April was Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and one way to raise awareness was by wearing jeans on 'Denim Day' which was on 28 April 2021.

Denim Day is on a Wednesday in April every year and is to remind society of the dangers and injustices of victim blaming.

The campaign began after the Italian Supreme Court, in 1999, overturned a rape conviction in which an 18-year-old student in Italy was raped by her 45-year-old driving instructor during a driving lesson in 1992. They ruled that because she was wearing tight jeans, there must have been consent. The following day, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim.

Since then, what started as a local campaign to bring awareness to victim blaming and destructive myths that surround sexual violence has grown into a movement. We are all familiar with the refrain: “she was asking for it…”; “what did he expect?”. These are of course weak excuses for criminal behaviour, if not outright condonement.

Denim Day asks community members, elected officials, businesses and students to make a social statement with their fashion statement by wearing jeans on this day as a visible means of protest against the misconceptions that surround sexual violence.

This is particular apt given current concerns about sexual assault and harassment in schools and universities.

Ofsted inspectors are to carry out checks on schools in England that have been the subject of recent complaints about sexual harassment and assault.

The education watchdog said inspection teams would visit a sample of institutions where cases have been highlighted on the Everyone’s Invited website, which has collected more than 14,000 testimonies including alleged rapes and sexual attacks among children of school age.

The visits will form part of an emergency review of sexual abuse in schools and colleges, due to be completed by the end of May.

Ofsted said it would not report on individual schools or cases but would look at good and bad practice across the country.

Details of Ofsted’s investigation can be found here and more information on Denim Day can be found on the website here.

This week on the HJ Talks About Abuse podcast we talk to guest Adrian Goldberg. Adrian is a radio presenter, ex BBC Watchdog and 5 Live investigator. He also has his own podcast, Byline Times Podcast.

Adrian is one of the creators of the Celtic Boys Club Scandal film and podcast.

Following numerous criminal trials and convictions, a media storm regarding abuse in football and the documentary Football’s Darkest Secrets, more and more clubs have been identified where boys were abused by coaches or scouts.

Adrian co-produced and released a film on YouTube called ‘The Celtic Boys Club Scandal’ which was a crowdfunded documentary regarding the abuse at Celtic Boys Club and failings to investigate or report such abuse. The film covers, Jim Torbett who was one of the coaches that later went on to be convicted amongst others.

We discuss the concerns that were raised at the time and failings. In addition the film covered some of the political issues.

During the podcast, we also discuss mandatory reporting and what further changes are needed in football, and wider sport in general.

The following organisations are available to contact for support:

We encourage anyone who has concerns about sexual abuse to get in touch. You can contact Alan Collins or Danielle Vincent.

Last week, our Partner, Alan Collins, was a guest on the British Wrestling Experience podcast. He joined host, Martin Bushby, to discuss the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Wrestling report, alongside Labour MP and co-chair of the group, Alex Davies-Jones and Will Cooling from PW Torch.

The All-party Parliamentary Group on Wrestling published it's report into professional wrestling in Great Britain on 8th April 2021.

The report makes interesting reading and the authors make a series of recommendations.

Wrestling has come on a long way from the days of Saturday afternoon television where audiences were entertained by stars such as Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks. These were household names.

That was a time when terms and concepts such as “safeguarding” did not feature on the public lexicon. Child abuse and any association with  wrestling or the risk of it would never have featured as a consideration. The APPG in its report have drawn to our attention, and in particular the world of wrestling, that the sport is not immune to the risk of child abuse, and that it needs to act.

In the podcast we discuss safeguarding and the risk of sexual abuse in wrestling, and what action needs to be taken to address the concerns raised by the APPG and others. Moreover, we discuss the implications for the sport if sexual abuse occurs, and the lessons that, perhaps, can be learnt for example the need to ensure that there is the right culture.

Technology continues to evolve, faster than our laws can keep up. Over the last few years, there have been increased concerns regarding the artificial intelligence known as 'Deep Fakes'.

