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Number of reported sex offences in schools doubles

Children's charity calls for action

police

The number of reported sex offences in Thames Valley schools has more than doubled in the last four years. 

Thames Valley Police classed 370 alleged incidents as sexual offences in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire schools between 2011 and 2015. Reported sex offences on school premises have more than doubled in the four-year period, rising from 65 in 2011/12 to 137 in 2014/15.

Reported incidents included in the 110 per cent increase were abuse of trust, causing a child to watch a sex act, rape and attempted rape, sexual assault, voyeurism, sexual activity involving a child and exposure.

The figures were obtained by global children’s charity Plan International UK, which is calling for action. It wants the Government to commit to mandatory sex education which covers sexting, consent, healthy relationships and the law.

Plan International UK head of girls’ rights Kerry Smith said: “This shows that we’re failing young people when it comes to learning about healthy relationships and consent.

“Quality sex and relationships education helps young people to develop healthy attitudes towards sex and relationships while helping to tackle inappropriate and aggressive sexual behaviour.”

The Thames Valley figures follow a national pattern of doubling sexual offences in schools; rising from 1,955 in 2014/15.

Figures were disclosed after a Freedom of Information request of UK police forces with 34 of 45 responses across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Police Scotland declined the request on cost grounds. Less than one in 10 suspected cases resulted in criminal charges or summons.

Although more than two-thirds of police forces responded, the charity said that the data contained many gaps and inconsistencies.

“Given the nature, severity and school setting, it’s alarming that reporting on this data is inconsistent across police forces,” said Ms Smith.

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