The government has launched a helpline where anyone affected by sexual abuse and sexual harassment in schools can seek support.
The Report Abuse in Education helpline is run by the NSPCC. It opened on 1 April offering support to:
- all children and young people who have experienced sexual abuse or harassment, either recently or in the past
- 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
You can contact the helpline by calling 0800 136 663 on Monday to Friday 8am - 10pm, or 9am - 6pm at weekends or by emailing [email protected]
Anyone who gets in touch will also be directed to relevant support services that can help.
The helpline was set up following a surge in posts on Everyone’s Invited, a website where victims of sexual abuse in schools, colleges and universities can post anonymously about their experiences. To date, more than 14,000 testimonies have been shared on the site.
Schools regulator Ofsted has been directed by the government to carry out a review into how sexual harassment guidance and safeguarding in schools can be improved.
“Sometimes people don’t realise that what they have experienced is abuse, or they think it isn’t serious enough to tell anyone. Sometimes people don’t speak up because they think they won't be taken seriously,” says Mhairi Underwood, head of student voice and diversity at The Student Room.
“We see young people talking about these experiences on The Student Room often. This helpline is dedicated to supporting victims and survivors of sexual abuse and harrasment of all kinds. Whatever your experience, there are people on the line to help you. Don’t be afraid to reach out.”
What is sexual harassment? More info can be found here.
What is sexual abuse? An explanation from Childline can be found here along with other resources.