Preventing and addressing school-related gender-based violence in Viet Nam
This report was commissioned by the Ministry of Education and Training of Viet Nam (MOET), under the direct supervision of the Student Affairs Department, as part of efforts to secure safe learning environments for all learners in Viet Nam. An investigation was undertaken into the nature and extent of SRGBV in schools in North, Central and South Viet Nam. Ethical issues were carefully planned including informed consent and privacy for participants. The commitment and support of MOET was essential to enabling stakeholders to freely discuss the sensitive topic of SRGBV. A range of local and international research experts, departmental and school contacts, and community organizations aided the project.The study applied an emancipatory methodology aiming to achieve social justice goals. Mixed methods of in-person and online surveys, focus group discussions and in-depth interviews were used to collect data from four distinct groups of participants. These included general school students, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (abbreviated to LGBT in this report as in the broader literature) students, school staff (including administrators and teachers) and parents. Evidence was provided by 3,698 survey participants, 280 participants in Focus Group Discussions (FGD) and 85 In-Depth Interviews (IDIs) with students, school staff and parents.Key findings include:
- There was limited awareness of all stakeholders of SRGBV, with most primarily considering actions that cause physical injury and overlooking other forms such as sexual harassment, or psychosocial violence such as ostracism. Parents and teachers were comparatively more aware of, and concerned about, technology-related violence than students. LGBT students demonstrated stronger awareness of the negative long-term effects of verbal and psychosocial violence than other groups.
- More than half (51.9%) of all students reported having experienced at least one kind of violent behaviours in the last 6 months. LGBT students (particularly more ‘feminine' same sex attracted males or gender non-conforming/transgender youth) were at particularly high risk of victimisation and exposure to all kinds of violence – 71% of LGBT students had been physically abused, 72.2% verbally abused. Additionally, male students experienced higher rates of all forms of violence (except for being a target of gossip) than females.
- Stereotypes and prejudices (against femininity, gender non-conformity and perceived ‘weakness') were seen to motivate SRGBV.
- Victims of SRGBV were more likely to experience reduced academic performance and participation, and have symptoms of negative psychological wellbeing including depression, thoughts or attempts of self-harm or suicide.
- Roughly one-third of student victims of SRGBV reported seeking assistance from adults; however a portion also expressed a lack of confidence in adults' capacity to solve the problem.
- There are vast differences between school staff 's and students' assessments of SRGBV prevention/response mechanisms in school, with 95.4% of the teachers/school administrators and only 14.6% of students affirming measures in place.