Building on UNESCO’s global efforts to address school-related gender-based violence, UNESCO’s HIV and Health Education Programme for Eastern Europe and Central Asia has developed a regional Guide for educators Violence Prevention in Educational Settings. Experts from seven regional countries including representatives of ministries of education, NGOs and international organizations discussed and reviewed the Guide. The Guide informs education managers, school administrators and teachers about the causes of violence and suggests practical solutions.
Violence and discrimination negatively affect school climate, attendance, learning ability and academic performance of learners. Gender stereotypes and norms are often the root causes of numerous acts of violence, bullying and discrimination in school. Gender-based violence (GBV) increases vulnerability to HIV. Girls and gender non-confirming students are particularly vulnerable to GBV. Recent research shows that from 20 to 60 percent of students have been exposed to violence in schools in different countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. However, many cases of violence and GBV in particular are not reported and properly addressed. School administration and staff are not always prepared to take measures to prevent violence and respond to it adequately.
The regional Guide for Educators on Violence Prevention in Educational Settings examines various types of school violence with particular attention to gender-based violence. It looks at the causes and risk factors of violence, different actors, their roles and key characteristics, gender and age differences. Along with an overview of the scale and character of school violence in several Eastern European and Central Asian countries, the Guide presents national policy frameworks and examines existing practices in addressing violence and its impact on individuals and the whole school.
Experts from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Moldova, Russia and Ukraine reviewed the first draft of the Guide and contributed to its development. In its final version the Guide promotes a whole school approach to address violence, provides practical recommendations for the development of school policies on violence and mechanism for preventing, detecting, registering, reporting cases of violence and providing counseling and support to victims, perpetrators and witnesses. The Guide outlines specific roles and responsibilities for teachers, school administrators, other staff as well as learners and parents in violence prevention and response.
The Guide comprises a set of examples and tools for school assessment and creation of a positive climate and a safe and enabling learning environment; community engagement and cooperation with health care and social services, police, local administration and NGOs to implement violence prevention measures and offer training, support and referrals to learners, teachers and parents.
The Regional Guide has been designed with technical support provided by UNESCO’s regional HIV and health education programme based at UNESCO IITE. It can be used by education sector policy-makers and managers to develop national and local policies to prevent and respond to violence in educational settings. The Guide would be useful also for school administrators, teachers and other staff to better understand the phenomenon of school violence and how to address it effectively.