chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up home circle comment double-caret-left double-caret-right like like2 twitter epale-arrow-up text-bubble cloud stop caret-down caret-up caret-left caret-right file-text


Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe



International guidelines: gender-based violence in schools

Language: EN
Document available also in: ES

Gender-based violence in schools is a phenomenon that affects millions of children, families and communities. It occurs in every country in the world and crosses cultural, geographical and economic differences in societies. Gender-based violence in schools can be defined as acts or threats of sexual, physical or psychological violence that occur in and around schools and are perpetrated as a result of gender norms and stereotypes, and reinforced by unequal power dynamics. 

Gender-based violence in schools violates children's fundamental human rights and is a form of gender discrimination. Girls and boys have the right to be protected from all forms of violence, including in their school life. Experiencing gender-based violence in schools can compromise a child's well-being, physical and emotional health, as well as cognitive and emotional development. 

Under the leadership of the United Nations Girls' Education Initiative and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), a Global Task Force to End Gender-based Violence in Schools was established in 2014, bringing together a wide range of partners committed to ending gender-based violence in and around schools.

The group identified a series of priority actions that would help change the response to gender-based violence in schools at the local, national and global levels. It recognized the need to bring together lessons and good practices to provide a set of strategic recommendations for scaling up efforts. Under the leadership of UNESCO, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS , the Inter-Agency Task Team on Education and School Health, and UN Women, together with an advisory group of key stakeholders, these Guidelines were proposed as a key resource with respect to gender-based violence in the school setting, specifically targeting ministries of education and education-related stakeholders.

School-based gender-based violence must be incorporated into national policies and action plans that recognize the need for prevention, impact mitigation responses and accountability. A necessary starting point for achieving these goals is the commitment and effective leadership of national governments.

The quality of the environment in which teaching and learning, work and study take place is central to how schools address gender-based violence in the school setting. School-wide approaches are needed to make schools safer, more student-centred and a better environment for children to learn.

To transform the root causes of violence, and especially gender-based violence, education has a key role to play, as it is an important mechanism for the social, emotional and psychological development of young people, as essential as the development of systems and policies to address gender-based violence in the school setting. What they are taught and how students are taught is essential to prevent this type of violence. 


These Guidelines aim to provide a comprehensive and unique resource on gender-based violence in schools, including clear and knowledge-based operational guidelines, case studies drawn from examples of promising practices, and recommended tools for the education sector and its partners working to eliminate gender-based violence. 

Who are the guidelines for? the national education sector, including government policy-makers, ministries of education, school administrators, educators and other school staff are part of the main audience for these Global Guidelines. It may also be of interest to other national and international stakeholders who wish to address gender-based violence in schools. The guidelines are intended primarily for use in low- and middle-income contexts, however, they are based on norms and principles that can be applied universally.

What do the guidelines cover? These Guidelines integrate promising practical case studies and recommended tools in the relevant subsections. 

The Guidelines complement other tools and materials that exist for specific bilateral, multilateral and ONG audiences dealing with violence against women.

For more information visit


Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Epale SoundCloud Share on LinkedIn