Peer on peer sexual harassment among learners
The Children, Young People and Education Committee held a short inquiry on Peer-on-peer sexual harassment among learners.
Background to the inquiry
Sexual harassment between young people has received a significant amount of coverage in the past year or so. The Everyone’s Invited movement was set up to “expose and eradicate rape culture through empathy, compassion, and understanding.” The Everyone’s Invited website provides a platform for victims to record their testimony and experiences anonymously. The BBC reported in June 2021 that over 90 schools in Wales were listed on the website.
The Minister for Education and Welsh Language subsequently commissioned Estyn to carry out a review into culture and processes in schools. Estyn’s report was published on 8 December 2021.
On 13 December 2021, the Children, Young People and Education Committee agreed to carry out an inquiry into sexual harassment among learners. It agreed the terms of reference for the inquiry on 20 January 2022, and the approach to gathering evidence on 27 January 2022.
Terms of Reference
This inquiry focused on the issue of peer-on-peer sexual harassment among school and college-age learners. The inquiry looked specifically at:
- The scale and nature of the issue in education settings and how many learners are affected.
- The extent to which this issue also occurs outside the formal education setting, including online.
- The impact on pupils’ learning, mental health and well-being.
- The impact on education settings and staff, for example in terms of discipline and the extent to which harassment among learners has become ‘normalised’.
- The specific impacts on particular groups of learners, for example older pupils, girls and LGBTQ+ pupils.
- The effectiveness of existing policies and guidance, and the identification of potential solutions and improvements.
- The effectiveness of the roles of a wide range of statutory bodies in respect of this issue, including the police, social services, local authority education departments, pupil referral units and schools themselves, and the extent to which a multi-agency approach is being taken where appropriate.
- The effectiveness of the Welsh Government’s joint response across all its relevant departments with a focus on education, social services and community safety and its inclusion of non-devolved services such as the police and the criminal justice system.
- The impact of online content and influences on young people’s attitudes, and the wider context of online safety and potential legislation at Westminster.
- Schools, colleges and local authorities’ collection and use of bullying and harassment data, as relevant to this issue.
- The role of families, parents, and carers, as relevant to this issue.
- The role of the new Curriculum for Wales in developing healthier attitudes towards relationships and sexuality issues.
Whilst this specific inquiry is focused on school and college-age pupils, potential future work may consider the impact within higher education.
The Committee started taking oral evidence in February 2022. More information on individual evidence sessions can be found under the meetings tab at the top of the page.
The Committee launched a call for written evidence on 18 February 2022. The consultation closed on 1 April 2022. All responses have been published.
In addition to the online consultation, the Committee’s Citizen Engagement Team ran an online survey between 18th March and 1st April. The survey questions targeted young people aged 11 to 18 and asked how they thought the issue of peer on peer sexual harassment could be combatted, both within and outside schools and colleges, a summary of the emerging themes was produced. The Citizen Engagement Team also ran a workshop with 5 film and media students from Coleg Cambria, Deeside, where they explored the responses to the survey and discussed the potential solutions to the problem of sexual harassment among learners. The findings were turned into a video.
The theme of this survey is a sensitive topic. If you would like support we recommend you contact the following charities:
Childline: 0800 1111
Meic Cymru: 0808 80 23456
Live Fear Free: 0808 80 10 800
Survivors Trust: 0808 801 0818
These charities will give you the opportunity to talk to a trusted adult.
Business type: Committee Inquiry
Reason considered: Senedd Business;
First published: 05/01/2022
- Welsh Government response - 8 September 2022 PDF 319 KB
- Coleg Cambria - Peer on peer sexual harassment video MP4 26 MB
- Peer on peer sexual harassment - Engagement findings PDF 149 KB
- Letter from the Chair of the Children, Young People and Education Committee to the Chairs of the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee and the Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport and International Relations Committee - 31 May 2020 PDF 239 KB
- Joint letter from the Minister for Education and Welsh Language and the Deputy Minister for Climate Change - 23 May 2022 PDF 420 KB
- Letter from the Chair of the Children, Young People and Education Committee to the Rt Hon Nadine Dorries MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport - 19 May 2022 PDF 102 KB
- Letter from the Chair of the Children, Young People and Education Committee to Coleg Cambria students - 12 May 2022 PDF 78 KB
- Peer on peer sexual harassment among learners (completed)