaged them in a discussion about the Vignettes, Bystander Role Plays and devising Agendas for Change. The session was well received and our partners also spoke out at the final plenary to offer to deliver workshops at schools.

We then held our own public seminar on Wednesday 21st November. The seminar was chaired by Professor Liz Kelly. Dr Sukhwant Dhaliwal presented an overview of the Bystanders Programme and some of the findings from the UK data collection. Katie Sparks from South London Rape Crisis spoke on the key issues that stood out for them and some key points on learning in delivering the programme/exercises. We were also joined by Charlotte Carson, the Founder of Feminism in Schools London who is keen to help us take this work forward into schools and made some reflections on the sorts of issues being raised by students at her school and made suggestions for how to get schools to pick up on this issue and how to impact school cultures.

There were 35 attendees, many of them were academics involved in research in connected areas but there were also a number of key practitioners in the room including women’s organisations, and representatives of Safer London and the National Education Union.

We had an excellent discussion about difficulties getting into school, how sexual harassment seems to have fallen off the agenda despite public attention and has become subsumed under more generic work on bullying; and a good brainstorm around ways to make this work and important part of the work that schools are engaged in. There was a great deal of interest in the Bystanders manual with several attendees stating that it is an important resource that needs to be shared.


The final project’s event in Malta

The final dissemination conference for the Bystanders project took place in Malta on 15 October 2018. The event took place from 9:00 to 15:00 and began with a welcome address by the Hon. Evarist Bartolo who is the Minister for Education and Employment in Malta. The Minister took great interest in the project and recognised the severity of the issue of sexual harassment among young people. He also asked to be sent a copy of the final project report.

Dr Marceline Naudi then gave a general introduction to the project and the conference continued with speeches from the project partner representative from Slovenia, Vlasta Jalušič, who provided a detailed overview of the implementation of the Bystander programme in Slovenian schools. This was followed by a presentation by Malta’s team (Aleks Dimitrijević and Barbara Stelmaszek) on how the programme was implemented in the country, and in the different schools.

From the perspective of Malta’s experience, the team noted that some differences between girls and boys were noticed in all schools during the programme implementation. These include, girls speaking from experience when the topic is sexual harassment, even though both were aware of the aspect of power in sexual harassment. Another interesting finding from the implementation is that Bystanders can become more active in prevention when they feel empowered to act. The project highlighted the various issues surrounding the role of the bystander.

One of the highlights of the conference were presentations from the students who took part in Malta’s implementation. Students from Giovanni Curmi Higher Secondary School and St. Aloysius 6th Form College presented about their experiences going through the projects, what they had learned, and how they planned to take the experience forward to support the creation of a safe school environment.

The conference ended with the participants breaking up into three groups in order to allow the audience to experience the programme first hand and to engage with the same activities that had been carried out with the teachers and students during the implementation phase. In order to do this, the groups were provided with short vignettes of stories of sexual harassment and were asked to rate them in terms of severity, which resulted in the recognition that all are serious, depending on the context and the subjective perspective of the victim. The groups then took part in answering questions related to responding to these ‘scenes’ of sexual harassment as if they were bystanders themselves. More specifically, they were asked to elaborate the ideal scenario, but also the barriers to the ideal outcome, to show how challenging it is to be a bystander and how certain factors prohibit an appropriate response. This allowed everyone to think about the changes that would have to take place in order to adequately address sexual harassment among youth in Malta.

Dr Marceline Naudi facilitated the final plenary with feedback from the groups and thanked everyone for their participation.


Seminar in Ljubljana, the final project’s event in Slovenia

Peace Institute and Association for Non-violent Communication organized the final project’s event on 23rd of October 2018. At the seminar, the most important findings have been presented and discussed, as well as compared with the findings from other countries involved in the project.

Vlasta Jalušić (Peace Institute) presented the findings and results of the project for Slovenia. The four key findings are:

  • Students, both male and female, notice, experience, perceive and are critical to occurrence of sexual harassment at school and outside of it.
  • There still exist typical stereotypes that blame the victim for sexual harassment and violence (for example, related to dressing, behaviour etc.), yet the participants in the project have shown increased support to the victims and demanded responsibility of perpetrators and wider society.
  • Everywhere there was a need expressed for schools to develop guidelines or protocols for dealing with sexual harassment, which includes the role of active bystanders.
  • Both students and teachers who participated in the programme started several activities at schools that should bring about whole school programme including active bystanders approach to prevent sexual harassment.

