As education systems around the world begin to reopen, schools must be prepared to mitigate and respond to gender-based violence in and around schools, and provide support for those children who have experienced violence in the context of school closures. School reopening offers an opportunity for governments, education officials and teachers to reset the clock and take a zero-tolerance approach to violence, including corporal punishment, peer-to-peer psychological and physical violence, or sexual harassment and violence. Strong commitment from school leadership is needed, through school-based policies as well as strong reporting and accountability mechanisms. This policy brief is targeted at policymakers and practitioners working in gender, education and child protection fields. It draws from emerging evidence on the gendered implications of COVID-19 on violence as well as research from previous health emergencies regarding the impacts of school closures on gender-based violence. Working on the principle of ‘Build Back Better’, this brief may be used to advocate for improved attention to school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV). The entry points for action identified by this brief complement the Framework for Reopening Schools (UNESCO, UNICEF, World Bank and World Food Programme), the related Safe Back to School Practitioners Guide (Global Education Cluster) and Reopening Schools Safely (Safe to Learn campaign) providing more detailed guidance on how education systems can prevent and respond to gender-based violence in and around schools.
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