From Violence to Caring

About the programme
FROM VIOLENCE TO CARING – Violence and the Frames for Compassionate Non-Violence (FVC) is an international study programme for students and for in-service training for professionals in various fields. The programme is coordinated by Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS) in the University of Oulu.
At the background of the programme is the need for professionals, and students as future professionals alike, to have access to education on issues of gender, violence, and compassionate non-violence.  Professionals need education to support their work with the victims of violence, to prevent violence and support non-violence. This education needs to be based on a wider understanding of violence, include approaches on how gender and other socio-cultural dimensions are related to it and provide multidisciplinary and multiprofessional approach to violence prevention and intervention.
The FVC programme was constructed to respond to these challenges. The programme includes five e-learning courses, each focusing on a particular aspect of violence:

This course offers participants definitions of violence with sensitivity towards gender and other intersecting dimensions. Violence is approached in the lifespan, across
generations and through multisectoral and multidisciplinary approach.

This course studies violence as a global issue and introduces international conventions for violence prevention.  The course includes topics such as harmful traditional practices and violence in conflicts which are looked at from global and local perspectives.

This course introduces definitions of sexual exploitation, trafficking and prostitution and looks at vulnerabilities and routes related to them. During the course understanding of the phenomenon and its prevention is expanded to support professionals’ abilities to recognise and prevent sexual exploitation and support those in vulnerable positions.  

This course provides participants with current perspectives to the practical measures for violence prevention and interventions.

This course gives tools and approaches to work towards equality and equity from the perspective of non-violence. Work is founded on better understanding on human rights and capabilities, children’s rights as well as other legislation and policies to support non-violence and equality.

The goal of the FVC programme is to increase the awareness of violence, give tools for encountering violence, for working in different violent environments, supporting compassionate non-violence and through this help the victims of violence.  Violence is approached as a broad phenomenon, from local and global perspectives and by reflecting the knowhow acquired by the participants in their own environments.

Through the studies the participants will gain:
• a broader understanding of violence as a phenomenon: ability to explain and recognise various forms of violence in life span in different local and global contexts.
• competence based on sensitivity towards issues of gender and other intersecting dimensions: ability to apply the approaches to analyse and recognize violence, to develop actions to prevent and intervene in violence and to support the victims of violence;
• knowledge and ability to develop one’s work on violence preventions and in supporting non-violence;  to design practical measures to intervene in violence and construct non-violent and equal practices, reflect and develop non-violence and compassion in one’s own practices and interaction, and to work in a group and reflect group collaboration from the perspectives of non-violence and equity

Target groups
The FVC programme is targeted at both students and professionals. The programme is multidisciplinary by nature and invites participants from various fields. Professionals and students from social work and education will find the programme particularly beneficial in developing their professional competence.

The method
The FVC programme is a distant learning programme. The basic programme is structured from five courses, each of which studies the phenomenon of violence from different perspectives.  Each course includes four modules with sub-themes that are discussed and worked on together with the other participants. The programme starts in September and continues over one academic year. Individual courses last approximately two months.

The studying takes place in an e-learning environment where students can participate from their own countries or regions.
•    Studying includes group activities and individual work
•    International e-learning studies provide the participants with the possibility to participate flexibly in relation to time and place
•    Exchange of practical knowledge between participants from different back grounds offers unique learning possibilities.

Participants’ learning process is evaluated by course tutor as well as through participant’s self-evaluation. This evaluation is included in each course and affords both insight on the past learning process as well as support for the future learning in the FVC programme and in everyday contexts.

The programme in Finland
The FVC programme was developed by the Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Oulu together with a vast network of professionals. The development work has been done over the past decade, six EU Daphne-funded projects, and international collaboration. The work was collected into a five-course programme in 2007. Since then the programme has been offered regularly and biannually in Finnish and English.

Since the beginning of the programme more than 200 participants have joined the studies from around the globe; Scandinavian countries, Europe, Russia, Asia. This international nature of the studies is made possible through the use of information and communication technologies.

The learning experiences of the participants are continuously followed through collecting student feedback from each individual course as well as from the entire programme. Also the study journals of participants have been material for the research on the programme. The non-violence pedagogy developed for and in the study programme has been discussed in more detail in Heikkinen, Pihkala & Sunnari 2012.

According to this, ”the study programme constructs a critical, reflective learning environment that respects the individual dignities of students and the shared learning process, and [---] ensures equal relationships among the participants and treat the topic with the sensitivity it deserves. The programme platform offers participants an opportunity not only for possible self-empowerment in their contemporary work or in their future career, but to combat gendered and sexualised violence collectively in their everyday lives.”

FVC in Russia
The international FVC programme (25 ects) has been introduced to students and professionals in Russia since 2012.  Additionally two new courses – an 8 week basic course and a 12 week continuing course – are offered in Russia for professional competence building on violence and non-violence.  The courses include:
•    research and perspectives to increase professionals’ skills in the understanding of violence as a broad phenomenon to better recognise violence in its multiple forms
•    current perspectives on family, local and regional issues and violence prevention
•    tools to support professional work on violence prevention.

Terms of use

Contact information
The FV Study Programme is coordinated by Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Oulu.
More information and current updates:  

Coordinator of the programme:
Suvi Pihkala
Tel.: +358 2 9448 3729
University of Oulu, Women’s and Gender Studies
Department of Educational Sciences and Teacher Education
P.O. Box 2000
FI-90014 University of Oulu


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