Violence in schools

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Helpdesk Query:

Provide an up-to-date report based on available evidence that assesses what has worked/hasn’t worked in reducing and preventing school-related violence, and in addressing school-related violence when it happens?

The report will also explore what measures have worked best to promote safe, inclusive and violence-free schools and what factors have been critical in securing positive change?

We are particularly interested in measures that have secured lasting change, especially at scale. The report will be organised as an annotated bibliography of 15-20 resources that may be useful in preventing and addressing school-related violence. We are particularly interested in low and lower middle income countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia, including conflict situations.


Violence against children is a global problem. It includes physical violence, psychological violence such as insults and humiliation, discrimination, neglect and maltreatment. It has shortand long-term repercussions that are often grave and damaging for children (Pinheiro 2006). Bullying, gender-based violence, accidental violence, discrimination and violence, sexual assault or harassment, physical violence and psychological violence, describe some of the most prevalent forms of school-based violence (South African Human Rights Commission 2006).

The evidence base on school-related violence must be improved to inform policies (Antonowicz 2010). To assess the evidence that does exist, this helpdesk report presents a non-systematic review of the evidence on school-related violence. It is based on the evidence found through a rapid internet search and through consultation with experts in this field.

The report is broken down into four sections: reducing and preventing school-related violence; safe, inclusive and violence-free schools; cyber bullying; and school-related gender-based violence. It is recognised that the topic of school-related violence is complex and multifaceted. While this report aims to offer a useful synthesis of the evidence available, as well as relevant case studies and policy recommendations, it only scratches the surface of a very large and pressing global problem.

This rapid literature review sets out to identify evidence on approaches to measuring the prevalence of violence in schools across low and middle income countries and the data available based on these measurement approaches. The review includes a list of key sources of evidence on measurements and a review of statistical data on the the prevalence of violence in schools for low and middle income countries globally.

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