School violence

School violence produces devastating consequences for the victims. Unsafe learning environments do not only undermine the quality of education for all learners, negatively impacting pupils’ academic achievement, but they can also lead the victims to drop-out of school (UNESCO, 2019).  Feeling safe is a fundamental human need. Addressing school violence by ensuring a non-violent, safe, inclusive, effective learning environment is key to ensure equitable quality education for all (United Nations Division for Sustainable Development Goals, 2015a).

Safety includes prohibiting corporal punishment and preventing any physical injury or harm due to bullying (such as pushing, punching, or beating), as well as social and emotional violence, which can include verbal abuse, harassment, and social exclusion (UNESCO, 2017).

The present policy page showcases various strategies to address school violence and ensure that school is a safe environment for all.

References
United Nations Division for Sustainable Development Goals. 2015a. Sustainable Development Goal 4. Accessed 11 October 2018: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg4

UNESCO. 2017. Let’s decide how to measure school violence. Global Education Monitoring Report: Policy paper 29. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000246984

UNESCO. 2019. Behind the numbers: Ending school violence and bullying. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000366483

Promising policy options

A strong political commitment is indispensable to prevent, address, and stop school violence. Integrating prevention strategies and responses to school violence into Education Sector Plans and national policies is essential. It is also important to implement effective systems to report and monitor school violence at national, local and school levels, as well as develop a strong legal framework to address this issue in schools.

Teachers and school leaders need to be trained and supported to implement these policies within their classrooms and schools. This can be done by increasing their understanding of the topic, learning about conflict management techniques, and providing them with pertinent skills to prevent, identify, and respond to incidents of violence (Gudyanga, Matamba and Gudyanga, 2014). For instance, teachers can be equipped with knowledge and strategies to prevent sexual abuse from happening, and transfer this knowledge to students (Mwoma and Pillay, 2015).

Developing and enforcing legislation prohibiting school violence is indispensable to improve learning environments. For example, the Netherlands developed an Anti-Bullying Law, and Sweden’s 2010 Education Act obliges schools to prevent and respond to all forms of violence against children (UNESCO, 2019). Overall, States need to ensure the harmonization of legislation across sectors, particularly concerning children’s rights, corporal punishment, sexual violence, and bullying.

Moreover, every school must follow existing legislation and have a clear policy on how to deal effectively with school violence (Gudyanga, Matamba and Gudyanga, 2014). For instance, punishments and sanctions could be enforced in case of violations. Asking parents or guardians and the community for their support is key to implement collaborative initiatives meant to reduce or eliminate violent incidents in schools (Gudyanga, Matamba and Gudyanga, 2014). Overall, it is key to keep in mind that to have a conducive learning environment, schools must instil a culture of tolerance and respect, free from violence (Gudyanga, Matamba and Gudyanga, 2014). (For more information consult Policy page School climate).  

Strong connections between education and child protection systems are also key. This can be done by revising codes of conduct, improving school counselling systems and reporting mechanisms, and establishing a solid collaboration between pertinent stakeholders, among others. One example of this is Lebanon’s Ministry of Education, which has developed policies to address school violence in close collaboration with other ministries, such as the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Social Affairs (UNESCO, 2019).

Finally, consultations with civil society groups and other relevant stakeholders could support the inclusion of diverse needs of children, especially from marginalized groups, and ensure the government’s transparency and accountability regarding their school violence commitments.

References
Gudyanga, E.; Matamba, N.; Gudyanga, A. 2014. ‘Visual participatory approach to violent behaviour amongst Zimbabwean students: Forms and prevalence’. In: Asian Social Science, vol. 10, pp. Retrieved from: https://essa-africa.org/node/501?i=d&id=928

Mwoman, T.; Pillay, J. 2015. ‘Psychosocial support for orphans and vulnerable children in public primary schools: Challenges and intervention strategies.’ In: South African Journal of Education, 35 (3), 1-9. Retrieved from: https://essa-africa.org/node/501?i=d&id=604

UNESCO. 2019. Behind the numbers: Ending school violence and bullying. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000366483

Collect data to monitor the prevalence of school violence and bullying and create evidence-based initiatives

To address school violence through evidence-based initiatives, ‘informed by sound research’, it is indispensable to improve the ‘availability of accurate, reliable and disaggregated data’ on this issue (UNESCO, 2019: 56). Data collection and monitoring procedures must therefore be defined. Collecting data consistently is key to monitor the effectiveness of bullying prevention plans, and to understand what is working and what must be improved. For instance, organizing and disseminating surveys (or any other type of data collection method) once a year –or more often when possible– can help determine the prevalence of the problem in the school. In this regard, since 2012 the Republic of Korea conducts a national survey twice a year on students’ perceptions and experiences of school violence and bullying (UNESCO, 2019). Moreover, indicator number 33 of SDG4 which aims to measure the percentage of students experiencing ‘bullying, corporate punishment, harassment, violence, sexual discrimination and abuse’ can also be mobilised. Overall, it is indispensable to ensure that all tools used at the national-, district-, and school-level to monitor this issue are implemented in a coordinated manner (UNESCO, 2017).

Moreover, it is key to evaluate existing interventions. For instance, the Netherlands and Italy have invested significantly in assessing the effectiveness of anti-bullying interventions and programmes. This has allowed them to recognize the most successful ones in reducing school violence, such as the school-based programmes KiVA and No Trap! in Italy (UNESCO, 2019). This evaluation can be done with the support of non-government actors such as civil society organizations, academic institutions, professional associations, UN and donor agencies, and the media. For instance, in the Republic of Korea, Lebanon, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden academic institutions have contributed significantly to providing data and evaluating interventions (UNESCO, 2019).

References
UNESCO. 2017. Let’s decide how to measure school violence. Global Education Monitoring Report: Policy paper 29. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000246984

UNESCO. 2019. Behind the numbers: Ending school violence and bullying. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000366483

General constructive disciplinary interventions

Research has found that proactive disciplinary actions meant to improve students’ socio-emotional and behavioural skills are much more effective than solely establishing rules and norms which prohibit school violence, or exclusively rely on punitive disciplinary actions, such as zero-tolerance policies (e.g. installing surveillance cameras) (Chaux, n.d.; IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal, 2018d; Lopez, 2014; UNESCO, 2019). Instead of fostering a safe, welcoming, positive school climate, punitive disciplinary actions can create hostile environments, which could ultimately affect students’ learning process and even lead to students’ dropout from school (Greytak et al, 2016). It is therefore recommended to seek constructive actions meant to develop students’ self-regulation and socio-emotional skills such as:

  • student isolation or ‘time out’ actions;
  • a curriculum that teaches students to solve conflicts in a peaceful manner;
  • activities where students learn to act as mediators when conflicts arise between peers (peer mediation); and
  • restitution activities so that students can repair harmed relationships.

Overall, teachers must ‘support students in learning constructive conflict resolution strategies’ as well as how to control ‘angry’ feelings (Gudyanga, Matamba and Gudyanga, 2014: 35). Research shows that this type of constructive policy not only improve academic performance but also lower students’ dropout rates (Hough, 2015; IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal, 2018d).

