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Measuring school-related gender-based violence: tools, resources, and lessons learned.

Wed, April 17, 3:15 to 4:45pm, Hyatt Regency, Street (Level 0), Plaza

Group Submission Type: Formal Panel Session


For millions of children and youth, school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV) is a major obstacle to receiving a quality education. In 2014, approximately 246 million girls and boys worldwide experienced some form of school-related violence (GMR, UNESCO, UNGEI, 2015). UNICEF Reports that half of the world’s adolescents (ages 13-15) experience a form of peer violence in and around school, and about 720 million school-aged children live in countries where corporal punishment is not officially banned (UNICEF, 2018). School-Related Gender-Based Violence (SRGBV) manifests in a variety of ways as a result of cultural norms, gender roles and power imbalances within a community and society. The extent and forms of SRGBV that girls and boys experience differ. Evidence suggests that girls are at greater risk of sexual violence, verbal abuse, and harassment, and boys are at greater risk of corporal punishment and physical violence.

Despite a growing body of research about SRGBV and its impact on students who experience it, the evidence base remains fragmented and is insufficient to demonstrate a solid linkage between the various acts of SRGBV and their effects, including impacts on academic achievement and retention. Differing survey instruments, definitions of violence, frequencies of data collection and the stigma and ethical issues with collecting sensitive information from children in school settings, are some of the major challenges.

Additionally, SRGBV presents itself differently across contexts based on the norms and attitudes of the specific locale. Thus, measuring SRGBV requires an approach that is not only contextually-sensitive but is responsive to the attitudes and beliefs of the respondent. For example, the USAID Literacy Achievement and Retention Activity’s SRGBV Baseline study’s findings suggest “that chronic structures of inequality and injustice in society influence the attitudes and beliefs of students, which can in turn impact the way that school is experienced by different children [i.e. gender and vulnerabilities]...depending on the beliefs that are influenced by the world around them, children associate themselves with more or less value and competence.” Moreover, the very nature of SRGBV makes experiences of these acts difficult to not only measure, but also to divulge, as fear of retribution often leads respondents to conceal their experiences as victims. Experiences of SRGBV and student perceptions of their safety and wellbeing influence learning outcomes; to improve learning and provide equitable opportunities for education, SRGBV must be addressed. And, to be addressed it must be measured accurately.

When investigating SRGBV, there are many ethical questions to take into account, such as the following:
● When data are collected from children, how do they have a say in how this information will be used?
● How can researchers make students feel more comfortable in divulging such sensitive information?
● What are alternative methods to collecting data on SRGBV apart from the Face-to-Face method?
● If discussions trigger memories of traumatic experiences among respondents, how are professional counselors available at each research site to assist students?
● How will children access referral sources for medical, psychosocial, and legal follow-up support when needed?
● What do members of the Field Survey Team do when they hear about a violent crime against a child that has been fully disclosed to them by a minor under the promise of anonymity and confidentiality?
● Who will follow up on these cases to ensure that the issues are properly addressed?

Disclosure of an SRGBV experience as a victim, a witness, or a perpetrator often presents a perceived or real threat of secondary victimization such as discrimination, retaliation, or even further violence to respondents, especially children. Collecting data on SRGBV within conflict and crisis settings is especially challenging due to the break down of public institutions and lack of follow up services for victims. Unique considerations and accommodations must be made to ensure no additional harm comes to children disclosing incidences of violence.

Yet much progress has been made in advancing the tools, resources, and implementation guidance for researchers, practitioners and policymakers working to learn more about SRGBV.
This panel brings together donors, researchers and implementers who will provide lessons learned on measuring SRGBV using different tools and software across more than nine contexts including:

● Karine Lepillez, Senior Gender Advisor, Juárez & Associates (J&A) Getting to know School Related Gender Based Violence & Creating Safe Spaces in Mali.
● Kalene Resler, Education Program Analyst, United States Agency for International Development, Global Tools for Monitoring and Evaluating School-Related Gender-Based Violence
● Gwendolyn Heaner, Research Manager, Education in Crisis and Conflict Network (ECCN), ECCN Safe Learning Environment Assessment Toolkit
● Julianne Norman, Education Analyst, RTI International, Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interview: Improving confidentiality in data collection techniques for SRGBV
● Karine Lepillez, Senior Gender Advisor, Juárez & Associates (J&A) Getting to know School Related Gender Based Violence & Creating Safe Spaces in Mali.
● Discussant/Chair: Dr. Elizabeth Randolph, Senior Research Education Analyst, RTI International-- has over 30 years of experience in applied research and statistics, program management and institutional strengthening. Through RTI International commissioned work from USAID, Dr. Randolph has led a five-year effort to develop a suite of tools for measuring SRGBV and its key mediating factors, including: gender attitudes; social and emotional learning; and school culture and climate. Dr. Randolph provided direction for the Journeys Program in Uganda, the intervention arm of Uganda’s National Strategy and Action Plan for Against Children in School.

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