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Everyone's Invited: Parents Told To Call Police On Their Own Sons If They Suspect Sex Abuse

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Everyone's Invited: Parents Told To Call Police On Their Own Sons If They Suspect Sex Abuse

Parents have been advised to report their own children if they suspect they are responsible for sexual assault.

A senior officer has said it is important for parents to do their bit in the wake of news that 'rape culture' is a growing problem within schools - following the launch of anonymous website, Everyone's Invited, where students could share accounts of sexual assault, which already features more than 7,800 testimonies from 100 schools across the country.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, Chief Constable Simon Bailey - who heads up the National Police Chiefs' Council's child protection team - said: "If parents are aware that their their son or their daughter has been a victim of abuse and then please come forward and report the abuse. Your son or daughter - their account will be believed and we will deal with it appropriately.

"If, as a parent you are aware that your son has been responsible for a sexual assault, then I think you should again be being taking your son to the police and saying: 'Look, I've now become aware that this is what my son has done'."

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Children in schools are speaking out about abuse they've encountered (Credit: Shutterstock)
Children in schools are speaking out about abuse they've encountered (Credit: Shutterstock)

Mr Bailey - who is also lead of Operation Hydrant, a task-force to oversee non-recent child sexual abuse investigations regarding well known individuals - likened the website scandal to the 'Me Too' movement, but for schools, adding that he assumed some facilities have been covering up misconduct on their grounds to protect their reputations.

"I think it's predictable and it's a reasonable assumption that in some cases, and hopefully it's only just a few, but in some cases, schools will have made the decision just to deal with the allegations internally rather than reporting them when they actually should have done," he said.

He added: "What I'm anticipating is that as there is greater focus on this issue we will start to see reports of abuse, of current abuse, of non-recent abuse in the university sector and the state sector and in the private sector as well, this is not something that is exclusive only to the private schools.

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"I think there is a real issue for society, I don't think there's any doubt in my mind about that whatsoever and there is a real issue I believe in what children now see and view as healthy relationships, healthy sexual relationships and what is permissible and what is acceptable.

"And unfortunately I think the ready and easy access to pornography is a driver to that, the sexualisation of women is a driver to that and unfortunately a culture has grown over recent years whereby in the minds of some people it is acceptable to treat young women in particular in a manner we are now seeing disclosed on the website."

Everyone's Invited has received more than 7,000 anonymous submissions (Credit: PA)
Everyone's Invited has received more than 7,000 anonymous submissions (Credit: PA)

The Chief Constable said the best way to combat this issue was to report it the second anybody starts exhibiting abusive behaviours, no matter your relation to the perpetrator.

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"If somebody has been privy to rape or serious sexual assault then we want to hear from them," he said. "What I fear is that there will be a number of sexual predators that will have moved from secondary school to university where they will continue to offend."

The Department for Education said that it is "very concerned by the significant number of allegations recently posted on the Everyone's Invited website".

The government is now working alongside the Home Office and the National Police Chiefs' Council to "provide support, protection and advice to those who are reporting abuse, including on contacting professionals or the police if they wish".

However, Labour is demanding more is done, with Jess Phillips and Kate Green having sent a letter to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson requesting an independent inquiry into the scandal.

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The anonymous website was set up by 22-year-old student, Soma Sara, and intended as a safe space for people to share their stories of abuse and harassment. It has now sparked a national conversation as thousands of anecdotes have been added.

Gavin Williamson is being urged to call an independent enquiry (Credit: PA)
Gavin Williamson is being urged to call an independent enquiry (Credit: PA)

One account on the website reads: "Aged 12, I was pressured into sending nude pictures to a boy in my year.

"I had no idea this was even a thing. I felt so disgusted doing it but I felt like I had to."

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While another woman alleges: "When I was nine years old I was sexually abused for weeks on end by an older boy.

"He was obviously into pornography although he was only about 13 and had many resulting 'ideas' of how women should be treated."

Following the shocking number of accounts that have been left, a link is now available on the Everyone's Invited website to directly report crimes to the police.

A source from the Department of Education (DfE) told The Guardian that schools would be "urgently investigated and face tough sanctions if they fail to address concerns".

For information or support, contact thesurvivorstrust.org

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

Topics: schools, Parenting

Joanna Freedman
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