State schools included in 'rape culture' reports

Number of allegations detailing sex abuse in schools and universities now tops 8,000 and is 'growing exponentially'

Sex abuse allegations: State schools included in 'rape culture' reports on Everyone's Invited website

The website at the heart of school peer-to-peer sex abuse allegations has now received more than 8,000 testimonies and the number is “growing exponentially”, according to the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for child protection.

Simon Bailey, who is also chief constable of Norfolk Constabulary, was speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme when he said that the problem wasn’t just limited to the private schools that have been in the headlines recently over "rape culture" allegations.

Speaking this morning, as a new national helpline for victims was set up, he said:  “What I'm anticipating is, as there is greater focus on this issue, you will start to see reports of abuse, of current abuse, of non-recent abuse in the universities sector, in the state sector and in the private sector as well. This is not something that is exclusive only to private schools.”


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He was speaking after a number of independent schools were accused of failing to deal with complaints about a “rape culture”.

Everyone's Invited receives allegations of sex abuse in state schools

He added: “In some cases schools will have made the decision just to deal with allegations internally rather than actually reporting them when they should have done”.

Meanwhile, Soma Sara, founder of the website where allegations are being posted – Everyone’s Invited – also said that state schools were part of the problem.

She wrote in The Times: "From the testimonies Everyone’s Invited has received, it is clear that rape culture is endemic.

"It’s in all parts of society, including all universities and all schools. Seeing this long-overdue discussion being narrowed down to private schools is disappointing.”

Ms Soma said there had been a 33 per cent increase in testimonies from the state school sector since 9 March.

Chair of the Commons Education Select Committee Robert Halfon has also suggested that state schools are among those where "female pupils being objectified, harassed and sexually assaulted".

"What has allegedly been going on in some of our country's distinguished schools is appalling," he wrote in The Sunday Telegraph.

"It seems almost as if a Lord of the Flies culture has engulfed respected private education institutions and spread to some state schools, too."

Mr Halfon also wrote that there needed to be a change from the status quo that sees many independent schools operating under their own inspection regime. 

He said: “Given that it looks that safeguarding has fallen short, there should be a fundamental review of school safeguarding and just one body responsible for safeguarding inspection of private schools – Ofsted – rather than the current system, which allows the independent sector to have its own inspection regime.”

 

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Dave Speck

Dave Speck is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @Specktator100

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