The KiVa method: an antibullying program that works

The KiVa method: an antibullying program that works

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The KiVa method (from the Finnish words "kiusaamista vastaan", which means "against bullying"), it is an innovative anti-bullying or anti-bullying program for schools that has been developed and used for the first time in Finland, but which is being moving to other countries for its recognition and effectiveness.


  • 1 The KiVa method and its effectiveness
  • 2 Objectives of the KiVa program
  • 3 Theoretical basis of the program
  • 4 How the KiVa method works
  • 5 Information for the application of the KiVa program

The KiVa method and its effectiveness

There are already more than 1,500 schools in Finland that are using the KiVa anti-bullying program systematically In addition, other countries around the world also implement it, including Belgium, Italy, Greece and Luxembourg.

The effectiveness of the program is based on the fact that each is responsible for the welfare of the group. It focuses on a change in attitudes on the part of the students who are neither victims nor bullies, who give their support to the victim, instead of continuing to encourage harassment. Therefore, resources focus on promoting the participation of all, and not only on helping the victims or educating the aggressors.

In the Netherlands, the number of bullies and victims of bullying has fallen by up to 20% more in schools that have introduced the anti-bullying program, than in control schools.

In addition, the KiVa program has also resulted in notable changes in teacher actions. Studies suggest that teachers now treat reports about bullying more seriously and are better equipped to intervene.

Objectives of the KiVa program

Its main objective of the program is reduce bullying and victimization. To achieve this, the method is based on four key pillars:

  1. Increase the awareness about the role the group plays in maintaining bullying
  2. Increase empathy for victims
  3. Promote victim support strategies and encourage children's self-efficacy to use those strategies
  4. Increase the abilities of children to deal with when they are victims

Theoretical basis of the program

KiVa developers used the social-cognitive theory as a frame of reference for the understanding of social behavior in schools. It was also based on research that suggests that Bullying behavior is due to the search for high status within a group of peers, and that the maintenance of bullying depends on the behavior of the group.

Therefore, the KiVa method predicts that changes in group behaviors can reduce bullying by reduction of the benefits of bullying.

How the KiVa method works

The program is based on the students neither support nor silence the harassment nor support the stalkerOn the contrary, show your support for the victim and communicate the bullying situation to the teachers.

What is sought with the program is to break the silence of classmates who are not bullies but who hide the facts, whether because of fear, for not knowing what to do, for not being aware of the damage caused by bullying or for misconception that the bullying student is "cool."

A silence that isolates and leaves the victim alone, when it should be the opposite. In fact, as experts say, harassment can be defined as a group phenomenon. Hence the importance, and where lies the success of this method, in acting with the witnesses, to avoid reinforcing the stalker with their attitude. The Kiva method provides students with tools to know how to detect bullyng and, above all, to know how to act.

Some interventions are intended increase positive participation in the harassment of spectators or witnesses. In practice, this is very effective in reducing bullying, harassment, victimization, and increases the likelihood that a person present will intervene to stop the harassment. What you are looking for is increase observer empathy towards the victims of intimidation. In addition, this creates a shared sense of responsibility that helps change group norms and not accept bullying.

Information for the KiVa program application

For the proper establishment of the KiVa method in a school, complete and detailed manuals have been developed, consisting of a general application manual and three specific manuals with lessons and assignments according to the different school stages and ages of the students.

Specifically, the Kiva program includes about twenty classes in three stages of school life, at 7, 10 and 13 years to recognize the different forms of bullying and where they perform exercises to improve coexistence.

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