Experts from the University of Bedfordshire are helping tackle harmful sexual behaviour in schools with a range of resources.
Academics from the University’s International Centre: Researching child sexual exploitation, violence and trafficking have created online resources and webinars to help schools assess how they deal with incidents of harmful sexual behaviour among students.
The resources, designed for senior leadership and designated safeguarding leads, allow secondary schools and Further Education providers to assess how they are responding to harmful sexual behaviour. This includes a traffic-light tool for self-assessment and a series of webinars that explain how to use the tool.
The project was led by Principal Research Fellow Dr Carlene Firmin MBE, Research Fellow Dr Jenny Lloyd and Research Assistant Joanne Walker. The project had the support of Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission.
Dr Firmin said: “Young people tell us that schools are locations where students can encounter sexual harm. This can involve a range of harmful sexual behaviours from name-calling and sexual bullying to sexual assault. Saying that, with the right interventions in place, schools can provide safety to young people and promote positive ideas about gender and relationships.
“We hope these resources will allow schools, multi-agency partners and inspectorates to better understand how they can prevent and intervene in incidents of peer-on-peer sexual abuse.”
The project was prompted by a Freedom of Information request by the BBC which revealed that 5,500 sexual offences were reported to police as having taken place in UK schools over a three-year period to July 2015, including 600 rapes.
The resources were created following research into peer-on-peer sexual abuse in four local authorities in England and seven educational providers, including secondary schools, colleges, pupil referral units, special education schools and faith-based schools.
The resources can be found here: Beyond referrals: levers for addressing harmful sexual behaviour in schools
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