A website set up for young people to be able to post anonymous accounts of sexual abuse they have suffered at school has now had more than 6,000 posts from children, some as young as nine.
Concerned police are reviewing the content of the website and have been contacting the schools that could be identified.
Soma Sara, founder of the Everyone’s Invited website, said: “In the past week we have seen a very significant increase and widening of that demographic, in the in crease of state schools and universities being mentioned – as well as a wider variety of ages – older people, younger people, boys and girls. And I think what this really shows is that this is a universal problem.”
While in recent years there have been teachers and other academic staff prosecuted for sexual offences, this is the first time there will be a focus on sexual attacks in and around schools.
Many of the accounts on the website are about sexual harassment, abuse and rape by other pupils, either in school or university premises or at parties. While the schools have been named on the website, the identity of the victims or abusers have not been revealed. The harrowing accounts range from being drugged and raped at parties to explicit images being shared on social platforms.
A helpline will be set up where victims can get support and report these incidents.
In a recent interview with Radio 4, Chief Constable Simon Bailey from the National Police Chiefs’ Council raised concerns that children have access to pornography and this impacts on what they see as a healthy sexual relationship.
He said: “If the culture changes in schools then we’ll start to make some progress”. He added that parents and schools need to have conversations with children, explaining that what they see in pornography does not reflect real life.
A spokesperson for the Department for Education commented: “The vast majority of schools, colleges and universities take their safeguarding responsibilities seriously, so it is particularly shocking when allegations of abuse are made in connection with a place of education where everyone should feel secure and protected. “
If you have suffered child abuse, either now or in the past, help and support is available. Call 01302 320621 to speak to us in complete confidence and we will be happy to discuss your options with you.