Methodology and the training module for bystanders response among young people in high schools have been presented and discussed by Katja Zabukovec Kerin and Anita Jerina (Association for Non-violent Communication). They were particularly involved in communication and implementation of workshops in three high-schools in Slovenia and in adaptation of the school-based programme for bystanders to prevent sexual harassment.


Aleksandar Dimitrijević (University of Malta) presented main findings and results of the project implementation in Malta (via Skype).

Lana Zdravković (Peace Institute) presented awareness raising video-film about bystanders that has been developed by the Slovenian team. It is available here:

The seminar was concluded with the round table debate about experiences, lessons learned, and possible further steps. Lana Hrovat Svetičič and Lea Stojković (students of High Medical School), Katarina Gradišar (teacher and counselling person at High Medical School) and Anita Jerina (Association for Non-violent Communication) took part in the round table. They shared their personal experiences with the workshops as well as plans for systemic approach in schools.

Besides general audience, representatives of the state institutions and several civil society organizations took part in the final event: National Education Institute Slovenia, National Institute of Public Health, White Ring Slovenia, Association for Help to the Victims of Criminal Acts, SOS Hotline for Victims of Violence, and others. They were very interested in the results of the project and also in further networking, sharing of experiences, and connecting among each other in order to develop effective strategies, methodologies and approaches for dealing with sexual harassment at school and outside of it.


International Conference on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence

FPCEUP — Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the University of Porto, UMAR — Women’s Association Alternative and Response, and the Bystanders’ project Developing Bystanders’ Responses to Sexual Harassment among Young People are organizing the International Conference on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence: Victims, Perpetrators and Bystanders which will be held on the 8th and 9th October 2018 at the FPCEUP, Porto, Portugal.

The aim of this conference is to bring together researchers, academics, doctoral students, practitioners, and policy makers to:

  • Promote the development of research and practice on preventing and combating sexual harassment and sexual violence;
  • Debate conceptualisations and perspectives on sexual harassment and sexual violence;
  • Connect research and intervention in the field;
    Provide a forum for networking among researchers and practitioners;
  • Sharing intervention strategies to better protect victims of sexual harassment and sexual violence;
  • Disseminate and share research findings of the Project “Bystanders – Developing bystander responses to sexual harassment among young people”;
  • Share research findings on social and judicial policies about sexual harassment and sexual violence.

Conference themes:

  • Sexual Violence and it consequences;
  • Conceptualisations on sexual harassment and sexual violence;
  • Sexual Violence against children and adolescents;
  • Sexual Harassment in school context;
  • Sexual Harassment on the professional context;
  • Sexual Harassment in public space;
  • Prevention of the sexual harassment and sexual violence;
  • Intervention with victims of sexual harassment and sexual violence;
  • Intervention with perpetrators of sexual harassment and sexual violence;
  • The role of bystanders in sexual harassment and sexual violence.

Link to the website:

Participation on the VIII International Congress of Justice Psychiatry and Psychology

The VIII International Congress of Justice Psychiatry and Psychology took place in Porto on the 2nd and 3rd of November 2017. Ana Guerreiro, member of the Portuguese team of the Project Bystanders, presented the preliminary results on the Portuguese youngsters’ perception of sexual harassment. The presentation had a brief explanations and framing of the Project and then focused on the results of the two focus groups held with youngsters in a Portuguese public school.

Presentation of the Project Bystanders by Ana Guerreiro
First teachers training session at St Aloysius College during project implementation

Participation on the 19th Wave Conference

Maria José Magalhães – international coordinator of the Project Bystanders – has been invited by the WAVE – Women Against Violence Europe – to participate in the 19th Conference, and has been in Budapest on the 30th of October and 1st of November to present the Project Bystanders.

In her presentation, Maria José Magalhães presented the main ideas and objectives of the Project Bystanders, highlighting the need to work on the issue of sexual harassment, specially with youngsters, and the activities that have been and will be carried out in the framework of the Project.

