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CPS Guidance undermining consent withdrawn

The Crown Prosecution Service has withdrawn an anti-bullying guidance pack for schools developed with Stonewall and Gendered Intelligence, after a 14-year-old girl brought a legal action.

The pack, which has been withdrawn for review, encouraged schools to tell girls to ignore their discomfort and not object to males entering single sex spaces such as toilets and changing rooms.

One of its teaching exercises features a video scenario where an adult male presenting in a feminine style enters the women’s toilets. Two young women at the sinks whisper their discomfort: “What’s he doing in here? This is the Ladies”. The next time the person uses the Gents’ where two middle-aged men shout abuse and bang on the door.

The class discussion guidance says

“Ask the students what happened in the clip. Thinking about how the girl in the clip was treated, can the class understand why she might have felt hesitant about going into the toilets?”

CPS Pack

(by ‘girl’ here they mean the adult male)

As the legal letter to the CPS points out it is not safe for girls to learn that they should consider an adult male using a facility intended for their bodily privacy as a ‘girl’.

The activity sheet asks:

Can you say why the person went into the ladies’ toilets and not the mens’ toilets? How did the women behave towards her? How did that make her feel?

As the legal letter say these questions suggests that it was the young woman’s fault that the men harassed the feminine presenting male.

The guidance tells pupils that transgender people must be supported to use all the facilities “appropriate for the gender with which they identify themselves”. It goes on to suggest that a school offering the unisex, accessible toilets is not an acceptable solution for a male who does not feel comfortable using the mens.

The guidance completely fails to consider the feelings of women who may feel genuinely threatened.

Letter from Sinclairs Law to the CPS

Girls are taught that they should not make a male entering the women’s toilet feel ‘unwanted’, indeed the pack suggests that this might be a police incident or a hate crime.

Following the lawyer’s letter-before-action (supported by The Safe Schools Alliance and Faircop) the CPS has withdrew the guidance for review.

Certainly the CPS and the Police who produced the pack will have to consider whether the guidance is worth defending in court. But hopefully it has reached the attention of someone within the hierarchy with the sense and decency to be appalled that some corner of their organisation has have been issuing guidance that undermines girls’ consent in name of inclusion.

Hopefully, more organisations are remembering that girls and women have rights to bodily privacy. In a rush to support transgender peoples’ human rights and get gold stars from Stonewall they may have forgotten why single sex spaces exist in the first place.

The teenager who brought the legal action, with the Safe Schools Alliance said:

“I’m happy that I’ve been able to have helped girls all over the country keep their right to say no and not get accused of bullying.”

Teenage girl who brought the case

One reply on “CPS Guidance undermining consent withdrawn”

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