Deep Fakes is the term used to describe taking the face of someone and placing it in any image or video of choosing. Simply, you only need a picture of the individuals face. Surprisingly, some of these videos can look incredibly real.

We have seen this in free apps such as 'Reface' which can be immediately downloaded to your phone. Such apps allow you to put your face on your favourite film character or make a still picture of you, or even have you sing or move.  For many this is humorous, to be a character in your favourite music video or film. We have all seen such videos on our friends or family’s social media accounts, where they have turned themselves into a Christmas character or A-List celebrity video.

However, there is a much sinister and disturbing side to this technology. Anyone can create such videos using your image without your consent. This can then be uploaded to the internet immediately. Concerns regarding deep fakes include conflicting political statements, blackmail and fraud. Barack Obama’s voice has been used in such videos as well as videos using Donald Trump’s face.

Statistics featured in the Huffington Post article note such videos are increasingly pornographic in nature, with 96% of deep fake clips featuring an image replacing that of a porn actor. During 2019, statistics found the number of videos online doubled in a year and of the 85,000 circulating online, 90 per cent are non-consensual porn featuring women and many included images/ or videos engaging in extreme acts of sexual violence.

As noted above, this has included photographs of celebrities, politicians and regular individuals. Taylor Swift, Maisie Williams, Emma Watson, Michelle Obama, Meghan Markle, Boris Johnson and Mark Zuckerberg include just a few that have been victims of deep fakes technology.

Just using one example, in 2017, a Reddit user made deep fake videos of ‘Maisie Williams’ and ‘Taylor Swift’ having sex. Within 8 weeks, it had 90,000 subscribers.

Clearly the impact to victims can be significant both emotionally and financially if this impacts the victims career.  There can be huge embarrassment to the victim if this is widely shown with friends, family and/or work colleagues, especially if the viewer does not realise the imagery is a fake.

As with revenge porn, there are a number of concerns including; who posted the content, proving they didn’t consent to this and having this removed from the site (or perhaps multiple sites).

Many social media platforms including Pornhub, Facebook and Twitter have tried to ban them after public pressure. There are two new pieces of legislation, the EU’s Digital Services Act and the UK’s proposed Online Harms bill, which will hold platforms responsible for the content they host. However, this offers little support to the victim.

In the UK, you can be prosecuted for harassment for making and distributing such images/videos. In May 2018, a 25-year-old male was jailed for 16 weeks and ordered to pay £5,000 in compensation for photoshopping pictures of a female intern to porn websites

A campaign has been started called #MyImageMyChoice, calling for legal changes worldwide pushing for a global human rights solution to the problem by the Government creating world-leading intimate image abuse laws.  This is to focus on the violation of privacy and require an online consent for such imaginary to be placed online.

At the start of March, the UK Law Commission published a consultation paper with testimonies from #MyImageMyChoice. It will therefore be a matter of time before we see what changes, regulations and further protective measures are put in place.

If you believe you are a victim of deep fakes, contact the website administrators requesting this is removed without delay. You may also wish to report this to the police to investigate potential harassment charges against the perpetrator.

We encourage anyone who has concerns about sexual abuse to get in touch. You can contact Alan Collins or Danielle Vincent.

In this podcast we discuss the recently published 'Nature of sexual assault by rape or penetration, England and Wales: year ending March 2020'.
The report from the Office for National Statistics is concerned with: Information from the Crime Survey for England and Wales on the amount, type and nature of sexual assault by rape or penetration (including attempts) experienced since the age of 16 years.

 

It provides a very comprehensive picture of sexual offending as it more-or-less is now. Information was collected from the general public and following analysis there are some stark headlines which warrant further consideration:

  • One in 40 women aged between 16 and 24 in England and Wales experience rape or assault by penetration, including attempts, each year, ONS estimates suggest.
  • Overall, 0.1% of men and 0.8% of women aged over 16 said they were victims of these crimes in the year to March 2020.
  • Some 773,000 adults aged 16 to 74 said they were victims of any type of sexual assault during the same period.
  • There were almost four times as many female victims of sexual assault as men, at 618,000, compared to 155,000.

