In the last four years, 21 alleged incidents of sexual offences in schools were reported. Figures obtained by global children’s charity Plan International UK, revealed that nine reports of sexual offences on school premises were recorded in 2014/15.
Reported incidents included abuse of position of trust of a sexual nature, sexual activity with a child and sexual assault, four were recorded in 2011/12, four in 2012/13 and four in 2013/14.
The charity is now calling for the government to commit to mandatory sex and relationships education which covers sexting, consent, healthy relationships and the law. Kerry Smith, head of girls’ rights at Plan International UK, said: “This shows that we’re failing young people when it comes to learning about healthy relationships and consent. “Quality sex and relationships education helps young people to develop healthy attitudes towards sex and relationships while helping to tackle inappropriate and aggressive sexual behaviour.”
Nationally, reports of sexual offences in schools have more than doubled in four years to 1,955 in 2014/15. Alleged offences ranged from harassment to serious sexual assaults and rapes, less than one in 10 suspected cases resulted in criminal charges or summons.
“Clearly girls and women are disproportionately affected by sexual violence in schools,” says Ms Smith. “Young people need education about the realities of life and relationships, including consent.”
Plan International UK’s flagship ‘Because I am a Girl’ campaign tackles gender inequality around the world, including violence in schools. For more information about Plan International UK, and their new campaign, visit: www.plan-uk.org/because-i-am-a-girl