MP Jess Phillips calls for Government action after shocking reports of sexual abuse in schools

30 March 2021, 12:18 | Updated: 30 March 2021, 13:27

By Sam Sholli

Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding Jess Phillips says the Government must take rapid action to combat sexual violence in school, recounting shocking instances where children have been raped by a pupil then put back alongside them in the classroom.

Her exchange with LBC's Nick Ferrari comes after over 8,000 anonymous testimonies have been posted to a website, Everyone's Invited, which reveal experiences of misogyny, harassment, abuse and assault in education.

Writing to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, Labour MPs Kate Green and Jess Phillips said Everyone’s Invited has revealed the "scale of sexual harassment and abuse that is taking place around schools, colleges and universities across the country" and also called for a "national strategy" to tackle it.

“Swift and decisive action is needed to make sure that the education system is safe for every young person, and that sexist or misogynistic attitudes towards women and girls are stamped out early," the letter said.

While also making her case on LBC, Ms Phillips said: "I've worked, I'm afraid to say, with parents and directly with children who have been raped by children in their class and then put back into that classroom by a school [that] had no guidance.

"The only thing the Government has done in the past five years...is to issue new guidance to schools which they've done nothing to make sure schools are following and following up on.

"And the reason that they issued that new guidance was because a young girl who was raped at her school took the [Education Secretary] to court for lack of safeguarding of her.

"That's the only thing the Government have done in the last five years and it's because a victim had to go through a terrible process of taking legal action against our Department for Education."

Education`Secretary Gavin Williamson has tweeted: "No school - whether an independent school or state school - should ever be an environment where young people feel unsafe, let alone somewhere that sexual abuse can take place.

"The allegations that I have heard in recent days are shocking and abhorrent.

"Any victim of these sickening acts that we've seen reported should raise their concerns with someone they trust, whether that's a family member or friend, a teacher, social worker, or the police. We will take appropriate action."

If you have been affected by any of these issues, you can contact The Survivor's Trust Helpline on 08088 010818 or online at helpline@thesurvivorstrust.org

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