A new survey has found that around one in five girls and young women do not feel safe in UK schools. The poll found regional differences, with girls in Wales the most likely to say they feel unsafe – 24 per cent – followed by the North of England, where 22 per cent said this.
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Nationally, girls of colour were less likely to feel safe in school. The survey found only 65 per cent did, compare to 70 per cent of their white peers.
Girlguiding, which ran the poll of 3,015 girls between seven and 21 years old, said it was “truly shocked” at its findings.
The organisation is now calling on the government to take action to make schools safer for girls and young women. This includes introducing mandatory sex and relationships education and providing more support for victims of sexual harassment and assault.
According to Girlguiding’s survey, nearly half of all girls and young women (45 per cent) have experienced sexual harassment at school. This includes unwanted touching, comments of a sexual nature, and being sent unwanted explicit images or videos.
One in eight (12 per cent) said they had been a victim of sexual assault at school.
Girlguiding’s survey also found that nearly one in three girls (31 per cent) have experienced online harassment, such as being sent abusive messages or having their social media accounts hacked.
The organisation is now calling on the government to protect girls and young women from harassment and abuse, both in and out of school.
This includes introducing mandatory sex and relationships education and providing more support for victims of sexual harassment and assault.
Girlguiding’s survey reminds us that we need to do more to ensure all girls and young women feel safe at school. We cannot allow them to be subjected to harassment, abuse, or assault. We must do better to protect them and give them the support they need.”
In addition to its survey findings, Girlguiding has released a new report, ‘Safe and Sound: A call to action to make schools safe for girls. This sets out several recommendations for the government, schools, and others to help make sure all girls feel safe at school.
What do you think needs to be done to make schools safer for girls and young women? Let us know in the comments.