School violence can also be prevented through a multi-level strategy by fostering whole-school, systematic strategies to improve school climate overall and prevent school violence (Lopez, 2014). Some examples include:

  • Jamaica’s School-Wide Positive Behavioural Intervention and Support Framework which guides schools in introducing positive behaviours (UNESCO, 2019);
  • Uruguay’s Living Together in Schools initiative which aims to improve schools’ climate (UNESCO, 2019);
  • Vanuatu’s National Curriculum which, since 2012, has been promoting happiness in schools (UNESCO Bangkok, 2016); and
  • Colombia’s ‘Classrooms in Peace’ –Aulas en Paz– initiative, implemented in Bogotá, which is a whole-school strategy aligned with national efforts concerning the integration of citizenship skills in the curriculum (López, 2014).

In certain cases, providing specific strategies for certain groups of students will be necessary in addition to school-wide strategies. This could be done through educational reinforcement workshops in social skills or tutoring opportunities, among others.

Finally, it may also be necessary to ensure individual interventions for severe behaviour issues. This can be done through individual counselling and a regular follow-up of specific students. Some examples of therapeutic constructive approaches which can have positive, long-lasting effects in reducing bullying behaviour of individual students are (Alabi and Lami, 2015):

  • Client-Centred Therapy (CCT): through this approach therapists help victimizers discover their positive interpersonal relationship skills and support them in changing the way they socialize with their peers (Alabi and Lami, 2015).  
  • Rational-Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT): through this approach therapists help victimizers replace their irrational and self-defeating beliefs, which lead them to bullying behaviours, into ‘more rational and self-helping ones’ (Alabi and Lami, 2015: 64). REBT attributes bullying behaviour to irrational facets of the victimizer’s belief system formed during childhood (Alabi and Lami, 2015).

Research conducted in secondary schools in Ilorin, Nigeria, evidenced the decrease of bullying behaviours of students who followed an hour-long session of these therapeutic approaches for eight weeks, in two treatment schools (Alabi and Lami, 2015).

References
Alabi, Y.L.; Lami, M.M 2015. ‘Efficacy of client-centred and rational-emotive behaviour therapies in reducing bullying behaviour among in-school adolescents in Ilorin, Nigeria’. In: International Journal of Instruction, vol. 8, pp. 61–74. Retrieved from: https://essa-africa.org/node/501?i=d&id=627

Chaux, E. n.d. Conflictos, bullying y violencia escolar: Estrategias de prevención y manejo. Bogotá: Universidad de los Andes. Accessed 11 October 2018: http://www2.congreso.gob.pe/sicr/cendocbib/con4_uibd.nsf/B7BD4EFC43375FB70525807C00824B00/$FILE/CM-2.pdf

Greytak, E.A.; Kosciw, J.G.; Villenas, C.; Giga, N.M. 2016. From Teasing to Torment: School Climate Revisited, A Survey of U.S. Secondary School Students and Teachers. New York: GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network). Retrieved from: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED574777.pdf

Gudyanga, E.; Matamba, N.; Gudyanga, A. 2014. ‘Visual participatory approach to violent behaviour amongst Zimbabwean students: Forms and prevalence’. In: Asian Social Science, vol. 10, pp. Retrieved from: https://essa-africa.org/node/501?i=d&id=928

Hough, L. 2015. ‘Does It Have To Be So Complicated?’ In: Harvard ED Magazine. Summer 2015. Accessed 10 October 2018: https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/ed/15/05/does-it-have-be-so-complicated

IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal. 2018d. Brief 3: The psycho-social school environment. Accessed 27 September 2018: https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/en/issue-briefs/improve-learning/the-psychosocial-school-environment

López, V. 2014. Education and Development Post-2015: School Climate. Notes Nº4. Santiago de Chile: OREALC-UNESCO (Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean). Retrieved from: http://www.unesco.org/new/fileadmin/MULTIMEDIA/FIELD/Santiago/pdf/APUNTE04-ING.pdf

UNESCO Bangkok. 2016. Happy Schools! A Framework for Learner Well-being in the Asia-Pacific. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002441/244140e.pdf

UNESCO. 2019. Behind the numbers: Ending school violence and bullying. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000366483

Specific anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies

To ensure children’s safety, it is very important to have a plan for bullying and harassment prevention in schools. This plan can be independent or part of the general school climate improvement plan (see Policy page School climate). Since the plan is meant to build a shared understanding and commitment on the importance of bullying and harassment prevention, it is key that all relevant stakeholders within the school community participate in its elaboration. A plan for bullying and harassment needs to include various elements. 

It must include the school’s shared definition of bullying. Each school can define bullying differently. An example of a general definition is ‘a form of permanent or constant harassing, exercised by one person or more from a position of power (physical, social status) over others, and causes intentional damage’ (Olweus, 2004, 2010 cited by Lopez, 2014:2). It is also possible to give an ‘enumerated’ definition, in which bullying is based upon personal characteristics such as race/ethnicity, disability, gender and sexual orientation (Greytak et al., 2016:41).

Research has found that enumerated definitions and policies are much more effective than general policies in protecting all students from bullying and harassment. An example of an enumerated definition is:

‘Bullying means written, verbal or physical conduct that adversely affects the ability of one or more students to participate in or benefit from the school’s educational programmes or activities by placing the student (or students) in reasonable fear of physical harm. This includes, but is not limited to, conduct that is based on a student’s actual or perceived race, colour, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other distinguishing characteristics that may be defined by the state or state educational agency. This also includes association with a person or group with one or more of the abovementioned characteristics, whether actual or perceived’ (GLESEN, n.d. Enumeration:1).

The plan needs to specify clear roles and responsibilities for all school members to ensure their meaningful participation in the efforts to prevent and respond to school violence and bullying (UNESCO, 2019). In this regard, the school head’s strong leadership is essential. It is also key to create partnerships with relevant stakeholders, such as parents, community members, students, and teachers (Pepler and Craig, 2014; UNESCO, 2019). Actions that have shown positive results in preventing and reducing bullying include:

  • Motivating students, school staff members, teachers, community members, and parents to become ‘Champions’. ‘Champions’ are people who ‘deeply embrace and embody healthy relationships and the school’s bullying prevention aspirations, who work together to increase awareness and knowledge on bullying in order to change attitudes and opinions’ (Ontario, n.d.:19).
  • Empowering all students to enhance their active participation in addressing school violence and bullying. This has been the case in countries such as Sweden, the Republic of Korea, and Uruguay.
  • Implementing peer-approaches. This strategy has been found to be ‘a critical success factor in countries that have made significant progress’ in addressing school violence (UNESCO, 2019: 50). For instance, Italy’s KiVA initiative motivated spectators to stand up for school violence victims (UNESCO, 2019). Moreover, initiatives such as the ‘befriending strategy’ encourage classmates to support victims of bullying. This type of interaction changes the dynamics of bullying behaviour within the classroom and increases positive attitudes among the students (Alabi and Lami, 2015).

The plan must also designate a member of the school staff responsible for all the school violence complaints, investigating the allegations promptly and reporting the incidents to relevant stakeholders. Likewise, designating a district administrator responsible for collecting and responding to all school violence reports in the district, whenever possible, is of key importance (GLSEN, n.d.). 

Moreover, the plan needs to define the interventions for the victimizers (with both a constructive and punitive component), as well as set adequate measures for the victims. Some strategies include child-sensitive reporting and complaint mechanisms, mediation, conciliation, as well as support mechanisms including access to trained counsellors (UNESCO, 2019). For example, countries such as Lebanon, the Republic of Korea, and Jamaica all provide school counsellors for victims of school violence (UNESCO, 2019).

