Each year up to 1 billion children experience some form of physical, sexual or psychological violence or neglect. Being a victim of violence in childhood has lifelong impacts on education, health, and well-being. Exposure to violence can lead to educational underachievement due to cognitive, emotional, and social problems. Because children who are exposed to violence are more likely to smoke, misuse alcohol and drugs, and engage in high-risk sexual behaviour, they are also more likely to endure a range of illnesses later in life. These include depression, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and HIV.
Schools have been identified as one important setting for conducting violence prevention efforts. Therefore, this handbook is about schools, education and violence prevention. It provides guidance for school officials and education authorities on how schools can embed violence prevention within their routine activities and across the points of interaction schools provide with children, parents and other community members.