Understanding issues that may facilitate secondary school participation and learning is now more important than ever.
There is wide consensus on the benefits of entering and completing secondary school for individuals, families, communities, and countries.
The Violence Against Children and Youth Surveys (VACS) provide important data that can help address barriers to education and inform interventions to improve the school environment that can ultimately lead to improvements in enrolment and graduation rates.
The VACS are nationally-representative household surveys of 13-24 year-olds that measure the magnitude, context, and consequences of sexual, physical, and emotional violence.
Together for Girls and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with support from Global Affairs Canada, analyzed VACS data from 12 countries to understand the association between level of education* and several sociodemographic and violence variables.
With the results of the initial analyses and guided by the input of experts, we conducted a series of multivariable logistic regressions to further explore the relationship between violence and level of education in Honduras, Lesotho, and Uganda.
For the purposes of this blog, we are focusing on the findings from Honduras and key implications for both the country and the field.
Over the past few years, Honduras took important steps to address all forms of violence against children and youth.
In 2017, Honduras became the first country in Latin America to conduct a Violence Against Children and Youth Survey (VACS). At that time, the government of Honduras made a public commitment to take action to end violence against children and also became a pathfinding country of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children.
Building on the Violence Against Children and Youth Survey (VACS) data, the first-ever National Action Plan to End Violence Against Children and Adolescents in Honduras will be launched in late 2021.
Despite the immense challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Honduras continues to prioritize the education and wellbeing of children, adolescents, and young people.
The Ministry of Education will play a key role in the implementation of the country’s National Action Plan to End Violence Against Children and is also leading efforts to ensure a safe and equal return to in-person learning, which includes addressing learning losses and dropouts due to pandemic-related school closures.
The findings from our analysis of Honduras Violence Against Children and Youth Survey (VACS) data reinforce the many benefits of secondary education and the critical role it plays in interrupting gender unequal attitudes and improving health and economic outcomes for students, particularly for adolescent girls.
However, the findings also highlight potential risks for those attending secondary school and the need to take those unique risks into consideration when designing and implementing violence prevention interventions.
To learn about attitudes toward gender, the Violence Against Children and Youth Survey (VACS) asks respondents if they believe a series of questions about gender roles, such as:
To learn about attitudes towards physical intimate partner violence against women, survey respondents were asked if they believe a husband is justified in hitting or beating his wife in certain situations, such as if she goes out without telling him or if she argues with him.
The longer adolescents are in school, the less likely they are to have gender-unequal beliefs and justify intimate partner violence.
Those who attended or completed secondary school in Honduras were more likely to experience certain forms of sexual violence.
After controlling for age, childhood orphanhood, child marriage, and closeness with mother**, adolescents and young people who attended or completed secondary school had significantly greater odds of experiencing unwanted sexual touching or attempted physically forced or coerced sex.
Although the findings show that those who attended or completed secondary school faced an increased risk of non-penetrative sexual violence, we do not know if that violence occurred at home, at work, at school, on the way to school or somewhere else. Additional research is needed to better understand the context of the violence, including location and perpetrators of violence.
The findings from Honduras highlight the many protective aspects of secondary education—more equitable gender beliefs and lower rates of pregnancy and child marriage. In addition, a secondary education is protective against ever experiencing physically forced and coerced sex for adolescent girls and young women. Honduras must do more to ensure that students continue to graduate from secondary school. Even before COVID-19, only 51 percent and 42 percent of boys completed upper secondary school.***
Our findings also suggest that attending secondary school may increase the risk for certain forms of sexual violence including unwanted sexual touching and attempted forced or coerced sex. Efforts to create safe and supportive school environments are essential in promoting educational access and completion.
Explore additional data, evidence and solutions to violence in and around schools on Together for Girls’ education hub.
Find resources on what works to prevent sexual violence against children, adolescents and youth on Together for Girls’ SV Solutions hub.
Director of Data and Evidence
A quick introduction to the Together for Girls partnership and the Violence Against Children and Youth Surveys (VACS). Understand our unique contributions to ending violence against children, with our particular focus on preventing sexual violence against girls.
This resource provides evidence that VACS data and associated processes contribute to meaningful policy change and action to end violence against children and adolescents and gender-based violence.
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
Explore the research and findings from the Uganda Violence Against Children and Youth Survey.
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 policy brief is targeted at policymakers and practitioners working in gender, education, and child protection fields.
An overview of the data found in Lesotho'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.
Explore the data in Uganda's Violence Against Children and Youth Survey (VACS) report.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Join us on June 17, 2021, as we explore the latest data and evidence on violence in school settings, and how schools can serve as protective spaces for children. We will call on global leaders to leverage the power of schools to shift gender inequitable norms to end gender-based violence.