Non-reporting and reporting to the police

Sexual offences are as the ONS noted often hidden crimes that are not reported to the police. The reasons for non-reporting  are often based in fear, shame, blackmail, and  a lack of appreciation that a complaint will be taken seriously by the authorities.

Therefore, data held by the police can only provide a partial picture of the actual level of crime experienced. One of the strengths of the Crime Survey for England and Wales is that it covers many crimes that are not reported to the police.

The year ending March 2020 Crime Survey for England and Wales estimated that 1.6 million adults aged 16 to 74 years had experienced sexual assault by rape or penetration (including attempts) since the age of 16 years.

Of victims who experienced sexual assault by rape or penetration (including attempts) since the age of 16 years:

  • almost half (49%) had been a victim more than once.
  • fewer than one in six (16%) reported the assault to the police and of those that told someone but not the police, 40% stated embarrassment as a reason, 38% did not think the police could help, and 34% thought it would be humiliating.
  • Victims who did tell the police did so primarily to prevent it happening to others (47%), although, believing it to be the right thing to do (44%) and wanting the perpetrator(s) punished (43%) were similarly common.
  • As victim age increased, so did the number of victims telling the police: just 10% of 16- to 19-year-olds reported the assault to the police, compared with 27% of 35- to 44-year-olds).
  • showed that the majority (69%) of victims told someone about the sexual assault by rape or penetration they had experienced since the age of 16 years. Victims were most likely to tell someone they knew personally (60%)
  • victims were equally as likely to tell someone in an official position (28%) as another support professional or organisation (29%) about the assault experienced.

Age and sex

In the years ending March 2017 and March 2020 combined, the majority of victims who had experienced rape or assault by penetration since they were 16 years old reported that the perpetrator(s) were male (98%). Almost two-thirds (65%) reported that the perpetrator was a male aged between 20 and 39 years.

Victims who experienced sexual assault by rape or penetration since the age of 16 years were most likely to be victimised by their partner or ex-partner (44%). This was closely followed by someone who was known to them other than a partner or family member (37%), which includes friends (12%) and dates (10%)

Where does the offending occur?

The most common location for rape or assault by penetration to occur was in the victim’s home (37%), followed by the perpetrator’s home (26%). The assault had taken place in a park, other open public space, car park or on the street for 9% of victims.

Almost half of victims who reported the perpetrator was a stranger, said the perpetrator was under the influence of alcohol when the sexual assault took place.

Method used by perpetrator

For over half (54%) of victims, physical force had been used by the perpetrator to try to make them have sex with them, with 10% reporting the perpetrator had choked or tried to strangle them. Over one-fifth (22%) of victims reported feeling frightened or that the perpetrator had threatened to hurt them, and in 6% of reported cases, threats to kill the victim were made by the perpetrator.

Over a fifth (21%) of victims were either unconscious or asleep during the most recent incident of sexual assault by rape or penetration.

Injuries

Victims of sexual assault by rape or penetration (including attempts) since the age of 16 years were asked questions on physical injury and other, non-physical effects experienced as a result of the most recent incident of assault.

Nearly two-fifths of victims (36%) reported that they suffered some sort of physical injury. The most common types of injuries were minor bruising or black eye (23%) and scratches (15%)

Victims were presented with a list of other non-physical effects and were asked if they had suffered any of these as a result of the assault. For both men and women, the category most likely to be reported was “mental or emotional problems” (47% of male victims and 63% of female victims). Around one in ten victims (12% of men and 10% of women) said they had attempted suicide as a result.

Conclusions

Behind the numbers and statistics lie real people: victims and survivors each with their own story to tell. That must be an important reminder when trying to understand the figures and attempting to analyse  them, let alone draw conclusions.  Nevertheless, we attempt to do so….

