The Evening Standard is reporting that a former Cabinet minister has stated that many schools are unsure about what they should report to police and they must take a ‘zero-tolerance’ attitude towards sexual assaults.
Former Cabinet minister Maria Miller said some schools were receiving “mixed messages” about what they should report to police, in part because of the lack of formal guidance.
The Tory MP, who chairs Parliament’s Women and Equalities committee, said it had become “the norm” that many schools failed to tackle head on peer-on-peer abuse.
Official figures show that more than 1,000 criminal incidents — ranging in severity from “sexting” to rape — have taken place in London schools in the past four years, although not all the victims were children.
The Government came under attack from MPs last month for not doing enough to ensure that schools were adequately protecting children from peer abuse. Mrs Miller admitted there was a “natural tension” between the Government’s desire to give schools autonomy and the need for them to know what was acceptable and what was not.
She told the Standard: “This is where guidance is so important… to make sure schools have a clear plan for how to tackle this. At the moment it is clear that they tackle these issues in very different ways. We need to make sure that wherever a child goes to school they can be confident that their school is going to take these things very seriously indeed.”
Do you agree with Maria Miller? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or via Twitter. ~ Meena
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