ITV has produced what they are calling a shocking documentary on the scale of sexual abuse in UK boarding schools.

The investigation was carried out by journalist and author Alex Renton, who was himself sexually abused as an eight-year-old by his teacher at a top boarding school in England.

The documentary questions why there is still no legislation in place to make reporting abuse within settings like schools, compulsory and effectively calls for this duty to be implemented. The duty is backed by the NSPCC, the Independent Association of Prep Schools and the Independent Schools Council told Exposure, who support mandatory reporting for boarding schools. A duty to report is also supported fully by Researching Reform.

ITV Exposure made a Freedom Of Information request to every police force in the UK, which revealed some very disturbing information:

  • Since 2012, 425 people have been accused of carrying out sexual attacks at UK boarding schools
  • Not every force could provide further details but at least 160 people have been charged so far.
  • At least 171 of the total number were accused of historical abuse.
  • Since 2012 at least 125 people have been accused by children of recent sex attacks at boarding schools.
  • There are at least 31 ongoing investigations.
  • Just over half of the forces responded, meaning the total figure is likely to be far higher.

The documentary, entitled, “Boarding Schools: The Secret Shame – Exposure” airs tonight at 10.45pm on ITV. It will also be shown at 11.05pm on STV, 11.15pm on ITV Wales, and 11.45pm on UTV.

If you have any information you would like to share, you can contact Alex Renton and the Exposure team in confidence at

For anyone interested in mandatory reporting, our piece for Lexis Nexis offers a quick overview. 

We also have quite a few posts on the topic, covering consultations, countries which have implemented a duty to report and survivors’ views on the issue. 

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