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Provide Assistance to Victims

Make every effort at a national level to provide assistance to victims in a non-discriminatory manner.

Attacks on schools and students can have a devastating impact on the health and wellbeing of students and educators that may have long-term or even lifelong consequences. Women and girls are especially vulnerable to forced marriage, rape, and other physical and psychological violence and abuse.

The Safe Schools Declaration includes a commitment to provide assistance to victims of attacks on education and military use of schools. Assistance should take into account the specific needs of males and females, and should include provision of medical and counselling services for victims of sexual and gender-based violence.

Below is a non-exhaustive list of recommended actions to be undertaken by government, civil society and international organizations to ensure that victims of attacks receive medical, psychosocial, legal, and financial assistance.

Government

Take necessary steps to expand availability of free and confidential medical and psychosocial services for victims, including sexual and reproductive healthcare, and ensure that victims are aware of such services and how to access them;

Enhance measures for the rehabilitation and reintegration of victims, including providing financial assistance for those who may not be financially supported by their families;

Support the establishment of safe spaces, such as formal or informal community centers, or women’s centers, where victims of attacks on education can receive legal, medical, and psychosocial information and services;

Provide psychosocial support training for teachers to be able to support students with a range of coping strategies.

Civil Society and International Organizations

Support the access of specialized provision of medical and psychosocial assistance to victims of attacks on education, taking into account the specific needs and experiences of women and girls;

Work with the government to establish and scale up training programs for teachers on how to support and care for students suffering from post-traumatic stress, including specifically girls suffering from the psychological trauma and stigma associated with sexual violence;

Encourage peer support networks and self-help groups that bring together victims of attacks on education, parents, learners, and community members, including women’s groups, which can help victims’ recovery from distressing experiences, and nurture psychosocial wellbeing and longer-term resilience.

EXAMPLES OF GOOD PRACTICE

Read examples of good practice

Norwegian Refugee Council: The Norwegian Refugee Council, in partnership with the Institute of Education, University of Tromsø in Norway, and the Norwegian Center for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies, has implemented the Better Learning Program (BLP) in Gaza and the West Bank. The program, which aims to improve learning conditions for children and adolescents exposed to conflict, has two components. The first provides psychosocial support to all students in schools, while the second focuses on children with chronic symptoms of traumatic stress. For more information on the program outcomes, please click here.

International Rescue Committee: In Pakistan, the International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) Healing Classrooms Initiative is implemented in camp schools as well community-based schools. The Initiative offers trainings on psychosocial support to teachers working in schools in camps for internally displaced persons. Trainings include strategies for promoting student wellbeing; intellectual stimulation; and positive relationships between students belonging to different ethnic, religious, and social groups. IRC staff members provide teachers with ongoing support and carry out regular monitoring and evaluation of the Initiative. According to program staff, results of the Initiative include: 1) an improved sense of classroom safety and security among students; 2) an increased sense of school ownership among students and parents; and 3) increased coping capacity, creativity, and problem solving among students and teachers.