HRAC studies gender-based violence in schools

BY: Samuel K. Obour

A Research Consultant and Educationist, Mr Ernest Otoo, has urged government agencies to ensure strict monitoring of social activities among students and the relationship between school authorities and students to prevent gender-based violence (GBV).

Mr Otoo called for effective educational forum for educators and students to learn about the concept of GBV and the misconceptions about gender roles,  as well as the perception of vulnerability to violence in schools.

He made the call on Wednesday when he presented a report on a research on GBV in schools at a validation forum organised by Human Rights Advocacy Centre (HRAC),  and funded by STAR-Ghana, a multi-donor pooled organisation in Accra.

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The forum provided participants the platform to make suggestions and comments on the report from stakeholders to be used as a working document.

The research was conducted through one-on-one interviews and focus-group discussions with 215 students and 91 teachers in nine schools located in the Greater Accra and Eastern regions.

Mr Otoo said findings of the research indicated that there were significant deficits in students’ awareness and knowledge of GBV while most of the teachers were unaware of the categories of actions that constituted GBV.

He said the findings revealed that 19 per cent of students indicated that rape and defilement occurred in schools.

Sixty-seven per cent of students said sexual comments were common within schools while 49 per cent reported sexual touching.

Mr Otoo said the findings showed that GBV hindered students’ ability to concentrate and learn in the classroom which could result in dropouts or reduction in school attendance.

The Acting Executive Director of HRAC, Mr Robert Akoto Amoafo, in his presentation on Protocol for Preventing, Monitoring and Reporting incidents of GBV in schools, said it aimed at providing instructions for responding to GBV in schools.

He said the protocol would set out policies, procedures and agreements to be followed and actions to be taken to prevent GBV in schools.

Senior Project Manager of HRAC, Ms Jemilla Ariori, noted that GBV were violence inflicted upon someone because of their gender or when violence was experienced differently between males and females.

She maintained that the aim of the research was to determine the prevalence of GBV in schools and record the methods and mechanisms used to report and respond to such incidents.

Source: GNA