For some children in Asia-Pacific, particularly girls, the mere walk to school is menacing and comes with the daily threat of violence. Once at school, they might also be subject to physical, psychosocial and sexual abuse – bullied by teachers and peers or abused in the name of discipline.
Violence against children in schools is a complex, multifaceted issue. It is closely linked with broader social norms around acceptance of violence, and deeply ingrained gender inequalities and rigid gender expectations. School-related gender-based violence (SRGBV) refers to violence affecting school children that occurs in or around education settings and is perpetrated based on a gender roles or norms, and expectations of children based on their sex or gender identities.
SRSGBV is a disturbing violation of children’s fundamental human rights and directly contravenes the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which all countries in the region have ratified and most have signed. The scope of SRGBV is immense and challenging to comprehensively assess and address in Asia-Pacific given the incredible diversity of cultural contexts and norms.
A new review, “School-Related Gender-Based Violence [SRGBV] in the Asia-Pacific Region”, commissioned by UNESCO Bangkok and implemented in partnership with the East Asia Pacific Regional UN Girls’ Education Initiative, takes on this challenge. The review examines the evidence on SRGBV and related policy and programming in Asia-Pacific, offering a base for much-needed debate and policy-level discussions.
Addressing SRGBV is crucial to ensuring that all children are able to access their fundamental right to an education in a safe environment. To that end, the review ends with a call for the following steps to be taken:
- review data and clearly articulate the problem of SRGBV;
- establish mechanisms for comprehensive and integrated action and promote inter-sectoral coordination and collaboration;
- develop and implement policies underpinned by robust evidence, and establish effective legislation and regulation mechanims;
- put in place mechanisms for a safe and effective reporting of, and response to, incidents of SRGBV ;
- train relevant personnel within the education system and implement gender transformative teaching and learning mechanisms;
- promote the principles of, and establish mechanisms to ensure, accountability and transparency and participation and inclusiveness in SRGBV prevention and response
The review and its recommendations break ground in defining SRGBV in the Asia-Pacific context and outlining a path towards putting an end to it.
· SRGBV review: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002267/226754E.pdf
— Sahba Clara Delshad, Young Key Affected Populations Support Officer
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