The incidence of sexual violence towards young women and girls has been steadily increasing over the past few years, coupled with advances in technology which appear to facilitate it and place young people at risk. With increasing pressure from the media and celebrity culture to be sexualised from a young age, it is essential to examine what measures are in place to tackle the rising levels of sexual harassment amongst young people. Qualitative data was obtained from focus groups in two schools to establish the prevalence of sexual harassment experienced by girls and whether schools have adequate Relationships and Sex Education provision regarding sexual violence and unhealthy relationships. Although physical sexual harassment was not common in either school, sexual comments and name-calling were commonplace and said to be mainly from girls to other girls. The issue of self-generated images being shared through sexting has been overtaken by girls posting pictures of themselves on social media wearing little or no clothes, citing the media as an influence, and often resulting in sexual bullying by peers. The research findings corroborate existing research which calls for Relationships and Sex Education to be made compulsory in all schools across the U.K. to tackle issues of online safety, consent, the influence of the media and pornography as well as forming healthy relationships. Young people actively want schools to provide guidance and information on respect, boundaries and what actually constitutes a healthy relationship. Without these discussions in school, young people will continue to be placed at risk of experiencing sexual harassment as either a victim or a perpetrator.

Publication Date


Publication Title

Entertainment Law Review







Organisational Unit

School of Society and Culture