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School-Related Gender-Based Violence (SRGBV): Violence Against Children in Education Settings in South Asia: A desk review

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Author/Publisher: UNICEF  - Regional Office for South Asia
Language: English

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The desk review commissioned by the UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia (ROSA) has found that many children in South Asia are exposed to different forms of violence and threats in schools and other educational settings. Findings show that children face physical punishment, sexual abuse, harassment, bullying, and social stigma. Acts of violence are manifested differently for boys, girls and transgender children. Further, children’s economic status, ethnic/caste identity, and other markers of vulnerability such as disability often shape the nature and degree of violence they experience.

The review suggests that most incidents of violence in schools go unreported. Given the authoritarian structure of schools in the region, children fear complaining about violence committed by teachers, staff and older peers. Sexual abuse in particular remains concealed due to cultural taboos surrounding sexuality and stigma attached to those who experience abuse. For children who face violence in educational settings, the promise and pleasure of learning and discovery can quickly turn into pain, trauma and fear. Such experiences not only ruin their present but also threaten their future, as those who experience violence in childhood are more likely to become perpetrators of violence as adults. 


 

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