We’re launching a dedicated helpline for children and young people who have experienced sexual harassment or abuse at school, and for worried adults and professionals that need support and guidance.
Our new NSPCC helpline, Report Abuse in Education, will launch on 1 April. Working with the Department for Education (DfE), who have commissioned us on this initiative, we will run the bespoke helpline to provide appropriate support and advice to victims of abuse and harassment, and concerned adults, including onward action such as contacting the police if they wish to.
This dedicated helpline will offer support to:
- all children and young people making current and non-recent disclosures of sexual harassment or abuse on school grounds within school time, and incidents linked to school in any capacity
- any children or young people who want to talk about being involved or witnessing any incidents
- any adults who have experienced non-recent abuse
- parents and carers who have any concerns about their own or other children
- professionals who work in schools and need support in this or related issues.
Anyone who gets in touch through this dedicated helpline will also be signposted to other relevant support services available, including Childline - which provides ongoing support and counselling to children and young people.
The Report Abuse in Education helpline comes after a high number of anonymous testimonials were submitted to the Everyone’s Invited website, documenting abuse in all types of schools, colleges, and universities.
We will also continue to respond to the needs of children, schools, and others affected through our other services, including our e-learning, training courses, and consultancy for schools. Our work looks to prevent child abuse and make sure children have the support they need.
We will continue our policy and lobbying work to ensure that the introduction of compulsory relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) in schools delivers change. We want the Government to invest in high-quality training and support so teachers are confident and equipped to deliver RSHE lessons in their classrooms. We will also continue to advocate for a whole-school approach to tackling abuse where school communities challenge damaging norms and unhealthy attitudes about sexual behaviour so all schools are safe places for young people.
Sir Peter Wanless, NSPCC CEO, said:
“The testimonies being shared through Everyone’s Invited are extremely upsetting and underline the urgent need to tackle abuse in education.
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 DfE to set up a helpline for children, parents and professionals to seek expert, sensitive advice and safely report abuse.
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.”