Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) is Scotland’s largest anti-violence schools programme operating in 25 local authority areas from Shetland to the Scottish borders.
MVP aims to empower students to safely speak out against all forms of violence from rape and sexual harassment to bullying and abusive behaviour.
The programme was first developed in America where it is has become one of the country’s longest running and most influential violence prevention initiatives operating in high schools, colleges and within the military. Seeing the potential of the scheme the SVRU decided to adapt the programme and bring it to Scotland in 2011 when it was successfully piloted at St Stephen’s High School and Port Glasgow High School in Inverclyde and Portobello High School in Edinburgh. Working in partnership with Education Scotland it is now operating in 130 secondary schools.
Based on the ‘bystander’ approach MVP motivates everyone to get involved in safely challenging abuse. The programme sees students as a school’s greatest resource in achieving this and trains senior pupils to act as peer mentors who then deliver sessions to younger students in the school. Since 2014 more than 10,500 mentors have been trained, with around 3,500 sessions delivered by mentors in 2018/19. Sessions target issues such as bullying, gender norms, domestic violence, knife crime and harmful sexual behaviour.
Evidence of the impact of MVP in schools has been gathered through staff feedback, attitude questionnaires and focus groups. MVP schools say pupils often feel more comfortable reporting safety concerns, pupils who have undergone training are also more likely to safely intervene in situations. Improved pupil confidence and leadership skills are also reported. The latest MVP report can be found here.
More recently MVP has been adapted to work in both higher education settings, workplaces and Scotland’s night-time economy with pubs and clubs embracing the scheme as a way to help keep customers safe. There has also been expansion of the programme outside Scotland on a not-for-profit basis.
How does my school access MVP?
To have MVP implemented in an area, discussions are held initially between the MVP National Team and the local authority. Once approved a two-day training programme is held for staff who will be given access to the MVP programme materials. Those who have completed the course are then able to train senior pupils in their schools as MVP Mentors who will deliver the sessions to younger peers.
For further information contact Education Officer Pauline Lynch Pauline.Lynch@educationscotland.gov.scot or go to https://education.gov.scot/improvement/practice-exemplars/mentors-for-violence-prevention-mvp-an-overview# or https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/glowblogs/mvpscotland/