Monday 29 March 2021 / 9:27 PM Jess Phillips / Kate Green

Labour demands “swift and decisive action” to tackle sexual harassment across the education system

Labour is demanding “swift and decisive action” to tackle sexism across the education system, following over 8,000 reports of sexual harassment and abuse being posted on the Everyone’s Included website.

Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green MP and Shadow Domestic Violence and Safeguarding Minister Jess Phillips have written to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson to call for an independent inquiry and new national strategy to tackle sexism and sexual harassment across the education system.

Their letter states that the: “Government has resisted calls for a national strategy, failing to take the necessary steps to protect students and support education providers to put robust processes in place,” citing previous research which found a third of girls at mixed sex schools have experienced sexual harassment, while at university an estimated 50,000 incidents of sexual harassment and abuse are taking place each year.

Labour is calling for a strategy to equip education providers with the guidance, policies and training needed to ensure that staff are confident creating a zero tolerance to sexism and sexual harassment, in identifying and responding to reports of sexism, sexual abuse and harassment.

Kate Green MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said:

“It is extremely concerning to see these reports of sexual harassment and abuse across the education system.

“Ministers have let young people down with their dangerous and irresponsible resistance to calls for a strategy to tackle sexism and sexual harassment in the education system.

“Swift and decisive action is urgently needed to ensure every school, college and university is equipped with the training and processes needed to protect every child and root out sexist attitudes before they are taken into adulthood.”

Jess Phillips MP, Shadow Domestic Violence and Safeguarding Minister, said 

“The Government have known the scale of sexual harassment and abuse in schools, colleges and universities for years and have done nowhere near enough to tackle this endemic problem.

“Every student is entitled to an education free from the threat of sexual violence or harassment.  The Government must act urgently to ensure our education system never tolerates or allows for such behaviour or attitudes, and all students are protected.”