The plan also needs to promote professional development opportunities so that stakeholders, principally teachers, learn how to prevent, identify, and handle school violence (UNESCO, 2019; Pepler and Craig, 2014). Moreover, effective communication campaigns about the bullying prevention plan must be put in place so that the plan is well known and understood by all stakeholders. Communication campaigns need to be adapted to each public:

  • For children: translate the messages into simple ideas and create posters that explain the issue. It is also possible to encourage children to draw posters about the problem or make them perform role plays to ensure their understanding (Pepler and Craig, 2014).
  • For parents or guardians: translate the messages into relevant languages when possible. Organize workshops to explain the issue of bullying. For instance, Paraguay organized a series of workshops to eradicate and prevent school violence, known as the ‘Learning without Fear’ campaign (Lopez, 2014).
  • For school staff: disseminate the bullying prevention plan in a printed or online form. It is also possible to organize guided group discussions to talk about it (Pepler and Craig, 2014).  
References
Alabi, Y.L.; Lami, M.M 2015. ‘Efficacy of client-centred and rational-emotive behaviour therapies in reducing bullying behaviour among in-school adolescents in Ilorin, Nigeria’. In: International Journal of Instruction, vol. 8, pp. 61–74. Retrieved from: https://essa-africa.org/node/501?i=d&id=627

GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network). n.d. Enumeration. New York: GLSEN. Retrieved from: https://www.glsen.org/activity/model-school-anti-bullying-and-harassment-policy

GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network). n.d. Model School Anti-Bullying and Harassment Policy: Ensuring Safe and Effective Schools for All. New York: GLSEN. Retrieved from: https://www.glsen.org/sites/default/files/Model%20Policy%20-%20School%204.12.13_0.pdf

GLSEN(Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network). n.d. Model District Anti-Bullying & Harassment Policy: Model language, commentary & resources. New York: GLSEN. Retrieved from: https://www.glsen.org/sites/default/files/Model%20District%20LGBTQ-Inclusive%20Anti-Bullying%20%26%20Harassment%20Policy.pdf

Greytak, E.A.; Kosciw, J.G.; Villenas, C.; Giga, N.M. 2016. From Teasing to Torment: School Climate Revisited, A Survey of U.S. Secondary School Students and Teachers. New York: GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network). Retrieved from: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED574777.pdf

López, V. 2014. Education and Development Post-2015: School Climate. Notes Nº4. Santiago de Chile: OREALC-UNESCO (Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean). Retrieved from: http://www.unesco.org/new/fileadmin/MULTIMEDIA/FIELD/Santiago/pdf/APUNTE04-ING.pdf

Ontario. n.d. Creating Safe and Accepting Schools: Information for Parents about the Accepting Schools Act (Bill 13). Ontario: Queen’s Printer for Ontario. Retrieved from http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/teachers/climate.html

Pepler, D.; Craig, W. 2014. Bullying Prevention and Intervention in the School Environment: Factsheets and Tools. Kingston: PREVNet (Canada’s authority on research and resources for bullying prevention). Retrieved from: https://www.prevnet.ca/resources/bullying-prevention-facts-and-tools-for-schools

UNESCO Bangkok. 2016. Happy Schools! A Framework for Learner Well-being in the Asia-Pacific. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002441/244140e.pdf

UNESCO. 2017. Let’s decide how to measure school violence. Global Education Monitoring Report: Policy paper 29. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000246984

UNESCO. 2019. Behind the numbers: Ending school violence and bullying. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000366483

Policy options for improving Equity and Inclusion

Gender-responsive policies

School-related gender-based violence (SRGBV) refers to ‘acts or threats of sexual, physical or psychological violence occurring in and around schools, perpetrated as a result of gender norms and stereotypes, and enforced by an unequal power dynamic’ (UNESCO, 2016c: 13). SRGBV can take many forms, including sexual violence, sexual harassment, verbal abuse, corporal punishment, coercion, bullying, and intimate partner violence. SRGBV will be experienced differently depending on an individual’s sex, gender identity, country and context (UNESCO, 2016c). Children and adults can both be victims and perpetrators of SRGBV, and thus both students and school faculty are affected. SRGBV refers to violence committed in and around schools, so it can also include incidents travelling to and from school, as well as online.


The impacts of SRGBV are pervasive; experiencing SRGBV harms children’s physical and mental health, compromising their cognitive and emotional development. There is also evidence that experiencing or witnessing SRGBV as a child is ‘linked to future use or acceptance of violence’ further perpetuating the destructive cycle (UNESCO, 2016c: 29). The harmful effects of SRGBV impair children’s education, resulting in lower academic achievement, poor attendance, and school dropouts. It is estimated that 246 million children experience SRGBV every year (UNESCO, 2016c) and SRGBV is associated with the loss of one primary grade of schooling, resulting in an annual cost of $17 billion to low and middle-income countries (RTI, 2015b).SRGBV has complex and multifaceted causes, rooted in deeply set social norms and gender discrimination that can be fuelled by other structural factors including conflict, income inequality and marginalization (UNESCO, 2016c). School environments can be reinforcing and perpetuating the harmful beliefs and systems that drive gender-based violence. However, as education can transform children’s beliefs and understanding of the world, there is a distinct opportunity to disrupt this cycle. This will call for gender-responsive and gender transformative curriculum and teaching practices, that address gender norms, stereotypes, relationship dynamics, and promote non-violence and equality. When incidents of SRGBV do occur, schools must have measures in place to properly respond to incidents, punish perpetrators and support victims. Schools must provide a safe and nurturing learning environment to students, preventing all forms of violence and toxic dynamics.

SRGBV has complex and multifaceted causes, rooted in deeply set social norms and gender discrimination that can be fuelled by other structural factors including conflict, income inequality and marginalization (UNESCO, 2016c). School environments can actually be reinforcing and perpetuating the harmful beliefs and systems that drive gender-based violence. However, as education has the ability to transform children’s beliefs and understanding of the world, there is a distinct opportunity to disrupt this cycle. This will call for gender-responsive and gender transformative curriculum and teaching practices, that address gender norms, stereotypes, relationship dynamics, and promote non-violence and equality. When incidents of SRGBV do occur, schools must have measures in place to properly respond to incidents, punish perpetrators and support victims. Schools have an obligation to provide a safe and nurturing learning environment to students, preventing all forms of violence and toxic dynamics.

Policy to address SRGBV will include both prevention and response measures such as: ensuring that school environments are safe and inclusive; developing clear codes of conduct prohibiting SRGBV with enforced disciplinary procedures; developing curriculum to prevent SRGBV and promote gender equality; training teachers and school staff on prevention and response practices and tools; establishing clear reporting and response mechanisms; providing quality victim support services; collaborating with multi-sectoral stakeholders including teachers unions, families and the greater community; and strengthening monitoring and evaluation on SRGBV. Each intervention must be context-specific, analysing the existing situation to enact the most appropriate and effective responses.

