In Spring 2021, the Everyone’s Invited website published anonymised testimonials of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment at almost 3,000 schools, lifting the veil on the widespread abuse that children and young people face every day across the UK. This stark reality prompted the Government to undertake a rapid review of sexual abuse in schools and colleges. The Ofsted Review of Sexual Abuse in Schools and Colleges found that 9 out of 10 girls had experienced sexist name calling and 92% of girls had been sent unsolicited explicit pictures or videos. Sadly, this report has not unveiled a new problem, but highlighted that it is so pervasive, it has become ‘normalised’ for children and young people. It is clear that a ‘Whole School Approach’ is needed to foster a culture where rape, sexual assault, harassment and online sexual abuse are identified, addressed and stamped out.
The Ofsted Review set out several recommendations aimed at addressing this pervasive issue, including ensuring that high-quality Relationships, Health and Sex Education (RHSE) curriculum is delivered at every school and includes online abuse, sexual harassment and violence, improved training and awareness for teachers to identify peer-on-peer abuse and more effective multi-agency working with Local Safeguarding Partners (LSPs). In response to the Review, Ofsted confirmed that when inspections resume in September, inspectors will assess how schools and colleges are responding to this issue and will ensure adequate provisions are in place to respond to all cases that arise.
However, peer-on-peer sexual abuse and harassment goes beyond the school gates and schools and colleges cannot tackle these issues alone. It is vital that they work in partnership with colleagues in local authorities, social care, the police, health services and the third sector and other key safeguarding teams to stamp out the abuse and harassment that students suffer whether directly or online. This Policy Foresight virtual seminar will examine the findings and recommendations from the recent Ofsted Review of Sexual Abuse in Schools and Colleges and explore how schools and colleges can implement a ‘Whole School Approach’ that better responds to and prevents incidents of abuse. Participants will also explore the vital role that Local Safeguarding Partners play in developing an effective and consistent local response that prevents, addresses and tackles abuse and harassment in every local area.
Guidance - Health, safety and wellbeing in schools
Latest News - 7th April 2021: Ofsted’s review of sexual abuse in schools and colleges
Latest News - 12th May 2021: Landmark laws to protect children and stop abuse online published
Latest News - 14th April 2021: Safeguarding system needs to tackle “stubborn challenges”
Latest News - 10th June 2021: Ofsted: culture change needed to tackle 'normalised’ sexual harassment in schools and colleges
Latest News - 10th June 2021: More support for schools and colleges to tackle sexual abuse
Latest News - 21st July 2021: Tackling violence against women and girls strategy launched
Latest News - 6th September 2021: Jump in reports of under-18s sexually abusing peers
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