Following Ofsted’s review of sexual harassment and abuse in schools – and the subsequent updates to the inspection framework from September – what should schools be doing to address peer-in-peer abuse? Jenny Moore advises and signposts to some useful resources

The worrying revelations from Ofsted’s recent review of sexual abuse (Ofsted, 2021a) highlight how important it is to take proactive steps to prevent peer-on-peer abuse. The inspection framework for September has now been updated (Ofsted, 2021b; SecEd, 2021).

As you start planning your staff safeguarding training for your September INSET day, what can you do to reduce the risk of abuse happening in your school?

Provide appropriate and regularly updated staff training

It is vital that all staff understand what peer-on-peer abuse is and know how to identify it early on to prevent it from escalating.

Peer-on-peer abuse is most likely to include, but may not be limited to, bullying (including cyber-bullying), physical abuse (such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair-pulling or otherwise causing physical harm), sexual violence and sexual harassment, upskirting, sexting (also known as youth produced sexual imagery) and initiation/hazing type violence and rituals. This is all explained in the Keeping Children Safe in Education statutory guidance (DfE, 2021).

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