The Bishop of Birkenhead has signed a petition calling on the Government to make it illegal for school uniforms to be sold in sex shops and used as a costume in pornography.
The petition was set up by students at Sandbach High School, Cheshire, and has over 14,000 signatories.
Bishop Julie Conalty says she was inspired to act after seeing a video produced by the students in which they talk about their experiences and why they felt the need to create the petition.
Bishop Julie says: “I was inspired by the girls in the video, and I stand with them in calling on the Government to act on this issue. We must do more as a society to put a stop to the pernicious and damaging sexualisation of children.”
In the film, one student, Emma, says: “It’s totally wrong that anybody should have to feel violated just because they wear a school uniform. It’s just not right. We’d really like our petition to reach 100,000 – that’s our biggest aim.”
Under parliamentary rules, any petition reaching 100,000 signatories will be considered for debate in Parliament.
School teacher, Sarah Maile, says: “A school uniform is clearly an indicator of somebody being under the age of 16 and therefore under the age of consent, and therefore clearly not a sexual object, and yet it is so prevalent out in the big wide world. Why is it that we’re in 2022 and it’s OK to sexualise an item of clothing that is explicitly worn by children?”
Bishop Julie is a deputy lead bishop for safeguarding in the Church of England and has a particular focus on survivor engagement.