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Scotland finds modifying school environments ‘effective’ in stopping violence against girls

The new report published by the Scottish Government assessed evidence of effectiveness of various international schemes within schools and other education settings that aimed to prevent violence against women and girls (VAWG), but warns that more research is needed.

11/12/20

Scotland finds modifying school environments ‘effective’ in stopping violence against girls

There is ‘strong evidence’ that intervention schemes that make systematic changes to areas or environments that students felt were unsafe were effective in preventing VAWG, a new study by the Scottish government has found.

US intervention schemes, such as the Shifting Boundaries campaign, aim to prevent violence against women and girls through combining classroom learning with real-world alterations to the environments within the school setting.

Within traditional curriculum-based learning, students were encouraged to mark out areas on maps where in the school they felt safe and unsafe. These maps were then used to drive school-level interventions, such as increased staff supervision, revising school protocols temporary exclusion zones and post campaigns.

The report found that these forms of intervention schemes saw ‘reductions of perpetration’ and were more effective in reducing sexual harassment and violence than classroom education alone.

However, there were warnings that further research was needed over the viability of using international intervention methods within domestic prevention policies, as there was ‘limited evidence’ of what was successful across multiple populations.

Prevention methods that promote bystander intervention, such as Scotland’s own Mentors in Violence Prevention, as well as those that promote equality within relationships, showed ‘promising’ levels of success, but often resulted in ‘attitudinal change rather than the reduction of violence as an explicit outcome’.

The study found that wider interventions campaigns that aim to prevent domestic abuse, honour-based violence and Female Genital Mutilation required more research to assess their effectiveness.

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