Schools’ key role in change of culture over sex abuse

We must stop waiting for victims of abuse to come forward and start working together to spot the signs, children’s commissioner tells MPs – and schools should have a key role in this new approach. Pete Henshaw reports

The role of schools in helping to identify child sexual exploitation and abuse could be crucial as part of the system change that is needed to tackle the problem, the children’s commissioner has told MPs.

In an evidence session before the Education Select Committee last week, children’s commissioner Anne Longfield repeated figures she published late last year showing that only one in eight victims of sexual abuse were identified by professionals in the two years to March 2014.

This means that while there were 50,000 reports of child sexual abuse over that period, the actual number of incidents was 450,000.

During a 90-minute hearing at the Houses of Parliament, sexual abuse was one of the key talking points.

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