References
RTI International. 2015b. Fact sheet: What is the cost of school-related gender-based violence? Washington D.C.: USAID (United States Agency for International Development). Retrieved from: https://shared.rti.org/content/what-cost-school-related-gender-based-violence

UNESCO. 2016c. Global guidance on addressing school-related gender-based violence. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002466/246651E.pdf

Promising policy options

Strengthen the national School gender-based violence (SRGBV) policy and legislative framework

Prevention and response measures to SRGBV should be incorporated into national policies and legislation, with strong governmental leadership recognizing the need for comprehensive, coordinated action. For instance, prevention and responses to SRGBV can be integrated into Education Sector Plans and national policies. They should be accompanied by:

  • Indicators and targets to monitor achievement;
  • gender-responsive action plans and guidelines;
  • protocols for reporting and responses, school codes of conduct, school safety policies, counselling and support services; and
  • gender-responsive national curriculum and school infrastructure.

When a national multi-sectoral action plan on SRGBV exists, it should also focus on the school context. Such a plan must be gender-responsive and consider diversity as well as the needs of marginalized students. It should include an action plan and guidelines that are sufficiently supported by resources. Moreover, it must be developed in a participatory manner, with the support of organisational experts, civil society, and other key stakeholders.

In addition to policies, developing a strong legal framework addressing SRGBV is key. Legislation prohibiting SRGBV needs to be implemented and enforced, such as binding codes of conduct and mandatory reporting requirements. It is also indispensable to harmonize legislation across sectors, such as children’s rights, corporal punishment, sexual violence, and bullying.

Finally, it is fundamental to implement a system-wide review and reforms of the education sector to ensure effective SRGBV prevention and response. This should be done throughout different levels, including the national-, district-, and school-level. All of these actions should be accompanied by measures to ensure transparency and accountability for the government’s SRGBV commitments.

References
GPE (Global Partnership for Education), UNGEI (United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative). 2017. Guidance for Developing Gender-Responsive Education Sector Plans. Washington D.C.: The Global Partnership for Education. Retrieved from: https://www.globalpartnership.org/content/guidance-developing-gender-responsive-education-sector-plans

Greene, M.; Robles, O.; Stout, K.; Suvilaakso, T. 2013. A girl’s right to learn without fear: Working to end gender-based violence at school. Woking: Plan International. Retrieved from: https://plan-uk.org/file/plan-report-learn-without-fearpdf/download?token=HMORNNVk

Leach, F.; Dunne, M.; Salvi, F. 2014. A global review of current issues and approaches in policy, programming and implementation responses to School-Related Gender-Based Violence (SRGBV) for the Education Sector. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://www.unesco.org/new/fileadmin/MULTIMEDIA/HQ/HIV-AIDS/pdf/SRGBV_UNESCO_Global_ReviewJan2014.pdf

Parkes, J.; Heslop, J.; Ross, F.J.; Westerveld, R.; Unterhalter, E. 2016. A rigorous review of global research evidence on policy and practice on school-related gender-based violence. New York: UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). Retrieved from: https://www.globalpartnership.org/content/rigorous-review-global-research-evidence-policy-and-practice-school-related-gender-based

UNESCO. 2016c. Global guidance on addressing school-related gender-based violence. Paris: UNESCO.  Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002466/246651E.pdf

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund), Inter-Parliamentary Union. 2007. Eliminating violence against children. Paris: UNICEF. Retrieved from: http://archive.ipu.org/PDF/publications/violence_en.pdf

Create safe and supportive school environments

School environments should be safe, child-centred, and inclusive, and have a clear policy against SRGBV and measures to prevent incidents from occurring. This includes the existence of gender-responsive infrastructure within schools, safe travel options to and from school, and a culture of governance against SRGBV.

Implementing general constructive disciplinary interventions is essential to prevent SRGBV and create a safe and supportive school climate (see strategies proposed in the general section of the present Policy page). It is also key to provide a safe, welcoming, gender-responsive physical school infrastructure, with safe locations for school buildings within the community. For instance, it is key to provide separate, lockable toilets for students and staff. It is also indispensable to facilitate hygienic facilities to change and dispose menstrual materials. Moreover, ensuring sufficient lighting on school grounds and having a good level of visibility of the educational spaces, with enough windows and doors, is key to prevent SRGBV.

School leaders, teachers, supervisors, and other relevant stakeholders should monitor spaces where children might be more susceptible to SRGBV, including places near latrines, the school perimeter, and empty spaces. It is also important to increase the safety of travel to and from school, such as through safe transport options and patrols. School leaders and teachers can collaborate with the local community and the police to establish safe practices.

School manSchool management and governing bodies need to create a ‘culture of governance’ against SRGBV. A welcoming environment should be instilled within schools, with strong messages against SRGBV and strong codes of conduct for all staff, students, and parents, clearly prohibiting all forms of SRGBV (see below).

References
Raising Voices. 2011. The good school toolkit. Retrieved from: http://raisingvoices.org/good-school/download-good-school-toolkit/

UNESCO. 2016c. Global guidance on addressing school-related gender-based violence. Paris: UNESCO.  Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002466/246651E.pdf

UNGEI (United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative). n.d. A whole school approach to prevent school-related gender-based violence: Minimum standards and monitoring framework. New York: UNGEI. Retrieved from: https://www.icmec.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Whole-School-Approach-to-Prevent-SRGBV-Minimum-Standards-Framework-UNGEI.pdf

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2009d. Child Friendly Schools Manual. New York: UNICEF. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/documents/child-friendly-schools-manual

Develop a clear code of conducts against SRGBV and enforce disciplinary procedures

School codes of conduct provide guidelines on expected ethical norms and prohibited behaviour within the school and are therefore important tools to clearly state the school’s policy and response system to SRGBV. Codes of conduct should be developed in consultations with multiple stakeholders including teachers, students, parents, and school officials as well as the wider community, when pertinent. The codes should be widely disseminated and known among all students and staff and be regularly reviewed and monitored.

School codes of conduct must include explicit definitions of all forms of SRGBV including bullying, corporal punishment, sexual violence and child sexual abuse, sexual harassment, dating violence, among others. They should align with international and/or local definitions and be agreed upon through participatory stakeholder dialogues. It is key to ensure that the language within the codes of conduct do not place blame on victims, as well as ensure that they are well visible and understood by students, staff, parents, and other relevant stakeholders.

Newly formed codes of conduct should be formally endorsed by ministry officials, and monitoring mechanisms need to be established to enforce them. Indeed, codes of conduct must be accompanied by reporting mechanisms as well as enforceable consequences for breaking them and disciplinary procedures for perpetrators. Oversight Committees (made up of teachers, students, parents, and school administrators) can be responsible for reviewing SRGBV cases, applying disciplinary responses, as well as referring victims to relevant services. Yet, codes of conduct should also emphasize and promote a positive and safe school environment. 

*Consult ‘How to Develop and Implement a Code of Conduct to Address SRGBV? An Illustrative Checklist’ pg. 59 in: UNESCO. 2016cGlobal Guidance on addressing school gender-based violence.

