As part of the project, seven training sessions were carried out for professionals from 11 civil society organisations in four local communities in total.
The goals and contents of the training sessions are complimentary with the Included Communities Model that encompasses the understanding of the position of criminal offenders, their families, and children, deliberating on existing capacities, planning the development of capacities and support to former prisoners and their families, improving the counsellors’ skills in providing support to criminal offenders, internal sectoral and inter-sectoral cooperation and advocating equal opportunities.
Educational modules that were carried out:
- Social justice training (instructors: Sanja Brajković and Marina Trbus, psychologists from the partner organisation Public Open University Step by step) – participation in the training opened the topic of the stigma and prejudice towards vulnerable groups, but also the fears and needs of the local community in order for a positive acceptance into the community. This training provided mutual acquaintance of participants, connection and first steps towards successful cooperation in order to work on the development of the Included Communities Model as the project continues – a universal model for the successful integration of disadvantaged groups into society.
2. Legal framework and advocacy tools (instructors: Ivana Zanze, Branka Mrzić Jagatić, Miran Ćaćić, Danijel Martinović and Marija Renić from the RODA Association) – during the training, the participants had the opportunity to draft plans for campaigns and messages to advocate change, sensitise the public and influence key stakeholders in the field of the protection of the rights of children whose parents are imprisoned. During this education, participants were also familiarised with the legal framework, particularly in the field of maintaining the relationship between parents and children.
- Intersectoral cooperation (instructors: Sanja Brajković and Marina Trbus) – the participants were familiarised with the topics of eco-mapping of services, integrative planning and pro-pro model of discussion leading and changes which are foreseen by introducing inter-sectoral cooperation in the field of post-penal acceptance of criminal offenders into the community. Through workshops, participants were conceiving and preparing a local initiative for inter-sectoral cooperation in the form of a meeting related to the inclusion and connection of key stakeholders for the purpose of drafting a local post-penal acceptance policy and raising the readiness of local institutions and the community for a more sustainable and quality post-penal acceptance.
- Psychosocial skills training (instructors: Anita Jandrić NIšević, Associate Professor, PhD and Ivana Borić, Associate Professor, PhD) – the participants were familiarised with scientifically based concepts of working with criminal offenders, the criminogenic risks and needs model and the good lives model were explained to them, they were familiarised with the particularities of working with parolees and acquiring the skills of providing and receiving feedback and assertive skills in the communication with criminal offenders. Through practical exercises and group work, they were familiarised with motivational interviewing and motivating involuntary clients, as well as fundamental skills for working with involuntary clients, they were instructed on working with criminal offenders by acquiring the skills of dealing with emotions and they obtained practical advice on how to apply them, while relevant statistical data at the national and European level was presented to them, as well as most frequently used methods for working with this vulnerable group.
- CBT techniques training for working with criminal offenders (instructors: Jadranka Orehovec, University Specialist in Clinical Psychology from the Counselling Centre Taura) – the participants had the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the principles and tools of cognitive-behavioural therapy and to define the client’s difficulties, goals of the therapy and interventions. Through individual and group work, the participants performed exercises by applying the model of cognitive-behavioural therapy, the so-called “Thoughts-feelings-behaviour triangle”. They also familiarised themselves with the principles of therapy work with persons with anxiety difficulties, anger, and depression, as well as the efficiency of application and modern contributions of cognitive-behavioural techniques.
- Webinar on the use of digital tools in the organisation of promotional campaign (instructors: Luka Justinijanović and Alen Anđelić, Marketing agency Macchiato Kolektiv) – the purpose of the webinar was to prepare the participants of the project to implement smaller digital campaigns which they will carry out in their local communities, namely, Zagreb, Zadar, Varaždin, and Osijek, under the project Included Communities. The participants acquired the knowledge and information on how to promote activities, the services of its associations, but also, in general, how to raise the visibility of the association and raise the public awareness level on the issues of the post-penal acceptance topic. The webinar has also helped associations and that the preparations for carrying out digital campaigns in their local communities bring the topics/difficulties of the user group of former prisoners and/or their family members closer to the public.
- Webinar on volunteering and planning volunteering activities (instructor: Jelena Kamenko Mayer, University Specialist, BA in Political Sciences from the Croatian Volunteer Development Centre, Coordination Office Osijek) – the purpose of the webinar was to educate the participants on the organisation of volunteering activity and inform them on the organisation of volunteering activities in times of crisis, such as the epidemiological crisis caused by coronavirus over the course of the webinar. Units that were covered: “Volunteering – concept, significance and values of volunteers”, “Legislative provisions on volunteering in the Republic of Croatia – the rights and obligations of volunteers and volunteering organisers”, and “Organising volunteering activities in the community – steps in organising volunteering activities”.