We’re still determined to end sexual harassment in schools

Girlguiding Advocates tell us what they think about the government's disappointing response to the Women and Equalities Select Committee report into sexual harassment and sexual violence in schools

Sexual harassment in schools has to stop

Girlguiding Advocates have been asking for the government to take measures that will make schools a safe space for girls through Girlguiding’s campaign to end sexual harassment in schools. Today the government responded to a report from the Women and Equalities Committee on the issue.

Girlguiding’s Advocate panel explain why they’re disappointed in the government’s response

‘We are among the girls and young women across the country who have been severely let down by the government’s response today. Girls are being sexually harassed at school every day and this can have a devastating impact on their confidence and ability to flourish. We feel the government has missed a crucial opportunity to make schools safer for all young people, by not going far enough in their action to tackle this issue.

‘As Girlguiding Advocates we have heard girls’ stories and we have our own. We have been groped in corridors, had sexual comments yelled at us and been shown pornographic images in class.

So we welcome the government’s recognition of how serious this issue is.

‘We’re pleased to see that they agree a whole-school approach is needed but we think expecting individual schools to put their own policies in place seriously undermines this – we urgently need strong national guidance on this national issue.

‘Since Girlguiding’s Girls Matter campaign in 2014, we have called on the government to introduce high quality compulsory Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) and to explicitly include sexual bullying in guidance on preventing and tackling bullying. Today’s pledge to update the bullying guidance is good news but we are incredibly disappointed that again they have not taken the opportunity to make SRE a statutory subject for all schools.

Three in five girls have experienced sexual harassment, such as sexual taunts and unwanted touching, at school or college.

‘This is not acceptable and high quality SRE for all young people is a big part of what’s needed to tackle the deep-rooted culture of sexual harassment in schools.

Our disappointment today only makes us more determined to work harder than ever, so girls and young women like us – who will continue to experience sexual harassment on a daily basis - can learn safely and happily at school.

Girlguiding's Advocate panel are a group of 14 to 25 year olds from across the UK who help shape Girlguiding's campaigning and research. As well as the end sexual harassment in schools campaign, the Advocates were part of creating the Girls' Attitudes Survey.

More about the campaign

Hear from the Advocates about why this campaign is important to them and the changes they want to see.