A creative and empowering project for young men who are at risk of displaying negative behaviours or attitudes that increase the risk factor for domestic abuse and violence. These early intervention sessions focus on building self-esteem by recognising and highlighting inappropriate attitudes, encouraging the participants to consider how these relate to their own relationships.
Choices empowers young men to make more informed decisions in their lives, enabling them to avoid choosing abusive behaviours, by helping them to:
- Recognise their own behaviour and how it impacts on others
- Manage their feelings and emotions
- Make positive relationship choices
Choices has been designed in line with the British Government’s Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) strategy, which aims to use prevention work to “educate, inform and challenge young people about healthy relationships, abuse and consent, and engage men and boys in challenging VAWG.”
What does Choices involve?
The project is designed for small groups of young men in Year 10 identified by schools as using or at risk of using abusive behaviours, or displaying negative attitudes about women and girls. The project takes place during school time, requiring attendees to be released from their school timetable. Alternatively, Choices can be run as an after-school project that the school actively supports and encourages young men to attend.
Sessions 1-7 each focus on a different topic:
- Perceptions of self and self esteem
- Choices – tools and techniques to consider actions and their consequences
- Dealing with feelings and anger
- Healthy Relationships – what young men and women deserve from a relationship
- The importance of personal space, consent and understanding sexual bullying
- What it is to ‘be a man’ and expectations of manhood
- Men who have achieved and positive goal setting
These first 7 sessions involve a range of learning techniques designed to maximise the young men’s engagement, knowledge retention and enjoyment. The exercises are collaborative and interactive, including fun yet challenging group activities, role-plays, and opportunities for self-reflection. However, Equation’s delivery is flexible, allowing the structure and pace to be altered to suit the young men’s needs.
In session 8, the project culminates with the development and presentation of a piece of creative work, with the creative format decided by the young men. This session consolidates their learning, facilitates sharing of their learning with others and helps build pride and self esteem. Read an example Choices session plan
What are the benefits of Choices?
Young men are able to identify the choices they have, including in relationships, and are empowered to make positive choices
- Participants increase their self worth and aspirations for their future
- Young men learn where to go for help and support with unhealthy relationships
- Young men engage in careful self reflection about emotions, choices and plans
- Participants improve their skills in managing friendships and family relationships
Long-term studies also suggest that interventions focusing on social and emotional wellbeing can result in a positive shift in attainment levels (Durlak et al., 2011)
Evaluation: Measuring Success
All our work with young men involves a one-to-one session both Pre and Post completion of the project. This enables us to give individual signposting to support, as well as the completion of a measurable evaluation tool.
Following project delivery, each school receives a detailed impact report that highlights evaluated changes in knowledge and attitudes amongst the project participants, as well as what they thought of the project.
In 2018-19, overall the young men felt that the project had…
- helped them to make positive changes to their life, by a score of 7.6
- …changed the way they thought about being a man, by a score of8.6
- …helped them to feel good about themselves, by a score of 8.4
- …enabled them to sort out differences in a way that is fair, by a score of 7
- …helped to improve their friendships, by a score of8.8
- …made them think about how they behave in their relationships, by a score of 9.2
- …helped them to know where to go for help and support with unhealthy relationships, by a score of 8.
All young men overall gave The Choices Project an average score of 9.5/10
We asked the students “What will you remember most from the project?”
Learning how to manage my anger.
Learning how to respect people around you.
Getting Involved and acting/role plays.
Learning what makes a relationship healthy.
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