Journalist, Alex Renton, spoke out in 2013 about horrific abuse he suffered as a child at an elite private school and has since been supporting other survivors of abuse.
He has particularly been a form of support for school abuse survivors via his book (Stiff Upper Lip from 2017) and his BBC 4 radio series “In Dark Corners” which gives platform to the realities many students have faced over the years.
Renton has also been approached by many of these survivors himself and he says he now has a database of more than 800 criminal allegations from former schoolchildren from 300, predominantly private, schools.
In a recent episode of the “Different” podcast, BBC presenter Nicky Campbell said that he too was a survivor of childhood abuse at boarding school. This led to Renton stating that he has “50 new emails containing criminal allegations that require serious attention”. However, it isn’t just the volume of allegations he has been sent that shocks him, but the continuance of the “vicious” lengths these schools will go to in order to avoid accountability for the sexual abuse that has historically happened behind their gates.
Recently, Renton revealed that he had to spend the morning responding to a school that had been named in a portion of “In Dark Corners” that were threatening legal action. “It’s hard not to conclude that for many schools, including the most eminent, reputation still comes before child safety and transparency” he said speaking on the matter.
He believes that many elite schools would rather protect their reputations through the means of legal action than to work to understand the failings which led to the historic abuse.
These schools have been known to first try to placate parents without admitting or acknowledging any form of responsibility; if a case was to go to court the school would tend to employ expensive lawyers in order to keep its name out of the official papers on the grounds of protecting the children. This seems extremely counterproductive as they can protect the student’s identity but refuse to address claims of having a predator within the staff.
The founder of Mandate Now, Tom Perry (who was also the first complaint in the Caldicott School child sexual abuse scandal), has been a long-time supporter and campaigner for those in a position of power within the school, healthcare and faith settings to have a statutory obligation to report any abuse, known or suspected. He states that “all we have- unlike other countries including France, America and Australia- is an expectation that a report ‘should’ be made”.
Some will dismiss these claims and say that things have changed over time and that everything is different now but Tom Perry and Alex Renton are among many campaigners who disagree and continue to call for an overhaul of the foundations of institutional safeguarding, which have remained unchanged since the 1950s. Perry describes the current laws in place as an “unwieldy patchwork of inconsistencies with hundreds of different rules in different places”.
Here at Farleys, we have a great deal of experience in supporting survivors of historic abuse in their search for financial redress. We handle cases with the confidence and sensitivity needed and use all of our expertise to fight for the compensation our clients deserve. For a no-obligation, confidential discussion with a specialist in abuse claims, please call our dedication phone line on 0330 134 6430, contact us by email, or chat to us through the online chat button below.