17 October, 2017, Tbilisi, Georgia. Cases of psychological and physical abuse of children by adults and peers at general educational institutions is observed frequently; bullying among pupils is a widespread form of interaction among minors, says the monitoring report by the Public Defender’s Office to study violence against children in general educational institutions. The monitoring was conducted with the support of UNICEF.
The monitoring made it clear that responsible persons lack competence regarding the mechanism of response to violence against children and schools do not have a common policy on combatting violence. School personnel is not informed on state mechanisms on protection of children against violence.
Awareness of students of their rights and different forms of violence is poor. Majority of students do not know whom to refer in case of violence. Shouting, abusive approach and improper treatment dominates various forms of violence against children.
According to UNICEF recommendations, it is important to take the following measures to ensure safe environment at schools:
- To promote positive rather than punitive mechanisms of prevention of violence at schools. Teachers and school principals should apply non-violent teaching and learning strategies and manage the classroom and ensure discipline by taking measures which are not based on fear, threat or physical strength.
- To integrate the issues related to positive pedagogy and prevention of violence in teacher training and retraining university and professional programs. It is essential to have the teachers and school employees clearly distinguish between discipline and violence against children.
- Professionals working with children should timely identify the facts of violence and respond appropriately. It is important to inform and regularly retrain principals, teachers and other school employees in respect of child protection referral procedures.
- To inform students on violence and their rights and obligations.
- Curriculums should promote values of social equity, life skills, tolerance and non-violent means of resolving conflicts.
- Students should be actively engaged in school life and elaboration of particular mechanisms of prevention of violence like the code of conduct.
- Schools should have mechanisms for reporting, intervention and response to incidents of violence.
The Office of Public Defender, with support of UNICEF conducted monitoring of violence against children during the 2016-2017 academic year throughout the country and covered 109 general educational institutions.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.