I’d like to draw your attention to Part 5 of the statutory guidance for schools and colleges, available onGOV.UK which was introduced for the first time in September 2018. It covers managing reports of child on child sexual violence and sexual harassment in schools and colleges. We know that many schools and colleges get their safeguarding information from their local authority and work closely with them when cases arise.
• Nothing is more important than safeguarding and promoting children’s welfare.
• Children can sexually abuse other children and it doesn’t only happen in secondary schools; it can take place in primary schools too.
• Child on child sexual violence and sexual harassment exists in many forms, from calling someone sexualised names, flicking bra straps, lifting up skirts, grabbing bottoms, breasts and genitalia to sexual assault and rape.
• Sexual violence and sexual harassment can happen online and offline (and in many cases there will be an element of both).
• Schools and colleges need to know how to identify it, manage reports and support all parties involved.
• It is essential that all victims are reassured that they are being taken seriously and that they will be supported and kept safe. A victim should never be given the impression that they are creating a problem by reporting sexual violence or sexual harassment. Nor should a victim ever be made to feel ashamed for making a report.
• Sexual violence and sexual harassment are not acceptable, should never be tolerated and should never be seen as an inevitable part of growing up.
• Everyone who comes into contact with children has a role to play in protecting them.