References
Poisson, M. 2009. Guidelines for the design and effective use of teacher codes of conduct. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001850/185010e.pdf

UNESCO. 2016c. Global guidance on addressing school-related gender-based violence. Paris: UNESCO.  Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002466/246651E.pdf

UNGEI (United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative). n.d. A whole school approach to prevent school-related gender-based violence: Minimum standards and monitoring framework. New York: UNGEI. Retrieved from: https://www.icmec.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Whole-School-Approach-to-Prevent-SRGBV-Minimum-Standards-Framework-UNGEI.pdf

Develop curriculum to prevent SRGBV and promote gender equality 

Curriculum addressing SRGBV and societal gender norms is a key part of prevention since a gender-responsive curriculum can challenge the established norms around gender power dynamics, teaching children to promote gender equality and non-violence.  The curriculum should be focused on preventing violence, promoting gender equality, addressing the ideas and beliefs around gender norms that perpetuate SRGBV, promoting healthy relationships and communication practices, and presenting the appropriate responses to SRGBV and resources for when incidents do occur. Quality and motivated teachers should be trained to deliver curriculum content using participatory pedagogical methods.

*For detailed policy measures consult the Gender Section of the Policy page Curriculum development.

References
Haberland, N. et al. 2009. It’s all one curriculum: Guidelines and activities for a unified approach to sexuality, gender, HIV and human rights education. New York: Population Council. Retrieved from: https://www.popcouncil.org/uploads/pdfs/2011PGY_ItsAllOneGuidelines_en.pdf

Leach, F.; Dunne, M.; Salvi, F. 2014. A global review of current issues and approaches in policy, programming and implementation responses to School-Related Gender-Based Violence (SRGBV) for the Education Sector. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://www.unesco.org/new/fileadmin/MULTIMEDIA/HQ/HIV-AIDS/pdf/SRGBV_UNESCO_Global_ReviewJan2014.pdf

RTI International. 2015a. A guide for strengthening gender equality and inclusiveness in teaching and learning materials. Washington D.C.: U.S. Agency for International Development. Retrieved from: https://shared.rti.org/content/guide-promoting-gender-equality-and-inclusiveness-teaching-and-learning-materials-2

UNESCO. 2009b. International technical guidance on sexuality education. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0026/002607/260770e.pdf

UNESCO. 2016c. Global guidance on addressing school-related gender-based violence. Paris: UNESCO.  Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002466/246651E.pdf

Train teachers and staff on how to prevent and respond to SRGBV

Education staff, including teachers, school leaders, and administrators should be trained on how to prevent and respond to SRGBV through high-quality pre-service and in-service training. This will include gender-responsive approaches within teacher training institutes, with modules on SRGBV, societal gender norms and gender inequality, positive gender-responsive pedagogical practices, as well as tools to identify and respond to incidents of SRGBV.

It is key to work with teachers to help them analyse their personal experiences with gender-based violence, and the influence of gender norms in their own lives since this will then allow them to understand how their teaching environment can affect the perpetuation of these systems. Educators should be taught how to understand and tackle down gender norms and expectations and their connections to discrimination and gender violence, including for LGBTIQ students.

Gender-responsive content should exist within teacher training college curricula. Teachers should also learn gender-responsive teaching and learning methods. Those methods should be participatory and child-friendly. They must also include positive discipline and classroom management methods that do not perpetuate violence. Indeed, it is key to make emphasis on strengthening positive behaviour rather than just punishing negative behaviours, as well as fostering alternatives to corporal punishment. Teachers should ensure that all students receive the same respectful treatment.

Teacher training should prepare them to identify and respond to SRGBV. This can be achieved by promoting awareness of classroom dynamics, such as gender, power, racial, ethnic dynamics, and by giving out tools to respond to conflict within the classroom, including discrimination, homophobia, and racism. Teachers should be able to recognize the practices students use to bully and harass each other and have a firm understanding of the school’s code of conduct and how to respond when students witness, experience, or commit violence.

Moreover, headteachers and school leaders must be properly trained on how to respond to school violence incidents.

References
Greene, M.; Robles, O.; Stout, K.; Suvilaakso, T. 2013. A girl’s right to learn without fear: Working to end gender-based violence at school. Woking: Plan International. Retrieved from: https://plan-uk.org/file/plan-report-learn-without-fearpdf/download?token=HMORNNVk

Heslop, J. 2016. Technical brief: Engaging communities in dialogue on gender norms to tackle violence in and around schools. London: University College of London – Institute of Education. Retrieved from: https://www.ungei.org/sites/default/files/2021-02/Technical-Brief-Engaging-communities-in-dialogue-on-gender-norms-to-tackle-sexual-violence-in-and-around-schools-2016-eng.pdf

IREX. n.d. Creating supportive learning environments for girls and boys: A guide for educators. Washington D.C.: IREX. Retrieved from: https://www.irex.org/sites/default/files/node/resource/creating-supportive-learning-environments-girls-boys_2.pdf

UNESCO. 2016c. Global guidance on addressing school-related gender-based violence. Paris: UNESCO.  Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002466/246651E.pdf

UNGEI (United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative). n.d. A whole school approach to prevent school-related gender-based violence: Minimum standards and monitoring framework. New York: UNGEI. Retrieved from: https://www.icmec.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Whole-School-Approach-to-Prevent-SRGBV-Minimum-Standards-Framework-UNGEI.pdf

USAID (United States Agency for International Development). 2009b. Doorways III – Teacher training manual on SRGBV prevention and response. Washington D.C.: USAID. Retrieved from: https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1865/Doorways_III_Teachers_Manual.pdf

Establish clear reporting and response systems  

Procedures and mechanisms within schools for reporting and responding to incidents of SRGBV should be confidential, clear, safe, and easily accessible. Monitoring organizations can ensure that SRGBV incidents are being properly managed and that disciplinary procedures are being enforced. This means mechanisms should lead to a prompt, adequate investigation of complaints and effective disciplinary action, including procedures for referral to other services (see the section below) while ensuring the protection of the victims. Focal teachers should be appointed so that students have someone to refer to for the first line of response. Some examples of other reporting mechanisms include school suggestion boxes, staff focal points, telephone helplines, and online reporting.

Key considerations which need to be taken into account when developing procedures and mechanisms for reporting and responding to incidents of SRGBV include:

  • Are students aware of the reporting process and do they understand what it involves?
  • How is reporting linked to referral and support networks?
  • How to provide support if reporting is anonymous?
  • How to ensure confidentiality?
  • Is there a data monitoring system in place to track trends?
  • What are particular barriers for students from marginalized groups, such as LGBTIQ students?

Moreover, it is indispensable to review if there is already an organization currently in place responsible for monitoring the school response system in case of an SRGBV incident. This is usually the responsibility of the school management committee, parent-teacher association, or parent groups. That organization evaluates how reported SRGBV incidents have been managed and holds staff members accountable for inadequate incident management. The organization in place should be there to provide clear recommendations to all involved stakeholders on how adequately manage reported SRGBV incidents.

