HEREFORDSHIRE schoolchildren who are sexually assaulted by their peers are at risk of being put back into the same school as their attackers.

At least two county students, who cannot be named for legal reasons, have been affected and parents fear many more may be at risk.

One girl had to put up with repeated attacks before leaving the school due to inaction from teachers.

She complained to school leaders, but she says nobody cared enough to do anything about it.

“Once, after a more serious incident took place in which the perpetrator put his hand up my skirt, the police were brought in,” she said.

“He was put onto a short educational course run by the police and while he was doing that, he didnʼt come near me.”

However, after her attacker finished the course the assaults and harassment continued.

“There was then an incident outside of school after which the police got involved again,” she added.

“My attacker was charged with sexual assault and has since pleaded guilty.

“However, at school nothing changed. He walked around the school and walked home like normal.

“It made me angry seeing him every single day.”

This is the second case of peer on peer abuse the Hereford Times has been made aware of in the county and parents are calling for Herefordshire Council to urgently address the problem.

They want the council to review all cases over the last three years to ensure that no other child is at risk of facing the same trauma.

“A review of all historic cases of sexual assault by school peers is needed to ensure that every victim has been properly safeguarded and is now safe,” one parent who cannot be named said.

“Ofsted has rated the leadership and management of Children’s Services as inadequate.

“We understand why.

“There has been a long track record in Herefordshire of failure to safeguard child victims or sexual assault by a school peer, but worse still, it is clear that senior officers have not learnt lessons from failures.

“Children have been seriously harmed. The decision not to share information with councillors, schools and the Safeguarding Hub looks like a deliberate attempt to bury failure.

“An independent investigation into senior officers’ handling of this issue over the last three years is now needed.”

Not a single councillor was made aware of either of these cases until they were contacted directly over fears that lessons had not yet been learned – many are still completely in the dark.

Recent leaked emails from the county council’s children and families director Chris Baird show that if a student is accused of sexually assaulting a fellow classmate while outside of school they will not necessarily be separated.

“Unless the alleged perpetrator has been given a permanent exclusion or a ‘managed move’ to another school, then the victim will be in school with the alleged perpetrator,” he said.

“Schools do not generally issue fixed or permanent exclusions for incidents that happen off the school premises; an awareness of serious incidents occurring are referred to the police.”

A Herefordshire Council spokesperson said: “Herefordshire Council works with schools and colleges to safeguard and promote the welfare of the children at their school/college, and promotes the use of the Department for Education statutory guidance.

“Schools and colleges make decisions on a case-by-case basis, following the statutory guidance, using their professional judgement and being supported by other agencies, such as children’s social care and the police.

“The council undertakes reviews of reported safeguarding concerns, taking into account the complexity of cases such as these.”