Speak Out Against Harassment At School: Take Action Now!

One third of 16-18 year old girls say they’ve been ‘groped’ or experienced other unwanted sexual touching at school in the UK and 40% of 16-18-year-olds said they didn’t receive lessons or information on sexual consent, or didn’t know whether they did.

Take Action: Write to each of your local schools and ask them to  develop and implement a ‘whole school approach’ to prevent VAWG, including appointing VAWG champions amongst school governors and student councils and ensuring their anti-bullying policies include an explicit reference to sexual harassment and bullying. Find a template letter here.

Take Action: Write to your Local Authority and ask them to champion this work and help establish local partnerships with relevant voluntary sector agencies, primary and secondary schools to support the coordinated delivery of prevention work. You can find a template letter here.

Take Action: If you are a member of a teaching union, write to it, asking them to provide training to combat sexual harassment in schools and training on delivering sex and relationships education to a high standard. Can you write a template letter for this action? Email admin@workingforwalthamstow.org.uk

If you get a response, please let us know at admin@workingforwalthamstow.org.uk.

Thank you for sending this message – if you want to help promote this campaign please enter your details here and we will put you in touch with others interested in working together:

This campaign was created at a workshop in Westminster in September 2012 and at the Labour Party Conference

Background Brief: Why are we campaigning on this issue?

Earlier this year, the government launched a TV and online advertising campaign to educate teenagers about rape, and consent, but this response is weak and limited. There is currently no mechanism to ensure the universal delivery of prevention work in schools where such interventions are largely left to the voluntary sector working with supportive individuals at a school level.

In particular, action on this subject is not embedded in the curriculum and teachers are not provided with the skills and tools to teach and respond to violence against women and girls when it is raised within a school environment.  For example, Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) is not universally accessible for all young people as it is not part of the statutory curriculum. There are also fears that the proposed removal of the duty of schools to cooperate with local authorities in the Education Bill 2011 has further implications for the coordinated provision of prevention work at a local level. To find out more about campaigning against sexual harassment in schools, have a look at the End Violence Against Women website here.

Quick Facts

  • One in six children aged 11-17 have experienced sexual abuse and one in three teenage girls has experienced sexual violence from their boyfriend
  • Over 20,000 girls under 15 are at high risk of female genital mutilation in England and Wales each year. The risk is highest for primary school girls.
  • In 2011 there were 1468 instances where the Government’s Forced Marriage Unit gave advice or support related to a possible forced marriage, the majority involving women.
  • At least 750,000 children a year witness domestic violence.
  • 71% of 16-18-year-olds say they have heard sexual name-calling such as “slut” or “slag” towards girls at school daily or a few times per week and one third of 16-18 year old girls say they’ve been ‘groped’ or experienced other unwanted sexual touching at school in the UK
  • Close to a quarter of 16-18-year-olds said that their teachers never said unwanted sexual touching, sharing of sexual pictures or sexual name calling are unacceptable and 40% of 16-18-year-olds said they didn’t receive lessons or information on sexual consent, or didn’t know whether they did
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