This project has a twofold aim: Firstly, to address the problem of the indirect harmful effect of violence against women-mothers upon their children if exposed to it in the domestic sphere, as well as mothers´ conscience of that effect and secondly, to address the problem of lack of research based information on the issue as well as of sensitization. Thus, the project's specific objective is to contribute to the promotion of awareness and to the sensitization of target groups (Women's and Children's organizations - GOs and NGOs, Parents' Associations and School Sectors such as Teachers' Associations), beneficiaries (parents-especially mothers and children) and the general public respectively, who are directly and/or indirectly related with children aged 9-11, to the indirect harmful effects of violence against women to their children if directly exposed. This will be reached by: a) data collection for mothers´ awareness about the indirect harmful effect of violence against them upon their children if exposed to it b) investigation of possible indirect harmful effect on children and comparison of their perceptions and self-images with children not exposed to violence against their mother c) production of research-product guidelines for the development of informational, web-based counselling, TV broadcasting, educational material, which will also become the basis for the revision of the national legislations in the area of children's rights d) the web-paged sustainable communication and counselling e) multi-level dissemination of the results.
The concept of the project and the preparation made: As Hughes (1992) mentions (at Holder et al, 1994) research has shown that 90% of the children were exposed to violent incidents in the domestic sphere. Various researches (Osofsky, 1999; Fantuzzo and Fusco, 2007) assume that children's exposure to violence against their mother raises antisocial behaviour by means that they may adopt violent behaviour towards others. Nevertheless, the behaviour of exposed to violence against their mother children can be reversible by means that the child may adopt a tolerant behaviour towards violence and thus be exploitable by others. Moreover, previous researchers have shown that children who are directly exposed to the victimization of their mother have low school performance (Osofsky, 1999, Pelkovitz et al., 2000, cited in Fantuzzo and Fusco, 2007). Based on both the relevant research literature as stated above and the social reality in the countries of the partnership, in which there is not enough awareness about the consequences of the violent behaviour against mothers, the concept for this project was developed. Moreover, the increase of juvenile delinquency and school failure along with the low expectations that mothers and children exposed to violence may have for themselves and the society urges for research and intervention that could empower mothers and children. This project builds on the idea that a problem on the domestic sphere becomes automatically a social one. In this way, it affects the whole social ground in which the child is socialized. The awareness raising and the sensitization of target groups and beneficiaries are considered to be of high importance. Additionally, teachers, social workers and all the other target groups who are either directly or indirectly related with the at-risk children must be aware of the possible social problems' causes.
Heretofore, a detailed study-research was developed regarding the methodology used by previous researchers in mainly Cypriot but also European level. Their concerns, dilemmas, difficulties and obstacles have been taken into account. Their good and effective practices have been also carefully noticed. The results of other previous projects funded by Daphne program concerning factors, forms and measures of prevention of women violence are also taken into account. A research about the potentials of each partner, associate partner and subcontractor (NGO)regarding human and material resources has been materialized as well, so as to effectively and precisely engage them in the project. Permission from the Ministry of Education of Cyprus, from the School Inspectorate of Bihor County of Romania and from the Ministries of Education from the other partner countries has also been obtained as this is a prerequisite for any research involving children at schools.
Proposed activities and ethical issues: Τhe project consists of different phases/activities, which are inter-related. During the first phase the data collection for women and children will be materialized through analysis of written testimonies and reports, available in the offices of GOs and NGOs associated in this project, with respect to the law for the protection of personal data. The applicant and all the partners will contact the content analysis of written material available in their country. Construction of webpage and discussion forum/ forum for self-reporting incidents of violence towards mothers when their children are witnessing the incident will take place. Mothers- victims will be encouraged by the GOs and NGOs that may be in contact with them to visit the webpage and write anonymously their story. All partners and associate partners are involved in this phase of the study. The second phase consists of interviews with a number of mothers–victims, a phase which will be completed with the fundamental assistance of the apposite parts of the national police, GOs and NGOs that examine and combat domestic violence. At this point a small-scale, though high in significance, qualitative research is taking place. However, the ethical and sensitive issue of the personal data is risen up. But, an agreement between the research team, the police departments and others involved in the protection of mothers and children for the indemnity of the privacy of personal data (as declaration forms prove), has been made. The place, that the interviews will be held, will be indicated by the police so as to avoid the problem of reliability of the collective data. Also, it would be helpful to deal with the possible legal obstacle. Anyhow, the research team will not visit women for interview in their homes with the presence of others there. Additionally, there will not be face to face meetings of the mother and her child, in any case. What's more, the researcher will give verbal and written explanations to the subjects, emphasizing their voluntary participation in the study. A written consent will be used in focus groups and interviews with them. Responsible for this kind of qualitative research is the applicant and all the partners, with the support of the appropriate associate partners, e.g., teachers´ associations. The third phase involves the construction, pilot study and external validation of the scenarios with which children's vulnerability will be diagnosed: scenarios will investigate children´ s possible tolerant behaviour towards violence, their possible adopting of violent behaviour towards others, view of their mother as a role model. This phase builds on the available literature as well as on the analysis of the previous phase. A pilot study will be carried out in order to identify any potential problems with children's scenarios. In that way, the reliability of the research instrument and the feasibility of the data collection process are tested. The construction of the scenarios and their pilot study will be held in the context of each partner country. External validation will be held by experts in Greece and Slovakia (under "Others" in the budget), in order to succeed in producing scenarios of suitable standards for a broader European implementation. The fourth phase involves the distribution of the scenarios to the two groups of children (the control and the experimental), through their teachers who will be instructed about the procedure of students´ anonymous answering the scenarios. Teachers of the students participating in the study will provide information about children's achievement, grades and evaluation through a small questionnaire. In that way, we will pursue a matching of each child's answers with the profile given by the teacher. A key element of informed consent is the participants inviolable right of withdrawal without any hindrance from the researcher. Scenarios will be approved by the Ministries of Education for their suitability and concern of ethical issues. In that way, the ethical issue of respecting the human dignity of each participant is addressed. In this phase children´ s self-image is investigated through the S. Harters (1985) - Self-Perception Profile for Children - SPPC test. The applicant and all the partners distribute the scenarios and tests in their country. Phase five includes the Analysis and presentation of the results, qualitative and quantitative. A statistical analysis through SPSS file in each country-participant will be conducted. The 6th phase refers to the dissemination of the results and produced materials, such as research-product guidelines for the development of informational, web-based counselling, TV broadcasting (with the assistance of the Radio-television Authorities). This material will be dangled on a common networking area among the partners, where parents and teachers can borrow material, ex-change experiences and ideas as well regarding the subject of information, awareness and intervention on the very possible way. This material will be given to the women-mothers and to men-fathers also through the seminars and training programmes. Finally, the organization of an International Conference will be pursued on the indirect harmful effect of violence against women-mother to their children. In this conference representatives of the European Commission and Daphne III project will be invited.