Police probe school sexual assault claim

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POLICE are investigating after a boy said he was sexually assaulted by another pupil at a Wigan school.

The incident is alleged to have taken place between Wednesday and Friday last week and was reported to police on Friday night after the victim returned home and told his parents.

The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told police he had been in a toilet at the school when another boy sexually assaulted him and tried to kiss him.

His shocked parents contacted the Wigan Evening Post in the hope of warning other parents that incidents like this do happen. “We are absolutely horrified when he came home and told us what had happened,” they said. “We called the police and the school straight away. We believe him because he went into so much detail about what happened and he told the police exactly what he had told us. The school has said they are looking into it and are keeping an eye on the person responsible but we want him to be expelled if he is found guilty and feel he should be suspended in the meantime. We know about this occasion but there could have been others. We don’t know if this has happened before.

“We just want to warn other parents that this can happen. We don’t want to cause unnecessary panic but we think it is important that people are aware.”

The incident happened just days before it was revealed by the BBC that 5,500 alleged sex crimes in UK schools were reported to police in the last three years.

Freedom of Information requests to all UK police forces revealed that nearly 4,000 alleged physical sexual assaults and more than 600 rapes were reported between 2012 and 2015, with at least a fifth described as “peer-on-peer” abuse.

Jon Brown, head of Sexual Abuse Programmes at the NSPCC, said: “These figures are very disturbing, especially as many victims are so young and the reported offences took place on school premises. Sadly, we are not surprised as previous NSPCC research has illustrated the scale of abuse committed by young people. We know that for some older children, accessing hardcore pornography is warping their view of what is acceptable behaviour. And the very young - those of primary school age or even younger - may be copying sexual activity they have witnessed.”

A council spokesman, on behalf of the school which we have decided not name to protect the identity of the victim, said: “All incidents regarding safeguarding are taken extremely seriously. We are unable to comment further while investigations are taking place.”