Finally, school staff should have a clear understanding of reporting legal obligations and procedures. Some questions to consider include:

  • When is a teacher legally required to report SRGBV to the school?
  • When is the school focal point required to report SRGBV to the police?
  • What types of reporting protections are given to the person reporting and/or to the victim?
  • What is the timing to report SRGBV incidents?
References
Leach, F.; Dunne, M.; Salvi, F. 2014. A global review of current issues and approaches in policy, programming and implementation responses to School-Related Gender-Based Violence (SRGBV) for the Education Sector. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://www.unesco.org/new/fileadmin/MULTIMEDIA/HQ/HIV-AIDS/pdf/SRGBV_UNESCO_Global_ReviewJan2014.pdf

South Africa Department of Education. 2001. Opening our eyes: Addressing gender-based violence in South African schools- a module for educators. Pretoria: South Africa Department of Education. Retrieved from: https://www.education.gov.za/Portals/0/Documents/Publications/Opening%20Our%20Eyes%20Manual%20for%20TeachersReduced.pdf

UNESCO. 2011b. Stopping violence in schools: a guide for teachers. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001841/184162e.pdf

UNESCO. 2016c. Global guidance on addressing school-related gender-based violence. Paris: UNESCO.  Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002466/246651E.pdf

UNGEI (United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative). n.d. A whole school approach to prevent school-related gender-based violence: Minimum standards and monitoring framework. New York: UNGEI. Retrieved from: https://www.icmec.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Whole-School-Approach-to-Prevent-SRGBV-Minimum-Standards-Framework-UNGEI.pdf

Provide quality victim support services   

As with reporting mechanisms, the systems in place for assisting victims of SRGBV should be confidential, safe, accessible, and child-friendly. Support provided to victims includes access to quality counselling and health services, and, when needed, referrals to outside agencies such as medical care, law enforcement, and legal services.

Student-centred procedures must be implemented when incidents of SRGBV occur. Counselling provided must be safe, accessible, and confidential as well as foster a survivor-focused approach that does not blame the victim. Well-trained counsellors are key, and they should be given enough time during the school day to carry out counselling duties. Counsellors should know how, when, and where to refer students to other services. More importantly, students should know how to access services and trust their confidentiality, and protocols should be in place concerning the child’s safety and health.

Some examples of types of counselling provided are:

  • designated teacher mentors;
  • school counsellors;
  • trained community volunteers; and
  • peer counselling and support.

Moreover, referral structures must be established to guide victims to relevant services, such as medical treatment, psycho-social services, legal services, and law enforcement. Schools must know the options of services and organizations that students can be referred to, what their capacities and reputations are, and if they are confidential. They need to make sure that the needs of victims or survivors are always considered throughout the process. Finally, schools must have a clear understanding of mandated reporting procedures.

References
UNESCO. 2016c. Global guidance on addressing school-related gender-based violence. Paris: UNESCO.  Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002466/246651E.pdf

UNGEI (United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative). n.d. A whole school approach to prevent school-related gender-based violence: Minimum standards and monitoring framework. New York: UNGEI. Retrieved from: https://www.icmec.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Whole-School-Approach-to-Prevent-SRGBV-Minimum-Standards-Framework-UNGEI.pdf

USAID (United States Agency for International Development). 2009a. Doorways II: Community counsellor training manual on school-related gender-based violence prevention and response. Washington D.C.: USAID. Retrieved from: https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1865/Doorways_II_Counselors_Manual.pdf

Coordinate and collaborate with multi-sectoral stakeholders    

As SRGBV is rooted in multi-faceted societal and cultural norms, it is essential to have a multi-sectoral approach, addressing issues not just at school but involving families, teachers’ unions, and the greater community. Coordination among multiple government ministries and levels is also needed.

To address SRGBV, coordination among multiple government sectors and levels is indispensable. Inter-ministerial coordination mechanisms, need to include those related to sectors such as health, social services, law enforcement, child protection, and transportation, among others. Relevant stakeholders from ministries as well as from the judicial system should be trained on this issue.

Partnerships with teachers’ unions are also key. Teachers’ unions can support the training of teachers, create materials, and promote awareness and advocacy. They can also support training on school codes of conduct, the development of response guidelines to SRGBV and the creation of gender-responsive curriculum development groups. Teachers’ unions can also act as advocates at the national level for the inclusion of SRGBV in teacher training curricula.

Community mobilization is indispensable to raise awareness on the issue. They can help connect with hard-to-reach children populations, engage with men and boys to shift gender expectations and norms and provide safe transport options to and from school. Community advocacy work can help address the causes of structural violence by combining the focus on gender relations and economic empowerment. Working with traditional community and faith leaders can help combat harmful gender norms and denounce gender-based violence.

Parents and families can be involved through school management committees, parent-teacher associations, and school boards. By engaging parents on SRGBV topics including positive discipline and parenting behaviours, gender norms, adolescent dating, and violence, faster change can be achieved.

Platforms for children’s participation as change agents should also be created. This can include school governance, where girls and boys are equally represented. It can also involve programmes where certain children are trained to be peer educators or mentors. Overall, it is key to ensure that child rights approaches are integrated within the school curricula.

Finally, engaging with the media is of key importance. It is possible to work with journalists and news media to practice gender-aware media reporting, properly demonstrating the connection between violence and gender norms. This can be done through TV and radio programmes that address issues of gender-based violence, as well as advocacy and awareness campaigns.

References
Greene, M.; Robles, O.; Stout, K.; Suvilaakso, T. 2013. A girl’s right to learn without fear: Working to end gender-based violence at school. Woking: Plan International. Retrieved from: https://plan-uk.org/file/plan-report-learn-without-fearpdf/download?token=HMORNNVk

Heslop, J. 2016. Technical brief: Engaging communities in dialogue on gender norms to tackle violence in and around schools. London: University College of London – Institute of Education. Retrieved from: https://www.ungei.org/sites/default/files/2021-02/Technical-Brief-Engaging-communities-in-dialogue-on-gender-norms-to-tackle-sexual-violence-in-and-around-schools-2016-eng.pdf

Leach, F.; Dunne, M.; Salvi, F. 2014. A global review of current issues and approaches in policy, programming and implementation responses to School-Related Gender-Based Violence (SRGBV) for the Education Sector. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://www.unesco.org/new/fileadmin/MULTIMEDIA/HQ/HIV-AIDS/pdf/SRGBV_UNESCO_Global_ReviewJan2014.pdf

Parkes, J.; Heslop, J.; Ross, F.J.; Westerveld, R.; Unterhalter, E. 2016. A rigorous review of global research evidence on policy and practice on school-related gender-based violence. New York: UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). Retrieved from: https://www.globalpartnership.org/content/rigorous-review-global-research-evidence-policy-and-practice-school-related-gender-based

Pulizzi, S.; Rosenblum, L. 2007. Building a gender friendly school environment: A toolkit for educators and their unions. Education International. Retrieved from: https://hivhealthclearinghouse.unesco.org/sites/default/files/resources/bie_ei_building_gender_school_569_en.pdf

UNESCO. 2016c. Global guidance on addressing school-related gender-based violence. Paris: UNESCO.  Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002466/246651E.pdf

UNGEI (United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative). n.d. A whole school approach to prevent school-related gender-based violence: Minimum standards and monitoring framework. New York: UNGEI. Retrieved from: https://www.icmec.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Whole-School-Approach-to-Prevent-SRGBV-Minimum-Standards-Framework-UNGEI.pdf

Strengthen monitoring and evaluation on SRGBV    

Currently, violence against children, and in particular gender-based violence, is grossly under-reported which leads to a lack of recognition of the extent of the issue. Monitoring SRGBV is especially difficult due to challenges such as finding suitable methodology, lack of capacity, and ethical and safety concerns (Leach, 2006). An established monitoring and evaluation framework on SRGBV can provide more accurate data on the prevalence of incidents and track the enforcement and progress of policy and programming, to inform future responses. Ongoing research on SRGBV will also be important to inform the best strategies.

