Over the past several years, Together for Girls has conducted secondary analyses of the Violence Against Children and Youth Surveys (VACS) to understand the prevalence, consequences, and gender-specific experiences of violence in and around schools.
This work was done in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and AidData with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Global Affairs Canada.
What do we know about the risks COVID-19 poses to children, adolescents, and youth so far?
We recently published COVID-19 and the opportunity to build safer learning environments.
This brief presenting findings from our research on violence and schools, implications for school violence as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and recommendations and resources for policymakers, practitioners, advocates, and civil society focused on understanding school violence, its gendered characteristics, and tools and solutions for creating safer school environments.
Violence by teachers and classmates was widespread prior to the COVID-19 pandemic
Our research shows that across the globe, many students experience school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV). School-related gender-based violence includes any act or threat of sexual, physical or psychological violence occurring in and around schools, perpetrated as a result of gender norms and stereotypes, and enforced by unequal power dynamics.
Our research also reveals that students who experience school-related gender-based violence and other forms of violence in and around schools are not getting the support and services they need.
Gender unequal norms and attitudes that condone violence drive gender-based violence in and around schools. However, Violence Against Children and Youth Survey (VACS) data show that these attitudes are less common among those who complete more years of education.
Our research underscores the opportunity that school environments provide to interrupt gender unequal attitudes, the norms that condone violence, and to ultimately prevent gender-based violence — and in doing so — improve educational, health, and economic outcomes for students, particularly adolescent girls.
Secondary education can play a role in reducing the likelihood of girls experiences intimate partner violence, becoming pregnant, and experiencing early and forced marriage.
Amidst the pandemic-driven crises for quality education and violence against children lies an opportunity: the COVID-19 pandemic upended education systems around the world, but in rebuilding from the pandemic we have a unique opportunity to create better schools, ensuring that every student is safe from the virus and from violence.
Violence prevention and response is an education sector issue: Violence prevention should not be siloed. The consequences of students experiencing violence are profound: violence impacts learners’ access to education, educational outcomes, and well-being. Policymakers, administrators, and educators must prioritize school-based violence prevention and violence response efforts should be integrated into COVID-19 recovery planning.
The effort to prevent and address school-related gender-based violence must be informed by high quality data and evidence: Despite the growing awareness of the prevalence of school-related gender-based violence, there is currently not a standard measurement to precisely and accurately assess the prevalence and extent of school-related gender-based violence globally. Additionally, national-level data may not reflect the specific context, including risk factors and drivers, in a particular geographic area.
Violence prevention efforts should take a whole-school approach to creating safe environments: Educators and policymakers should use an evidence-based, whole-school, and gender transformative approach to creating safe, equitable, and enabling environments for students.
*To learn about attitudes toward gender, survey respondents were asked if they believed a series of questions about gender roles, such as “only men, not women, should decide when to have sex” or “a woman should tolerate violence to keep her family together”
**Statistically significant difference between those who completed primary school or less and those who attended or completed secondary school or more
†Data among 14-24 year-olds Lesotho
Director of Policy & Advocacy; Regional Lead, Sub-Saharan Africa
Data on school-related gender-based violence in Moldova.
The pandemic affords a unique opportunity to create better and safer schools in our communities.
Findings and recommendations from secondary analyses of the VACS on violence in schools
Data on school-related gender-based violence in Kenya.
Data on school-related gender-based violence in Lesotho.
This policy brief is targeted at policymakers and practitioners working in gender, education, and child protection fields.
Data on school-related gender-based violence in Malawi.
Learn more about the Violence Against Children and Youth Surveys (VACS), including background on the process for implementation, details about the type of data found in the surveys, and information on where the surveys have been conducted so far.
An overview of the data found in Lesotho's Violence Against Children and Youth Survey (VACS) report.
While school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV) is prevalent, it is also preventable, and there are evidence-based solutions that show that teachers and school personnel can be significant changemakers when they take active roles in preventing, addressing, and responding to violence.
International Safer Internet Day serves as a reminder that we all have a role to play in keeping children and adolescents safe online. Together, we can make the internet a safer and better place for children and adolescents now and in the future.
To mark World Education Day this year, we spoke to Yona Nestel of Plan International and Olanike Timipa-Uge of Teenage Network to learn more about the impact of COVID-19 on girls’ access to education.
For decades, advocates and researchers have stressed the need to collect more data on both violence against children and violence against women and have pushed to make sure data is disaggregated by sex, age and geography.
High-quality, disaggregated data on school-related gender-based violence is essential to help drive effective policies and programs for prevention and response.
The Global Education Summit: Financing GPE 2021-2025 will be a key moment for the global community to come together and support quality education for all children.
Together for Girls and partners hosted a Solutions Summit side event. Global leaders, experts, and youth activists shared the latest data on violence in school settings and highlighted school-based interventions for catalyzing broader social change to end violence.
“Social Responsibility within Changing Contexts” was the 2021 conference theme for the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES). CIES is dedicated to increasing understanding of educational issues, trends, and policies through comparative, intercultural, and international perspectives.
Social norms drive gender inequalities and violence, and even though access to education is a human right, learners across the globe are impacted by school-related gender-based violence.
Every child deserves to be safe at home, in their communities, and at school. However, findings from the VACS show that many children experience school-related gender-based violence. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Girls Health Ed is one organization working in and through schools to address the root causes of gender equality that often lead to violence.
The COVID-19 lockdowns around the U.S. have exacerbated what was already a widespread problem gripping our nation: the trapping of children at home with sexual abusers.
Every child around the world deserves the opportunity to learn. Education is a basic human right and a necessary pathway to ending extreme poverty. We know that equitable, quality education has an immense power to transform the lives of individuals, communities, and nations.
Katelyn Brewer, President and CEO of Darkness to Light, discussed how during the COVID-19 pandemic, adults can modify their approach to protect kids and prevent child abuse.
This blog features COVID-19 parenting resources, including evidence-based strategies to manage stress, tools to keep children safe online, and guides that help parents talk to their kids about COVID-19.