Schools: Sexual Offences

Department for Education written question – answered on 10th October 2016.

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Photo of Luciana Berger Luciana Berger Labour/Co-operative, Liverpool, Wavertree

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the levels of sexual harassment and sexual violence in schools.

Photo of Edward Timpson Edward Timpson Minister of State (Education)

The Department contributed a written submission to the Women and Equalities Select Committee’s inquiry into the scale and impact of sexual harassment and sexual violence in schools in 2016. This is published on the Parliament website.[1] The Committee published the report of its inquiry on 13 September, and the Government will make a formal response to the usual timetable.

The Department does not collect information on the number of cases of sexual harassment or sexual violence either by pupils or by teachers – and it has not produced any estimates.

The closest information held on levels of sexual harassment and sexual violence by pupils is the number of permanent and fixed period exclusions for sexual misconduct, which includes lewd behaviour, sexual abuse, sexual assault, sexual bullying, sexual graffiti and sexual harassment.

Exclusions information, broken down by reason for exclusion, is published annually by the Department in the ‘Permanent and fixed-period exclusions in England’ National Statistics release.[2]

The 2015 National Foundation for Educational Research’s teacher voice survey is a nationally representative survey commissioned by the Department. Teachers were asked questions on a range of topics, including common forms of bullying. Sexual bullying was not included as a category, however, a minority reported that homophobic, biphobic, or transphobic bullying was common at their school. The report and data have been published by the Department.[3]

The closest information held on sexual harassment and sexual violence by teachers relates to the number of cases of teacher misconduct relating to sexual misconduct reported to the Department. However, cases of teacher misconduct relating to sexual misconduct cover a broad range of incidents and it is not recorded whether these relate to incidents that took place on school sites.

[1] http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/women-and-equalities-committee/sexual-harassment-and-sexual-violence-in-schools/written/34902.pdf

[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-exclusions

[3] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teacher-voice-omnibus-june-2015-responses

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