Eight Ayrshire schools listed in connection with sexual assault and harassment allegations

13th August, 2021 8:08 am

East, North and South Ayrshire councils along with Ayrshire College have taken a firm stance again rape culture.

Schools across Ayrshire have been named in connection with allegations of sexual assault and sexual harassment, including pupils of primary school age.

The damning list created by ‘Everyone’s Invited’ — an anonymous online space dedicated to eradicating rape culture — names a total of eight Ayrshire schools.

And Ayrshire College which has campuses in North, East and South Ayrshire was also listed.

All three councils and Ayrshire College have taken a firm stance against rape culture in their establishments.

Almost 3000 schools across the UK have been named online on the site, which encourages sexual abuse survivors to anonymously share their stories.

South Ayrshire held the most establishments named by survivors with Kyle Academy, Marr College, Prestwick Academy and Wellington being listed.

North Ayrshire has three schools listed: Irvine Royal Academy, Largs Academy and West Kilbride primary school.

Meanwhile, East Ayrshire’s Kilmarnock Academy was listed too.

Everyone’s invited explains rape culture as: “A form of normalising sexual violence, including; misogyny, rape jokes, sexual harassment, online sexual abuse and sexual coercion. When behaviours such as these are normalised this can act as a gateway to more extreme acts such as sexual assault and rape.”

A spokesperson for South Ayrshire Council said: “South Ayrshire Council takes a zero tolerance approach to sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a crime and campus officers are available in each of our school clusters to provide advice or take action if necessary. The safety of children and young people is our priority, and we would encourage anyone who has concerns to come forward to report these.”

An East Ayrshire Council spokesperson added: “East Ayrshire Council is committed to ensuring that our children and young people remain safe and receive education in relationships, sexual health and parenthood, which is an integral part of the school curriculum. The council works closely with our community planning partners, including Police Scotland, to ensure that our children and young people understand that harassment or abuse of any form in school, in the home or in society is unacceptable.

“The council is also able to provide an extensive counselling support service to our children and young people, in partnership with our parents and carers, should it be required.”

A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “We take all claims of sexual harassment or assault very seriously and have child protection measures in place to minimise the risk of such events occurring.

“We stand by survivors of sexual abuse and would ask them to please contact Police Scotland to allow proper investigations to take place.”

A spokeswoman for Ayrshire College said: “Ayrshire College prioritises the safety and wellbeing of its staff and students. We are fully committed to ensuring the college is a safe and inclusive place to learn, work and develop. We have undertaken a significant amount of work to underpin this commitment including in relation to gender-based violence (GBV).

“We continue to provide learning and development opportunities for all staff to improve their knowledge and understanding of gender-based violence with a new domestic violence e-learning module becoming available in academic year 2021-2022 alongside our Student Experience team, Employability and Engagement team, and Student Association continuing to attend the sector-endorsed First Responder training with Rape Crisis.

“Moreover, to support student awareness, from December 2020, a Rape Crisis developed GBV e-learning module has been available on the College Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). The College also benefits from having a Police Liaison Officer, a partnership role with Police Scotland, who provides advice and guidance to students and staff. Furthermore, the college is a member of a number of local and national partnerships including Fearless Glasgow which supports us to develop and improve our practices.

“The college will introduce Report and Support in early September this year. Report and Support is an additional way in which students and staff of the College can report an incident experienced or witnessed in relation to, for example, hate crime and GBV.

“The aim is to enable all students and staff to access support. Report and Support will complement already existing reporting routes in the college such as through our Safeguarding process. By having Report and Support, the college is also in an improved position of identifying trends or patterns of unacceptable and unwanted behaviours and as such, can then be proactively addressed and tackled.

“The college takes all concerns and complaints regarding gender-based violence very seriously and would encourage all its students and staff, if safe, able and ready, to share information with us to ensure they are fully supported.”

Everyone’s Invited — created by Soma Sara in June 2020 — is a safe place for survivors to share their stories completely anonymously.

Visit www.everyonesinvited.uk for more information.

Call Break The Silence on 01563 559558 or visit www.breakthesilence.org.uk

 

Source: Daily Record, August 2021

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