At Newham College, we take any form of abuse online and in person very seriously. Below you will find the Ofsted and Government guidance on what peer on peer and sexual harassment is and how to contact us if you are concerned you or someone you might know are facing any of the following definitions.
The Ofsted review of Sexual Abuse in Schools and Colleges (10 June 2021) used the terms below:
Under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, sexual violence is described as:
This is any conduct which is unwanted by a learner, which affects the dignity of the learner or group of learners in the College.
Harassment may be repetitive or an isolated occurrence against one or more learners. Sexual harassment means ‘unwanted conduct of a sexual nature’ that can occur online and offline. When we reference sexual harassment, we do so in the context of child or young person sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment is likely to: violate a child or young person’s dignity, and/or make them feel intimidated, degraded or humiliated and/or create a hostile, offensive or sexualised environment.
Whilst not intended to be an exhaustive list, sexual harassment can include:
Children and young people’s sexual behaviour exits on a wide continuum, from normal and developmentally expected to inappropriate, problematic, abusive and violent. Problematic and abusive and violent sexual behaviour is developmentally inappropriate and may cause developmental damage. A useful umbrella term is Harmful Sexual Behaviour (HSB). Harmful sexual behaviour can occur online and/or face to face can also occur simultaneously between the two.
Upskirting typically involves taking a picture under a person’s clothing without them knowing, with the intention of viewing their genitals or buttocks to obtain sexual gratification or cause the victim humiliation, distress or alarm.
Since April 2019, upskirting has been a criminal offence – under the Voyeurism Act, upskirting offenders can now be arrested, face up to 2 years in prison and have their name placed on the sex offenders register if caught upskirting. This includes instances where culprits say the images were taken just for a laugh.
Whilst professionals refer to the issue as ‘sexting’, there is no clear definition. Many professionals consider sexting to be sending or posting sexually suggestive images, including nude or semi-nude photographs, via mobiles or over the Internet but learners may be more likely to interpret sexting as writing and sharing explicit messages with people they know. Creating and sharing sexual photos and videos of under-18s, including selfies, is illegal. The Ofsted review into Sexual Abuse in Schools and Colleges (10 June 2021) refers to the behaviours below:
Typical platforms for sharing material between peers tended to be WhatsApp, TikTok or Snapchat. It is illegal to possess, take, make, show or share any images or videos of a sexual nature to anyone under the age of 18.
Peer on peer abuse should be addressed as a learner concern when there is reasonable cause to suspect that a learner is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm. Youth Produced Imagery/Sexting involving those under the age of 18 must always be referred to the Designated Lead for Safeguarding.
Your safety is very important to us. If you feel unsafe or at risk, whether inside or outside of the College, please contact a member of the safeguarding team using one of the following methods: