Schools should take action to prevent the sexual harassment of girls by putting in place policies and practices that teach “healthy relationships, consent and boundaries”, a group of MPs has said. Tes reports.
The recommendation came as the Commons Women and Equalities Select Committee published a report on sexual harassment of women and girls in public places, which included accounts of girls in school uniform receiving wolf-whistles and harassment from men.
“Girls often first experienced sexual harassment below the age of 18,” the report states.
“We were particularly disturbed to hear from a number of women about the sexual harassment they experienced as a girl from men and boys.”
The report says that “even more disturbingly”, some girls reported their first experience of harassment occurring below the age of 10.
One woman told the committee that she had “experienced sexual harassment in public since I was a young child”. “I remember the first time I was [under 12]… I continued to be sexually harassed almost daily throughout my childhood,” she said.
In their recommendations, the MPs say that the introduction of relationships education in primary schools and RSE in secondary schools “provides a welcome opportunity to ensure that concepts such as healthy relationships, consent and boundaries are communicated to children”.
But they go on: “It is disappointing that the statutory guidance will not come into force until September 2020, and we urge schools not to wait until then to review their policies and practices to ensure they are taking every possible action to prevent sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence.”
Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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