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Helping schools tackle online sexual harassment

Published: 13 October 2020 at 14:00

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ARU academic co-authors new cyber-bullying guidance for secondary schools

New guidance to help schools tackle the growing issue of online sexual harassment will be officially launched by Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) and the non-profit sex education organisation the School of Sexuality Education on Thursday, 15 October.

Many school cyber-bullying policies fail to cover the increasingly sexualised elements of online hate and abuse. The guidance https://schoolofsexed.org/guidance-for-schools addresses some of the new forms of online harm, including the recent rise in intimate image sharing amongst children of school age.

A recent report published in The Guardian revealed there were 541 child victims of “revenge porn” reported to police in England and Wales in 2019. The average age of the victims was 15, but some were as young as eight, 10 and 11.

The new policies have been co-written by Dr Tanya Horeck of Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), alongside Professor Jessica Ringrose (University College London), Professor Kaitlyn Mendes (University of Leicester), and the School of Sexuality Education.

As well as providing guidance for teachers and safeguarding leads, they provide specific guidance for teenagers on what online behaviours constitute sexual harassment, and what to do if they experience any form of online harm. 

Dr Horeck, who researches digital violence and image-based sexual abuse, including “revenge porn”, said:


“Social media, sexual image-sharing, and forms of online harm are major issues for schools today and our policies provide comprehensive guidance for secondary schools on how to deal with such cases.” 


Thursday’s online launch event, which is aimed at senior school leaders and safeguarding leads, runs from 4pm-5.30pm and is free to attend. To register, visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/online-sexual-harassment-policy-implementation-in-schools-tickets-122579686141