This is a simulation activity, in which participants devise a policy on preventing and acting against gender-based violence in their school.

Complexity: Level 4

Time: 120 minutes

Group size: 10 to 30

Download the handout

Download the activity

“In order to carry a positive action, we must develop here a positive vision“
Dalai Lama


  • To understand that gender-based violence is a human rights violation
  • To explore the concept of restorative justice as a means of addressing cases of gender-based violence
  • To develop discussion skills and the ability to draw up policy statements


  • Role cards for each group and the card describing the concept of restorative justice


  • Make sure you have enough space for four groups to work separately.
  • Prepare a flipchart or a slide with a definition of gender-based violence. You can use the definition of gender-based violence from the section Gender-based violence of this website.
  • Make copies of the handouts: the story and role cards for each group; restorative justice cards for 3 of the 4 groups


1) Ask participants what they understand by gender-based violence. Collect a few answers from the group and if necessary, show them the definition on flip-chart paper or a slide, allowing some time for questions or clarifications. You will find the definition in the section Gender-based violence of this website.

2) Tell participants that the activity will involve a simulation. They will need to imagine that they are members of a school community, in which there have been several cases of gender-based violence. They should listen to the story first, and then in groups, will make decisions about how to address gender-based violence at school. Start reading the story, which you can find in the end of this activity.
Once the story has been read out, show participants the timeline of the activity:

  • Preparation – 30 minutes (with a possibility for groups to consult experts after 15 minutes)
  • Meeting of the school community – 40 minutes (by the end of which, policy guidelines will have been drawn up)
  • Debriefing and evaluation: 50 minutes

3) Explain that the results of the small group work do not have to be in final written form. Groups can just make a list of points of items that need to be included in the school policy against gender-based violence.

4) Split the group into 4 smaller groups and assign roles to them: students, teachers (incl. school management), parents, and independent experts. The group of experts can be smaller than the other groups. Give each group a role card and allocate a space for each one to work. The card explaining the concept of restorative justice should be given to all groups except the group of parents. After 15 minutes, announce that from this time on, the groups are able to consult the experts.

5) After 30 minutes of group work, call participants back into plenary and start the meeting. The meeting should be run by the experts and should include:

  • Welcome address, outlining the aim of the meeting
  • Short presentations from each of the other groups (students, teachers and parents) – 3 minutes each
  • Question and answer session: 10 minutes
  • Open discussion: 15 minutes (optional)
  • Discussion and finalising guidelines: what should be in the guidelines (list all items on the flipchart)
  • Closure of the meeting

6) Take participants out of role. You could do this by asking participants to stand with their eyes closed and telling them that they are leaving the school now and coming back to this room and tactivity. Move to the debriefing and evaluation, using some of the questions below.

Debriefing and evaluation

As the activity may have been very emotional for some participants, start by inviting them to share their emotions, and then continue with the more detailed questions on what participants have learnt, and what can be done in cases of violence occurring. Use some of the following guiding questions:

  • How did you feel during the activity? Did these emotions change during the activity?
  • What was the most difficult part of the activity? Why? Which difficulties did you encounter in the preparation phase, and then during the meeting?
  • Does gender-based violence happen at school or in your organisation/youth club? How is it normally dealt with?
  • How does gender-based violence affect people who suffer from it personally? How does it affect a whole school community or a youth organisation?
  • Have you heard of the concept of restorative justice before? Do you think it could be useful when addressing certain cases of gender-based violence? Explain your answer.
  • Do you think it makes sense to introduce policies about gender-based violence or violence in general in places where young people are (school, youth club, etc.)? What should such policies include? Does your school or organisation have such a policy?
  • How does gender-based violence affect gender equality? Which human rights are likely to be violated in cases of gender-based violence?
  • Do we have a personal responsibility to address cases of gender-based violence? What is this responsibility?

Tips for the facilitator

The activity may be difficult for some groups, especially groups that have never seen policy guidelines before. You could start by asking participants if they are familiar with their school rules, as an example of policy document.

The case described in the activity takes place in a school, but you could adapt it to a youth club or organisation context.

The simulation may provoke disputes and may also lead to potential conflict. Tell the ‘experts’ that you are there to support them: if conflicts arise during the discussions, be prepared to step in to help in resolving them.

Suggestions for follow-up

Working through this activity with participants may enable you to introduce them to human rights instruments, such as the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention or the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (Lanzarote Convention), or the Committee of Ministers’ Recommendation CM/Rec (2010)5 to member states on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. You can find information on all these documents in the section Gender-based violence of this website, and there are abbreviated versions in the section Resources.

If you think the topic of safety of LGBT+ people is an important issue to be explored further, try running the activity Spaces and Places.

Ideas for action

If participants feel that their group or institution – e.g. their school or youth club/ organisation - needs a policy about gender-based violence, you could work with them on developing a proposal for how to ensure that one is adopted. Participants could start by developing a lesson plan on gender-based violence and organise an awareness-raising workshop with their peers.

Complexity: Level 4 | Time: 120 minutes | Group size: 10 to 30
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