Keeping our apprentices safe
We take our safeguarding responsibilities very seriously - If you have any concerns, please contact us
Apprentices have a right to be safe during training, on a work placement or where they work. Together Training take all the steps needed for learners to enjoy a safe and positive environment to learn and work throughout their time as an apprentice.
This months topic we look at Peer-on peer abuse.
Peer-on-peer abuse includes, but is not limited to:
physical and sexual abuse
sexual harassment and violence
on and offline bullying
teenage relationship abuse
It’s hard to say just how widespread a problem it is. But we know that there’s extensive evidence of peer-on-peer abuse in the context of both sexual and criminal exploitation. In autumn last year, the NSPCC announced a 29% increase in children seeking help from Childline due to peer-on-peer sexual abuse. The issue has, understandably, been scrutinised in the media recently
Sexual harassment is unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature which:
Violates your dignity and makes you feel intimidated, degraded or humiliated
Creates a hostile or offensive environment
You don’t need to have previously objected to someone’s behaviour for it to be considered unwanted
Sexual Harassment is a form of unlawful discrimination?
Did you know sexual harassment is a form of unlawful discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. If you’re treated badly or less favourable because of your reaction to sexual harassment, you may have a claim under the Equality Act.
With many legal acts in place, such as The Sexual Offences Act, The Misuse of Telecommunications Act, The Malicious Communications Act and The Equality Act, anyone who thinks that they are immune from the law needs to consider their position carefully. As any form of sexual, emotional, physical or malicious harassment, abuse or assault could lead to criminal proceedings.
Examples of Sexual and Non-Sexual Harassment
Sharing sexually inappropriate images or videos
Sending suggestive letters, notes, texts or emails
Making inappropriate sexual gestures/comments
Using racist slang/phrases
Wearing clothing that could be offensive to a particular ethnic group or religious group
Inappropriate behaviour is action or language that causes offence, upset and can lead to disciplinary measures.
Written or verbal threats/abuse
Offensive emails or social media posts
Unsolicited physical behaviour
Spreading rumours or false information
Pranks, practical jokes or teasing
Unwelcome sexual advances – such as unwanted touching, hugging/patting, wolf-whistling and comments on a person’s physical appearance
Check out this informative video by Thames Valley Police that outlines Consent –
Where to get additional support and advice
If you have questions or would like to discuss the subject of inappropriate sexual behaviour, then please talk to your learning Coach or Safeguarding Officers.
Recommended website to visit to find out more information:
Our fully trained Safeguarding Team are available to offer advice and guidance to ensure that anyone at risk is given the right support. If apprentices are finding life during training or at home difficult, they don’t feel safe or they have a concern about someone else, our Safeguarding team is available to help. Contact us on Safeguarding contact list
WHAT IS SEXUAL HARASSMENT?
Sexual harassment can be verbal or non-verbal. It includes inappropriate sexual comments and jokes, displaying sexual images, inappropriate touching (pinching, patting, hugging), and unwelcome sexual advances.
Rejecting any of the above can lead to workers receiving unfair treatment, from repeats of the above behaviour to an escalation of the harassment, or issues such as being passed over for promotion.
WHY DO MANY NOT REPORT SEXUAL HARASSMENT?
Reasons can range from the victim feeling they are somehow to blame to concerns about how they might be viewed in the workplace if they accuse a colleague, especially if that person is senior to them.
The organisation Rape Crisis England and Wales (www.rapecrisis.org.uk), says on its website:
“Through our frontline work, we know that sexual violence survivors often struggle with feelings of shame, guilt and self-blame that can make it difficult to talk to anyone about their experiences. Survivors also often fear that others will blame them or that they won’t be believed. Sexual violence myths can reinforce these feelings and fears.”
NHS Choices (www.nhs.uk ) says that “It is not uncommon for a victim of sexual assault to have no physical injuries or signs of their assault”, and points out that “A sexual assault is never the fault of the person who is abused.”
WHAT LEGAL PROTECTION DO WORKERS HAVE?
The Equality Act 2010 protects workers against sexual harassment. It defines harassment as:
“unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual”.
Employees can also lodge a complaint about “behaviour that they find offensive even if it is not directed at them”.
All employers must have a grievance procedure in place, which allows workers to set out what happened and how it made them feel.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU EXPERIENCE SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE?
In some cases, for example when a colleague tells an inappropriate sexual joke, you may find it is enough to inform them that their behaviour is making you uncomfortable.
In cases of repeated comments or physical touching, it is a good idea to keep a diary of times and any witnesses to the behaviour. If you inform a manager or the HR department, make sure you put it in writing and keep a copy of your complaint. Your trade union representative can also offer advice on the best way to proceed for you.
A serious sexual assault or rape can be handled through legal channels, but if you prefer not to go to the police there are also specialist services and organisations that can help. These include:
Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs), which have trained medical and other professionals who can offer medical and emotional support
Your own GP or practice nurse, or call NHS 111
Organisations such as Victim Support, Women’s Aid, The Survivors Trust and Survivors UK
FOR FURTHER HELP
Acas: www.acas.org.uk; 0300 123 1100
Citizen’s Advice: www.citizensadvice.org.uk
Public Concern at Work: www.pcaw.org.uk; 020 7404 6609
Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS): www.equalityadvisoryservice.com; 0808 800 0082