Regional Consultation for the UN Study on Violence Against Children
. 5 - 7 July 2005 Ljubljana, Slovenia  
Europe and Central Asia






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Violence in school is a problem worldwide - CoE

Pupil-on-pupil violence, attacks on teachers, damage and destruction to school premises: the problem is spreading, not only throughout Europe, but across the whole globe, according to the Second International Conference on Violence in School, which took place in Canada in May 2003. Solutions to this problem must include counselling and mediation mechanisms and depend on democratic involvement of the entire school community, says the Council of Europe.

School violence is regularly in the news in Europe. The first research, which began ten years or so ago, with the European Observatory on Violence in Schools to the fore, revealed a serious situation from which no kind of school was exempt. It seems that some of the most serious acts are now well reported and recorded: murders (extremely rare), physical attacks on teachers and staff, and arson, according to Eric Debarbieux, President of the European Observatory.

In contrast, less is known about "minor" everyday violence, with official statistics recalling only apparent, and not actual, violence. Insults, racism, assaults, theft and racketeering now occur, to varying degrees, across every social and geographical sector. A survey conducted in France in 1995 among over 9 000 lower secondary pupils, for instance, detected a feeling of insecurity and mistrust of others in well-off urban areas, in the countryside and in disadvantaged urban areas alike.

School violence is a matter of concern for all of us, and everyone must work together against it. The Council of Europe, through its integrated project begun in 2002 to find responses to violence in everyday life in a democratic society, has been looking at the problem of school violence in an effort to define and promote comprehensive policies to deal with it. As part of its effort, some 40 upper secondary students from various Council of Europe member states met in Strasbourg from 14 to 18 July to work on a draft Charter for Democratic Schools without Violence.

In October 2004, the Council of Europe is launching, with the help of the Swiss Canton of Geneva, the first e-voting exercise in eighty-two schools from nineteen countries. The results of the referendum will show if European schools agree or disagree with the Charter, which covers such principles as the right to a safe and peaceful school, the right for everyone to have equal treatment and the idea that conflicts should always be resolved in a non-violent and constructive way.

If adopted, the Charter will act as a model for all of Europe’s schools to create democratic schooling without violence.

Story: Word

For more information:

Council of Europe
Cathie Burton
Press Officer
Council of Europe
Strasbourg , France
Tel.: +33 3 88 41 28 93. Mobile: +33 685 11 64 93