Every child deserves to be safe at home, in their communities, and at school. However, findings from the Violence Against Children and Youth Surveys (VACS) show that across the globe, children and youth experience unacceptably high rates of physical, sexual, and psychological violence, including in school settings and often driven by harmful gender norms and stereotypes. Experiences of violence have wide-ranging consequences for children’s physical, social, and emotional well-being, school performance and attendance, and likelihood of experiencing or perpetrating future violence.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. While the data is daunting, proven solutions to prevent school-related violence exist. Investing in schools and teachers, who are uniquely placed to guide students and lead critical social change to prevent violence, is key to unlocking these solutions.
Corporal punishment and peer-to-peer violence in and around schools are common, with higher rates of perpetration among male teachers and students
Data can provide key insights to address school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV). In partnership with Global Affairs Canada, USAID’s Higher Education Support Network (HESN), the U.S.Centers for Disease Control and AidData, Together for Girls has undertaken secondary analyses of eleven VACS to understand the prevalence of physical and sexual violence in and around schools, including specific types of violence in school settings such as peer violence and corporal punishment, as well as details on violence perpetration, victimization risk and post-violence behaviors in selected countries. The VACS are led by the CDC as part of the Together for Girls partnership.
Experiences of corporal punishment vary widely across countries, from one percent or less of male and female students in Colombia, El Salvador, and Honduras, to one-third of females and almost half of males in Uganda. Students consistently reported higher perpetration of corporal punishment by male teachers compared with female teachers. Students reported consequences ranging from physical injury to mental health issues to school absenteeism.