It remains abundantly clear that victims are reluctant to come forward out of misplaced shame. Even in 2021 sexual abuse is still some thing of a taboo subject. There is a greater understanding of the issue but that does not necessarily correlate in to negating the very human feelings of embarrassment etc. Victims do not necessarily know what kind of reception that will receive when the contact the police: “How do I explain to a stranger what happened?”  There have been of course lurid media stories of victims being cross-examined in court and  having their reputations trashed. This only serves to re-enforce perceptions or misconceptions that reporting may have unwelcome consequences.

Much of course has been achieved in helping victims come forward to complain and to be assisted in the criminal justice system, but the report shows there is still much to be done. The MOJ’s The code of practice for victims of crime and supporting public information materials  is an example of the steps that have been taken to support victims in the criminal justice system. Likewise important steps have been taken to assist victims in giving evidence for example through the pre-recording of their testimony.

In previous podcasts we have discussed offending behaviour and changes in societal norms, for example the prevalence of “sexting”; the misuse of intimate pictures, and sex trafficking. Are we seeing these trends appearing in the statistics? One of the interesting figures concerns strangulation – another podcast subject, and we have seen moves to make this a particular offence.

We encourage anyone who has concerns about sexual abuse to get in touch. You can contact Alan Collins or Danielle Vincent.

We recently discussed abuse in schools, specifically public boarding schools. We looked at how cases of sexual and physical abuse were still coming to light against teachers or staff despite more stringent safeguarding measures being introduced. We discussed liability and actions available to victims.

However, in the last few weeks more and more reports have started to surface regarding abuse of pupils by other pupils in schools, in what has concerningly become dubbed ‘the rape culture’.

Westminster School hit the headlines when ex pupils compiled a 21 page dossier of rape culture claims. The claims document how female pupils were harassed and abused on a daily basis, having been forced to perform sex acts on male pupils. Further allegations included teachers buying a sex toy for a pupil. A number of other disturbing allegations included projecting images of female pupils on the whiteboard and asking teachers if they would “smash or not”.

Victims disclosed how alcohol was used to intoxicate students by other students to enable them to rape them. Other allegations including having trousers pulled down in front of others, groping, harassment and rape. Younger pupils were deemed “fresh meat” by older pupils and sixth formers.

Highgate School has commissioned an immediate external review after a number of pupils walked out of the school, after allegations that the rape culture was tolerated by staff. The school has been criticised for not investigating or acting on allegations of abuse.

Dulwich school pupils planned a protest march which was cancelled due to the current COVID-19 pandemic following a report in The Times of over 100 accounts of sexual abuse at the school.

A number of other schools have also been linked to similar allegations including St Pauls; Eton; and Latymer Upper School. Many of the named schools have now commenced internal investigations.

England’s children commissioner, Rachel de Souza, has now stated that serious claims of sexual violence and harassment in schools must be reported to police in a response. Ofsted have also confirmed they will look to investigate. Maybe if mandatory reporting was in place such a call would not be necessary?

An online campaign called 'Everyone's Invited' has now also been set up to encourage users to post anonymous testimonies of the abuse they have suffered at school.

All schools are expected to have sufficient safeguarding procedures to prevent abuse. If a school employee (such as a teacher) has committed abuse, it is possible to make a civil claim against the individual’s employer on the basis of vicarious liability if it can be established that the abuse occurred during the course of employment or in a relationship akin to employment.

When abuse is committed by another pupil this becomes more complicated, especially if they are also a minor. Whether a successful claim could be brought against the school would depend on the facts of the individual case. If the school had been informed of complaints of ongoing sexual abuse/or witnessed this and failed to step in/prevent such, the school in question may be deemed liable in a civil claim.

The following organisations are available to contact for support:

We encourage anyone who has concerns about sexual abuse to get in touch. You can contact Alan Collins or Danielle Vincent.

Recently, the Hugh James Abuse team discussed the surge in popularity of websites such as OnlyFans and Pornhub. We have also discussed the law in relation to revenge porn and the campaign ‘The Naked Threat’ in relation to threats to share intimate images.

