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Freedom from Abuse – Be the child

Thursday 7 October 2021
10:00 - 12:45


This year, the issue of sexual violence and harassment in schools and other settings has come to the forefront of public attention with the creation of “Everyone’s Invited” and Ofsted’s rapid review finding that the prevalence of harmful sexual behaviours between children is much, much higher than most adults have realised. But this issue is not a new one. In 2016, The Women and Equalities Committee said that the Government and schools must make tackling sexual harassment and sexual violence an immediate policy priority. It said that there was overwhelming evidence that schools needed – and wanted – clear national guidance and that a whole school approach involving all members of the school community (including parents) was most effective. The Committee said that independent schools must be subject to the requirement to prevent and address sexual harassment and sexual violence, and recognised that harmful notions of masculinity and widespread access to pornography posed significant problems for young people.

So why is it that some 5 years later young people are complaining of toxic sexual behaviour in their schools?

Why is it so important that we get this right now, as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, and what should be done?

Freedom from Abuse in conjunction with Leigh Day presents a conference on the legacy of child abuse and trauma, with particular focus on what schools can do to be safer environments for children.


10:00 am

Alison Millar welcome note and the importance of conference discussion.

10:05 am

James Wilding (Keynote speaker) a Senior Practitioners view on how schools should investigate peer on peer sexual violence

10:35 am

Dr Vincent Felitti speaks to ACEs and trauma through abuse

10:55 am

Prof Bernard Gallagher speaks to child maltreatment and child protection during Covid-19.

11:10 am

Dr Stephen Burrell Engaging men and boys in the primary prevention of violence and abuse.

11:30 am

Emily Konstantinus discusses government guidance regarding peer-on-peer interactions

11:50 am

Jean Rochford shares lived experience of peer-on-peer abuse by her brothers

12:00 pm

Rachel Fairhurst speaks to trauma and recovery after abuse.

12:20 pm

Marilyn Hawes provides a brief story and the importance of implementing peer-on-peer sexual violence and harassment guidance.

12:30 pm

Q&A segment

12:45 pm

Marilyn Hawes - closing remarks


Marilyn Hawes - Founder of Freedom from Abuse
Marilyn’s three sons were sexually abused by her friend who was her boss and their head teacher. She campaigns for better outcomes and real prevention of child abuse.

Alison Millar - Leigh Day Partner
Alison Millar is a Partner and Head of the Abuse Claims team at Leigh Day solicitors, specialising in civil cases for abuse and neglect of children and vulnerable adults. She has given evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) and is a regular commentator in the media and on social media on child protection issues.

Dr Stephen Burrell – Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, Department of Sociology, Durham University
Stephen is based in Durham University’s Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse. His research focuses on men, masculinities and violence, and in particular, how to engage men and boys in preventing violence against women, shifting harmful masculine norms, and building gender equality.

Dr. Bernard Gallagher, Independent researcher – victimisation studies
Dr. Gallagher has spent approximately 35 years researching child maltreatment and other forms of victimisation, including domestic abuse. He has worked at the universities of Cambridge, East Anglia, Manchester and Huddersfield, and now works as an independent researcher. 

Jean Rochford
My name is Jean, I was sexually abused as a child by my eldest brothers. The impact left me searching for answers for many years. Finally at age 70 I feel I have broken through most of the chains which held me back. More effective prevention is vital in the early years to stop the legacy of abuse.

Dr Vincent Felitti
The ACE Study is an outgrowth of our counterintuitive findings in operating a major obesity program where we discovered a high prevalence of childhood sexual abuse, and then nine other ACEs underlying major weight gain.  The next 20 years study ACEs determined emotional state, occupational performance, biomedical disease, and life expectancy. 

Emily Konstantinus (CEO of The Safeguarding Alliance)
Emily is founder of The Safeguarding Alliance, an expert school improvement partner, and experienced change manager in the preparation for ISI, Ofsted and BSO inspections. An experienced trainer working both in the United Kingdom, Europe, United States, and MENA and ASEAN regions.

James Wilding - Academic Principal & Head of Senior Boys
James Wilding is the Academic Principal and chair of the inspection committee ISA. Headteacher since 1981, James owns and leads the school with his brother, Hugh, in which they commenced their education back in 1960. James has been an Executive councillor and trustee of the Independent Schools Association since 1990, for whom he currently serves as the chair of their inspections committee.

Rachel Fairhurst - CEO of Integrated Trauma solutions & Associate of Freedom from Abuse
Rachel Fairhurst, Complex trauma and PTSD specialist, inspiring recovery and bringing trauma focused education to the fore of services.


Alison Millar
Abuse claims Human rights

Alison Millar

Alison Millar works in the human rights department at Leigh Day, where she is the head of abuse claims