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©Joyce Nicholls\Plan International UK

35% of girls in school uniform have been sexually harassed in public, new survey finds

Written by Samantha Lade, Donr

Published on Friday, 12th October 2018

35% of girls in school uniform have been sexually harassed in public, new survey finds

A new survey by Plan International UK has found that more than a third of girls in the UK have received unwanted sexual attention or contact such as being groped, stared at, catcalled and wolf-whistled while wearing their school uniform in public.

One in eight girls said their first experience of unwanted sexual attention or contact in a public place was when they were 12 years old or younger.

A survey of 1,004 girls aged 14-21 also found that one in seven girls had been followed while in uniform, while 8% said they had been filmed or photographed by a stranger without their permission, or someone had taken a photograph up their school skirt.

17-year-old Reisa (pictured above) from Birmingham said: 'Recently, someone rolled down their window, it was a guy middle-aged I guess, and he rolled down his window and he said, ‘Do you need a ride?’ And it was just a normal quiet road, near an ally way, that’s the way I usually tend to go home. I said, ‘No, I’m fine.’ 

'And I just turned around and walked away, and then I looked like behind me and was like slowly following with his car. And then I just kind of turned like a sharp corner, I didn’t run, but you know I walked really fast and tried to get away. 

'I used to longboard to college but I stopped doing that because people would kind of glance at me. 

'I remember one guy actually took his phone out and it looked like he was recording me, because he was following me and I was the only one around.'

The disturbing findings come as the charity launches a new report into the impact of street harassment on girls and women in the UK. The report is the result of in-depth interviews with girls from across the UK about their experiences of sexist behaviour in public and how it compromises their freedom.

Plan International UK is calling on the government to recognise harassment in public as a form of gender-based violence in its strategy to end violence against women and girls.

Tanya Barron, Chief Executive at Plan International UK, said: 'It is shocking and deeply concerning that girls, many of whom are clearly of school age because they are in unfirom, are being targeted and sexually harassed by perpetrators in the street. This disgraceful behaviour needs to be called out and stopped.'

To find out more about Plan International UK's 'It's not OK' campaign, click here.