Sadly, with the increase in popularity of pornographic websites where anyone can upload images immediately with little background checks, more and more individuals are having images shared online without their consent. The question remains, are those participating in videos or images consenting to the same being shared online? Are the laws in that country or state being broken? Sadly, some victims will never know their private images have been shared for millions to see. There has also been much concern in relation to both sex trafficking and the uploading of child abuse pornography.

In recent weeks, another female in the public eye, Georgia Harrison star from The Only Way is Essex and Love Island disclosed that her former boyfriend had posted a video of them having sexual intercourse online to OnlyFans, filmed without her knowledge and shared without her consent. She documented the difficulties she had when she contacted the OnlyFans site to have these images of her removed.

Following this, people began to circulate the video on social media and Whatsapp. A number of newspapers and magazines highlighted why these images should not continue to be shared and the legal implications to those doing so.

OnlyFans did remove the post and suspended the account it came from after an initial delay following significant public scrutiny. However, this begs the question, how many individuals are featured on this site without consent or knowledge? Once again this highlights the lack of background due diligence checks these companies complete when uploading new material. We will see in the coming weeks what changes OnlyFans will make and whether the person who did upload the images in question will face criminal prosecution. At the time of writing, the press has reported the individual has been charged with harassment, exposure and voyeurism.  

Pornhub has over 3.5 billion visits each month. On 12 December 2020, the Company deleted over 10 million videos following a backlash over illegal and depraved content. There were 13 million videos prior to this, which shows the grand scale of the removal.

The move finally came following an investigation by the New York Times, which revealed a large number of the site's porn videos featured underaged and sex-trafficked people 

The report also found Facebook removed 12.4 million images related to child exploitation in a three-month period. Twitter closed 264,000 accounts in six months for engaging in sexual exploitation of children. By contrast, Pornhub notes that the Internet Watch Foundation, an England-based non-profit that combats child sexual abuse imagery, reported only 118 instances of child sexual abuse imagery on its site over almost three years, Pornhub said Eliminating illegal content is an ongoing battle for every modern content platform, and we are committed to remaining at the forefront,” The full report can be found here.

Cosmopolitan reported on concerns regarding videos of genuine rapes and sexual assaults being posted The publication said “We must consider the ongoing impact for the victims and also whether disclosing such images online begins to normalise sexual abuse to the viewer.” At the time, a spokesperson for Pornhub said “Videos with these titles are more often legal, consensual videos catering to various user fantasies”. 

Pornhub has largely been criticised for allowing videos to remain up without verifying that the participants consent to these images being shared online which is the common concern with OnlyFans. Although a minority of those sharing images without consent may have been punished within the criminal legal system, Pornhub largely remained unaccountable.

Both major sponsors Visa and Mastercard have cut ties with Pornhub when news of the inappropriate videos was made public. Pornhub have now confirmed they have brought in what it claims are “the most comprehensive safeguards in user-generated platform history”.  

In what can only be seen as a positive move, Pornhub has now banned unverified uploaders from posting new content as more stringent safeguarding put in place moving forward which is positive. 

It will be of interest to see how sites like Pornhub and OnlyFans will continue to safeguard individuals from revenge porn and what steps they take to validate that the participants have consented.  

There are still urgent calls to regulate the porn industry to protect those who work within the industry and those who have been exploited by it. 

We encourage anyone who has concerns about sexual abuse to get in touch. You can contact Alan Collins or Danielle Vincent.

In the last two weeks, we have seen the saddening news of another murder of a young woman in London. What followed was a huge police search using CCTV footage. It highlights once again, how unsafe our streets can be.

In today’s podcast, we talk to Nick Gazzard who founded the 'Hollie Gazzard Trust' following his daughters death. This podcast was pre-recorded before the saddening death of Sarah Everard.

