The report outlines evidence that almost a third (29%) of 16-18 year old girls say they have experienced unwanted sexual touching at school and nearly three-quarters (71%) of all 16-18 year old boys and girls say they hear terms such as "slut" or "slag" used towards girls at schools on a regular basis. Additionally, 59% of girls and young women aged 13-21 said in 2014 that they had faced some form of sexual harassment at school or college in the past year.
Despite calls from parents, teachers and young people for action to address sexual harassment and sexual violence in schools, the Committee found that neither OFSTED nor the Department for Education has a coherent plan to tackle this issue and to monitor the scale of the problem.
Maria Miller MP, chair of the Committee, said: “Our inquiry has revealed a concerning picture. We have heard girls talk about sexual bullying and abuse as an expected part of their everyday life; with teachers accepting sexual harassment as "just banter"; and parents struggling to know how they can best support their children."
"It is difficult to explain why any school would allow girls to be subjected to sexual harassment and violent behaviour that has been outlawed in the adult workplace. The evidence shows it is undermining the confidence of young women. Failing to reinforce what is acceptable behaviour could well be fuelling the 'Lad Culture' that the Government has already identified as a problem in colleges and universities."
"The Government must take a lead and make it clear that sexual harassment in schools is completely unacceptable and support schools, teachers, parents and young people to tackle this widespread problem. Our report sets out clear recommendations for how this can be achieved and we hope that the Government will implement them immediately."
Girlguiding's Advocate panel, a group of 14-25 year olds who represent Girlguiding's young members, said:
"As young women, many of us are still in school and experience or witness sexual harassment from groping to cat calling on a daily basis. It's humiliating, frightening and needs to stop. Schools should be safe and empowering places and we should feel able to learn without fear. That's why we need a zero tolerance approach to sexual harassment where schools take the issue seriously, sex and relationship education is compulsory, and schools are held accountable for preventing and tackling sexual harassment."
Read the report in full here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmwomeq/91/9102.htm