In response to the Ofsted findings of the prevalence of sexual harassment in our Schools and Colleges, Iryna Pona, Policy Manager at The Children’s Society, said: “These worrying findings lay bare how a culture of sexual harassment and abuse has become normalised not just in our schools, but wider society.
“Ofsted’s recommendations are important first steps for the Government, schools and other organisations involved in protecting children and they must be implemented without delay if we are to turn this situation around.
“Schools need better training and resources to educate children about healthy relationships and to identify and respond to instances of sexual bullying and violence in partnership with safeguarding leads in local councils.
“But this isn’t just a matter for schools. We are also urging the Government to invest more in services to help victims and young people displaying harmful sexual behaviour. There needs to be a focus on prevention and early intervention rather than simply tackling the issue and supporting children when things reach crisis point.
“We are concerned that risk assessments of children by social care risk don’t currently include peer on peer sexual violence as a factor to look for, meaning this important opportunity to offer young people support may be missed.
“We know that inappropriate sexual content online contributes to the normalisation of sexual violence in schools and in communities. We would urge the Government to make good its pledge to make the internet safer for children and introduce age verification for websites displaying adult content without further delay. Internet providers must take decisive action where sexual abuse or harassment happens online.”