Sexual harassment common in Scotland’s secondary schools

A new study, led by the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, found that 70% of students in Scotland aged 13–17 reported having experienced some type of sexual harassment at or on the way to school within the past three months.

Photo of teenage students outside school

The study suggests that school-based strategies to tackle sexual harassment must engage with the complexity of the issue, as many participants expressed uncertainty regarding the experience or acceptability of certain behaviours.

Lead author Professor Kirstin Mitchell said:

"Sexual harassment is common, and often seen as ‘normal’ among teenagers at school. Our study agrees with others in this respect but, importantly, also highlights the uncertainties which teenagers may feel around whether many behaviours generally regarded as representing sexual harassment are acceptable or not."

The findings received wide media coverage and were raised at First Minister’s Questions by Pam Gosal MSP.

Read the news story 

Read the full paper

First published: 28 June 2018

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