Mission statement

Young people who have made mistakes must be given a chance to change their behaviour and to find a way out of violence. Short-term pedagogical measures and behavioural conditioning does not work. The violent subculture is well-organised, and once you are involved it is difficult to break away. A relapse into old behaviour patterns can be prevented only by stable relationships and transferring new skills into everyday life.

What do young people who only know humiliation and violence need to experience in order to change their behaviour? Based on our many years of experience in working with violence-prone adolescents and young adults we have developed the concept of Verantwortungspädagogik® (responsible pedagogy). The approach developed by Violence Prevention Network is an integrated approach that effects a change in behaviour by teaching young people how to be responsible in their dealings with themselves and others.

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The pedagogical concept is explicitly based on a non-confrontational approach. Acceptance and preserving dignity facilitates understanding – not sympathy – and explains actions – rather than justifying them. The approach of responsible pedagogy is not confined to the individual, rather, it gradually includes the person’s environment and important family members. Furthermore, the concept provides for longer-term support rather than being limited to the period in which punitive and educational measures are enforced. It has a direct effect on the young people’s everyday life, leisure time and working life. In other words, whenever necessary the educationalists continue to provide young people with support even after their prison term or educational programme.

A central element here is the offer of a relationship. To ensure that this offer of a relationship can result in a change of behaviour, the young people undergo curricular training that encompasses elements from the psychology of learning, cognitivism and humanistic psychology; by involving individuals from the young people’s family and social environment this also has a systemic impact. Behavioural changes are not an immediate consequence of personal decisions, rather they depend on context and situation and on the outcome of certain negotiations and processes.

A brochure about our work
Brochure Violence Prevention Network
Brochure Violence Prevention Network