Today (25 May 2021) the BBC reports that teachers say they do not feel equipped to deal with peer-on-peer sexual abuse because they have had no training.
More than 1,500 UK teachers replied to a questionnaire from BBC Radio 4's File on 4 and teachers' union the NASUWT.
More than half said they did not think adequate procedures were in place in their schools to deal with abuse.
Many are also unsure how to deliver elements of the new Relationships, Sex and Health Education curriculum, which the government says third parties can now help with.
Katie Russell, national spokesperson for Rape Crisis England & Wales said:
“It’s unsurprising many teachers might feel ill-equipped to respond appropriately to sexual violence and abuse in schools. These are experiences that are generally under-discussed and not widely understood in society as a whole, despite their prevalence.
Rape Crisis Centres are specialists not only in providing independent, confidential support and advocacy to people of all ages who’ve experienced sexual violence or abuse of any kind, but also in training and raising awareness and understanding of these topics.
Many of our member Centres have worked successfully with local schools for years, but others have not been able to build the relationships needed, or have not had the capacity to provide specialist training when no remuneration is being offered in return.
Especially as the new curriculum explicitly allows schools to work with external experts, we’d recommend any education institution to start the vital conversations with their local specialist Rape Crisis charities.
The much-needed expertise and support for staff and students must be made a priority and should be properly resourced.”