Sexual bullying: thousands of pupils suspended
A "shocking new trend" in bullying was revealed today as figures showed more than 3,000 children were suspended from school for sexual misconduct.
Around 3,500 pupils in England were given fixed-term exclusions from school for sexual misconduct in the academic year 2006/07 - including 260 in primary schools, statistics from the Department for Children, Schools and Families have shown.
The figures are featured in a BBC1 Panorama programame which also quotes the findings of a survey of 11 to 19-year-olds by the charity Young Voice, showing one in 10 had been forced against their will to take part in sex acts.
Sexual misconduct can cover a range of behaviours from a one-off incident of daubing sexually-explicit graffiti on a wall to name-calling, inappropriate touching and serious sexual attacks.
Groping and the use of sexually-abusive nicknames have become almost part of daily life for some pupils, according to the Panorama programme.
Writing in the Daily Mail, presenter Jeremy Vine said he gathered a group of a dozen mothers and fathers in a bar to talk about sexual bullying.
"They spoke about mobiles, music and the internet, freely admitting that policing TV viewing was nigh-on impossible because of the ease with which children can access programmes out of hours," he said.
Richard Piggin, from the charity Beatbullying, said sexual bullying was "relatively common" and a serious problem.
"We are looking at sexual misconduct, name-calling and also inappropriate touching, and young people being forced into sexual activity that they are not really comfortable with," he told BBC Breakfast.
"There is a significant number of young people that we have worked with who have told us that they have either experienced it, or have witnessed it in their schools or in their community."
The Panorama programme comes after Children's Secretary Ed Balls asked the Anti Bullying Alliance to draw up guidance for teachers on tackling sexual bullying.
The guidance will tackle inappropriate language, advise teachers on how to manage cases of harassment, and encourage healthy friendships between teenage boys and girls amid concerns of misogynistic attitudes linked to gang culture.
The Panorama programme follows widespread publicity last month over the sentencing of nine teenagers in east London for the gang rape of a teenage girl.
* Panorama: Kids Behaving Badly, tonight at 8.30pm, BBC1
Toddler throws a tantrum at the White House – in front of Barack Obama
Maryland mother found pushing her dead child on a swing in a playground
16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
Picture of couple posing with beached dolphin 'that later died' causes outrage
Nicola Sturgeon did want David Cameron to win the general election, report concludes
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
- 1 Toddler throws a tantrum at the White House – in front of Barack Obama
- 2 Irish people are travelling home from all over the world so they can vote to legalise gay marriage
- 3 Picture of couple posing with beached dolphin 'that later died' causes outrage
- 4 16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
- 5 Witch doctor arrested after forcing newborn baby to walk in Indian village
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
Reach Volunteering: Would you like to volunteer your expertise as Chair of Governors for Livability?
Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses are reimbursable: Reach Volunteering...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + substantial benefits: Ashdown Group: Finance Admin...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrat...