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Investing in schools and teachers is key to unlocking solutions to school-related gender-based violence

Dr. Daniela Ligiero Executive Director and CEO, Together for Girls
  • 03 Dec 2020
  • 4 min

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.

School-Related Gender-Based Violence (SRGBV) is defined as 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. SRGBV can include teacher-perpetrated violence, such as corporal punishment or sexual coercion. It can also include peer-perpetrated violence, like bullying. For more information, visit


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 CanadaUSAID’s Higher Education Support Network (HESN), the U.S.Centers for Disease Control and AidDataTogether 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.

For additional insights and more data about violence in school settings, visit the Together for Girls SRGBV page:
For additional insights and more data about violence in school settings, visit the Together for Girls SRGBV page: