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KiVa: an evidence-based anti-bullying programme for schools

This article describes the KiVa anti-bullying programme for schools, and outlines evidence for its effectiveness and the research currently underway in the UK.

Research has demonstrated that the behaviour of bystanders plays a significant role in maintaining or combating bullying; building on this theoretical base the programme focuses on the social architecture of bullying and the goal of the programme is to change the response of the bystander towards the bully and the victim. This approach may be helpful to children with developmental or other challenges who may be vulnerable to bullying.

The programme has both 'universal' and 'indicated' elements. The ‘universal’ elements include a detailed curriculum with beautifully scripted lessons and access to engaging on line resources and games. KiVa posters are displayed school wide, high-visibility playground KiVa vests remind children that this is a KiVa school, and there are whole school assembly power-points, a parent website, and materials for a parent evening. Pupils also complete an anonymous on-line survey in which they are asked to indicate whether they have been bullied, have bullied, or are aware of bullying. This helps schools to monitor their own progress annually and to compare their school with other KiVa schools.

The ‘indicated’ actions involve a systematic procedure followed by a school based KiVa team when dealing with any incidents of bullying. A clear definition of bullying is adopted by all KiVa schools. This involves three components:

  • status differential between the bully and the victim
  • intentional acts
  • repeated acts.

Opportunities for schools to train in the KiVa programme are outlined as well as opportunities for key staff to train as a KiVa trainer in order to deliver training to schools in their local area.

Download a PDF of the article in full

Authors: Professor Judy Hutchings, Bangor University, Dr Sue Evans, Powys Teaching Health Board and Susan Clarkson, Bangor University.

Date added: 3 October 2014