Violence Does Not Stop By Itself
Belgrade, 9 March 2010 - The Serbian Ministry of Education and UNICEF today launched a new anti-violence and anti-bullying public campaign entitled “Violence Does Not Stop by Itself”. The campaign addresses teachers, children, parents and communities and aims at stimulating them to actively fight against violence in schools.
The Ministry of Education and UNICEF also presented the findings of the “School without Violence“ programme evaluation which served as a basis for developing the campaign. The evaluation, carried out in 116 primary schools implementing the Programme, shows that 73% of children like to go to school, but that 65% of students experience some sort of violence at least once in three months, and that as many as 44% of school children remember a violent experience during their primary schooling.
Boys and girls are equally exposed to violence – differences occur only in the type of intended violence: boys more often practice physical violence, while girls are more inclined to bullying.
Since the beginning of implementation in 2005, the “School without Violence” programme has contributed to :
“ What we - as parents, teachers, citizens - can learn from this evaluation is that a change is possible, that violence is not a desired way of behavior and that a safe and enabling environment is of vital importance for successful learning and development of every child. There is, therefore, no excuse for turning a blind eye to a situation when one child acts violently and the other is suffering,” said UNICEF Area Representative, Judita Reichenberg.
Despite the evident success of the programme, there are still challenges that need to be addressed, the major one being “The Silent Majority” which the public campaign launched today aims to address.
“The Ministry of Education sees the creation of a safe and enabling environment for growth, development and learning of children as one of its priorities”, said Serbian Minister of Education, Mr. Zarko Obradovic. “Coordination of all sectors – education, social protection, police, health – and strengthening the partnership with UNICEF and other international and national organisations, both governmental and non-governmental, are the key to creating effective mechanisms for protecting children from violence,” he stressed.
The “School without Violence – Towards a Safe and Enabling Environment for Children” is implemented by the Serbian Ministry of Education and UNICEF in partnership with other referral Ministries and institutions. Currently, it covers 196 primary schools in 64 towns and municipalities across Serbia covering 135,600 students and 12,500 teachers.