New school abuse helpline receives more than 350 calls since April including reports of rape, upskirting and the spread of naked photos of classmates – with DOZENS of referrals to police
- The line was set up on April 1 by the Department for Education to report abuse
- So far there have been 65 referrals to police and children’s services after reports
- The majority of victims referred to police were secondary school age children
The scale of the school sex abuse scandal was revealed yesterday as figures showed that a new helpline had already been contacted 353 times.
The line was set up on April 1 by the Department for Education so children and young adults could report abuse in schools, colleges and universities.
So far there have been 65 referrals to police and children’s services after reports of rape, upskirting and instances of schoolboys swapping naked photos of classmates.
Yesterday, the NSPCC said sexual abuse, exploitation and harassment by peers were the most common issues reported
The helpline, run by the NSPCC, was launched in March after more than 100 schools were named in anonymous testimonies on the Everyone’s Invited website. Prestigious public schools including Eton were among those named and accused of failing to challenge a ‘rape culture’.
Yesterday, the NSPCC said sexual abuse, exploitation and harassment by peers were the most common issues reported.
Parents have also called with concerns that safeguarding incidents are not being appropriately handled in schools.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said Ofsted was carrying out a review into safeguarding measures in schools and colleges, which will be published shortly.
The majority of victims referred to police were secondary school age children, many of them young teenage girls or young adults.
Around 203 of the calls related to sexual abuse and exploitation including ‘harmful sexual behaviour and peer abuse’.
These ranged from incidents such as pupils looking up classmates’ skirts, to sharing indecent images.
One parent of a 14-year-old girl told the helpline: ‘Just this week we received a visit from a police officer who told us they were investigating an incident of upskirting by a male pupil at my daughter’s school.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said Ofsted was carrying out a review into safeguarding measures in schools and colleges
‘We were told that a teacher had been searching this boy’s phone for something unrelated, and discovered several pictures of upskirting of different girls. The only girl that could be identified was my daughter.
‘As you can imagine, this came as a huge shock to us. We have no idea who the boy is, or if the images have been shared anywhere.’
More than half of the callers were adult or child victims and most were female.
A number of police inquiries are now underway, although the NSPCC was unable to say yesterday how many forces have received referrals.
Kam Thandi, head of the NSPCC helpline, said: ‘Through these calls we have been able to provide much needed support, advice and, where necessary, to refer the information on to police and local authorities for further action.
‘We have also heard about the devastating impact this abuse can have later in life if it’s not addressed, and have been able to share our experience and expertise to help with the recovery process.’
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