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More than half of girls have experienced sexual harassment on school, college or university grounds

More than half of girls have experienced sexual harassment on school, college or university grounds

Charity Plan International UK can today reveal that 58 per cent of girls aged 14-21 in the UK have been publicly sexually harassed in their learning environment.  

Of those girls, two thirds (66 per cent) were harassed by someone from their school, college or university.  

The survey, from Plan International UK and Opinium, found that girls experienced public sexual harassment including:  

  • Being ‘catcalled’ or ‘wolf whistled’ (26%) 
  • Receiving unwanted comments of a sexual nature (22%) 
  • Being followed (12%) 
  • Being grabbed (10%) 

The findings come in the wake of the news that website Everyone’s Invited has received thousands of testimonies from young people of being harassed and abused at school, college and university. Plan International UK is calling for this culture of harassment to be recognised and tackled.  

Rose Caldwell, CEO of Plan International UK, says:  

“It is appalling that so many girls and young women have experienced harassment in an educational environment. School, college and university should be a safe space for girls to learn. Instead, just like in high streets, parks and bus stops, they are facing relentless harassment every day and they want it to stop.  

“It is vital that schools recognise and tackle this if we’re to end public sexual harassment in the UK. This can be done by educating boys on respect and consent, taking girls’ concerns seriously, and providing information and support on dealing with harassment.  

“Boys can play their part too, by calling out harassment when they see it and being proactive bystanders. Only with a concerted effort from all sides will we finally end the scourge of public sexual harassment that blights so many girls’ lives, so that they can flourish both in and out of education.” 

The poll also found that nearly three quarters (72%) of girls surveyed said that schools should provide information and support for those who have experienced public sexual harassment.