Background Networking is evidently a crucial way to promote safety in municipalities. Constructivistic theories suppose that people adjust their behaviour to their own experiences rather than to explicit rules. Within the project “Safety for children in and by day-care centres and municipalities” (“Kindersicherheit in Kita und Kommune”; KiKuK) which ran from 2013 to 2014 individual behavioural patterns as well as underlying attitudes were analysed to learn more about how safety is promoted in communities using networks and how promotion is approved within the target group. KiKuK covered 33 municipalities in northern Germany.
Methods Six German municipalities, five of them rural and one city, were analysed focusing on the implicit child safety networks. 216 stakeholders working in the field promoting child safety were interviewed to identify the structure and quality of the existing networks. In order to capture the real structure rather than the organisational chart we used an innovative systemic sample approach.
Additionally, we interviewed 105 parents and stakeholders to learn more about their individual attitudes towards different stakeholders.
Results The surveyed networks differ from the allocated organisational charts. Stakeholders and families clearly distribute their sympathy and work closer with the ones they like rather than with the ones they are supposed to work with. We found that there are subtle structures in municipalities that use specific stakeholders as pivots. We also found that families have a different idea of how stakeholders should act by means of safety promotion.
Conclusions To push safety promotion forward it is not sufficient to tell stakeholders and families what to do but it is necessary to also listen to them in order to meet their sympathies. If they may do what they enjoy and with whom it suits them, they will be more likely to do it. We suggest that networking should take the individual stakeholder more into account and be less of a top down process.
- safety promotion
- child safety network