Presentation of Project Bystanders at 19th WAVE Conference

On the left Marceline Naudi, on the right Maria José Magalhães
Maria José Magalhães presenting the Bystanders Project at WAVE

The 2nd International Meeting of the Project Bystanders – 4th and 5th July 2017, FPCEUP

The International Meeting of the Project Bystanders took place at the Faculty of Psychology and Sciences of Education of the University of Porto between the 4th and the 5th July of 2017.

All teams of the Project joint together and the following investigators were present: PT team: Maria José Magalhães, Ana Guerreiro, Cátia Pontedeira, Raquel Felgueiras, Vera Silva; UK team: Liz Kelly, Nicola Sharp-Jeffs, Fiona Vera Grey; Malta Team: Marceline Naudi, Aleksander Dimitrijevic, Barbara Stelnaszek; Slovenia Team: Maja Ladič, Anita Jerina, Tjaša Hrovat.

Sue Jackson from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand was also present in part of the first day.

In the first day we discussed the different background research papers by each country and we analysed the main results of the focus groups with young people. With these diverse inputs, we designed the pilot intervention programme with young people in high schools. It was interesting to understand how students from different countries share common concepts and ideas about sexual harassment, but also that some have ideas that are specific of each country.

From the literature review, it was clear that intervention programmes for bystanders of sexual harassment are not been developed; hence our Project is pioneer and the Programme designed is very innovative and creative.

In the second day, the team discussed the conversations with teachers and staff and designed the Pilot Intervention Program with teachers and staff. Furthermore, the team also discussed some ideas for the implementation of local educational policies.

The International meeting was very productive and had good environment and the team are glad with the results of this meeting by the production of creative ideas for intervention in high schools.

With all the wonderful work done, the team had also some time for conviviality, which happened having dinner near the Atlantic.

International team working at FPCEUP
From left to right; back line: Maja Ladić, Anita Jerina, Aleksandar Dimitrijević, Tjaša Hrovat, Liz Kelly, Fiona Vera Grey, Nicola Sharp-Jeffs; front line: Raquel Felgueiras, Barbara Stelnaszek, Cátia Pontedeira, Ana Guerreiro, Marceline Naudi, Maria José Magalhães
From left to right: Fiona Vera Grey, Nicola Sharp-Jeffs, Liz Kelly, Marceline Naudi, Maria José Magalhães and Aleksandar Dimitrijević

Participation on the 1st International Conference Childhood and Adolescence

The Project Bystanders was presented at the 1st International Conference Childhood and Adolescence, 26-28 January 2017, in the section of project’s presentation. There were 14 projects presented at this conference with more than 400 participants involved. ICCA 2017’s main goal is to provide an important contribution so that the known shortcomings on the studies on social issues related to childhood are recognised and answered through an approach that provides the sharing of knowledge and know-how between different fields that, through different perspectives, focus on promoting happier and healthier childhoods.

The project was presented by Cátia Pontedeira, member of the Portuguese team of the Project Bystanders, and main goals and activities were described. At the end of the session there was some space for debate about the impact of the project and intervention for schools where the project will be implemented.

The 1st International Meeting of the Project Bystanders – 8th and 9th July 2016, FPCEUP

The 1st International Meeting of the Project Bystanders took place at the Faculty of Psychology and Sciences of Education of the University of Porto on the 8th and 9th of July 2017.

All teams of the Project joint together and the following investigators were present – PT team: Maria José Magalhães, Ana Guerreiro, Cátia Pontedeira; UK team: Liz Kelly, Aruna Dudhia; Malta Team: Marceline Naudi, Aleksander Dimitrijević, Rodianne Ellul Buhagiar; Slovenia Team: Maja Ladić, Anita Jerina, Vlasta Jalušič.

On the first day, the teams were welcomed and presented. Then the work plan and the proposed timelines were reviewed. The teams also discussed and outlined strategies to disseminate the project and promote its visibility.

On the second day, a parallel meeting was held with the financial team to review the budget for each country. The research team discussed the conditions of entry in schools on each different country in order to adapt to each team reality.

International team working at FPCEU
From left to right: Rodianne Ellul Buhagiar, Aruna Dudhia, Aleksandar Dimitrijević, Cátia Pontedeira, Maria José Magalhães, Vlasta Jalušič, Ana Guerreiro, Anita Jerina, Maja Ladić and Marceline Naudi