https://dfemedia.blog.gov.uk/2018/03/28/education-in-media-wednesday-28-march-2018/

Education in media: Wednesday 28 March 2018

Today’s blog looks at recent comments and reports about sexual harassment and violence between children.

Peer on peer

Yesterday, Tuesday 28 March, the president of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) Dr Mary Bousted claimed that sexual harassment has been ‘normalised’ in adolescent culture and that this is affecting girls in schools. In addition to this the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) published a report that showed in 2017 there were 3,004 counselling sessions with young people who had experienced sexual abuse by a friend, partner, ex-partner or another young person.

The Daily Telegraph, Times, Daily Mail, Sun and Independent all covered Mary Bousted’s comments while the Independent wrote about the new figures from the NSPCC.

To support schools we published new advice to schools and colleges, specifically covering peer on peer abuse, which will help them prevent and respond to reports of sexual violence or harassment between children.

We have recently consulted on proposed changes to the Keeping Children Safe in Education statutory guidance which will consider how to incorporate additional information about sexual violence and sexual harassment into this guidance.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

We take the safeguarding of pupils very seriously and all schools should be safe places for pupils to learn. To support schools we have recently published new advice, specifically on child on child sexual violence and sexual harassment.

There are 1.9 million more children in good or outstanding schools than in 2010 and across the country. We want to continue to raise the bar and that’s why we have committed to make healthy Relationships Education compulsory in all primary schools and Relationships and Sex education compulsory in all secondary schools. We have been hearing from as many people as possible on what the new subjects should include through our call for evidence which we will publish in due course.

Our advice and guidance on peer on peer abuse for schools and colleges can be seen here.