Living Life without Violence campaign wins EU prize

Dec 13, 2013

PHOTO: The campaign 'Living life without violence' included a contest for the best student art works on the theme of domestic violence. First prize went to the 6th grade class at the Pećine Elementary School in Rijeka.

VILNIUS (Lithuania), 13 December 2013
– Croatia's Living Life without Violence campaign on 13 December 2013 won the European Crime Prevention Award for best primary prevention project in the European Union in 2013. The award was presented in Vilnius, Lithuania, and the Croatian project was chosen as the best among 18 entries. Living Life without Violence is a joint program of the Croatian Interior Ministry, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Science, Education and Sports Ministry. It is aimed at preventing violence against women, domestic violence and youth violence, and building a culture of non-violence, primarily among young people.

The public campaign Living Life without Violence was launched on 25 November 2010 to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The goal of the prevention activities was to raise public awareness on the issue of violence and to encourage citizens, especially victims, to report domestic violence.

The project has since expanded to focused on the prevention of other forms of violence – predominantly domestic violence, but also peer violence – and is targeted at children and young teenagers between the ages of 13 and 14.

Many public figures have showed their support for this campaign, including the Croatian President Ivo Josipović; artists Zijah Sokolović, an actor and director who was named UNDP Goodwill Ambassador for tolerance and nonviolence; musicians Matija Dedić and Apokalipso band, famous athletes, singers, journalists.

This campaign includes three components: interactive workshops at schools; conceptual art programmes including Zijah Sokolović’s play “Violence, There Is No Excuse for Violence”; and interactive youth debates at police premises. Almost 60,000 students have participated so far in 1,500 lectures held in 500 public schools. The campaign’s activities are also regularly presented through the Living Life without Violence Facebook page, which has received almost 5,000 likes.

Through these three interrelated components, children acquire knowledge on the causes and consequences of violence, as well as the necessary steps which need to be taken when violence occurs, and are encouraged to choose the proper reactions to negative incidents, to create their connection with individuals, friends and the entire environment, by means of a personal nonviolent engagement.

As this is the stage of youth development when their identity is becoming fully formed, a positive attitude in society and a constructive approach to solving violence issues are instilled. The police are involved in every aspect of the project, in collaboration with UNDP, civil society organizations, artists and the local community, in order to create a safer environment and a community that cares.