Working together to ensure ‘Everyone’s Safer’ in schools

15 January 2023

With the new academic term already picking up speed, we are delighted to make two announcements about how we are helping to tackle harmful sexual behaviour (HSB) in schools.   

Firstly, we are excited to report about a school-based project we are running to effectively address the growing problem of HSB. Launched in January 2022, the Everyone’s Safer project aims to support effective leadership responses to HSB, and involves a range of school-based activities including assemblies, workshops, staff and student surveys, policy reviews, staff training and student-led projects.   

And today we launch a brand-new webpage for schools which includes free resources, information and guidance about the help we offer to ensure that Everyone’s Safer in schools.  

Why have we launched the Everyone’s Safer project?

Around one third of child sexual abuse is carried out by children and young people under 18. The extent to which this takes place in schools was highlighted by the 2021 Ofsted review, conducted in response to the Everyone’s Invited website which contained testimonials from victims/survivors. 

To better understand and tackle these behaviours, we are working with 30 schools over the next three years helping them respond to and prevent HSB. 

The project is supported by the KPMG Foundation and evaluated by the University of Surrey’s Dr Emily Setty. 

Alongside the 30 schools in the project, we are also providing advice to additional schools who need support with specific concerns, through our Stop It Now! helpline.   

What will the Everyone’s Safer project do? 

We have had an increase in enquiries from schools, either seeking support in response to specific incidents or for help to equip their staff to deal with unhelpful attitudes and behaviours amongst students.  

Common questions from parents, carers, and education sector professionals include:

  • why are children and young people experiencing harassment and abuse in school?  
  • what can be done to put things right?  
  • how can we prevent more children experiencing sexual abuse in school? 

We have three main aims for the project:

  • to make schools safer places for children and young people by preventing harmful sexual behaviour 
  • for project evidence and insights to influence government and education strategy 
  • for schools to respond well when a harmful sexual behaviour incident occurs 

To meet these aims, we will work towards these four outcomes:

  • when a harmful sexual behaviour incident occurs, all those involved are supported well – pupils, parents and carers, and staff
  • schools benefit from the experience of others and have access to resources to support their responses to harmful sexual behaviour when they arise 
  • statutory agencies understand key issues schools face on the ground and provide better support to schools with regard to preventing and tackling harmful sexual behaviour 
  • developing resources and findings to contribute to the body of knowledge around tackling and responding to harmful sexual behaviour in schools 

Our approach

Throughout the Everyone’s Safer project we will respond to concerns in a number of schools and learn from these engagements to help us prevent harmful sexual behaviours in schools. 

Respond: 

  • support pupils, staff and parents in 30 schools to manage incidents or issues 
  • help staff provide a welfare-centred response to any issues and restore a sense of safety 
  • provide ongoing consultation as they review school policy, protocols, procedures, and physical environments 
  • provide training and workshops as needed in each school 

Learn: 

  • write up all findings and case studies from every school, especially taking early learnings to support the project progression 
  • create reports every year and a final report at the end of the project and share with government and school stakeholders (Ofsted, DfE, Home Office, Education, Scotland and NAHT)  
  • gather evidence and data to contribute to the ongoing development for the RHSE curriculum, for example, about sexual harassment and violence, cyber resilience and pornography and consent

Prevent: 

  • publish a final report to include recommendations for government to help address the address the prevalence of sexual harm in schools 
  • share what we have learnt and what preventative measures schools can implement to be safer 
  • develop resources for schools to use and shared widely with support from partners (DfE, Ofsted, Home Office) 

What are professionals saying about the project? 

We have received some excellent feedback from a teacher who used the service concerned about unwanted touching displayed by a Year 7 female pupil with additional needs:

“Laura was incredibly helpful and knowledgeable and worked fantastically well to bridge the gap between us as a school and Mum. The resources she provided were incredibly useful too and allowed us to put in a much more holistic and in-depth safety plan than the one we had initially created through our guidance.”

Laura Nott, Schools Project Manager at The Lucy Faithfull Foundation, said:

“We are delighted to be working together with Dr Setty on this new prevention research project. Around one third of child sexual abuse is committed by under 18s and so it is vital that more research is done in this area to help prevent harm and educate young people. The findings from the research will be shared with schools nationwide and offer a genuine opportunity to prevent harmful sexual behaviour from happening and help young people feel safer both online and offline.”

Dr Emily Setty, Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Surrey, said:

“This is an urgent and timely project where we will be working closely with affected groups in schools, including pupils, parents, and staff, to develop solutions to harmful sexual behaviour. The project will help us better understand the systems, structures, and cultures that need to be in place within schools to meaningfully prevent and respond to this longstanding social problem.”

Find out more

For more information about the project and to get involved, please get in contact with Laura Nott, our Schools Project Manager, on 07706 347981 or lnott@lucyfaithfull.org.uk. 

Take a look at our information for schools which includes free resources, information and guidance.

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