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






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Communication kit

A Communication Kit has been designed by UNICEF and the Council of Europe for the Regional Consultation on Violence Against Children in Europe and Central Asia, 5-7 July, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Violence in Residential Facilities
Violence in the Community
Violence in Schools
Violence in the Home and Family

Who we are
Changing attitudes
About the UN Study
What you can do


Child's drawing, UNICEF Moldova
Ion Sestacovschi, 9 years old

Violence in Schools

Most children in Europe get the chance to go to school every day. It is their chance to learn, to play, to get to know themselves and the world, and to build their future.

Today’s schoolchildren are no longer likely to face cruel punishments from teachers – almost all of the Europe and Central Asia region now outlaws corporal punishment in school. But violence waits in the shadows – most often in the form of bullying. Children who are a little bit different – cleverer, bigger or smaller, or with a different-coloured skin or a different accent – can find themselves the target of taunts and attacks. Teachers too can become bullies or victims.

The high profile cases – the shooting of pupils by pupils or the suicides of children who could take no more – are proof that violence can have tragic consequences if it is not tackled in time. Safe schools are schools without violence, and schools without violence need to be developed and fostered by governments, teachers, pupils, parents and the community.

The facts

An European Observatory on Violence in Schools has been set up to collect data. Based at the University of Bordeaux in France, it covers Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

But facts and figures about violence are always difficult to find. Many children are afraid to speak out, and the statistics can be influenced by the questions researchers ask or the size or nature of the group they choose. The following examples aim to give a general picture from different countries in the region:

- In 2000, a study in Georgia on child abuse and physical violence against children found that, of 4,382 children aged six to seven, 31.8 per cent reported experiencing physical punishment in schools, in 96 per cent of cases by school teachers.

- A 2002 survey in Armenia conducted by UNICEF among parents and children aged 7-18, found that beating and slapping are common in schools as well as in the home.
- According to a government report of the Russian Federation, 16 per cent of pupils suffer physical abuse and 22 per cent mental abuse from teachers.

- Studies by the University of Bordeaux in France show that of 35,000 pupils questioned, 10 per cent had been bullied. Slovenian studies report 45 per cent of pupils being bullied. In 2004, the United Kingdom children’s charity ChildLine announced a 42 per cent rise in the total number of children counselled about bullying over their telephone helpline – the biggest annual increase in the charity’s 18-year history. Around 500 children call each year because they are suicidal.

- Girls are more often bullied than boys. Boys carry out 85 per cent of the attacks. There are very few studies on girls as bullies. Eighty per cent of violence is carried out by the 12-16 age group.

What is being done?

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child says children must be provided with a safe environment at school.

According to a table compiled by the campaign group Global Initiative, corporal punishment is in principle banned throughout the Europe and Central Asian Region apart from the British Channel Island of Jersey, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan, although there is no knowledge about whether practice is in line with the law.

Campaigns against bullying have been launched in many of the region’s countries. Stars, such as David Beckham and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, have given their support to bullied children.

The Council of Europe launched a Charter for Democratic Schools without Violence in 2004. It was put together by children from 40 schools in 19 European countries and adopted by more than 17,000 pupils Europe-wide. It sets out ways in which schools can react to violence and bullying in a positive way that involves teachers, pupils, auxiliary staff and the local community.

Programmes that involve the whole community and favour openness in the school environment are proving successful – especially when they are introduced before the climate of violence becomes too entrenched. Some countries – such as Sweden – are looking at new laws which put a legal obligation on school authorities to stop bullying and violence, and make it easier for students to lodge complaints.

How do we go forward?

- States should take effective measures to create healthy and happy schools.

- Early warning systems should be set up to spot difficulties before they erupt into real violence. Prevention is the key to building schools without violence.

- Schools need to develop a strategy against violence which involves teachers, pupils, governors, and the local community. Children need to be involved at every step.

- Teachers – and pupils – need to follow anti-violence training and violence prevention classes should be included in the school timetable.

- New, less intrusive ways of resolving conflict need to be prompted – such as mediation where solutions are found to problems by bringing people together to make joint decisions.

- Schools need to be built along democratic lines – with openness between pupils and teachers being the rule not the exception.


Chinkov, V., “Violence among children and young people in the Russian Federation” in Violence in schools. A challenge for the local community, Conference 2-4 December 2002, Council of Europe, Strasbourg, in Integrated project “Responses to violence in everyday life in a democratic society”, Council of Europe Publishing, Strasbourg, 2003, pp. 65-70.

Mikus Kos, A., “Peer violence and bullying in south-east Europe”, in Violence in schools. A challenge for the local community, Conference 2-4 December 2002, Council of Europe, Strasbourg, in Integrated project “Responses to violence in everyday life in a democratic society”, Council of Europe Publishing, Strasbourg, 2003, pp. 71-77.

Debarbieux, E., Studies on the violence in the school environment, 1996, 1999, 2001.

Research carried out for the project “Responses to violence in everyday life in a democratic society”, Council of Europe.

Annual statistics from Childline, the UK telephone helpline for children and young people,

Survey on Violence Against Children in Armenia, UNICEF, 2003.


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