Managing forms of Abuse
In June 2021, Ofsted published its ‘Review of sexual abuse in schools and colleges’ which raised concerns related to the prevalence of peer on peer sexual violence and harassment nationally.
As part of the review, Ofsted spoke to 900 children and young people and also made visits to 32 schools and spoke to a range of stakeholders. Their key findings can be summarized as follows:
- Children and young people said that sexual harassment occurs so often that it has become commonplace.
- Girls stated that sexual harassment and online sexual abuse, including being sent unsolicited explicit sexual material or being pressured into sending ‘nudes’ was far more prevalent than adults realise
- Nearly 90% of girls and 50% of boys said that being sent explicit images or videos that they did not want to see happens ‘a lot’ or ‘sometimes’.
- 92% of girls and 74% of boys said that sexist name calling happens a lot to them or their peers. The frequency of these harmful sexual behaviours means that some children and young people consider them normal.
- Children and young people stated that sexual violence also occurred in unsupervised spaces outside of school such as parties or parks
- Children and young people, especially girls, told Ofsted that they didn’t want to talk about sexual abuse, even when the school encourages them to
- School teachers and leaders underestimate the scale of the problem.
We have been directed that “schools, nationally, should act on the assumption that it is happening”. As such, we have put in place a robust action plan to address these national concerns and we intend to raise awareness amongst our pupils in an age appropriate way during RHE lessons.
The School Policy
The school has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to sexual violence and harassment. We will never dismiss such behaviour as being ‘banter’ or ‘part of growing up’. We will challenge unwanted behaviours when we see or hear them anywhere in school. Students who are heard or seen engaging in such behaviour will be subject to our behaviour policy and our safeguarding and child protection policy. We will report incidents to the police where a criminal offence has been committed and involve other external agencies where appropriate. We will offer restorative sessions between students in some, appropriate, cases and we will refer victims to a variety of support sources both in school and externally.
Reporting and Recording
Students can report experiencing or witnessing unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature in the following ways:
- Staff are always available in school to talk to any children or adults about issues relating to safeguarding.
- By phoning our new safeguarding phone line, which will be advertised in school, on 01903883149. Withheld/ private numbers will not be answered. This service is private but not anonymous. Pupils will be made aware that, as with any disclosure, the information must be shared with Mr Andrew Simpson, Headteacer, as Designated Safeguarding Lead and the Police if a crime has been committed.
- By emailing firstname.lastname@example.org - for the attention of the DSL.
The safeguarding team will manage these reports in line with the school policy and will analyse their prevalence each half-term.