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‘Rape culture’ teacher advice hotline launched

A government-backed hotline was launched to advise educators on how to deal with sexual assault among young adults in response to Ofsted’s review last year on “rape culture”.

The Harmful Sexual Behavior Support Service provides counseling to education and protection professionals, from providing early years to additional education as well as police, social workers and health practitioners, across the country who encounter harmful or abusive behavior among the young people they work with.

The service, which is funded by the Department of the Interior and the Department of Education, was launched after a government review of sexual abuse in schools in March last year amid “rape culture” fears, after receiving thousands of allegations of peer sexual abuse. The website is for everyone, many of which have students studying at private schools.

Ofsted was asked to investigate safeguard policies in both public and charter schools, to assess the “extent and severity of the problem” and to ensure processes were in place “to allow pupils to report their concerns freely, knowing that they would be taken seriously and dealt with quickly and appropriately”.

The hotline, operated by the South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) and the Marie Collins Foundation (MCF), has trained protection and law enforcement professionals to provide incident advice, provide guidance on policy development and share best practices on addressing harmful sexual behaviour.

Ofsted’s 2021 review spoke with more than 900 children and youth, as well as school leaders, educators, governors, local protection partnerships and parents, and revealed widespread peer sexual harassment. There were reports that some incidents were “so common that they see no point in reporting them” and “consider them to be normal”.

More than two-thirds of girls and more than a quarter of boys interviewed by the watchdog said they felt pressured to engage in sexual activity they were uncomfortable with, and nearly 90 percent of girls and 50 percent of boys reported being sent obscene photos or videos. Unwanted.

Most girls – 80 percent – and more than half of boys said they had received unwanted or inappropriate sexual comments.

“This new service will ensure that expert-led advice and guidance will be easily accessible and the response to harmful sexual behavior will be significantly enhanced,” said Rachel MacLean, Minister of Protection.

Ms MacLean said sexual abuse can have a “devastating effect” on schoolchildren, and said she was committed to ensuring that professionals working with young people get the support they need through a strategy to address child sexual abuse.

The NSPCC also launched a hotline last year to provide support and advice to victims of sexual abuse in schools, including children and adults.

Baroness Diana Barran, Minister for the School System, said sexual harassment among young people had become “extremely common” and admitted that some school staff “lack confidence” in knowing how to respond.

“That’s why we’re stepping up support for schools and colleges to help them respond appropriately and create healthy environments for young people,” she said.

“Relationships, sex, and health education is also about teaching important topics like consent and respect, and the NSPCC’s Education Abuse Helpline provides vital advice to individuals who have been victims of sexual assault.”

Carmel Glassbrook, Head of Harmful Sexual Behavior Support at SWGfL, said a “widespread cultural shift” is needed to return to normalization with sexual harassment.

“We know that the majority of the child labor force is ill-equipped to address the growing problem and help affected youth,” she said. “So this service is there to provide them with the vital professional guidance and tools they need.”

MCF Professional Leader Lawrence Jordan said: “It is essential that children learn and develop in an environment where they feel safe.

“As the scale of this problem is now known, it is imperative that those on the front lines receive as much support as possible to enable them to respond appropriately.”

The Harmful Sexual Behavior Support Service, developed in collaboration with the DfE, is available Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm at 0344225 0623 or hsbsupport@swgfl.org.uk.

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