Recognise and prevent sexual harassment and violence – materials for students in vocational education and training and general upper secondary education

Current issues Vocational education and training Upper secondary education Basic education Teachers and educators
The amount of sexual harassment and violence that young people experience, for example in public places and online, has increased in a worrying degree. The Finnish National Agency for Education has published a poster and a brochure containing instructions for students on how to recognise, prevent and intervene in sexual harassment and violence.
Ei kaikelle väkivallalle -tunnus, jossa on kuva piirretystä kädestä, jonka sisällä on haljennut sydän.

There must be a zero-tolerance policy for all harassment and violence. Educational institutions must have a plan for protecting students from violence, bullying and harassment. It is important that staff in education and in the field of vocational education and training can recognise harassment and violence and encourage children and youth to talk about difficult situations. Young people need information and support on how to act in different situations.

The amount of sexual harassment experienced by young people and girls in particular has increased significantly in recent years, as shown in the School health promotion study 2021 by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. According to the study, experiences with harassment have become more common especially in public places and online.

As of 1 August 2022, in vocational education and training and general upper secondary education, teachers and principals are obligated to report any harassment, bullying, discrimination or violence that has occurred in the learning environment or on the way to school to the guardian or other legal representative of the suspected student and the targeted student. Teachers and principals in basic education also have a comparable obligation.

The brochure provides tools for young people and supports teaching and learning 

The newly published brochure is aimed at students in vocational education and training and general upper secondary education. The instructions help young people recognise harassment and violence and act in a preventive manner. The brochure also explains where young people can receive support and assistance if they have experienced sexual harassment or violence. 

The instructions in the brochure are also suitable for use in comprehensive school in grades 7 to 9, for example as part of health education and other school activities that promote welfare and equality. 

The materials are available in several languages on the website

The “Instructions for students in vocational education and training and general upper secondary education – Preventing and intervening in sexual harassment and violence” brochure is available online on the website. 

The brochure is available in Finnish, Swedish, English, North Sámi, Inari Sámi, Skolt Sámi, Russian, Arabic, Somali, Kurdish and Farsi. In addition to the brochure, a poster with more concise information has also been published. The poster is available in Finnish, Swedish and English. 

New materials will be published in 2022

The Finnish National Agency for Education is working on a website for preventing bullying, harassment, discrimination and violence, which will be published in early 2023. We will publish new materials for staff, guardians, children and young people in schools, educational institutions and early childhood education and care in 2022. You can identify all materials from the website's own “NO to all violence” logo.

Drawing of a hand raised in stop gesture and the text NO to all violence

The preparation of the website on bullying, harassment, discrimination and the prevention of violence is based on the Ministry of Education and Culture's action plan and the implementation plan of the National child strategy. The new brochure and poster are also part of the Ministry of Justice's work to combat violence against women.

Further information: 

Finnish National Agency for Education, Senior Adviser Riina Länsikallio, riina.lansikallio [at], tel. +358 29 533 1088