Rising sexual assault cases in schools have caused some Queensland schools to redesign toilet blocks in order to reduce the risk of inappropriate sexual behaviour.
The Courier Mail reports that the number of sexual assaults by children has risen since 2010, and 40% of all sexual assaults are committed by people aged 19 years and under.
Behavioural criminologist Carol Ronken told the publication that the design of some areas of a school playground allow this behaviour to occur more easily without being caught.
“All too often children are placed in vulnerable situations because windows are covered up, toilet cubicles are left open, or there are areas that are blocked away from easy monitoring,” she said.
There has been a recent case in Queensland in which a boy bullied some kids in the playground, and he tried to grab their genitals.
“With at least three victims, the young boy tried to digitally penetrate them,” Ms Ronken said. “He would threaten them to ensure they would not tell.”
Now, some Queensland schools are taking action by changing the design of their toilet blocks to make them easier to monitor. This includes changes like moving the basins into the cubicles.
Melinda Tankard Reist, a co-founder of Collective Shout - an organisation which aims to combat the objectification of women and sexualisation of girls in the media, says that they have been contacted with reports of these changes.
“I’ve had at least three principals tell me they are redesigning their toilets to keep kids safe at school, and another school put a security guard on the toilet block,” she said.
Hopefully the changes will help reduce this horrifying increase of sexual assaults by children.