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I hope that you have had an enjoyable Easter break and managed to get some downtime. Even though many of you have been away from school, I feel that it would be difficult for you to not have heard or seen the media coverage around allegations of sexual abuse made by school pupils on the Everyone’s Invited website.

You may remember that I did refer to this growing safeguarding concern in our last safeguarding bulletin. However, since then, the website has now recorded over 14,000+ testimonies of sexual abuse experiences from pupils as young as nine. These range from misogyny, sexual harassment to disclosures of rape and though they do not go as far as to name the identity of their alleged attackers, they do name 100+ schools, and this is increasing daily.

This led to the government asking Ofsted to undertake an immediate review of safeguarding policies in state and independent schools in relation to sexual abuse. The review will look at whether schools have ‘appropriate processes in place to allow pupils to report sexual abuse concerns freely, knowing these concerns will be taken seriously and dealt with swiftly and appropriately'.

The review will look at the following key questions:

  • Safeguarding and curriculum
  • Multi-agency safeguarding arrangements
  • Victim’s voice and reporting

The review will conclude by the end of May 2021.

What should schools’ do now

Whole school approach
  • Identify a senior person(s) to take lead responsibility (DSL/SLT/Safeguarding Governor)
  • Ensure safeguarding teams, staff, governors understand responsibilities & reporting channels both internally and externally – if not provide training
  • Ensure everyone knows Harmful Sexual Behaviour (HSB) is not acceptable and must be challenged and reported by all
  • Ensure everyone knows how to make a report, what to do if they have a concern or disclosure and where to seek support externally Childline, NSPCC Helpline, contact details for your local Children’s Social Care and Police etc.
Schools’ Safeguarding & Child Protection Policy
Ensure:
  • It is up to date with latest statutory guidance around indicators of peer on peer/child on child abuse, harmful sexual behaviour, sanctions & schools’ response procedures
  • The latest version is publically available on the school website
  • Refers to the schools’ updated Behaviour policy
  • Includes reporting procedures for allegations from adults in a position of trust
Child protection reporting systems (CPOMS, My Concern, Safeguarding Monitor etc.)
  • Clearly identifies peer on peer/child on child/HSB/sexual harassment/sexual violence concerns e.g., as categories/labels
  • Safeguarding teams/staff understand what peer on peer/child on child abuse is, what must be recorded and how they should be categorised/labelled
Communications
  • Prepare communications to staff/pupil & parents reassuring them all concerns will be taken seriously, confirming what robust safeguarding procedures and support are in place
  • Ensure Complaint’s and Managing Allegations of Abuse policies are up to date and publically available

The dedicated NSPCC Helpline - Report Abuse in Education - launched on Thursday 1st April 2021 and can be contacted by phone on 0800 136 663, or by emailing help@nspcc.org.uk
 
Please do not hesitate to get in touch if we can be of any help. Email admin@safeguardingsupport.com or call us on 01274 752299

All the best
Yvonne
 
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