Schools launch consent classes as two in three women report experiencing public sexual harassment

ITV News' Natalia Jorquera joins sixth-form pupils taking part in new consent classes in school - and hears from teenage girls who share their experiences of public sexual harassment

Two-thirds of women. in the UK have experienced sexual harassment in a public space, prompting campaigners to create new consent classes to be taught in schools.

Teenage girls told ITV News of strangers trying to kiss and hug them, being cat-called by older men while in school uniform, and being followed at railway stations.

For the pupils we spoke to at Eltham Hill School in Greenwich, south-east London, the experiences were so commonplace it had become an unwelcome part of life.

"It happens quite a lot," 16-year-old Alexis said.

"But when you get used to something you just move on, really."

The teens are hailing the new workshops launched to facilitate conversations around misogyny and sexual harassment in the hope of changing attitudes - and they're eager to share what they've learned.

One teen explained: "I feel like people think that consent has been given just because you're in a relationship. It's not."

The courses will at first be piloted in five schools, before being rolled out across the country.

The groups hope the sessions will spark meaningful conversations between teachers and a new generation of students.

Reclaim These Streets, a group involved in organising vigils following the death of Sarah Everard last March, joined forces with organisation Shout Out UK to deliver the classes across the UK.Protesters took to the streets to demand women's safety from male violence after the 33-year-old's kidnap, rape and murder at the hands of serving Metropolitan Police officer, Wayne Couzens.

Nina, 16, speaks to ITV about the consent education classes she is taking part in at her school. Credit: ITV News

Her murder, among a growing catalogue of women killed by men every year in the UK, triggered fresh calls for action on women’s safety, consent education and gender justice.

A YouGov poll published this year found that seven out of 10 women in Britain have experienced some form of sexual harassment in a public space.

Campaigners have urged men to take responsibility for educating themselves and their social circles on the attitudes and behaviour that make women feel unsafe.

Reclaim These Streets and Shout Out UK say the classroom is a trusted space for students to discuss these issues with their peers with the support of trained professionals.

At present, in England relationship and sex education is part of the curriculum in schools - but only up until the age of 16.

These new classes, however, will also be taught to 16-18 year olds.

Shout Out UK's chief executive, Matteo Bergamini, said: "As a man I feel it is my obligation to help tackle an issue pervasive within my gender.

"No, it's not all men, but it is predominantly men, so let's stop being triggered and making excuses, and instead work together to find a solution.”

What are school pupils being taught in consent lessons?

The courses will cover consent and its relationship to the law, and will also explore the concept's relationship to human rights, morality and religion and in the context of healthy relationships.

The sessions will also explore rape culture myth and 'victim-blaming' attitudes.

The classes will also cover online safety, exploring the legal and moral consequences for swapping sexual images, and discussing revenge porn and online sexual harassment.