It is therefore key to develop and implement a SRGBV M&E framework at the national-, district-, and school-level. Key indicators to track progress and impact should be developed while considering ethical and safety challenges. SRGBV data must be integrated into comprehensive national data collection systems (EMIS). In addition, that data should be made available so that ongoing research can mobilise it to inform policy and programming.

References
Bloom, S. 2008. Violence against women and girls: A compendium of monitoring and evaluation indicators. Washington D.C.: USAID (United States Agency for International Development). Retrieved from: https://www.measureevaluation.org/resources/publications/ms-08-30.html

Leach, F. 2006. Researching gender violence in schools: methodological and ethical considerations. In: World Development. Vol, 24 (6), 129-47.

UNESCO. 2016c. Global guidance on addressing school-related gender-based violence. Paris: UNESCO.  Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002466/246651E.pdf

UNGEI (United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative). n.d. A whole school approach to prevent school-related gender-based violence: Minimum standards and monitoring framework. New York: UNGEI. Retrieved from: https://www.icmec.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Whole-School-Approach-to-Prevent-SRGBV-Minimum-Standards-Framework-UNGEI.pdf
Additional sources
Gennari, F.; Urban, A.M.; McCleary-Sills, J.; Arango, D.; Kiplesund, S. 2015. Violence against women and girls resource guide: Education sector brief. VAWG. Retrieved from: https://documents1.worldbank.org/curated/en/874771468126896029/pdf/929680REVISED00tor0Brief0APRIL02015.pdf

Kim, J.H.; Bailey, S. n.d. Unsafe schools: A literature review of school-related gender-based violence in developing countries. Arlington: Development and Training Services, Inc. Retrieved from: http://www.endvawnow.org/uploads/browser/files/Unsafe_schools_lit_review_USAID_2008.pdf.pdf

Leach, F.; Slade, S.; Dunne, M. 2013. Promising practice in school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV) prevention and response programming globally. Report commissioned for Concern Worldwide. Dublin: Concern Worldwide. Retrieved from: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/46317/1/Concern_SRGBV_Report_2013.pdf

MSI (Management Systems International). 2008. Are Schools Safe Havens for Children? Examining school-related gender-based violence. Washington D.C.: U.S. Agency for International Development. Retrieved from: https://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PNADM792.pdf

Parkes, J.; Heslop, J. 2011. Stop violence against girls in school: a cross-country analysis of baseline research from Ghana, Kenya and Mozambique. Johannesburg: Action Aid. Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jo_Heslop/publication/320242441_Stop_Violence_Against_Girls_in_School_A_cross_country_analysis_of_baseline_research_from_Ghana_Kenya_and_Mozambique/links/5a82c139a6fdcc6f3eadd1b8/Stop-Violence-Against-Girls-in-School-A-cross-country-analysis-of-baseline-research-from-Ghana-Kenya-and-Mozambique.pdf

UNESCO. 2018. Connect with respect: Preventing gender-based violence in schools. Classroom programme for students in early secondary school. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000243252

Policies for children with disabilities

Research shows that children with disabilities are highly vulnerable to many forms of violence. For instance, a systematic review performed in high-income countries demonstrated that children with disabilities experience three to four times the levels of violence than children without disabilities (Devries et al. 2014). Although there is a limited amount of data concerning violence against children with disabilities in middle and low-income countries, existent studies do reveal the same trend: children with disabilities are much more prone to experiencing violence than children without disabilities, especially children with intellectual and communication impairments (UNESCO, 2019a; Kuper et al., 2016; Devries et al., 2014). For example, a study done in Uganda revealed that both girls and boys with disabilities faced higher rates of sexual violence compared to their peers without disabilities (Devries et al. 2014).

Safe, accessible, and inclusive schools can provide child protection for children with disabilities against all forms of violence (UNICEF, 2014). Yet, Ministries of Education and all educational stakeholders must ensure that the schools themselves are safe spaces and that school-related violence issues are addressed. The World Health’s Organization highlights children that ‘Children with disabilities may prefer to attend special schools, because of the fear of stigma or bullying in mainstream schools’ (WHO, 2011: 216).

It is thus essential to create a positive school climate where all children, including children with disabilities, are welcomed. A positive school climate ensures that specific school-based interventions, supported by national-level policies, address school-related violence and bullying against children with disabilities (Devries et al., 2014; Banks et al., 2017; UNICEF, 2014).

References
Banks, L.M.; Kelly, S.A.; Kyegombe, N.; Kuper, H.; Devries, K. 2017. ‘“If he could speak, he would be able to point out who does those things to him”: Experiences of violence and access to child protection among children with disabilities in Uganda and Malawi’. In: PLoS ONE, 12(9). Retrieved from:  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0183736

Devries, K. M.; Kyegombe, N.; Zuurmond, M.; Parkes, J.; Child, J.C.; Walakira, E.J.; Naker, D. 2014. ‘Violence against primary school children with disabilities in Uganda: a cross-sectional study’. In: BMC Public Health, No. 14, p. 1017. Retrieved from: https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2458-14-1017

Kuper, H.; Banks, M.; Kelly, S.; Kyegombe, N.; Devries, K. 2016.
Protect Us! Inclusion of children with disabilities in child protection. Woking: Plan International. Retrieved from: https://plan-international.org/publications/protect-us#download-options

UNESCO. 2019a. Behind the numbers: Ending school violence and bullying. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000366483

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2014. Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation: Webinar 14 – Companion Technical Booklet. New York: UNICEF. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/eca/sites/unicef.org.eca/files/IE_Webinar_Booklet_14.pdf

WHO (World Health Organization). 2011. ‘Chapter 7 Education’. In: World Report on Disability (pp. 203-232). Malta: WHO. Retrieved from: http://www.who.int/disabilities/world_report/2011/report.pdf

Promising policy options

Develop a twin-track approach

Research done by Kuper et al. highlighted that even when mainstream programmes succeed in diminishing school violence, such as The Good Schools Study in Uganda, violence against children with disabilities remain high (2016). This is why it is recommended to develop targeted interventions to address school violence and bullying against children with disabilities, in addition to making mainstream programmes accessible and inclusive for all (Kuper et al., 2016).

When developing, implementing, and evaluating targeted interventions, it is recommended to ensure the active participation of children with disabilities as well as Disability People’s Organizations (DPOs). This will help to:

  • tackle down multiple barriers (such as social, institutional, communicational);
  • take into consideration the multiple types of disabilities, and the particular needs and vulnerabilities associated with each one; and
  • analyse how the different types of violence are addressed.

Concerning mainstream policies, all of the strategies recommended in the general section of the present Policy page apply, yet educational planners must take concrete actions to ensure that they are accessible and inclusive. In that sense, it is recommended to review specific anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies within schools so that they take full account of the particular needs and vulnerabilities of children with disabilities.

It is also key to ensure that the professionals in charge of investigating and reporting school violence complaints, as well as those who provide support to victims, know the rights of children with disabilities, their capacities, and vulnerabilities. Providing training on how to work with children with disabilities, and on how to use alternative forms of communication such as Braille and sign language, among others, is key. 

Child-protection mechanisms developed within the schools, as well as the district and national level, must not only be accessible but also actively reach out to children with disabilities (tackle down institutional, social and communicational barriers). Violence and bullying complaints formulated by children with disabilities need to be prioritized and taken seriously.

