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Experts investigating pupil street harassment

School pupils’ experiences of street harassment are being investigated by researchers in a bid to shed light on the nature, scale and impact of the issue.

Upset person
Experts are working with secondary schools as part of the pilot project

School pupils' experiences of street harassment are being investigated by researchers in a bid to shed light on the nature, scale and impact of the issue.

Experts at Nottingham Trent University are working with three UK secondary schools as part of a pilot project asking 11-16 year-olds to record any incidents they encounter.

Street harassment – random incidents involving comments, gestures and behaviour which could be sexual, racial, homophobic or gender-related – is not officially recorded in crime statistics for children and there is very little research in this area.

It is hoped the work will provide evidence of the type of incidents pupils are experiencing and how these make them feel.

The study will involve holding focus groups with children and teachers, as well as the development of a bespoke web app, through which pupils will immediately provide specific details of their experiences.

The focus groups will help the researchers to get a better understanding of young people's experiences. The app, meanwhile, will capture details such as whether the secondary school pupil was on their own, in a pair or group; whether they were on their way to or from school; as well as their gender, age and ethnicity.

Children will also be able to record in their own words what happened and how the incident made them feel.

The project is bringing together a psychologist, a linguist, an educationist, a social worker and a legal expert from the University's School of Social Sciences, School of Arts and Humanities and Nottingham Law School.

The research team brings together expertise in bullying, harassment and discrimination among schoolchildren, as well as how children use language to describe their feelings and experiences.

"This data will be crucial in enabling us to examine how pupils experience and describe harassment, as well as being able to identify groups at particular risk", said researcher Dr Lucy Betts.

She said: "The findings could be used to explore the consequences of street harassment on pupils' study, inform whether incidents are covered adequately by criminal law and to see how the police could tackle the issue differently in partnership with schools."

The project comes under the auspices of the University's Nottingham Centre for Children, Young People and Families.

  • Notes for editors

    Press enquiries please contact Dave Rogers, Public Relations Manager, on telephone +44 (0)115 848 8782, or via email.

    Nottingham Trent University's five-year strategic plan Creating the University of the Future has five main ambitions: Creating Opportunity, Valuing Ideas, Enriching Society, Connecting Globally and Empowering People.

    The Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education was awarded to Nottingham Trent University in November 2015. It is the highest national honour for a UK university and recognises the institution's world-class research. Pioneering projects to improve weapons and explosives detection in luggage, enable safer production of powdered infant formula, and combat food fraud, led to the prestigious award.

Experts investigating pupil street harassment

Published on 29 June 2016
  • Category: Press office; Research; School of Arts and Humanities; Nottingham Law School; School of Social Sciences

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