In year one of Imagine a Man No Knives, Better Lives explored what it is like to be a boy or young man in Scotland today. The purpose of the research was to develop and deepen our understanding of how young people feel about masculinity and growing up and how this impacts on behaviour and attitude especially around violence. Were there any pre-cursers to male violence and could we learn about when and how to develop an evidenced approach to early intervention and prevention with boys and young men?
1230 young people across Scotland completed a survey, 25 young people took part in focus groups and 5 adult practitioners were interviewed. The themes explored included stereotypes and expectations, risky behaviour, community and relationships, ideal futures and support needed to explore masculinity.
Because violence is predominantly a male experience (as they are much more likely than women to be both perpetrators and victims of violent acts) we wanted to find out when, where and who could make a positive intervention. We also wanted to get a sense from boys and young men themselves, exactly how they reflected on the pressures to conform to gender stereotypes and how this impacted on them as individuals. Therefore, this report addresses primarily the male experience of violence and analyses their understanding of risk and protective factors.