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School abuse victims urged to share stories to help ‘eradicate rape culture’

An NSPCC helpline and an Ofsted review were launched this week following thousands of allegations from students.

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Signs outside a south-east London school, in the aftermath of allegations of rape culture at a number of independent schools (PA)

Signs outside a south-east London school, in the aftermath of allegations of rape culture at a number of independent schools (PA)

Signs outside a south-east London school, in the aftermath of allegations of rape culture at a number of independent schools (PA)

Survivors of sexual abuse in schools are being urged to share their experiences, amid calls to tackle violence and harassment among students.

Soma Sara, founder of the Everyone’s Invited website, where students can anonymously share their experiences of misogyny, harassment, abuse and assault, hopes it will be the “best way we can keep the conversation centred on the survivor”.

People are being asked to give suggestions for positive change in an anonymous form on the site.

Ms Sara said the aim is to “listen to survivors and amplify their voices” before hopefully sharing their suggestions on how to change the situation and “start to eradicate rape culture”, working with the Government.

Boys, girls, young men and women all need to be part of the conversation and the solutionSoma Sara, Everyone’s Invited

Her comments come after more than 13,400 testimonies were posted on the site, and the Government this week announced an immediate review into sexual abuse in schools.

An NSPCC helpline and an Ofsted review were also launched this week.

Ms Sara said: “The Department of Education has worked tirelessly on launching the NSPCC helpline and Ofsted review and we are encouraged by this. But helplines already exist, we can do more.

“We recognise this as an opportunity for everyone to share their suggestions for positive change.

“Let’s keep talking, let’s keep listening as rape culture is everywhere. Have you spoken to your friends? Your dad? Your sister?

“Let’s not be bystanders, let’s have the courage to challenge this behaviour, call it out and encourage everyone to do the same.

“Boys, girls, young men and women all need to be part of the conversation and the solution.

“Let’s not criminalise young people – let’s educate, rehabilitate and empower them.”

Ofsted is to look at safeguarding policies in state and independent schools as it reviews the “extent and the severity of the issue”, and will work to ensure there are appropriate systems in place to allow pupils to report their concerns, the Department for Education said.

The review will also look at ensuring there is enough guidance on how schools should deal with sexual harassment and violence allegations, and whether current school inspection systems are strong enough to address any concerns.

The helpline, run by the NSPCC, aims to support potential victims of sexual harassment and abuse in schools, including guidance on how to contact police and report crimes.

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