National review launched into sexual abuse in education settings


The Department for Education has today announced a major review into sexual abuse in education settings alongside a dedicated helpline to provide support and guidance to adults and children who have been victims of abuse.


The new dedicated, confidential helpline will be run by the NSPCC and is available to current or past victims as well as parents, carers or professionals with concerns.


NSPCC CEO Sir Peter Wanless said: “The testimonies being shared through Everyone’s Invited are extremely upsetting and underline the urgent need to tackle violence against girls.


This is a watershed moment thanks to those who have found the courage to speak out which is why we have been commissioned by the Department for Education to set up an independent helpline for children, parents and professionals to seek expert, sensitive advice from the NSPCC and safely report abuse that has happened or is happening in educational settings.


At least a third of sexual offences against children are committed by other young people and that must be addressed. All children should be able to grow up in a safe community that is free from sexual violence where their rights are respected.


Creating a culture that fosters healthy relationships and challenges harassment and abuse is integral to this. With the right support for teachers, compulsory relationships and sex education has a pivotal role to play in achieving this. But this issue goes beyond schools and we all have a role to play in keeping children safe.”


The NSPCC helpline is due to open at 9am this Thursday (1 April), and the number is 0800 136 663.


The helpline is free and anonymous and will be open Monday to Friday 8am – 10pm and Saturday to Sunday 9am – 6pm.


In Knowsley, if you have safeguarding concerns about a child, please contact the Knowsley Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub on 0151 443 2600 or you can compete the online form here.

In addition, Ofsted will undertake an immediate review of safeguarding policies in state and independent schools. They will work with representatives from social care, police, victim support groups, school and college leaders and the Independent Schools Council.


The review, which will conclude by the end of May 2021, will look at the extent and the severity of the issue and ensure schools have appropriate processes in place to allow pupils to report concerns freely, knowing these will be taken seriously and dealt with swiftly and appropriately.


It will make sure there is sufficient guidance on how schools should deal with sexual harassment and violence allegations, and whether the current inspection regimes in both state and private schools are strong enough to address concerns and promote the welfare of children.