Huge leap in reported sex attacks at schools

An investigation by BBC Inside Out has indicated a steep rise in reported sex attacks in schools Pic

An investigation by BBC Inside Out has indicated a steep rise in reported sex attacks in schools Picture: GETTY IMAGES/DAVID DE LOSSY/THINKSTOCK - Credit: Getty Images

Sex offences reported in schools are on the rise, new statistics indicate – with cases in Essex higher than national trends.

Hundreds of incidents were reported in the east of England over a three-year period, with offences in Essex and Norfolk up by more than 80%.

That’s according to a BBC investigation, which indicates around 400 offences were reported in our region from 2015 to 2017.

In Essex, 273 sex attacks were reported – including pupil on pupil assaults and those involving adults.

Nationally, the number of reported cases leapt up by 70% – however in Suffolk, cases went down by 11% from 52 in 2015 to 46 in 2017.

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“We are alarmed at the number of sexual assaults that are taking place inside school gates, where parents rightly expect that their children are kept safe,” said Almudena Lara, NSPCC’s head of policy.

“It’s clear this is a very pressing problem and one which young people are increasingly turning to Childline about.

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“Last year there was a 29% increase in the number of Childline counselling sessions about sexual abuse carried out by other children.” Anna Cole, an inclusion specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), was also asked by the BBC about possible reasons behind the increases.

She said: “I don’t know the definitive answer to that. I suspect that it’s to do with the fact that we are talking about this more, it’s out in the open more.

“The #MeToo movement will have a big impact on this.

“I am sure this has always gone on but people are talking about it more and schools know this has to be taken seriously.”

Suffolk police was one of only three forces in England to record a reduction in the number of reported cases during the time period, in contrast to nearby Essex and Norfolk.

Results of the investigation, by BBC Inside Out, were broadcast on BBC One tonight at 7.30pm.

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