Gender-based violence remains a serious and highly unreported problem in Europe: according to the recent report on violence against women by the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), one in three women (33%) in the EU has experienced physical and/or sexual violence since she was 15 years old.  On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November 2017) EI and ETUCE highlight that education trade unions play a major role in eliminating any types of violence and harassment against women and ensuring that schools are safe and secure places for all students and education personnel.

Based on the study ‘Safe at home, safe at work’ published this year, the European Trade Union Confederation has prepared a practical briefing paper outlining trade unions’ strategies to prevent, manage and eliminate workplace harassment and violence against women through collective agreements. Together with the ETUCE Action Plan on Preventing and Tackling Violence in Schools and the Implementation Guide on How to Prevent and Mitigate Third-Party Violence and Harassment  in Schools, the briefing paper constitutes a useful toolkit for education trade unions on actions to prevent and address violence and sexual harassment at schools.

This year, the EU has also shown a strong commitment to combat violence against women within its territory as well as globally, by signing the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention). To help Member States monitor the implementation of the Convention, the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) has developed a framework to measure various forms of violence against women.

Education and gender justice, access to education for refugee girls and boys, structural gender discrimination in education systems, and other issues of gender-based violence affecting education worldwide are addressed by the international campaign 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (25 November – 10 December 2017). The campaign focuses on education already for the second year: its main theme is ‘From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Make Education Safe for All’. EI and ETUCE call on their member organisations to support this year’s 16 Days of Activism Campaign and to raise their voices against gender-based violence at school and at home.

Gender-based violence in education institutions has also a damaging effect on the learning environment of students and the working environment of teachers , - said Susan Flocken, European Director. –Preventing and tackling gender-based harassment and violence in education as well as creating learning environments based on mutual respect, trust and universal values is crucial.

Following the engagement at global level, EI/ETUCE member organisations are asked to continue lobbying their governments to support a binding ILO Standard – a Convention with a related Recommendation - on Violence and Harassment against Women and Men in the World of Work.

EI Circular on International Day for Elimination of violence against women