The Zero Violence Brave Club: A Successful Intervention to Prevent and Address Bullying in Schools

Front Psychiatry. 2021 Jul 7;12:601424. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2021.601424. eCollection 2021.

Abstract

Bullying among peers in schools is a growing problem affecting children and adolescents from an early age worldwide. The consequences of bullying victimization in the emotional development of children and youth and their academic achievement are adverse for them and the rest of the school community, with its negative impact extending into the mid and long run. The Zero Violence Brave Club is implemented in schools in the framework of the Dialogic Model of Violence Prevention, a successful educational action according to the INCLUD-ED project [Strategies for inclusion and social cohesion in Europe from Education] (6th Framework Program of Research of the European Commission). The Zero Violence Brave Club has decreased peer bullying in schools by establishing and cultivating a culture of zero tolerance to violence in educational centers located in diverse socioeconomic and cultural contexts. This evidence-based intervention is grounded in the principle that only the person who denounces violence suffered by a peer and takes a stand always on the victim's side-and those who support her or him-against the aggressor can be considered brave. This article reports a qualitative study of the Zero Violence Brave Club as a successful intervention in seven schools in Spain. The schools are diverse in terms of public or private ownership, religious or lay background, and population served (different proportions of cultural minorities and students with special needs), challenging the misconception that the impact of educational interventions depends on the context. Interviews were conducted with teachers in the schools implementing the Zero Violence Brave Club in their class, using the communicative methodology of research. The results shed light on specific mechanisms through which the Zero Violence Brave Club prevents and responds to bullying in schools, such as emptying of social attractiveness any aggressive behaviors or attitudes. Benefits on mental health and psychological wellbeing are also reported.

Keywords: Zero Violence Brave Club; break the silence; bullying prevention; bystander; friendship; mental health; successful educational action.