Saturday, 4 July 2015

Genuine problem

From the Age Facebook Education page

Police are being called to Victorian schools three times a week to investigate sex offences that are often perpetrated by children.

The revelation comes amid reports of a surge in the number children sexually abusing other children in the wider community that has been linked by treatment services to family violence and pornography.

New data from the Crime Statistics Agency data shows 170 sexual offences were committed in Victorian state, independent and Catholic school grounds last year, including 41 during school hours.

With around 80 per cent of offenders 18-years-old or under, experts say schools are struggling with the controversial issue.

An Education Department spokesman said the statistic of 41 sexual offences at government and non-government schools during school hours in 2014 was low.

"This figure represents 41 incidents across a student population of about 880,000. While one sexual offence is one too many, such a low rate reflects the work schools do to create safe, supportive environments for all children."

All sexual assaults were taken seriously, he said.

While the Catholic Education Office collects data on sexual assaults in their schools, Independent Schools Victoria does not.

"Independent Schools Victoria takes its obligations to protect children from all forms of abuse very seriously," chief executive Michelle Green said.( Not seriously enough though to collect data on it to help governments and police to get an accurate picture of the problem!)

A Victoria Police spokeswoman Sara-Jane Hooper hinted the numbers could be higher, saying sexual offences went under-reported.

Carpell Dang from the Centre Against Sexual Assault runs programs in schools that teach students about consent, domestic violence, sexting, pornography and healthy relationships.

Mr Dang is sometimes called into schools after a student had been harassed or sexually assaulted by another student.

"We try and do prevention but sometimes people call us when issues hit the fan."

He said children were being exposed to pornography at a younger age, which was fuelling "extreme stuff".

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