Harassment of girls is still not being taken seriously | Letters

Jess Southgate calls for specific support for girls and young women, while another reader, whose daughter is affected, says bullying starts in primary school Sally Weale’s article (One in five girls in England don’t feel safe at school – survey, 25 Guardian) …

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Sally Weale’s article (One in five girls in England don’t feel safe at school – survey, 25 Guardian) makes for disturbing – though unsurprising – reading. What lies behind the findings is everyday sexism that will continue until we wake up to the urgent need for all public services to cater for the specific issues facing girls and young women today, especially those most at risk from poverty, abuse and poor mental health.

At Agenda, we have found an unacceptable tolerance of sexual harassment of girls in schools and, in particular, pupil referral units, where girls are outnumbered by boys. In a report to be published in November, an 18-year-old told us that she had been on the sharp end of repeated harassment of a sexual nature by a male student. The response when she told teachers and the school police officer? One teacher asked: “Why do you let it bother you?” The police officer told her to “stop bitching”.

If Rishi Sunak and his government are serious in their efforts to create a safer society, they must put an end to victim-blaming and provide specific support for girls and young women. Girls should be heard, not harmed, when they seek help. Jess SouthgateDeputy chief executive, Agenda

My daughter is still seriously affected by bullying that she experienced in school over 20 years ago. It is sad to read that the situation has not improved, but possibly worsened. Violence and bullying of all types start early, in primary school, and although the perpetrators undoubtedly have their own difficulties that must be addressed, where is the support for those on the receiving end?

All schools have policies to be followed in such incidences, but it is clear from the Girlguiding report that these are not being adequately activated. Unless schools do better, there is going to be an ever-increasing number of young people needing intervention by mental health services. Name and address supplied

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