Statement on Savile / Rolf Harris

High time to guarantee that every child will learn how to recognise inappropriate sexual contact

Press release
For immediate release: Wednesday 2nd July 2014.

With the publication of the full report of the Savile inquiry and the recent trial of Rolf Harris reaching a verdict the Sex Education Forum is calling for commitment from all political parties to make sex and relationships education (SRE) statutory in order to help prevent cases of sexual abuse of children.

Jane Lees, Chair of the Sex Education Forum said:

“The details of the Harris and Savile cases have been shocking, in particular, the long periods of time during which victims suffered in silence and the wide range of ages of children and adults that were abused. The widespread publicity and information around the cases helpfully resulted in further victims coming forward. But we need to ensure that there is a better understanding of abuse so that children and young people are kept safe .It is for this reason we need a long lasting approach based on a guarantee that all schools teach children good quality SRE which includes learning to recognise and be able to talk about inappropriate sexual contact by others. Learning about what is and isn’t abusive behaviour is essential to help keep children safe from harm. We must respond to these cases by creating a legacy of guaranteed education for all children.”

"Recent evidence from Ofsted shows that in some schools, sex and relationships education (SRE) is limited to as little as two hours taught in the last year of primary school. Ofsted also found that younger pupils did not always learn the correct names for sexual parts of the body. This can leave children muddled about their own bodies and hampered by a lack of language to report sexual abuse.”

“The Sex Education Forum surveyed over 800 young people[1] and found that 1 in 3 either ‘didn’t know’ or were ‘unsure’ where to get help if they were sexually assaulted.”

“Currently, primary schools can choose not to provide any SRE beyond the handful of biological sex education topics taught within science. Our ‘It’s my right’ campaign is calling for  SRE to be statutory in all primary and secondary schools as part of an entitlement to personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education and to be taught by teachers trained in the subject.”

Information about the ‘It’s my Right’ campaign can be found at: /policy-campaigns/sre-its-my-right.aspx



For more information please contact the National Children's Bureau's media office on 0207 843 6045 / 47 or email For urgent enquiries out of office hours call 07721 097 033.

Notes to editors 

[1] About ‘The Consent Issue’ survey
890 children and young people aged 14 to 25 took part in the survey - the majority of respondents were aged 16 or 17.

About the Sex Education Forum
The Sex Education Forum is the national authority on sex and relationships education (SRE). We believe that good quality SRE is an entitlement for all children and young people and we are working with our member organisations - including religious, children's, parents, health and education organisations - to achieve this. For further information visit:

About the National Children's Bureau
The National Children's Bureau (NCB) is a leading charity that for 50 years has been improving the lives of children and young people, especially the most vulnerable. We work with children and for children, to influence government policy, be a strong voice for young people and practitioners, and provide creative solutions on a range of social issues. For more information visit