The problem of school peer-on-peer sexual assault and harassment is huge, but still not yet much known about. One headline statistic is that there is 1 rape in school for every school day. But so far, the DfE don’t care enough to take effective action, or to invest in solutions. 

Until September 2018 there was not even any guidance for schools on how to deal with these cases. (The guidance only came into place because a 16 yr old took legal action against the DfE to require guidance.).

There is a complex intersection between the alleged perpetrator’s right to an education and the rights of the alleged victim to continue their education in a safe space. Historically schools have got it wrong time and time again. More often than not, girls would be put back in school - even into the same classroom - as boys who had raped them, even when the police were involved. Inevitably, that lead to girls dropping out of school.

A recent Teacher Tapp survey showed that despite the fact that the new statutory guidance is in place, a third of teachers don’t even know the new guidance exists and only 20% have had any training. So, as a result, schools are still getting it wrong.

Some stats from End Violence Against Women:

  • 1/3 of 16-18 year old girls say they have experienced unwanted sexual touching at school
  • 59% of young women aged 13-21 say they had faced some form of sexual harassment at school or college in the past year
  • 600 rapes in schools were reported to police between 2012 and 2015 – an average of a rape every day of the school year.
  • Nearly three-quarters (71%) of all 16-18 year olds say they hear terms like “slut” or “slag” used towards girls at school on a regular basis
  • 24% 16-18-year-olds say that their teachers never said unwanted sexual touching, sharing of sexual pictures or sexual name calling are unacceptable
  • Sex and relationship education is still not compulsory in all schools and plans to introduce it give faith schools an opt-out


Fundamentally whatever happens legally, the school / LA  has a duty of care to safeguard any child who is a victim of sexual assault. Read Part 5 of Keeping Children Safe in Education (DOWNLOAD BELOW) as this is a good starting point to understand what schools should be doing, but it’s only a broad overview. 

The DfE have produced specific guidance for schools and colleges (DOWNLOAD BELOW)

LEIGH DAY Solicitors offer advice on their website (link below)


Leigh Day Solicitors

The abuse team at Leigh Day may be able to help if your child has been sexually assaulted by another child or young person

#MeToo At School

END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN is running the #MeToo at School campaign asking Government and schools to take immediate action to end sexual violence and harassment at school.


Mosac supports all non-abusing parents and carers whose children have been sexually abused. With 25 years of experience, we provide a range of support services and information for parents, carers and professionals dealing with child sexual abuse