Almost one in ten children are victims of online sexual threats and bullying, according to a survey for the BBC.
An equal number do not believe jokes about rape and sexual assault amount to bullying, and one in twenty think that forcing others into sexual acts is “okay”.
The survey of 273 children by youth charities Youth Voice and Youthworks Consultants also found that 28 had been forced to do something sexual whilst at school. But the majority of the respondents said it was never okay to touch someone in a way they did not want to be touched and more than eight out of ten agreed it was never acceptable to force someone to do something sexually.
The survey’s lead consultant, Adrienne Katz, claimed the findings showed some children were “desensitised” to the nature of sexual bullying and assault. “There is a worrying minority of children who think rape or sexual assualt is okay sometimes,” she said.
The survey was featured in the last night’s Panorama investigation, Kids Behaving Badly . The show alleged that serious cases are often dismissed as experimentation or the acts go unreported because the children are too scared to speak up.
In 2007, the Department for Children, Schools and Families commissioned a series of ‘Safe to Learn’ anti-bullying guidelines, and their forthcoming publication later this year has been reported to contain sections dealing directly with how schools should tackle sexual bullying and assault.