Hollie Gazzard was murdered in 2014 outside her place of work by an ex-boyfriend at just 20 years old. Sadly, she had reported her concerns to the police two days before her death. Nick details in the podcast the controlling behaviour her ex-boyfriend displayed in the run up to her death.

The Hollie Gazzard Trust was subsequently set up by her family to deliver programmes on domestic abuse and promoting healthy relationships in schools and colleges. A further aim is to raise awareness of stalking. In addition, the charity also funds hairdressing training for individuals.

The charity also aims to tackle knife crime and anti-social behaviour, having funded several initiatives delivering workshops in schools and youth organisations.

The charity has also developed a fantastic app called 'Hollie Guard'.

The app allows the user to set up emergency contacts and is activated by the user, for example when walking home at night, so emergency contacts can see the users location. The app allows the user to set up numerous contacts who get a text alert if the user is in trouble, which is sent when the user shakes their phone. When activated, the phone will also begin to film and record audio. The footage is then saved in the cloud, therefore, even if the phone is stolen, the data will be kept.

The app also has a 24/7 monitoring service which provides direct access to a dedicated emergency response team who are fully equipped to assess your situation and are trained in appropriate escalation procedures.

During the podcast, Nick discusses some of the success stories that have already come from the use of the app.

More information on the app and Holly Gazzard Trust can be found here.

There are also a number of fantastic guides on the website for friends and family including workshops for the workplace.

We encourage anyone who has concerns about sexual abuse to get in touch. You can contact Alan Collins or Danielle Vincent.

This week we talk to podcast guest Janitta Nichols, author and public speaker, highlighting the trauma and lasting impact of abuse on family generations.

We discuss Janitta’s childhood and how her behaviour was shaped following the sexual and physical abuse she suffered from the age of 6, for many years. By the age of 16, Janitta had suffered over 300 sexual encounters by several men in her family, primarily her stepfather.

Janitta discusses how the abuse made her question her identity and how she turned to drugs, gangs, and violence during her teenage years. She also discusses the impact on her own relationships with partners.

Janitta subsequently started her career as a police officer and continued to witness abuse in the families she was seeing. Janitta was frustrated that in such short periods of time, she was unable to help individuals further or make further change. She was often left wondering what happened to the individuals she encountered through her job and whether they want on to seek or find help.

In the podcast, Janitta discusses her ongoing struggle in adulthood to process what had happened to her which cumulated in her wanting to commit suicide and the impact this was also having on her relationship and children.

Janitta discusses how she had struggled with therapy previously. She tells us how she made changes in her life and began to write her story, resurfacing memories she had pushed to the back of her mind for decades which became therapeutic. Janitta talks about the process she went through and the changes she saw in herself from this. This assisted her to find the strength to speak out and her ongoing journey towards healing.

In our discussion, Janitta confirms how she discovered both her mother and grandmother were also abused and how this impacted her.  

Janitta has now released novel "Secrets of My Mother”, which is the story of a brave teenager who risks it all to her save her family from their abusive stepfather. The novel focuses on manipulation and control in the family environment.

You can find out more about Janitta here.

If you are concerned about abuse you may be suffering or wish to discuss this and are under 18 your can contact Childline on 0800 1111. The Survivors Trust also provides support for sexual abuse victims.

We encourage anyone who has concerns about sexual abuse to get in touch. You can contact Alan Collins or Danielle Vincent.

Over the years we have heard many accounts of children being abused in the Education sector. By now, it would be hoped that lessons had been learnt and sufficient safeguarding procedures would have been put in place to prevent history repeating itself.

It must be pointed out that abuse in a school environment could include any staff member, teacher or even a pupil.  Abuse takes place in all types of schools including public, state, faith and special schools. Abuse can include physical, emotional or sexual and can be committed by both male and female perpetrators.

Public boarding schools take the focus of this blog. Here, many children are away from home from potentially a very young age, placed in the trusted hands of the school for long periods of time, monitored by adults who are deemed safe and responsible to look after them.

