06 March 2008
Safe Schools: every girl's right!
The key to a bright future is for girls and women is choice. Women must be free to choose the path that is right for them, a path that is out of harm’s way and allows them to move forward and realize their potential.

Safe Schools are every girl's right!Education is a crucial step in this journey. It is crucial to breaking cycles of poverty, violence and disease. Education is a human right, and therefore every girl’s right.

Girls across the world find a range of barriers to education:
  • Girls are assaulted on the way to school, attacked in schools grounds and teased by their classmates. Some are threatened with sexual assault by other students, coerced into sex by teachers, even raped in the staff room.
  • In countries wracked by war, girls are at risk from armed groups and from attacks on their schools. Sexual abuse and exploitation are problems for girls living in refugee camps or displaced people’s camps.
  • Certain girls face an increased risk of violence at school. Certain aspects of girls’ identities, including their sexuality, status as migrants, orphans or refugees, caste, ethnicity and race, can increase their risk of abuse.
  • Although free primary education should be available to all children, schools around the world commonly charge user fees. Girls are more likely to be excluded than boys when there isn’t enough money to go round.
Violence leads to countless girls being kept out of school, dropping out, or not fully participating in school life. Effects range from pain and fear, to lowered self-esteem, sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancies and depression. In many cases, abuses go unreported.

The problem is exacerbated by the fact that girls often choose not to report what continues to be a taboo issue in some societies, or for fear of retaliation. That leaves such acts under-reported and allows their perpetrators to go unpunished.

There is no justification for the lack of action. The issue is not about resources but political will. Governments, teachers and school authorities must work to prevent violence against girls in schools, must promptly investigate reports of abuse, impose appropriate punishments on offenders, support those who have suffered from violence to recover and ensure that such abuses do not recur.Take Action

Join Amnesty International’s campaign to protect girls’ rights to safety, equality and education. Make schools safe for girls.

Safe Schools 
Stop Violence Against Women 
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