Crime commissioner welcomes report on shocking figures of sexual harrassment in schools
Vera Baird QC, Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria said she supports the findings of the Women and Equalities Committee and says it highlights the need to get health education on the school curriculum.
The report by the committee exposes the shocking extent of sexual harrassment and sexual violence that is not being tackled effectively in British Schools. Evidence in the report showed 29% of 16-19-year-old girls say they have experienced unwanted sexual touching at school and 71% of all 16 -18-year-old boys and girls say they hear terms such as “slut” or “slag” used towards a girl at schools on a regular basis.
And, the report found an alarming inconsistency in how schools deal with sexual harassment and violence, which is mostly targeted at girls. Commissioner Baird said: "Of course I welcome the report by the committee, they should be congratulated for their foresight and energies”. The committee is urging the government to act now to protect and empower a generation of children and young people by using the new Education Bill to ensure every school takes appropriate action to prevent and respond to sexual harassment and sexual violence. Schools will need support from government to support this.
The Committee also goes on to agree with Commissioner Baird’s long standing call that Personal, Social, Health and Education (PSHE) must be on the school agenda, must be high quality and age-appropriate and delivered by well-trained individuals. Commissioner Baird, said: "I am delighted that the committee agree with what I have been urging the government to address for a long time.
"Legislation needs to be passed to ensure all schools teach this subject effectively. Young people need to have the confidence to report such incidences and parliament needs to ensure that provision is in place to protect them against this endemic sexual exploitation.
"The government now needs to make the resources available to invest in teacher training and to bring in specialists who can support school lessons in delivering this work. For too long the government has ignored the call to tackle this problem, it’s now effecting schools in every community across the country. Here in Northumbria, we stand ready to support and lead in this area, but we can only do it in partnership with the government. Let’s make this academic year the year of change”.