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UNESCO reveal high levels of violence and bullying in schools

Violence and bullying are common in many schools and countries across the world. Key drivers of school violence and bullying include physical appearance, race and nationality, and not conforming to gender norms.

These are the key findings from 'School violence and bullying: Global status and trends, drivers and consequences', a summary report released on Monday, 8 October 2018 by UNESCO at a UN General Assembly side-event organised by the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children.

This report combines data from the HBSC study and the Global school-based Student health Survey, covering 144 countries worldwide.

  • Physical appearance is the most frequent reason reported by students for being bullied. Globally, 15.3% of students who have been bullied report being made fun of because of how their face or body looks.

  • Race, nationality or colour are the second most frequently reported reasons by students for being bullied.

  • Of children who are bullied, 16.1% have experienced physical bullying, and 11.2% have experienced sexual bullying. 

  • The highest prevalence of physical bullying is reported in the Pacific and sub-Saharan Africa.

  • The highest rates of sexual bullying appear in Central America, the Middle East and North Africa.

  • Many countries have seen a decline in bullying over time, but fewer have seen a decrease in physical violence. 

  • Although the prevalence of cyberbullying is low compared with other forms of school violence and bullying, the summary report reveals that it is an increasing problem.

“Violence in schools not only impacts physical and mental health, but has adverse educational outcomes, violating the right of children and young people to a quality education,” said UNESCO Director of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development, Soo-Hyang Choi. “This new report presents, for the very first time, a summary of the latest and most comprehensive evidence on the scale, nature, drivers and consequences of school violence and bullying. We trust that it goes a long way towards informing national governments and key stakeholders about the issue, in turn providing safer and more inclusive learning environments across the world.”

School violence and bullying undermines children’s sense of belonging in school and future aspirations. Children who are frequently bullied are almost three times more likely to feel like an outsider at school than those who are not bullied, and are twice as likely to skip school frequently. They are also more likely to want to leave school after finishing secondary education than students who are not bullied.

Educational outcomes are also lower for children who are bullied. These children receive lower test scores than their non-bullied peers and the more often a student is bullied, the worse their score.

The summary report presents an early release of findings from a full version of the report, to be released by UNESCO in 2019.

see here for further details

item 5124
[08-10-2018 to 31-01-2020]


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