On a cold wet Monday morning in January 2019, the Shepway Vox Team released a guest post written by two young ladies who attended two secondary schools here in the district. They were brave to document their experiences of sexual harasment and sexual abuse in their story:
Since then there have been a plethora of stories in national newspapers culminating in a two stories run by The Guardian in late March 2021 –
But how rife is sexual assault, abuse and harassment in our schools, in our district?
We sent Freedom of Information requests to all secondary schools in the Folkestone & Hythe District.
Our first response came from Mrs Schwartz, the Principal at Brockhill Park, a school with approx 1,400 pupils, and already embroiled in controversy, stated:
We don’t respond to requests relating to Child Protection.
Thankfully, other schools such as the Marsh Academy, Folkestone Academy & Turner Free School did respond, but the Folkestone School for Girls and Harvey Grammar have not yet responded, even though the 20 days to do so have elapsed.
The Marsh Academy is a £15 million pound PFI School which provides education to approx 950 students.
Over the last three years 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21, there has been no incidences of pupil on pupil rape at the school, but there has been 12 pupil on pupil sexual assaults and 15 incidents of sexual harassment/abuse.
The Folkestone Academy & Turner Free School, which educates 2,170 pupils, figures show that over the last three years 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21, there have been no incidences of pupil on pupil rape at either school. However, there has been 3 pupil on pupil sexual assaults and 3 incidents of sexual harassment/abuse.
How reflective these figures are of the reality of what is going on in schools in the district is hard to tell. These issues are difficult to investigate and all too often come down to one pupil’s word against another, with no witnesses.
Today more than 16,500 anonymous testimonials cataloguing acts of sexual harassment, abuse and assault in UK schools and other locations have been posted on Everyone’s Invited – and they are still coming.
The pupils who attend the secondary schools in our district have a right to go to school and not be sexually assaulted, harassed or abused.
If our schools cannot educate the perpetrators of sexual assault, abuse or harassment, then we are quite certain they will continue with their behaviour on into the workplace. This is not a welcome thought, but it is a reality.
If you witness any form of pupil on pupil sexual assault, abuse or harassment, we urge you report it to Kent Police.
If you have experienced sexual assault, abuse or harassment at school, there are organisations out there to help and listen.
Monday to Friday: 09:00 – 21:30
Crisis: 0800 458 2818
Call: 01227 451753 or 01227 478519
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Family Matters – 01474 537 392
The Shepway Vox Team
Dissent is NOT a Crime