Sexual Harassment and Bullying

Definition 

Any bullying behaviour, whether physical or non- physical, that is based on a person’s sexuality sexual orientation or gender. It is when sexuality, sexual orientation or gender is used as a weapon by boys or girls towards other boys or girls – although it is more commonly directed at girls. It can be carried out to a person’s face, behind their back or through the use of technology. http://www.nspcc.org.uk/Inform/research/questions/sexual_bullying_wda70106.html

For example:

Teasing or putting someone down because of:

- their sex life (e.g. because they haven’t had sex or if they’ve had sex with a number of people)

- their sexual orientation (e.g. making fun of someone for being homosexual)

- their body (e.g. the size of their breasts, bottom or muscles)

Using words that refer to someone’s sexual orientation in a derogatory way (like calling something ‘gay’ to mean that it is not very good)

Using sexual words to put someone down  (like calling someone ‘slut’ or ‘bitch’)

Making threats or jokes about serious and frightening subjects like rape

Spreading rumours about someone’s sexuality and sex life – including graffiti, texts and msn

Touching parts of someone’s body that they don’t want to be touched

Putting pressure on someone to act in a sexual way

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Law

See sexual assault.

Sexual harassment at work is illegal through the Sex Discrimination Act and the Equality Act 2010 which encompasses the former Sex Discrimination Act 1975

Protection from Harassment Act  (PHA)1997, under section four, made ‘causing alarm or distress’ and ‘putting people in fear of violence’ offences.

The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 created two new offences of stalking involving fear of violence or serious alarm or distress

Statistics

Department for Education statistics show that in 2009/10, there were 3,330 exclusions for sexual misconduct. In 2010/11, a further 3,030 children were excluded for the same reason. In 2011/12, a further 2730 children were excluded for the same reason.  In 2012/13, a further 2470 children were excluded for the same reason.

In a poll of 16-18 year olds: 29% of girls say they experienced ‘groping’ or other unwanted sexual touching at school; 71% say they have heard sexual name-calling such as “slut” or “slag” towards girls at school daily or a few times per week; 28% say they have seen sexual pictures on mobile phones at school a few times a month or more.