Sexual bullying/ harassment

What is sexual bullying?

According to the NSPCC definition, sexual bullying is: “Any bullying behaviour, whether physical or non-physical, that is based on a person’s sexuality or gender. It is when sexuality or gender is used as a weapon by boys or girls towards other boys or girls – although it is more commonly directed at girls. It can be carried out to a person’s face, behind their back or through the use of technology.”

It might include:

  • Saying ‘gay’ when you mean bad
  • Homophobic bullying
  • Calling someone a ‘slut’, ‘bitch’ or ‘frigid’
  • Teasing someone for their sex life (true or not)
  • Bullying around size of breasts/ bum/ muscles
  • Threats or jokes of rape
  • Unwanted touching
  • Pressurising someone into sex acts
How common is it?

Sexual harassment and sexual bullying is an everyday occurrence for young people. In the UK, 70% of girls, 13-21, have experienced sexual harassment at school or college and 55% of gay people had experienced homophobic bullying at school.

What about Bristol?

During 2013 and 2014, research was undertaken with young people in school years 9-13 in Bristol looking at sexual bullying, harassment and sexism: a questionnaire and focus groups.

To download the summary of our local research and consider recommendations for schools and youth settings, click the link below.

Executive summary of Bristol sexual bullying research (Feb 2015)

What can I do to tackle sexual bullying?

Preventing sexual bullying, harassment and sexism in your school:

Recommendations for preventing sexual bullying

Responding to an incident of sexual bullying:

Coming soon


Ending domestic and sexual violence through education