30 schools in Edinburgh and Lothians named in Everyone's Invited sexual assault testimonies

Two Edinburgh primary schools are among those with highly concerning allegations of sexual harassment and abuse levelled against them.

By Shona Elliott
Monday, 12th July 2021, 4:55 am
Updated Monday, 12th July 2021, 4:44 pm

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Thirty Lothian schools have been named on the Everyone’s Invited website, which encourages survivors of sexual assault and harassment to post anonymous testimonies online.

Youngsters from across the UK have written personal accounts of “rape culture”, identifying the school or university the alleged perpetrators attended.

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Dozens of schools have been named on the website

Over 4,000 testimonies have been heard, including accounts from girls aged as young as nine.

The whistleblowing campaign has now released the list of all the schools named among the allegations of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment.

Twenty-three Edinburgh schools have been named in total, including ten state-run secondary schools and 11 independent schools.

Two state-run primary schools in the city have also been named.

Edinburgh City Council said they fully recognise the scale and harmful impact of sexual harassment in schools.

A council spokesperson said: "Recent events and testimonies have shone a light on the persistent issue of sexual harassment and gender-based violence in our society.

“We fully recognise the scale and harmful impact of these issues, experienced mainly by women and girls.

“We are committed to opposing and tackling sexual harassment and gender-based violence in all its forms: it is never acceptable, never excusable and never tolerable."

“We believe, and our head teachers agree, that our schools have a vital role to play in tackling gender-based violence and wider gender inequality. “

Allegations against Midlothian, East Lothian and West Lothian schools have also been levelled

Testimonies were not constricted to the Capital, three schools in both East Lothian and West Lothian were named, alongside one school in Midlothian.

Midlothian Council said they were unaware of Lasswade High School’s inclusion on the list but has assured pupils that action will be taken.

“We are aware of the website, however we were not aware of Lasswade High School’s inclusion within this.” said a council spokesperson.

“We would like to offer reassurance to all pupils, parents, carers and the wider community that any allegation of harassment and/or sexual abuse is always taken seriously and reported immediately to the relevant agencies for further investigation and action.”

East Lothian Council did not comment on specific incidents, but said any allegations would be treated with "the utmost seriousness”.

Eleven independent schools in Edinburgh have been named

Two of Erskine Stewart's Melville Schools (ESMS) are among the 11-independently run Edinburgh schools named on the list.

Principal of ESMS Linda Moule said: “We have a duty to protect our pupils and to be a source of support for them.

“That is why we take any allegations of sexual abuse or harassment very seriously and will always act immediately on any allegations we receive."

A spokesperson from Edinburgh Steiner School, who also appeared on this list, said survivors of sexual harassment and assault: “will always be supported”.

Fettes College was also included and a spokesperson said: “Safeguarding is central to all that we do and is integral to the ethos of the school. We take any allegation of this nature extremely seriously.”

Each independent school named on the list was contacted for comment, however, only three responded to this request.

“Some schools refuse to take any action”

Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre (ERCC), which works with high schools across Lothian, has slammed education leaders for refusing to take steps to ensure young survivors' safety.

CEO at ERCC, Mridul Wadhwa said some schools are creating an unsafe and distressing environment for pupils.

“There is a lack of consistency between schools in responding to survivors and in making adjustments for them when they share space with perpetrators.” said Ms Wadhwa.

“Some schools have been very proactive and will make a huge effort to try and keep survivors feeling safe in this scenario, and others refuse to take any action or steps. Therefore creating an unsafe and distressing environment for young survivors.

“This makes it difficult for us to encourage young people to disclose to their school as we don’t know how they will be treated if they do so.”

ERCC has recommended schools introduce specific educational guidance about responsibilities towards survivors and perpetrators in schools to address this issue.

Rape Crisis Scotland (RCS) agreed and said the testimonies have provided Lothian schools with a: “real opportunity to take action and proactively creating a culture where these incidents and attitudes are not tolerated.”

The charity’s sexual violence prevention coordinator Kathryn Dawson went on to say that: “Schools don’t need to go about this alone.

“We will soon be launching a whole school approach to support and guide them through the steps they can take to ensure young people are equally safe.”

The full list of schools can be found HERE.

Support for survivors of sexual abuse can be found HERE.

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