The current unprecedented child historic abuse investigation in the UK has high-lighted the extent of sexual abuse in schools and other institutions. There were a total of 21,493 sexual offences against children recorded by police in the UK in 2011/12 (Source: UK total from published police recorded crime figures: 17,362 (England and Wales) + 3,047 (Scotland) + 1,084 (Northern Ireland) =21,493. This does not include some offences committed against 16 and 17 year olds in England, Wales and Scotland due to the way data is published according to offence category). The judge leading the historic child sex inquiry, justice Lowell Goddard commented that as many as 1 in 20 school children in England and Wales may have been sexually abused. Justice Goddard stated that the inquiry “provides an opportunity to expose past failures of institutions to protect children “.
The national police operation coordinating the investigation of the these sexual abuse allegations is overseeing 666 police inquiries into abuse in a number of institutions including schools, children’s homes, and medical facilities and establishments. Currently 261 prominent figures are also being investigated in this operation -otherwise known as operation hydrant.
In a freedom of information request, child abuse solicitor Malcolm Underhill, revealed that between “2008 to 2011, a total of 9,048 allegations of physical and sexual child abuse were made against staff with and without Qualified Teaching Status. This resulted in 1,355 suspensions and 866 dismissals of staff”.
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Mr Underhill also commented on the key investigations of sexual abuse in boarding schools in the South East of the UK – “A number of schools have teachers who have been charged with historic sex offences, or have staff under investigation. These include: King’s, Rochester in Kent; Wellington College, Berkshire; Beeston Hall, Norfolk; St Paul’s and Colet Court, west London; Downside, Somerset; and Ashdown House, Sussex”.
The Green party’s only MP, Caroline Lucas, proposed compulsory lessons in school should be provided to teach children about sex education, sexual abuse prevention, alcohol and substance abuse”. Lucas called these compulsory classes “personal, social, and health education ” classes.
in a recent National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) report which analysed child protection data existing across the four nations in the UK for 2015, it was found that all four countries reported an increase in the number of recorded sexual offences against children compared with the previous year – between 12% and 39%.
Peter Wanless Chief Executive of NSPCC commented “As our report shows, the challenges in keeping future generations safe are myriad and complex”.
Release ID: 87979