Funded by the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit, the Mentors in Violence Prevention Progamme (MVP) is free of charge to secondary schools across the county from September.
It is designed to educate schoolteachers, staff and pupils on the ‘bystander model’ – somebody who fails to act when they are aware of situations such as bullying, which can be seen to condone certain behaviour.
The programme aims to help young people to become mentors and to encourage peers against being bystanders.
Graham Jones, Head of the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit, said: “As young people come out of the lockdown period and face some uncertain futures, there has been no better time to have these discussions and to try to understand their thinking and provide open discussion in making positive choices.
“The South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit are taking a public health approach to preventing violence and the Mentors in Violence Prevention is one way of engaging with our young people at a time when it is extremely important to do so.”
Dr Alan Billings South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: “I have been to Glasgow and seen young people acting as mentors to their peers, teaching them how to be more proactive in stopping others being bullied or harassed.
“There is no doubt that young people are more likely to take notice of other young people and so this programme is one important way in which we can train them to be mentors to their fellow students.
“If we are to reduce violence in all its forms in our society, the younger we can help people to understand how damaging bullying and harassment can be, the better.
“At a time when school budgets are stretched I am pleased we can offer this programme at no cost to schools.”
The programme includes three digital sessions. It also includes lesson plans and scenarios around domestic abuse, bullying, harassment, sexual violence, weapons carrying, Child Sexual Exploitation and different forms of hate crime.