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National #PreventGBV dissemination event in Finland


“Nudes, dick pics and harassment: Young people's online reality and how to learn about boundaries” was the title of the #PreventGBV dissemination event that Valo-Valmennusyhdistys organised in Helsinki on 13th of October 2023, in Hotel Arthur.

The event was attended by 40 participants, mostly professionals in youth work, education, substance abuse and crime prevention, alongside the young people who participated in the project.

The programme included sessions with professionals and experts. Eeva Salmi, the director of Valo-Valmennusyhdistys, opened the seminar with a presentation on the organisation and the importance of the #PreventGBV project activities for young people accessing Valo’s services.

This was followed by the presentation "Why gender perspective matters?" from the project coordinator in Finland, Lubica Vysna. Lubica spoke generally about the gender perspectives in everyday life. Afterwards, she talked specifically about gender perspectives in violence and cyberviolence. Lubica also presented materials developed in the project, the project’s activities and their evaluation.

Afterwards, there was a panel discussion with youth workers from Helsinki and Jyväskylä, who shared their experiences from the workshops with young people. All mentioned the positive atmosphere in the groups and the importance of these topics for young people. They discussed the most interesting aspects of the workshop and mentioned, for example, the case studies, the concept of hegemonic masculinity, and intersectionality. At the same time, they mentioned feedback from young people about the lack of queer perspective in the material and implemented activities.

The seminar also had presentations from invited speakers. Anni Pätilä, from Sua Varten Somessa (in English: We are waiting for you on social media), presented their online outreach work on various social media platforms, which aims to support young people in safer usage of social media, prevent crime and offer guidance for victims of cyber violence.

Afterwards, Elina Holopainen, the senior constable from the Helsinki police department, presented their police work on social media platforms, which aims to prevent cyberviolence, educate users of all ages on risks associated with the internet and online platforms usage, as well as supporting victims.

She was followed by Juho Nieminen, the project manager from the Finnish CERV focal point at the Ministry of Justice, who presented the grant opportunities under the CERV Programme.

In the afternoon, the event participants were divided into smaller groups to carry out various activities facilitated by Valo’s youth workers. The goal was to show the participants some of the exercises implemented with the young people and encourage them to use the materials in their practice. 

At the end of the event, there was a small quiz regarding the Finnish legislation on consent regarding sexual activities. Based on the discussion among participants and organisers, there was an identified need to continue with awareness-raising activities on gender-based cyber violence among children, youth and adults. Specifically, professionals asked for more educational activities that would help them be better prepared for discussions on these topics.

The overall satisfaction with the event was high among the participants, scoring 4.47 points out of 5 in its evaluation.

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