A boy forced himself on a girl at a NSW high school. He was allowed to continue attending


The Herald has spoken to more families facing similar experiences, including one boy who was allegedly abused by a classmate at a school for special purposes.

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The case involved one teen boy sending explicit images of himself to his victim, touching the victim’s genitals without consent on school grounds, and whipping him across his back while threatening to harm himself if the boy told anyone. That case is before the courts.

The boy is also accused of violating a personal protection order against her son, who is yet to be found a full-time place at a suitable alternative school.

The boy’s mother said she had been shocked to learn the alleged perpetrator already had a record of sexual offences but was still allowed to attend school after the alleged offences were known.

“[My son] wasn’t going to school [after the alleged abuse] because he was scared,” she said. “The principal told me that while there’s an investigation, the student was allowed to attend because he was as entitled to an education as my son.”

In the other case, the mother of the girl said a boy at her regional high school pushed her daughter against a wall outside a school building and forced his hand down her pants.

The Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research show 28 sexual offences by minors on school grounds were reported to police in 2022, and 37 in 2023.

The Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research show 28 sexual offences by minors on school grounds were reported to police in 2022, and 37 in 2023.Credit: Phil Carrick

She disclosed the incident to a teacher, who praised her as “amazing” in her response but then struggled to get any information about what they could do to get help for her trauma. The boy was allowed to continue attending the school, and the school developed a safety plan to try to stop the two meeting on the campus.

He was not suspended for the incident, although he had been for an earlier incident in which he physically assaulted a student.

The issue of balancing the rights of the perpetrator and victim is not just limited to the state system; there have been similar cases involving criminal charges at non-government schools, including at least one same-sex religious school.

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The NSW Department of Education does not keep centralised records about which students face criminal charges, have been convicted, or have apprehended violence orders taken out against them. But figures from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research show 28 sexual offences by minors on school grounds were reported to police in 2022 and 37 in 2023.

When the department was asked if the international evidence review, commissioned from a University of NSW academic, had been finalised, it did not answer.

When asked whether other responses, such as a promised legal bulletin on sexual offending in schools, a review of problematic and harmful sexualised behaviour guidelines, and a review of policies by an outside legal firm, had finished and if the Herald could see them, the department sent a statement from a spokesperson.

“We aim to have the best support in place for student victims and the review into the guidance we give to schools in dealing with such matters is ongoing,” it said. “These are complex issues that require careful consideration, and we are undertaking extensive internal and external consultation in order to get it right.

“Updated guidance for schools to manage complex matters such as sexual offending is due to be published later this year.”

Education Minister Prue Car said such allegations between students were “complex and sensitive matters for schools to respond to”.

“This is a serious issue that should be addressed carefully, and without undue delay,” she said.

“I have been advised that the guidance is currently in its final stages of consultation and look forward to sharing it with school leaders.”



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