Handling of sexual misconduct allegations in schools to be reviewed

AN independent review into the handling of sexual misconduct allegations in Jersey schools is to be carried out after a string of serious allegations were made by JCG students earlier this year.

Picture: JON GUEGAN. (31031139)
Picture: JON GUEGAN. (31031139)

Yesterday, the website Everyone’s Invited – which urges young sexual-abuse survivors to share their stories – listed almost 3,000 schools which have been mentioned in reports of serious sexual assaults including rape. Three Jersey schools are included within that list – JCG, Victoria College and St Michael’s Prep.

In March, a number of JCG students made allegations, described by the government as being of a ‘highly sensitive nature’, against Victoria College students.

Those student testimonies, which were made as part of discussions at JCG about harassment and sexual assault following the death of Sarah Everard in the UK and the subsequent police investigation, led the head teachers of the two schools to send a joint letter to parents.

Meetings between the police, government officials and the Safeguarding Partnership Board were held about the allegations.

In a joint statement, the government and the SPB have now confirmed that an independent learning review will be carried out to ‘identify how best to address concerns and allegations about misogyny, bullying and sexual abuse in schools’.

The statement read: ‘The anonymous and confidential contributions describe a range of experiences of a highly sensitive nature including misogyny, sexism and sexual abuse.

‘We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those students for their brave testimonials, which will help us to tackle and understand more about the prevalence of sexual harassment and other unacceptable behaviours among young people in Jersey.’

The review will take place over the next few weeks and is expected to be completed by the end of July. It will address how events unfolded before the anonymous testimonies were made and also examine how allegations are handled.

It is hoped that the findings of this review will help to provide strengthened support for schools and colleges in Jersey.

The joint statement added: ‘We also welcome the release of the Ofsted report in England today, whereby inspectors visited 32 state and private schools and colleges and spoke to more than 900 children and young people about the prevalence of sexual harassment in their lives and the lives of their peers.

‘The findings and recommendations of this report, including the challenges of online safety, will be considered in this review and help to inform actions to ensure the safeguarding and wellbeing of the Island’s children and young people.’

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