A website launched in June 2020 has led to a surge in reports of sexual abuse in schools. These are serious offences, with custodial sentences often handed out, even where the activity is said to be consensual.
If you are a teacher or teaching assistant who has been accused of sexual abuse, please contact us at Ashmans Solicitors. We offer free legal advice and free police station representation. Our criminal defence solicitors are highly experienced and can guide you through this difficult time. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Anonymised reports of sex abuse in schools
A website called ‘Everyone’s Invited’ has been asking survivors of sexual abuse in schools to share their stories. Since is launched in June 2020, more than 14,000 users have posted stories about their experiences of sexual abuse, assault and harassment. Many said they felt unable to report the incident to their school, and so went online to publish an anonymised account instead.
This sentiment was echoed by the Court of Appeal back in 2011. While dealing with historical complaints of sexual abuse in the case of H and Others, the Court commented that those who complain in the school environment can be ignored or rejected. The result being that complaints are made years later.
Ofsted report into school sexual abuse
After the website went viral in March 2021, the story was picked up by both the press and politicians. Now, Ofsted has announced a review into sexual abuse in schools. It will consider whether the processes schools and colleges have in place are good enough to allow pupils to report abuse freely. The issue of what prevents children from reporting abuse will be investigated with a view to presenting a picture of good and poor practice.
Increase in arrests?
Given the attention being given to the reports, it is likely that a number of arrests will be made over the coming months. These offences fall under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and cover any sexual activity, not just intercourse. Anyone who is in a position of trust could find themselves facing allegations, even if the pupil was aged 16 or 17 and therefore of the age of consent.
Even where the activity is said to be consensual, the offences often result in a custodial sentence. In the case of Lister, a sentence of nine months’ imprisonment with an extended licence of two years was imposed. The activity consisted of kissing with some touching and hugging. In Appleby, a teacher had a sexual relationship, including intercourse, with two pupils aged 15 and 16. The court considered that their starting point was three years imprisonment.
Therefore, these are serious offences with potentially weighty consequences. If you are arrested, then you must exercise your right to free police station representation.
If you need a solicitor, contact us now for a free initial enquiry. We offer free police station representation.
Call 0333 009 6275. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.