Focus group analysis – Portugal

Two focus groups were conducted – one with young women (6 girls aged between 15-17) and one with young men (8 young men aged between 16-19) – in a state public school situated in Porto, with three facilitators, without the presence of teachers or other school staff. The chairs and tables were rearranged so that participants and facilitators were sat in a round circle, promoting a comfortable environment for dialogue. We started the focus groups by providing information about the informed consent, and talked about the need of commitment, respect and confidence among all in order to make the youngsters feel secure to say and disclose information on sexual harassment.

Overall, boys were more talkative about SH, while girls often diverted the conversation to other subjects that they considered relevant.

The analysis of the focus groups brought up important information about the perceptions of young people concerning SH: personal experiences (as victims and harassers); strategies of self-defense; stereotypes and conceptions about femininity, masculinity and sexuality; consequences of SH; perceptions about who are the harassers and the victims; strategies/responses to SH as victims and bystanders in public spaces and in the school; and proposals for a prevention program to combat SH in school.


Focus group analysis – Slovenia

This paper presents the results of the two focus groups that took place as a part of the project Bystanders’ approach to sexual harassment. The focus groups were carried out in Ljubljana’s school Gimnazija Vič on 13 February 2017. They consisted of 6 girls in one group and 6 boys in the other group. They were led by Katja Zabukovec Kerin, president of Association for Nonviolent Communication, with assistance of Anita Jerina, counsellor in the field of violence in Association for Nonviolent Communication, and Maja Ladić, researcher at the Peace Institute.

The first session (with girls / young women) lasted exactly 1 hour and 30 minutes. The facilitators however reported that they could continue talking with girls for much longer as they were very talkative, they were all eager to express their opinions, their views, and also to share their personal experiences.

The second session (with boys / young men) was a bit shorter, and lasted around 1 hour and 5 minutes. The boys were much more reserved and kept their thoughts back. One of the facilitators thought that there were more reasons for that and that one of them was perhaps that the session took place at very end of their school day and some of the boys had to stay longer in school just for the focus group. Although it seemed that the boys were interested in the topic (and they also had some questions), they didn’t think they have much to say, they said they didn’t have much or any personal experiences and also their views were very different from those of girls.


Focus group analysis – UK

The focus groups were conducted in a state secondary school located in a diverse borough in North London. The school has Academy status and is attended by 11-16 year olds. It is a mixed sex school and is attended by almost 1,000 students. The school received a rating of ‘good’ in its most recent Ofsted inspection.

The researchers liaised with the Pastoral Engagement Officer to set up the focus groups. Students in years 9 and 10 were selected to take part, aged between 13 and 15. Consent forms were signed by the parents of the young people. Twenty students participated in total: ten young women and ten young men. Most of the young people in both groups came from ethnic minorities. The focus groups took place in a classroom around a large table. It was a non-uniform day which was said by the Pastoral Engagement Officer to impact the dynamic within the school. The researchers brought biscuits and sweets for students to enjoy.


Focus group analysis – Malta

The focus groups took place at a higher secondary school, which is a two-year educational institution preparing students for entry into universities. The students were 16 years of age and in their first year of study at the preparatory school.

The first focus group included five boys and was carried out inside the school’s classroom on 16 June 2017. The session was recorded and transcribed, and followed the structure of the Bystanders Project’s guide for the focus groups. The atmosphere among the boys was pleasant, although each had their arms crossed in front of them, pointing to some level of unease. While at the start of the focus group two boys gave most input, others, who seemed more quiet at first joined in with their answers, not long after.

The second focus group included five girls and was carried out inside the school’s classroom on 21 June 2017. The session was recorded and transcribed, and followed the structure of the Bystanders Project’s guide for the focus groups. For the girls, this was their last day of school, and they were clearly happy about this. Most of the girls knew each other well and could introduce each other within the group. As in any group, two of the participants were more active, but still the input was more equal among them, when compared to the boys’ group.