Nearly half of Ireland’s teens say they experience peer violence at school – UNICEF

Nearly half of Ireland’s teens say they experience peer violence at school – UNICEF

Physical fights and bullying disrupt the education of 44% of 13-15-year-olds in Ireland

Report, photos and b-roll, including of UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Lilly Singh in South Africa, available for download here.

DUBLIN, NEW YORK, 6 September 2018 – Nearly half of Ireland’s students aged 13 to 15 report having experienced peer-to-peer violence in and around school, according to a new report released by UNICEF today.

An Everyday Lesson: #ENDviolence in Schools says that peer violence – measured as the number of children who report having been bullied in the last month or having been involved in a physical fight in the last year – is a pervasive part of young people’s education in Ireland – impacting student learning and well-being.

“Education is fundamental in a child’s life and every child should feel safe and secure at school,” said UNICEF Ireland Executive Director Peter Power. “Our new report shows that 44% of students in Ireland aged 13 to 15 report either being bullied or being involved in physical fights with their peers. This must be addressed – violence is not a lesson any child needs to learn. Experiencing violence has serious effects on a child’s well-being, and in the long-term it can lead to depression, anxiety and even suicide. No child should go into school fearing violence.”

In Ireland 28% of students aged 13 to 15 report they have been bullied at school at least once in the past couple of months, while 27% reported having been involved in a physical fight at least once in the past 12 months.

Across the world, half of students aged 13 to 15 worldwide – around 150 million – report having experienced peer-to-peer violence in and around school, according to the An Everyday Lesson: #ENDviolence in Schools report. The report outlines a variety of ways students face violence in and around the classroom. According to the latest available data from UNICEF:

  • Globally, slightly more than 1 in 3 students aged 13-15 experience bullying, and roughly the same proportion are involved in physical fights.
  • 3 in 10 students in 39 industrialised countries admit to bullying peers.
  • In 2017, there were 396 documented or verified attacks on schools in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 26 on schools in South Sudan, 67 attacks in the Syrian Arab Republic and 20 attacks in Yemen.
  • Nearly 720 million school-aged children live in countries where corporal punishment at school is not fully prohibited.
  • While girls and boys are equally at risk of bullying, girls are more likely to become victims of psychological forms of bullying and boys are more at risk of physical violence and threats.

The report notes that violence involving weapons in schools, such as knives and guns, continues to claim lives. It also says that in an increasingly digital world, bullies are disseminating violent, hurtful and humiliating content with the tap of a key.

An Everyday Lesson: #ENDviolence in Schools is released as part of the UNICEF #ENDviolence global campaign. To end violence in schools, UNICEF and partners are calling for urgent action in the following areas:

  • Implementing policies and legislation to protect students from violence in schools.
  • Strengthening prevention and response measures in schools.
  • Urging communities and individuals to join students as they speak up about violence and work to change the culture of classrooms and communities.
  • Making more effective and targeted investments in proven solutions that help students and schools stay safe.
  • Collecting better, disaggregated data on violence against children in and around schools and sharing what works.

UNICEF is encouraging young people around the world to raise their voices to #ENDviolence in and around schools and to tell us how they are working together and what solutions they are using to #ENDviolence in and around schools once and for all. Find out more at https://uni.cf/end-violence

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Notes to Editors:

The An Everyday Lesson: #ENDviolence in Schools report is based on UNICEF analysis of data from 122 countries with data from the HBSC and GSHS surveys, covering 51 per cent of the global population of children aged 13 to 15 years. Ireland’s data was sourced through the HBSC survey conducted during 2013 and 2014.

Multimedia assets can be downloaded here.

Learn more about UNICEF’s #ENDviolence global campaign here.

About UNICEF
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

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For more information please contact:

Danny Smits, UNICEF Ireland, +353 87 1308070, danny@unicef.ie

Helen Wylie, UNICEF New York, Tel: +1 917 244 2215, hwylie@unicef.org