In November 2020, former teacher Matthew Mowbray from Eton College hit the headlines when he was charged with sexually assaulting three boys. Eton is a prestigious public school with formal pupils such as Prince William and Prince Harry, Hugh Laurie and David Cameron, to name just a few.

Mowbray was dismissed from Eton after his arrest in May 2019. He appeared at Slough Magistrates' Court in November 2020 charged with offences including sexual assault, voyeurism and taking indecent photographs.

The abuse period is understood to stem over 10 years. Mowbray would visit the students late at night when they were in bed. The abuse only came to light when another pupil told a housemaster what he had seen. Mowbray pleaded guilty to eight offences of the eighteen brought against him. In December 2020, Mowbray was found guilty of eight charges and was sentenced to five years imprisonment.

At the time of writing this blog, Clifton College in Bristol also issued a public apology after a former teacher was jailed for taking indecent images of pupils in 2015.

Sadly, yet again this is another school to add to the list where sexual abuse has been disclosed. In 2018, ITV broadcast documentary Boarding Schools: The Secret Shame’ which revealed the true extent of abuse in UK’s boarding schools.

Journalist and presenter, Alex Renton, was sexually abused as a young boy by his teacher, Mr Keane, at one of the country’s top boarding schools, Ashdown House in East Sussex. The broadcast investigated some of the private schools where paedophiles groomed and assaulted young boarders repeatedly, sometimes over decades.

Schools which featured in the broadcast included;

  • Sherborne Preparatory School where headteacher Robin Lindsay abused pupils over three decades between 1970s -1990s
  • Loughton School Herefordshire where headmaster David Panter abused pupils
  • St Aubyns East Sussex where teacher George Pilgram abused pupils

In preparation for the documentary, ITV’s Exposure made Freedom of Information requests to every police force in the UK and 24 responded. The results from 2018 showed:

  • Since 2012, 425 people have been accused of carrying out sexual attacks at UK boarding schools
  • At the time there were at least 31 ongoing investigations.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) are finalising a report into the exploitation of children in residential schools. A public hearing on the second phase of the investigation took place in November 2020. The investigation is to explore how children and other agencies respond to allegations of sexual abuse by school staff and address broader questions of school culture governance, leadership, training and recruitment.

IICSA has an Inquiry Information Line you can contact on 0800 917 1000.

In December 2020, drama ‘A Teacher’ was released on BBC iPlayer. The drama played out the sexual relationship of a female teacher and male pupil. The 10-part series explored the significant impact on the pupil in later life and how it impacted his studies, relationships, and friendships. Importantly it focused on how the pupil did not realise he had been abused until years later. It is important to see such documentaries in the media to highlight that females in a position of power can abuse too.

All schools are expected to have sufficient safeguarding procedures to prevent abuse. If a school employee has committed abuse, it is possible to make a civil claim against the individual’s employer under vicarious liability if it can be established the abuse occurred during the course of employment or in a relationship akin to employment.

Schools and local authorities are insured against claims for childhood sexual abuse and therefore are more likely to be a viable Defendant in comparison to the individual abuser who may face multiple claims and have limited assets.

The Defendant will depend on whether the school is a state or private school. The Local Authority is responsible for state schools and in a private school setting, responsibility lies with the owner or the governors of the school.

 

The following organisations are available to contact for support:

  • Victim Support Line: Offering emotional and practical support for anyone who has been a victim of crime. Telephone: 0808 1689 111 victimsupport.org.uk
  • Rape Crisis: Services for women and girls who have been raped or have experienced sexual violence - 0808 802 9999 https://rapecrisis.org.uk/
  • Survivors UK: Offers support for men and boys - 0203 598 3898 https://www.survivorsuk.org/
  • NSPCC: help@nspcc.org.uk 0808 800 5000
  • Child Line: www.childline.org.uk/0800 1111
  • NAPAC: Offers support to adult survivors of all types of childhood abuse. www.napac.org.uk 

We encourage anyone who has concerns about sexual abuse to get in touch. You can contact Alan Collins or Danielle Vincent.

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