While boys and girls can be both victims and perpetrators of SRGBV, girls are often at greater risk of sexual violence, whilst boys are often more exposed to corporal punishment and bullying. Teachers and school staff -important partners addressing SRGBV – can also be perpetrators, in some cases acting with impunity. Poorly enforced legislation, inadequate child protection policies and weak or non-existent reporting mechanisms all increase children’s vulnerability to SRGBV.
SRGBV has serious consequences for children’s physical and mental health and well-being. It has been shown to adversely impact learning, school attendance and completion. New analysis presented in our paper shows that bullying affects boys’ and girls’ ability to master basic numeracy skills.
Sexual violence is a highly destructive form of SRGBV that contributes to girls’ poor performance and dropout. Unintended pregnancy resulting from sexual coercion and rape effectively marks the end of their education in many countries.
While increased advocacy and recognition of SRGBV has been a positive trend in recent years, we still do not know its full scale or impact. Reliable international data are lacking on the various forms of SRGBV and on sexual violence in particular. Evidence across and within countries is uneven and incomplete. Cross-national surveys and learning assessments that collect data on violence within school settings have generally focused on physical violence and bullying, and have not always applied a gender perspective.