New data shows there have been 110 reports of Lincolnshire pupils at secondary schools being sexually harassed, abused and assaulted in the last five years by their peers.
Lincoln schools reported the most (25) sexual offence reports between March 2016 and March 2021, followed by Boston (14) and Spalding (11), according to a Freedom of Information request (FOI) by The Lincolnite to Lincolnshire Police.
Both the victim and offender/suspect were aged between 11 and 17 and assumed to be peers at school.
Altogether in Lincolnshire, there were nine reports from March to November 2016, which more than tripled to 29 in 2017.
It has been confirmed the increase from 2016 to 2017 is “a result of better sharing and recording principles between partner agencies,” according to Lincolnshire Police.
Figures remained at 28 the following year, then decreased to 18 in 2019. However, there were 20 sexual offences reported in 2020.
In 2021, from January to March, five sexual offence cases have been reported to police.
Sexual harassment is defined as any form of unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person.
Sexual abuse is abusive sexual behavior by one person upon another and is often perpetrated using force or by taking advantage of another.
When force is immediate, of short duration, or infrequent, it is called sexual assault.
Detective Superintendent Martyn Parker, head of the Protecting Vulnerable Persons unit at Lincolnshire Police said: “We work in partnership, through the Lincolnshire Safeguarding Children’s Partnership (LSCP) with the Department for Education and Children’s Services to provide a safe learning environment for children at school.
“Each school has their own safeguarding policies and are supported by safeguarding officers.”
He added: “We attend schools on a regular basis to provide safety talks and presentations to raise awareness of sexual crimes – and to provide confidence within school to speak up and report any incidents of concern.”