Violence against school children is a prevalent global issue. Despite the high prevalence of school violence in Zambia, there is limited research on students with disabilities’ experiences of school violence. Guided by the socio-ecological model for bullying, the aim of this study was to understand students with disabilities’ experiences of school violence in the Lusaka and Southern provinces of Zambia. A qualitative descriptive study was conducted with 14 purposively sampled boys (n = 6) and girls (n = 8) with disabilities. Data were generated using semi-structured interviews and child-friendly methods. Child-friendly methods were co-constructed with Zambian youth with disabilities in order to ensure cultural appropriateness and included vignettes, cartoon captioning, photograph elicitation, drawings, and sentence starters. Qualitative data were analysed by thematic analysis. The themes illuminated that violence against students with disabilities occurs frequently but goes unaddressed. Moreover, students with disabilities were being blamed for causing the violence, and therefore, considered a risk to others. Participants reported that they turn to trusted teachers for support. This study illuminates the violence students with disabilities experience within the Zambian education system, with implications for school policies and programmes, peer education, and teacher training to create a safer education environment for students with disabilities.
African Journal of Disability, vol. 11 (2022)
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