Parents should report their own children to the police if they learn they may have perpetrated sexual assaults, a senior police officer has said.
Simon Bailey, the chief constable of Norfolk police and the national police lead for child protection, said he expected many more cases to emerge in the near future prompted by concerns over a “rape culture” in educational establishments.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he added that some of those were likely to have covered up instances in order to protect their reputations.
“It’s so important that, within schools, the culture is created where misogyny, sexual harassment and abuse are simply not tolerated and, if the culture changes in schools, then we’ll start to make some progress.
“If parents are aware that their son or daughter has been a victim of abuse, then please come forward and report the abuse. Your son or daughter, their account will be believed and we will deal with it appropriately.
"Si, as a parent, you are aware that your son has been responsible for a sexual assault, then I think you should again be taking your son to the police and saying: 'Mirar, I’ve now become aware that this is what my son has done.’”
Bailey added that both parents and teachers should take a more prominent role in educating children that what is portrayed in pornography often does not resemble a healthy sexual relationship.
Addressing the thousands of anonymous accounts of sexual harassment, abuse and assault in UK schools that have emerged in recent months, Bailey said it was reasonable to assume more allegations would be made to police and that it would become clear some schools have been keeping quiet about cases for fear of tarnishing their reputations.
He referred to the campaign Everyone’s Invited, set up in June by Soma Sara, herself a survivor of sexual abuse, and whose site now hosts more than 7,000 such testimonies.
“Based upon the experience that we have seen over recent years – and I’ll use the example of the crisis that occurred within Football Association back in 2016, when a handful of victims had the courage and confidence to come forward and report their abuse, what followed thereafter was a huge number of footballers who then came forward and also disclosed.”
Bailey said the number of instances documented on the site was “growing exponentially” and that their weight meant it was “reasonable to predict that there is going to be a significant number of reports that are going to come into the [vigilancia] system”.
The focus has been placed on several high-profile private schools recently but Sara, a UCL student, posee said that risks minimising the issue. Ella dijo: “When we narrow our focus on a school, a demographic, or as an individual, we risk making these cases seem like anomalies. But this isn’t rare, it happens all the time.”
And Bailey said he expected allegations to come from all sectors of the education system.
Bailey told Today that, while he did not have evidence of specific instances, he thought it was highly likely some schools had covered up allegations.
“Again, we saw within the crisis in football that some clubs had simply not dealt with allegations and concerns about some of that, some of their staff.
“So I think it’s predictable and it’s a reasonable assumption that, in some cases, and hopefully it’s only just a few, schools will have made the decision just to deal with the allegations internally, rather than reporting when actually [ellos] should have done.”
Scotland Yard has said it is reviewing the testimonies on Everyone’s Invited to establish whether any potential victims in London could be encouraged to report crimes, while a source at the Department for Education (DfE) has said schools will be urgently investigated and face tough sanctions if they fail to address concerns.