School-Related Gender-Based Violence in Indonesia

Education is a fundamental human right, and critical for the realization of many other rights. Indonesia has ratified numerous international conventions that obligate states to protect child rights, including right to gain education. Child rights are enshrined in Indonesia’s Constitution which states that “every child has the right to live, grow and develop and is entitled to be protected from violence and discrimination.’ The government has made commitments to advance all children’s right to good quality education in secure learning environments, and made many efforts to expand child-friendly schools, villages and cities.

Despite this, learning environments are not always inclusive and safe places, and can be sites of physical, verbal, psychological and sexual violence. With growing access to information and communication technologies, this experience does not always end at the school gates but can follow children home and compound with harassment on mobile phones, and social media platforms.

Most forms of school violence are deeply rooted in gender norm and expectations and inequitable gender attitudes and relationships. Until recently, most research on school violence globally has neglected to explore the role of gender. UNESCO and other partners have called for greater information and evidence on school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV). Without this, countries will not be able to achieve targets set within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on education and gender equality, including target 4a: “to build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all.”

Indonesia has undertaken many studies over the last 10 years on the experience of violence at home, in particular against women and children. There are significant variations across the Indonesian archipelago, but high rates of physical violence are experienced by many children, largely as a form of violent discipline. Reported cases of violence against children at home have also been increasing in recent years, according to Indonesia’s Child Protection Commission (Komisi Perlindungan Anak Indonesia – KPAI) case reports, and acceptance of violence as a form of discipline appears to be culturally widespread.

Workshop on Creating Learning Communities for Children at Bali, 2016

 Corporal punishment, hazing and sexual violence have received attention of the Indonesian media, and awareness is growing of the need to take action. The evidence base on school violence is more limited than that of violence against women and children more broadly. While further steps are needed to strengthen the evidence base, common themes emerge from available studies:

  • There is a large body of research on children’s experience of corporal punishment. Boys appear to be more targeted, typically by male teachers, for physical punishment but other punishments intending to inflict shame or humiliation can affect all students. The majority incidents go unreported and, in many instances, it appears that parents accept it as necessary form of discipline.
  • Bullying appears to be widespread, and possibly more prevalent in Indonesia than in other countries. In one 2007 study, 55% of boys and 45% of girls reported being bullied in the last 30 days; Indonesian rates were higher than all but one other country (out of 15). Lower rates (34% total) were reported in a more recent (2011) study, but were still higher than 37 of 42 countries where data had been collected. In this review, verbal abuse was most commonly reported occurring, which has been confirmed in other studies. There are limited data on cyberbullying, although some small studies found high rates linked to other forms of ‘offline’ bullying.
  • Several factors appear to be contributing to the experience of SRGBV including: gender-inequitable attitudes, stereotypes and expectations, which can be used to justify or condone boys’ expressions of physical aggression and affect gender non-conforming learners; widespread community acceptance of violence to maintain discipline and order and to assert power over another; exposure to violence.


  • 4 working group meeting on School Related Gender Based Violence conducted 
  • Draft of the School Related Gender Based Violence Report developed 
  • Working group consists of Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social Affairs, Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection, Indonesia Human Rights Commission, National Commission on Violence against Women, UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA, ILO, IPPA, Rutgers WPF, Plan International, ARI, etc.   



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