Creating Meaningful Change Through Peer Education

Lydia Georgina Vaccaro, a sixthform student who currently volunteers on the project reflects on her role as a peer trainer.

I first became involved in the project when Y-Stop came to my school in North London to deliver training as part of PHSE day. The session was very informative and enlightened me about stop and search, my rights and how I could be an ally to others. I wanted to become further involved with the project because living in a highly deprived area of London, I had been a witness to the injustices with the police and public during stop and searches.

As a volunteer peer trainer, my first session was at the YMCA centre in Crouch End where young residents expressed their concerns with me and my colleague about their experiences of stop and search. A numerous number of those concerns were regarding the abuse of authority, unnecessary restraint and feelings of persistent harassment. One young man even expressed how local offices knew him by name even though he had never committed a crime. He went on to explain that this could be considerably dangerous if he is perceived to have dealings with the police and labelled as a “snitch”.

Many were relieved to be introduced to the Y-Stop app which allows you to record police encounters as well as automatically live streaming footage if the phone is shaken if there is a belief that the situation is becoming more hostile. The main aim of the app is to increase police accountability across England and Wales and to simplify the complaints procedure. My experiences as a peer trainer have been interesting yet also heart-breaking especially since I have become significantly more aware that males, predominantly from black and minority ethnic backgrounds have highly problematic difficulties with the police whose main role is to provide protection for all equally. Working as a Y-Stop trainer has been an incredible experience and I wish to continue it for as long as it takes to remove police brutality and inequality.

To become a Y-Stop peer trainer or to find out further information about the project email us at;