VIOLE-LAB (Educational Lab on Violence against Children)

VIOLE-LAB is an educational laboratory on violence against children. A group of academic researchers in the educational field, with the involvement of eight universities, conceived and promoted it. In order to contrast violence against children and safeguard children’s rights it promotes research, training and measures.

VIOLE-LAB’s scientific committee is made up of:

  • Elisabetta Biffi, University of Milano-Bicocca (in charge of the project)
  • Francesca Borruso, University of Roma Tre
  • Silvia Demozzi, University of  Bologna
  • Emiliano Macinai, University of Firenze
  • Emiliana Mannese, University of Salerno
  • Angela Muschitiello, University of Bari
  • Elisabetta Musi, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
  • Luisa Pandolfi, University of Sassari
  • Stefania Ulivieri Stiozzi, University of Milano- Bicocca

VIOLE-LAB was conceived because:

we are living a violent period: violence is growing amongst cultures and more and more often it’s turning into terrorism; a culture of violence is spreading and is promoted by an irresponsible use of the media. The growing level of violence in conflicts between people, communities and nations is producing war scenarios all over the world.

History teaches us that when violence is rooted, widely present and in expansion amongst adults children end up being victims of it.

Children can be direct victims of violence: they can experiment maltreatment (physical, psychological emotional); abuse, not only sexual abuse; exploitation: they are forced into working, fighting in wars and involved in illegal activities,  they are used for prostitution and pedophilia.

Children can also be indirect victims of violence: they are forced into growing up in a violent world, suffer the consequences of poverty and wars. They are exposed to violence in the homes and have to undergo institutional violence like what happens to children who experience direct violence and have to go through adult procedures (trials, medical protocols, having to leave their families) that do not respect their needs and personal life stories.

But adults are also children’s hope.

Child protection is the answer adults can give children in order to defend them from violence. Child protection means taking responsibility towards the little ones, towards the first citizens of a society.

Child protection means:

  • promotion of a culture of children that recognizes them as citizens in every way and matter
  • helping children learn their rights
  • building a network- between services and institutions- in order to be able to protect them properly, in order to take care of boys and girls that have been harmed by adults
  • reinforcing the law system so that victims can ask for and obtain help and so that perpetrators can be taken charge of by it
  • organizing appropriate training for all those operators that work in the child protection system because violence has a hard impact on them
  • promoting educational and care paths that can help break the intergenerational transmission of violence


VIOLE-LAB has the following objectives:

  • development of pedagogical research (theoretical, empirical and historical)
  • development and promotion of pedagogical training strategies and models for professionals that work in the prevention and intervention field
  • development and promotion of pedagogical training strategies and models for parents and generally speaking for adults
  • pedagogical supervision and counseling in educational and care environments in order to identify and prevent risk of violence against children and to sustain professionals in their abilities to recognize and face situations of violence against children
  • increase collaboration strategies with institutions, local bodies, national and international networks, research centers, non-governmental sectors and educational services in order to identify adequate policies
  • address the public through communication strategies


VIOLE-LAB intends:

On the research level to:

  • study violence against children in depth
  • create a documentation center for collecting existing studies and researches on the matter
  • participate in national, European and international research


On the training level to create and implement strategies:

  • for protection professionals, to increase their pedagogical competences so that they can face violence against children and analyze the educational contexts in which children are immersed
  • for educators, teachers and pedagogues so that they can strengthen their non-violent practices, even in the sense of preventing their possible burn-out that often causes violent actions, and so that they can promote a culture of prevention and safeguard the protection system
  • for parents so that they can strengthen their non-violent practices. Professionals who take care of birth (midwives, gynecologists…), educators and teachers will be involved


On the network-creation level to:

  • create cooperation spaces with communities (children and adults), ministerial contact points, local bodies, with non-governmental organizations to support child and adolescent defense policies at a local, regional, national and international level
  • collaboration with institutions, research and action networks at a national, European and international level


On the communication level to:

  • read and learn about the language of the media and the ways through which they narrate childhood and address it, in order to raise awareness in the public about the risks of sensationalism and the way these languages depict violence
  • promote non-violent communication styles that respect childhood


For information please contact:

Project coordinator:   dott.ssa Elisabetta Biffi

Università di Milano-Bicocca
Dipartimento di Scienze Umane per la Formazione “Riccardo Massa”
piazza dell’Ateneo Nuovo 1
20126 Milano
phone: +390264486072