Manchester Metropolitan University's Research Repository

    Children and young people harming animals: intervention through PSHE?

    Piper, Heather, Johnson, Mike, Myers, Steve and Pritchard, Joan (2003) Children and young people harming animals: intervention through PSHE? Research papers in education, 18 (2). pp. 197-213. ISSN 0267-1522

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    The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) commissioned a project to explore issues around children harming animals. More than 1000 young people and 100 adults engaged with the research, which initially focussed on the way children and young people themselves make sense of harm towards animals, and then extended into a range of other areas. A critical evaluation of the literature informed a research design that included: questionnaires distributed to schools producing 841 returns from individual pupils; interviews with 10 young people; 28 group interviews involving a total of 270 young people; and individual interviews with many involved professionals. In addition, retrospective data was gathered from 25 adults regarding their early experiences of harming animals and on 276 children from a center working with young children with behavioral problems, some of whom had harmed animals. Issues arising from this pilot study include the suggestion that children and young people harming animals is more widespread than generally accepted. The majority of all those contacted thought that future intervention should focus primarily on 'education', and the many teachers involved proposed Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) and Citizenship as the appropriate forum. This paper offers a brief summary of the main elements of the research process and outlines some of the emerging issues. A full account appears in the unpublished research report, (Piper et al. 2001). It is hoped this paper may stimulate further research, especially in the UK.

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