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AFP
June 11, 2021

‘UK schools plagued by sexual harassment’

AFP
June 11, 2021

UK schools are failing to protect children from unwanted explicit photos, videos and comments in a culture where online sexual harassment is now seen as normal, a government watchdog said on Thursday.

The report by Ofsted, based on testimony from hundreds of children, was "very concerning", Education Minister Gavin Williamson tweeted. Despite the scale of the problem, school heads and teachers "consistently underestimated the prevalence of online sexual abuse," the schools inspection body said.

The report comes after the Everyone’s Invited website posted thousands of anonymous accounts of sexual abuse and harassment at British schools, drawing government attention to the problem. "Children and young people told us that sexual harassment occurs so frequently that it has become ‘commonplace’," said Ofsted.

Such behaviour is so common that schools should assume it is happening, whether or not children report it to teachers, Ofsted said. "Some forms of sexual harassment and online sexual abuse have become so normalised for children that they do not see the point in reporting and challenging this behaviour," it said.

Almost 90 percent of girls and nearly 50 percent of boys said they or their peers regularly received unwanted explicit photos and videos, it said. "Sexist name-calling", including use of words like "s..g" and "s..t", happens often, according to 92 percent of girls.