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Changing The Social Context of Peer Victimization
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Changing The Social Context of Peer Victimization

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  • Paweena
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    • 1. The WITS Programs: Changing the Context of Peer Victimization
      www.witsprogram.ca
    • 2. What is peer victimization?
      Peer Victimization is the experience of being a target of a peer’s hurtful teasing and aggressive behavior
      Two subtypes of victimization:
      Physical Victimizationinvolves overt, direct actions aimed at causing a child bodily harm or threats of harm
      • Relational Victimizationinvolves covert, indirect actions directed at damaging a child’s social status in the peer group
    • Prevalence of Peer Victimization
      Approximately 1 in 10 children are persistently victimized by peers
      Frequency of victimization episodes is generally higher in the early elementary grades
      Episodes of victimization become more chronic in the late elementary grades
    • 3. WITS Classroom and Community Resources
      Emergency Services Personnel Manual
      University Student/WITS Representative
      WITS Booklist
      Curriculum for Teachers and Librarians
      Activities for the Classroom and School
      Resource Pamphlets for Parents:
      Using Your WITS at Home
      Cyberbullying
    • 4. What is Unique about the WITS Programs?
      The WITS Programs are community-based programs that:
      Call upon community champions including schools, families, and emergency services personnel to promote prosocial behaviors and to help children deal with peer victimization
      Take a comprehensive, multi-setting approach to reducing peer victimization and enhancing social competence at the school- and classroom-level
      Give a common language for children and adults to use to resolve conflicts peacefully
    • 5. Indicators of Success
      WITS Program Evaluation 1
      Participants & Data Collection
      Data were collected from eleven program schools and six control schools
    • 6. Measures that were examined:
      Children’s ratings on:
      Physical Victimization
      How often are you hit by another kid at school?
      Relational Victimization
      How often does another kid tell lies about you to make other kids not like you anymore?
    • 7. Rates of Decline for PhysicalVictimization
    • 8. Rates of Decline for RelationalVictimization
    • 9. Understanding the findings
      Children in the WITS schools report more victimization. Why?
      All of the WITS program schools had the WITS program by the time this study was under way. Higher levels of reporting may reflect the program children’s greater awareness of what victimization is and their willingness to report it or “Seek Help”.
      Rates of victimization reported decline over the three years of elementary school for these children in program schools but not in the control schools.
    • 10. Indicators of Success
      Follow-Up Study
      WITS Program Evaluation 2
      Goals:
      To assess the effectiveness of the WITS Program with a broader & more independent sample of schools
    • 11. WITS Program Evaluation 2
      Participants & Data Collection
      Data were collected from six program schools and five control schools
    • 12. Measures that were examined:
      Children’s ratings on:
      Physical Victimization (e.g., hitting, pushing)
      Relational Victimization (e.g., social exclusion, rumour-spreading)
      Peer Support (e.g., receiving help, being cheered up by classmates)
      Teacher’s ratings on:
      Social Responsibility (e.g., giving help to others, solving problems in peaceful ways)
    • 13. Average Levels of Physical & Relational Victimization
      Physical Victimization
      The rate of decline in physical victimization was significantly greater in program than control schools
      Relational Victimization
      The rate of decline in relational victimization was greater in program than control schools
      Note:Children in program schools reported higher initial levels of physical & relational victimization, possibly due to a greater awareness of victimization created by the WITS Program
    • 14. Average Levels of Peer Support & Social Responsibility
      Peer Support
      Levels of peer support did not significantly differ in program and control schools
      Social Responsibility
      Teachers of children in program schools reported higher average levels of social responsibility at each time point, compared to control schools.
    • 15. Conclusion
      • Peer Victimization can be reduced through:
      • 16. multi-setting programs and multiple systems of support that include visible (uniformed) community members, school staff and parents
      • 17. strategies that convey consistent and developmentally appropriate messages for peaceful conflict resolution across contexts
      WITS joins a growing number of studies showing promise of school, parent, and community involvement in interventions for reducing peer victimization in elementary schools

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