News and events

Framework launched to tackle boys' violence against girls in schools

Today, the Scottish Government has launched the Gender Based Violence in Schools Framework, which provides guidance for primary and secondary schools on how to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls (VAWG). We co-chaired the working group which developed the Framework alongside Rape Crisis Scotland and the Scottish Government.  

“We’re proud to have been closely involved in the development of the Gender Based Violence in Schools Framework. The guidance is a vital step towards preventing and responding to boys' sexual harassment, rape, and abuse of girls, which is all too common.  

We now look to the Scottish Government to demonstrate its commitment to ending boys’ violence against girls by resourcing the guidance’s implementation so both teachers and children can focus on learning.”  

- Laura Tomson, Co-director Zero Tolerance   

With 70% of pupils in Scottish secondary schools experiencing sexual harassment, the majority of which goes unreported [2], the necessity of the framework cannot be overstated. Girls in Scotland do not feel safe at school, and this must change if their right to education is to be realised.  

“[Boys] say a lot of things, just really inappropriate then he looks at me and smiles and it makes me feel really weird.” 

- Primary girl [1] 

The Gender-Based Violence in Schools Framework is an excellent starting point for this work. However, as a non-statutory guidance document it will not alone solve the problem of violence and misogyny in schools. We make the following asks of the Scottish Government to ensure that this work makes the meaningful change girls in Scotland so desperately need: 

  1. Provide adequate resource for the implementation of this Framework to ensure it is used effectively by every school in Scotland.  

  1. Utilise the Gender Equality Taskforce on Education and Learning to progress work on addressing misogyny, creating gender equal cultures in Scottish schools, and therefore preventing VAWG. 

  1. Bring gender experts into all discussions on violence and poor behaviour in Scottish schools.  

“We will have space in the WORLD.” 

- Primary girl [1] 



[1] Children's Parliament (2022). Gender Equality in Education and Learning: Theory of Change Model.  

[2] Sweeting H, Blake C, Riddell J, Barrett S, Mitchell KR (2022) Sexual harassment in secondary school: Prevalence and ambiguities. A mixed methods study in Scottish schools. PLOS ONE 17(2): e0262248.  

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