Published on
10 June 2021

Sexual harassment must not be treated as an inevitable part of growing up.

This is the message from Barnardo's, after the publication of Ofsted's review about sexual abuse in schools.

In a statement Barnardo’s Chief Executive, Javed Khan, said:

“While it’s welcome that Ofsted is finally shedding light on one of our society’s most taboo topics, we need more than just a review - we need action. In 2021, sexual harassment in schools must not be treated as an inevitable part of growing up.

“Five years ago Barnardo’s warned the Government about the scale of sexual abuse and harassment taking place in schools, but unfortunately little action was taken, and the recent brave testimonies on the Everyone’s Invited website demonstrated that children continue to be suffering.

“School should be a place of safety for all children, and this review must be a catalyst for change, so that every school has a strong culture of respect and openness, where all forms of harassment and abuse are unacceptable.

“But as the review makes clear, abuse does not end at the school gates: it continues online. Girls in particular, though also boys, are being pressured and coerced into sending nude selfies, and too many children are viewing pornography, which is often violent and extreme, and contributes to the development of harmful sexual behaviour.

“We urge the Government to move swiftly to enact age verification laws to help keep children safe on and offline .”