Increasing Disclosure of School-Related Gender-Based Violence: Lessons from a Systematic Review of Data Collection Methods and Existing Survey Research

School-related gender-based violence (SRGBV) includes sexual, physical, or psychological violence occurring in and around schools often perpetrated by teachers or peers. This systematic review focuses on studies from high-, middle-, and low-income countries comparing how data collection methodologies affect children’s disclosures of SRGBV. We draw on results from this larger review to highlight studies conducted with children which either collected data in schools or asked about violence in schools. We also describe methods compared and results of studies that were not conducted in schools, but included children and young people. Finally, we describe how multi-country nationally representative surveys conducted in at least one low- and middle-income country measure children’s experiences of SRGBV.

We find that evidence on the impact of data collection method on SRGBV disclosure is limited, with only four studies comparing data collection methodologies in schools or about violence in schools. These showed a 0 to more than 500-percent variation in the prevalence of violence measured using different data collection methodologies. Limited evidence from an additional 10 studies conducted with children and young people, but not specifically in schools, suggests that methods allowing increased anonymity may increase disclosure. Current prevalence of SRGBV in international surveys used to monitor SDG progress may be underestimated due to data collection methods used, and further research on SRGBV should aim to test the effects of data collection methodology on violence disclosure. Efforts to improve the measurement of SRGBV is central to understanding the epidemiology, monitoring changes, and developing school and community-based programs as well as policies to prevent and respond to SRGBV.

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