Finally, awareness-raising campaigns about violence against children with disabilities need to be developed with the support of DPOs. Children with disabilities should be taught to recognize violence and abuse. They must be aware of the bodies and authorities they can seek for help. For instance, the school staff member in charge of school violence complaints or the school counsellors who help victims of school violence. Families and community members should be also made aware of violence towards children with disabilities and the ways to prevent it. For instance, in Togo, multiple awareness-raising campaigns were developed to promote the understanding of the rights of children with disabilities.

References
Kuper, H.; Banks, M.; Kelly, S.; Kyegombe, N.; Devries, K. 2016. Protect Us! Inclusion of children with disabilities in child protection. Woking: Plan International. Retrieved from: https://plan-international.org/publications/protect-us#download-options

UNESCO. 2019a. Behind the numbers: Ending school violence and bullying. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000366483

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2014. Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation: Webinar 14 – Companion Technical Booklet. New York: UNICEF. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/eca/sites/unicef.org.eca/files/IE_Webinar_Booklet_14.pdf

Collect data to monitor the prevalence of school violence and bullying against children with disabilities and create evidence-based initiatives

There is a lack of data concerning school violence and bullying against children with disabilities (UNESCO, 2019a). Investing in the collection of data and research on school violence against children with disabilities is key to get a deeper understanding of the issue (Kuper et al., 2016). It is also indispensable to rigorously monitor mainstream and targeted interventions to get a clear view of initiatives that are effectively addressing school violence against children with disabilities (Devries et al., 2014).

References
Devries, K. M.; Kyegombe, N.; Zuurmond, M.; Parkes, J.; Child, J.C.; Walakira, E.J.; Naker, D. 2014. ‘Violence against primary school children with disabilities in Uganda: a cross-sectional study’. In: BMC Public Health, No. 14, p. 1017. Retrieved from: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/14/1017

Kuper, H.; Banks, M.; Kelly, S.; Kyegombe, N.; Devries, K. 2016. Protect Us! Inclusion of children with disabilities in child protection. Woking: Plan International. Retrieved from: https://plan-international.org/publications/protect-us#download-options

UNESCO. 2019a. Behind the numbers: Ending school violence and bullying. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000366483

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2014. Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation: Webinar 14 – Companion Technical Booklet. New York: UNICEF. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/eca/sites/unicef.org.eca/files/IE_Webinar_Booklet_14.pdf

Policies for displaced populations and host communities

Promising policy options

Contents under review.

Other policy options

Contents under review.

References
European Union. 2019. The contributions of youth work in the context of migration and refugee matters. A practical toolbox for youth workers and recommendations for policymakers. Retrieved from: https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/1bcaf566-6a29-11e9-9f05-01aa75ed71a1/language-en/format-PDF/source-search

Huseynov, R. n.d. Education of refugees and internally displaced persons. Committee on Culture, Science and Education. Retrieved from: https://assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/XRef/X2H-Xref-ViewHTML.asp?FileID=10365&lang=en

UNESCO-IBE (UNESCO International Bureau of Education) 2018. Training tools for Curriculum Development- A Resource Pack. Retrieved from :  https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000250420_eng?posInSet=6&queryId=dab9d9dc-dbda-4f17-b003-ad80a0fb5c70

UNESCO. 2019. Behind the numbers: ending school violence and bullying. Retrieved from:  https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000366483

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2017. Education Uprooted, For every migrant, refugee and displaced child, education. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/publications/files/UNICEF_Education_Uprooted.pdf

UNICEF-IDMC (United Nations Chilren’s Fund- Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre). n.d. Equitable access to quality education for internally displaced children. Retrieved from :  http://www.internal-displacement.org/sites/default/files/publications/documents/Education%20for%20Internally%20Displaced%20Children_web.pdf

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund); Religions for Peace. 2010. From Commitment to Action: What religious communities can do to eliminate violence against children. Retrieved from: https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/64B620E270E8EC6A8525772A006DBD07-UNICEF_Religions_for_Peace_Feb2010.pdf

WHO (World Health Organization). 2019. School-Based Violence Prevention : A practical handbook. Geneva. Retrieved from : https://www.end-violence.org/sites/default/files/paragraphs/download/WHO%20Handbook.pdf
Additional sources
Ferris and Winthrop. 2010. Education and Displacement: Assessing Conditions for Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons affected by Conflict. Retrieved from:  https://www.refworld.org/docid/4d7085712.html

Mooney, E. and French, C. 2005. Barriers and Bridges: Access to education for internally displaced children. Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/237246579_BARRIERS_AND_BRIDGES_ACCESS_TO_EDUCATION_FOR_INTERNALLY_DISPLACED_CHILDREN

Mooney, E.; French, C. n.d. Education for IDPs: Poor Marks, Brookings Institution-University of Bern Project on Internal Displacement, Forced Migration Review. Retrieved from: https://www.fmreview.org/sites/fmr/files/FMRdownloads/en/education-emergencies/mooney-french.pdf

UNESCO. 2019. Global Education Monitoring Report 2019 – Summary. Retrieved from: https://www.sdg4education2030.org/global-education-monitoring-report-2019-unesco-november-2018

UNESCO. 2015. Humanitarian Aid for Education: Why it matters and why more is needed. 2015. Retrieved from : https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000233557

UNESCO, EFA Global Monitoring Report. 2011. The Hidden Crises: Armed Conflict and Education. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000191186

Policies for minority populations

Promising policy options

Contents under review.

Other policy options

Contents under review.

References
Bellis MA. Hardcastle K. Hughes K et al. 2017. Preventing violence and promoting peace. A policy toolkit for preventing interpersonal, collective and extremist violence. London: Commonwealth Secretariat. Retrieved from: https://www.thecommonwealth-healthhub.net/preventing-violence-promoting-peace-policy-toolkit-preventing-interpersonal-collective-extremist-violence/

UNESCO. UN Women. 2016. Global violence on addressing school-related gender-based violence. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000246651

UNESCO. 2016. Out in the open. Education sector responses to violence based on sexual orientation and gender identify/expression. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000244756

UNESCO. 2016. A teacher’s guide on the prevention of violent extremism. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://en.unesco.org/sites/default/files/lala_0.pdf

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund); Religions for Peace. 2010. From Commitment to Action: What religious communities can do to eliminate violence against children. Retrieved from: https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/64B620E270E8EC6A8525772A006DBD07-UNICEF_Religions_for_Peace_Feb2010.pdf

WHO (World Health Organisation). 2019. School-Based Violence Prevention: A practical handbook. Retrieved from: https://www.end-violence.org/sites/default/files/paragraphs/download/WHO%20Handbook.pdf

WHO (World Health Organisation). 2016. INSPIRE: Seven strategies for ending violence against children. Geneva, World Health Organization. Retrieved from: https://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/inspire/en/

WHO (World Health Organisation). 2016. Measuring and monitoring national prevalence of child maltreatment. Copenhagen: World Health Organization. Retrieved from: http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/317505/Measuring-monitoring-national-prevalence-child-maltreatment-practical-handbook.pdf

WHO (World Health Organisation). 2015. Preventing youth violence: an overview of the evidence. Geneva: World Health Organization. Retrieved from: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/181008/9789241509251_eng.pdf?sequence=1

WHO (World Health Organisation). 2002. World report on violence and health. Geneva: World Health Organization. Retrieved from: https:/www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/world_report/en/
Updated on 2021-11-27

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