KiVa in a nutshell

KiVa is a research-based antibullying program that has been developed in the University of Turku, Finland, with funding from the Ministry of Education and Culture. The effectiveness of KiVa has been shown in a large randomized controlled trial. In Finland, KiVa is a sought-after program: 90 % of all comprehensive schools in the country are registered KiVa schools implementing the program.

Prevention, intervention, and monitoring

KiVa is an evidence-based whole-school program developed using cutting-edge research on bullying and its mechanishm to prevent bullying and to tackle the cases of bullying effectively. The former is crucial but also the latter is important, as no prevention efforts will make bullying disappear once and for all; there need to be tools to be utilized when a case of bullying comes to light. The third aspect of KiVa is constant monitoring of the situation in one’s school and the changes taking place over time; this is enabled by the online tools included in KiVa. These tools produce annual feedback for each school about their implementation of the program as well as the outcomes obtained. 

The main components of KiVa

KiVa includes both universal and indicated actions. The universal actions, such as the KiVa curriculum (student lessons and online games), are directed at all students and focus mainly on preventing bullying. The indicated actions are to be used when a bullying case has emerged. They are targeted specifically to the children and adolescents who have been involved in bullying as perpetrators or victims, as well as to several classmates who are challenged to support the victim; the aim is to put an end to bullying.

KiVa is based on decades of research on bullying and its mechanisms

KiVa was developed at the University of Turku in Finland, with funding from the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture. Its developers are experts who have been studying the phenomenon of bullying and its mechanisms for decades. The team is led by PhD, Professor Christina Salmivalli and PhD, Special Researcher Elisa Poskiparta.

Strong evidence of effectiveness

There are numerous antibullying programs on the market but unfortunately, only few of them have been tested in rigorous scientific studies. This means that there is no evidence of whether or not the programs actually help in reducing bullying in schools.

The effects of the KiVa antibullying program have been evaluated in numerous studies. In addition to the studies based on the data collect­ed and analyzed by our KiVa research group, also independent data collected by National Institute for Health and Welfare indicates that bullying and victimization have decreased in Finland since the broad rollout of the KiVa program. KiVa is now being evaluated in several countries: the first international studies from the Netherlands, Estonia, Italy, and Wales are emerging, showing that KiVa is effective outside of Finland as well.

Experience-based learning during KiVa student lessons.
Experience-based learning during KiVa student lessons.

Each particular case is handled in a series of individual and group discussions.
The indicated actions take place when bullying has come to the attention of school personnel. Each particular case is handled in a series of individual and group discussions between the school’s KiVa team and the students involved. Several prosocial peers of the victim are challenged to provide support for the victimized classmate.

KiVa is targeted at various age groups

KiVa has three units of which Unit 1 and Unit 2 are currently available outside the borders of Finland. Unit 1 is designed for children of 6–9 years of age. Unit 2 is suitable for children of 10–12 years of age. Unit 3 is meant to be used after the middle school/lower secondary school transition. Currently, Unit 3 is only available in Finland.

Material for teachers, students and parents

KiVa includes an extensive amount of material for teachers, students and parents including e.g. teachers’ manuals, videos, online games, KiVa student and staff surveys, posters, vests and parent’s guide. KiVa has several language versions available and more translations are underway. Contact Turn on JavaScript! to find out if KiVa exists in your language.

KiVa is not meant to be a one-year project, but a permanent part of the school’s antibullying work.