Current Research Projects

Democracy – Participation – Diversity. Women in Local Politics in Rural Areas (FRIDA)

Democracy – Participation – Diversity. Women in Local Politics in Rural Areas (FRIDA)

Project manager: Prof. Dr. Barbara Thiessen

Research assistant: Mina Mittertrainer, M.A.

Project duration: 01.10.2018 - 30.09.2022

Project financing: Bavarian State Ministry for Science and Art, EUR 250,000

Background of the project:
The research project “Democracy – Participation – Diversity. Women in Local Politics in Rural Areas (FRIDA)” is one of eleven subprojects being conducted by the Bavarian Research Association “Future of Democracy” (ForDemocracy).

The objective of Project FRIDA is to strengthen democracy with a more equal participation of women from diverse social and cultural backgrounds in local politics. In particular women with family responsibilities, a lower level of education or from a migration background rarely hold office in local politics.

Focusing on Bavaria, which is last in the table for gender equality in participation levels in Germany, the project is structured as follows: First of all the causes for the low participation level of women holding office and sitting on committees in local politics will be investigated using both existing literature as well as surveys conducted for the project. Next, specific measures to motivate young women and women from diverse social and cultural backgrounds to get involved in local politics will be developed, tested and evaluated – these will include for example counsellors for young women on equality bodies, mentoring concepts, contacts for open youth work and mother groups. Theoretical concepts of self-efficacy and empowerment will be further developed and put into practice. The results will be made available in the form of a handout with specific recommendations for action for the specific policy recommendations relating to local government and women.

“Child Protection in Institutions” Research Group

FosterCare

FosterCare

FosterCare - Foster families as places of safe participation for children and adolescents and development of protection concepts to strengthen the individual rights of children, adolescents and care leavers.

Short title: FosterCare – strengthen rights. Participate. Protect. Adolescents in foster families.

Interdisciplinary research project

Project lead in Landshut
Prof. Dr. Mechthild Wolff

Project assistants
Meike Kampert, educator, M.A.
Kirsten Röseler, social worker, B.A.

Project partners
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schröer, University of Hildesheim
Prof. Dr. Ute Ziegenhain, University Hospital of Ulm
Prof. Dr. Jörg M. Fegert, University Hospital of Ulm

Project type
Third-party-funded project of the funding line “Research on sexualised violence against children and adolescents in pedagogical contexts”, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) (funding ref.: 01SR1702C)

Project duration
01.02.2018 – 31.12.2020

Project description
In the international debate among professionals there has been a fairly broad discussion on violence experienced by children and adolescents in foster homes. This is due not least to the dominant position of this form of care abroad compared to other types of out-of-home care. However, there has been little research in Germany on the potential risks for adolescents in the foster care service: There has never before been a debate among professionals and a systematic analysis of violence against children and adolescents in the foster care service. Accordingly, the development of protection concepts in the area of foster care has been rudimentary. This gap will be closed by the FosterCare joint project.

The aim of this interdisciplinary joint project is to develop recommendations for protection concepts from the viewpoint of the individual rights of children and adolescents and as a result strengthen the position of foster children and care leavers. For this purpose a hotline for children, adolescents and care leavers who live or grew up in foster families will be set up and tested and an app will be developed. Adolescents from foster families will therefore have the opportunity to talk about their experiences and if necessary be put in contact with appropriate counselling services. Group discussions will also be held with foster children, care leavers, foster parents and professionals in the foster care service, in order to research every-day experiences in support and approaches for good practice. Additional research will investigate what explicit or implicit protection concepts are already being used in the foster care service and the infrastructures of foster families. With key persons with the relevant specialist expertise, ultimately recommendations will be developed and educational material produced based on all of the findings and conclusions.

The flyer for the project with all of the information can be found here.

Protection standard

Protection standard - Protection concepts in child and youth work - Normalcy constructions of violence and sexuality among adolescents

Protection standard - Protection concepts in child and youth work - Normalcy constructions of violence and sexuality among adolescents

Interdisciplinary research project

Project lead in Landshut
Prof. Dr. Mechthild Wolff

Project assistant
Sonja Riedl

Project partners


Kiel University

Prof. Dr. Anja Henningsen – Project lead
Veronika Winter – Research assistant Institute for Pedagogy



University of Hildesheim Foundation
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schröer – Project lead
Tanja Rusack – Research assistant Institute for Social and Organisation Pedagogy


University of Kassel
Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Tuider – Project lead
Alina M. Schmitz – Research assistant Sociology of diversity

Project type
Third-party-funded project of the funding line “Sexual violence against children and adolescents in pedagogical contexts”, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) (funding ref.: 01SR1701D)

Project duration
01.07.2018 – 30.06.2021

Short description
Protection concepts to ensure the rights of children and adolescents in child and youth work have until now hardly drawn on the “normal understanding” of sexuality and violence of children and adolescents. The purpose of the joint project is therefore to collect the views of adolescents and their own definition of “normality” in the context of sexuality and violence and to incorporate these in protection concepts.

In the joint project, scientists in the four project locations, each with a partner with practical experience, will take a closer look at the following areas of activity: Kiel: youth social work; Kassel: international youth work; Hildesheim: open child and youth work; Landshut: youth association work.

Key questions driving the research will include how adolescents deal with sexuality and violation of personal boundaries in the peer community and what measures exist to protect adolescents. The research will also question what is being done in the respective area of child and youth work in order to proactively address risks among adolescents. For this purpose, the researchers will develop in a participative approach together with adolescents the research instruments and methods.

Based on the results of the research, a brochure will be produced by and for adolescents on how to deal with sexuality and violence. In addition, a youth conference is planned at which the results of all of the surveys (online survey, peer-to-peer survey, document analysis) will be presented and discussed with interested adolescents and professionals. On this basis, recommendations for youth social work, international youth work, open child and youth work and youth association work will be developed.

You can find further projects here.