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DECIPHer contributes to Welsh Parliament consultation on peer-on-peer sexual harassment among learners

DECIPHer regularly contributes to consultations on major issues in public health and education. This ensures that we engage with key debates on public health improvement, and support the development of evidence-informed policy.

In February 2022, the Children, Young People and Education Committee, within Welsh Parliament, held an inquiry on peer-on-peer sexual harassment among learners. The purpose of this consultation was to seek the views of stakeholders and members of the public. The responses the committee received informed the questions it asked Welsh Government Ministers and fed into their final report.

DECIPHer’s submitted response can be read here. It referenced data on sexual harassment from the School Health Research Network (SHRN).

It also referenced two DECIPHer-adopted studies:

  • A pilot randomised control trial of a safer sex and healthy relationships intervention (SaFE) in further education settings, which aims to
    impact gender based violence. More info on this can be found here.
  • A large international systematic review looking at evidence for school-based interventions for dating and relationship violence and gender-based violence(STOP-DRV-GBV) . More information on this can be found here.

The final Welsh Government report, Everybody’s affected: Peer on peer sexual harassment among learners, which can be read here, referenced the following written evidence from DECIPHer:

• 11% of students in years 7-11 have sent a sexually explicit image and had it shared to someone else without their consent.

• Up to 50% of students reported having been called sexually offensive names at school in the last year by boys, and over a third by girls.

• A total of 13% of boys and 14% of girls reported being unwantedly touched or kissed at school by boys. This number rose to 41% for “gender minority youth”. A total of 15% of boys and 6% of girls reported being unwantedly touched or kissed in school by girls. This rose to 34% for “gender minority youth”.

The report contained 24 recommendations, which could be collated into two broad themes:

  • Young people themselves must be front and centre of the Welsh Government’s response to peer on peer sexual harassment.
  • Welsh Government must do whatever it takes, as quickly as is can, to reduce the scale and impact of peer on peer sexual harassment.

Committee Chair Jayne Bryant MS noted:

‘This is a society-wide problem. The Welsh Government, the Senedd, local authorities, schools, charities, parents and families – all of us – need to act collectively to denormalise harmful behaviours.’

Consultation background
DECIPHer response
Welsh Parliament report
Everybody’s Affected Welsh Parliament video