Nearly a third of children and adolescents in Switzerland suffer physical violence at school, according to a study by the NGO UNICEF. In addition, 29% of children surveyed reported experiencing physical violence at home.
Between November 2019 and June 2020, 1715 children and adolescents between 9 and 17 were surveyed across Switzerland and Liechtenstein about their lives at home, school and in the community as part of a study by UNICEF.
Regarding their home life, 29% reported that their parents had hurt them, 24% said they had been mocked or insulted and 64% reported being banned from something like using a phone or from going out.
Many children reported experiencing a difficult time at school. 43% reported being mocked or insulted at school and 41% reported discrimination. Many reported physical violence (32%) and harassment (43%) by their classmates. Mistreatment was most likely to relate to appearance, origin, age and gender.
Only 53% of school children reported feeling completely safe at school. 4% reported feeling fairly unsafe (2%) or not safe at all (2%). The remainder were somewhere in between.
The study’s findings however, were not all negative. 84% reported that their parents often (42%) or always (42%) listened to them, and 86% said their parents dedicated a lot (34%) or a huge (52%) amount of time to them. In addition, 74% often (42%) or always (32%) reported being sought for their input on decisions affecting them.
Like parents, most teachers were generally attentive to the needs of children. The children surveyed reported that 71% of teachers had a lot (41%) or a large amount (30%) of time for them. In addition, 80% listened to them often (39%) or always (41%).
The most widespread problem at school seemed to be how children were treated by their classmates. 43% reported being humiliated, hurt (32%), excluded or insulted (23%) or having something taken from them (16%) by their classmates.
When confronted with problems children felt most comfortable confiding in friends (71%) and parents (71%). Only 38% trusted their sibling and only 16% their teachers.
When asked what they would like changed they said they would like to see less pressure to perform at school and more freedom to spend time on leisure and rest. They would also like to see more done to reduce discrimination, violence and bullying and be allowed a greater role in decisions related to their lives. 55% felt they were not involved in school decisions and 46% said they were rarely or never consulted at home.