The national and increasing concern over the nature and prevalence of peer-on-peer abuse led to the Government introducing its Advice on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment in Schools and Colleges in December 2017 (since updated in May 2018). It also led to Farrer & Co devising a peer-on-peer abuse toolkit with Dr Carlene Firmin – a link to which has been included within the Government’s Advice.
Reports and articles in the press published since have reinforced the concern. In light of changes made to the relevant legislation since the toolkit was published in December 2017, and driven by the need to ensure that schools and other organisations adopt a best practice approach to peer-on-peer abuse, Farrer & Co have collaborated further with Dr Firmin, and a number of other experts in the field, to produce a revised version of the toolkit, which we are publishing today.
We are very grateful to Dr Firmin and the following for all their support, and the invaluable expertise and experience that they have generously shared with us:
- Professor Andy Phippen: Professor of Social Responsibility in IT, Plymouth Business School
- Dr Jonty Clark OBE: Executive Headteacher, The Beckmead Family of Schools
- Judith Azzopardi: Deputy Executive Headteacher, The Beckmead Family of Schools
- Cathy Wood: Former elite Ironman triathlete and founder of Matchstick Media
- Julie Dugdale: Head of Business, Barnardo’s Training and Consultancy
- Dr Jenny Lloyd: Research Fellow, University of Bedfordshire
- Katie Rigg: formerly a solicitor in the Safeguarding Unit at Farrer & Co, and now International Advisor for Student Well-Being at Council of International Schools
Key changes to the toolkit include those regarding:
· primary school aged children
· digital behaviour, children’s social media use, and a revised youth involved sexual imagery policy
· children with social, emotional and mental health difficulties
· safety plans, and an example weapons policy
· case studies (which can also be used for training purposes)
It is of paramount importance that we all continue to keep this issue high on the safeguarding agenda, taking a proactive and preventative approach to it. It is also essential to ensure that all alleged incidents of peer-on-peer abuse are handled sensitively, appropriately and promptly. Upskilling staff, pupils and parents is the critical way forward.
You can access the toolkit here