Education is a fundamental human right and a critical pathway to ending extreme poverty. Equitable, quality education has an immense power to transform the lives of individuals, families, communities, and nations.
However, across the world, students report experiencing unacceptably high rates of violence in and around school settings. School-related gender-based violence is a prevalent form of violence that occurs in and around school settings, driven by harmful gender norms and stereotypes.
Even when gender norms are not the primary cause of violence, they undergird the social dynamics that impact who perpetrates and experiences different forms of violence.
Education of both girls and boys plays a key role in human, social, and economic development. Education is a vital part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and creating a more equitable world. However, globally, girls graduate at a significantly lower rate than boys.
According to the UNGEI report, “Missed Opportunities: The High Cost of Educating Girls,” globally nine in ten girls complete their primary education, but only three in four complete their lower secondary education. In low-income countries, despite progress over the last two decades, less than two-thirds of girls complete their primary education and only one in three complete lower secondary school.
The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) estimates that 130 million girls worldwide remain out of school and face barriers to education, including cultural norms and practices and early and forced marriage.
Additional barriers faced by both girls and boys include: distance to school; living in a conflict-affected country; households that depend on their labor or income; and school-related gender-based violence.
To better understand how school-related gender-based violence impacts school attendance, USAID’s Higher Education Support Network (HESN) supported AidData and Together for Girls to conduct secondary analyses of the Violence Against Children & Youth Surveys (VACS) data to identify the prevalence of school-related gender-based violence, as well as details on violence perpetration, victimization risk, and post violence behaviors in selected countries.
One finding of the project was that many students who report experiencing violence subsequently miss school, reinforcing the existing understanding that school-related gender-based violence constitutes a serious barrier to education for all students, and exacerbates existing gender inequalities in educational access and attainment.
Lower attendance is cited as a key driver of students dropping out of school — missing school can lead to lower academic performance and decreased graduation rates.
The analyses found that globally, girls missed school due to sexual violence at a higher rate than boys.
In Malawi for example, 22 percent of girls who report experiencing sexual violence reported missing school due to the violence, whereas 4% of boys reported missing school.
In every country in the analyses except Malawi, females who experience classmate-perpetrated violence were slightly more likely than males to miss school as a result of the violence.
However in Malawi, 12 percent of boys who experienced sexual violence reported missing school due to the violence, and 10 percent of girls reported missing school due to the violence.
Our research found that rates of school absenteeism as a result of corporal punishment among the four sub-Saharan African countries varied from 1 in 10 to 1 in 4.
In Honduras, corporal punishment has been banned since at least 1996 and only one percent or less of both boys and girls reported experiencing corporal punishment by a teacher. However, over half of the girls and over one third of boys reported missing school and recent reports by UNICEF reinforce that severe forms of corporal punishment are still implemented in the country.
Although schools are one of many settings in which violence against children and adolescents take place, schools also offer the unique and powerful potential to serve as protective spaces, acting as an important arena for broader social change to end violence both in and out of the classroom. There are proven school-based interventions that can reduce violence and address the social norms that drive school-related gender-based violence.
The INSPIRE framework is an evidence-based resource for preventing and responding to violence against children and adolescents. The framework presents seven strategies to help communities focus on prevention programs and services with the greatest potential to reduce violence against children, including through education and school settings.
The Safe to Learn initiative used the INSPIRE framework to develop a Call to Action, which sets out in high-level terms what needs to happen to end violence in schools. Safe to Learn is dedicated to ending violence in and through schools.
The call to action — already signed by 15 countries — seeks to unlock the multiple wins of ending violence in schools, improving learning outcomes, better leveraging investments in education, and raising awareness and change attitudes towards violence against children.
Explore the results from a secondary analysis of VACS data by Together for Girls, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Global Affairs Canada.
The pandemic affords a unique opportunity to create better and safer schools in our communities.
Data on school-related gender-based violence in Uganda.
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 Honduras.
This study assessed the prevalence of adverse childhood experiences in Honduras and associated health risks and risk behaviors among young adults using data from the 2017 Honduras Violence Against Children and Youth Survey (VACS).
Data on school-related gender-based violence in Lesotho.
Explore data from the Honduras and El Salvador Violence Against Children and Youth Survey (VACS) reports launched in 2019.
This article examines the outcomes associated with early sexual debut in five sub-Saharan African countries for males and females, separately.
Explore Malawi's Nation Plan of Action to combat gender-based violence.
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.
Together for Girls, in partnership with The Equality Institute and the Oak Foundation, undertook a systematic review of proven solutions and best practices to prevent and respond to sexual violence against children and young people.
Building on growing evidence that violence against children is preventable, these evidence-based strategies support countries and communities to intensify their focus on prevention programmes and services in order to reduce violence against children.
An overview of the data found in Malawi's Violence Against Children and Youth Survey (VACS) report.
Explore the data in Malawi's Violence Against Children and Youth Survey (VACS) report.
This fact sheet contains information on the secondary analysis of the VACS with a focus on school-related gender-based violence.
An overview of the data found in Honduras' Violence Against Children and Youth Survey (VACS) report.
Explore the data in Honduras' Violence Against Children and Youth Survey (VACS) report.
Watch this video to learn how young girls and boys in Malawi are empowered with skills to protect themselves and their friends against sexual abuse.
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.
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.
On Human Rights Day, let’s commit to accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by ending violence against children and adolescents. We must protect their right to live free from violence.
We have 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.
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.
Global landscape analysis provides evidence that the Violence Against Children and Youth Surveys (VACS) drive policy and program reform.