After starting out in the clinical field, when we conscientiously addressed expressions of violence in the family sphere, since 2000 we have expanded our research and prevention work to the areas of socialisation that children and adolescents experience, such as schools. In our field work in schools, we have found that in this area of socialisation, many young people suffer from the terrible problem of school violence, and one of its expressions with the greatest risk is bullying.
Based on our research work, we identified the need to create a new paradigm to respond to the risk situations that children experience from an increasingly early age.
In order to provide prevention tools for these expressions of violence, Monica Toscano created the MONICA TOSCANO PREVENTION IN ACT METHOD®.
The method is based around three cornerstones: the School, Students and Families.
Because the application of the MONICA TOSCANO PREVENTION IN ACT® method entails a very careful and thorough theoretical-practical training for both institutions and teachers, those who wish to apply it need to take the levels of the MONICA TOSCANO PREVENTION IN ACT® International School, and work under its supervision, since we must not forget the responsibility involved in working with children and adolescents.
The flexible nature of change that we have seen in children and adolescents, when they experience the method to prevent bullying, makes us think of a future in which an educational system that takes everyone's personal interest into account has been established, in order to be able to identify and develop the most valuable assets of human beings, their creative capacity, and thereby make them emerge stronger from the constant violence that young people experience and sometimes engage in within the difficult world around them.
"When in our surgeries we were trying to help young people overcome the plight of addictions, which immerses them in self-destructive violence, and knowing that those who suffer from this affliction are very young, we asked ourselves: what can we do? Why does it have to be like this?
Something has to change so that we can stop being active witnesses to something we are not doing. And so we contacted schools and approached parents, and everyone who might be able to help us to avoid arriving too late most of the time. And that was when we discovered that the most important thing, the basic thing, was to listen to the voices of our young people. By listening to the voices of young people, we were able to create a space for prevention.
We say that prevention means creating a place to think - as the young people themselves say, "before something happens," before situations arise. But as a result of all our research work, we discovered that while it is very important to create a space to think, knowing what to do with what we think is even more important. Our objective is to expand the concept of prevention, from theoretical prevention to what we call and conceptualise as Prevention in action.
When we approached schools, one of the most striking things was that the principals and teachers told us to talk to the young people basically about what addictions were. What was our first observation in this research work? That the young people did not want to talk about addictions, but instead about what really worried them. The first question - the first important challenge - was to open up a space for listening, to find out what those concerns were.
In our research work, we have found that these situations of conflict are expressed from the perspective of both the individual and group, and the scenario of the influence of the group of friends is their primary and basic means of social inclusion.
We know that communicating with an adult is almost an impossible task for an adolescent; it is impossible above all due to the fact that we adults mostly approach adolescents based on pre-established knowledge.
In our workshops, young people aged twelve and thirteen years old tell us: "we don't want to talk to adults," "we don't want to because if we do, they end up knowing everything about us."
Helping those who suffer so much from this violence between peers, the violence that our children suffer from at school on a daily basis, and the violence that they can inflict on themselves with the strong tendency towards alcohol and drug consumption, is not an easy task. We believe that the first voice in the Prevention in Act network belongs to our young people, and based on the conveying the parameters established in our research work, we aim to continue creating prevention networks so that we can think and work together as society.