stiritup-logoMIGS is a participating partner to the project ‘STIR: Safeguarding Teenage Intimate Relationships:  connecting online and offline contexts and risks’. The project is led by Bristol University in partnership with the University of Central Lancashire in the UK and is funded by the Daphne III Program of the European Commission. Other partners to the project include the Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies (Norway), University of Palermo (Italy), Applied Research and Communications Fund (Bulgaria) and CESIE – European Centre of Studies and Initiatives (Italy).

Background to the Project

Even though, as documented from previous research, physical and psychological violence in teenage relationships has a profound impact on young people’s, and especially girls’, well-being, this body of evidence fails to include the role of new technologies and social media in instigating and perpetuating teenage partner violence. Although some interventions have been developed, these have been predominantly school or project-based and occurred in the absence of a robust evidence base, hampering recognition and implementation at an EU level. This project aims to bridge this gap in EU understanding and prevention.

Moreover, as young people do not highly differentiate between online and offline worlds, this project will reflect the interconnection of violence through new technologies and in the physical world. The applied project  will also enhance understanding of how EU policy and practice concerning gender equality, children’s rights and new technologies impacts on this form of violence, and how these messages can inform wider safeguarding of young people’s welfare.

 STIR has four main objectives:

    1. Mapping relevant EU research, policy and practice in the area of the use of new technologies in young people’s intimate relationships
    2. Documenting the incidence, impact and dynamics of online/offline experiences of partner violence and control within young people’s lives
    3. Exploring young people’s experiences of partner violence and their views on prevention
    4. Development of an appropriate, directly accessible web-based resource and app for young people

Main activities of the project

In relation to the above mentioned objectives, the following activities are planned to take place during the two year duration of the project:

    • Expert consultation: Each partner will convene a group of national experts to identify what is known about the use of new technologies in young people’s intimate relationships and to map EU and national policy and practice developments. This will offer a firm foundation for stakeholders to lobby for greater European policy and practice recognition and clarity.
    • School-based survey: A quantitative survey (n=500 Cyprus and n=4500 at EU level) will be conducted through the use of self-filled questionnaires among 14-17 year olds. The survey aims to explore the interconnection between online/offline forms of violence in young people’ relationships and the role of new technologies in underpinning control and abuse. The results of this survey will provide a robust framework to enhance European safeguarding policy and practice development and will offer essential grass-roots evidence to underpin and support the development and implementation of interventions at both a national and international level.
    • Young people’s participation: Qualitative interviews with young people will explore experiences and perceptions of partner abuse within online/offline spaces including through mobile platforms. A central feature will be to explore young people’s views on prevention and intervention. Young people’s participation will also be facilitated by a secure and monitored on-line message board, through which young people will have the opportunity to exchange views and experiences, comment and place questions around this issue and most importantly allow for their voices to be heard. Youth participation in the project will also be strengthened through national Young Advisory Groups who will undertake a consultative role and will provide feedback and recommendations on all stages of the project.
    • Web-based resource: an accessible, web-based resource and downloadable app will be developed in consultation with young people. This will include relevant research findings, young people’s own anonymous experiences and views, case-studies and other appropriate resources.

For more information please visit the project website at www.stiritup.eu or contact info@medinstgenderstudies.org