Pirate FM News 3 minute read

Sexual Violence In Schools To Be Investigated

classroom education

Published at 8:40am 19th April 2016.

An investigation into sexual violence in schools is being launched after it was claimed some teachers were turning a blind eye to bullying among pupils.

Plymouth youngsters helped persuade MPs to begin the inquiry into sexual bullying at school/

It is after a report involving southwest pupils warned almost a fifth have been assaulted at least once, while a third do not feel safe walking to class.

MPs on the Women and Equalities Committee have decided to take action after it emerged an average of 200 alleged rapes are being reported in schools across the UK every year.

Evidence also suggests many pupils are afraid to report incidents of assault because they fear the victim will be punished as well as the offender.

The committee's chairman, Maria Miller, is asking teachers, students and parents from across the country to get in touch and share their experiences to stop the issue from "blighting the lives of another generation of young people - both male and female".

She added: "It's clear from the young people we've heard from that sexual harassment and sexual violence in schools is having a profound impact on their day-to-day lives."

In 2010, a YouGov poll of 16 to 18-year-olds found 29% of girls had experienced unwanted sexual touching at school.

Separate research by Fixers, a youth charity, in cities including Plymouth found some schools struggle to recognise the pressures their students face when dealing with incidents of sexual harassment and sexual bullying.

One 18-year-old girl told the charity: "At my school a girl was pressured into performing oral sex on an older boy in school.

"They were caught and both suspended for the same amount of time."

Gemma, 22, added that boys would regularly grab girls in her school and try to push them into changing rooms - only to justify their behaviour by describing it as "banter".

It is hoped the committee's investigation, which will run until 22 May, will determine whether such harassment is becoming more prolific in schools, what the impact of sexual bullying on the internet is, and potential solutions for tackling all types of intimidation.

The End Violence Against Women Coalition has welcomed the parliamentary inquiry, with director Sarah Green saying: "This behaviour is endemic and it stops girls feeling safe and achieving their best at school.

"When teachers and school leaders do not challenge sexual harassment, boys and girls observe and learn that sexual harassment is acceptable.

"Girls learn that they are supposed to put up with it in school and beyond, while boys are given a message that they can get away with it.

"It is likely to create a context where more serious assaults are both more likely to happen and less likely to be reported."

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