Do schools have to report and file criminal complaints in cases of sexual abuse?
All school employees must inform the school board immediately if they believe a sexual offence has been committed. For example, if a school employee sexually abuses or harasses an under-age pupil. These are criminal offences. The school board must report any allegations of such offences to the Inspectorate of Education’s confidential inspector, who will provide advice and information. If necessary, the confidential inspector will offer assistance if the school board is going to submit a formal complaint or file a criminal complaint.
Duty to report a sexual offence committed at school
If employees suspect sexual abuse or sexual harassment, they must inform the school board immediately. Informing an intermediary, like a member of the school management team, is not enough. If an employee fails to inform the school board of their suspicions, the school board may take severe measures against this employee. Victims and their parents can also submit a compensation claim against the employee.
Duty to report sexual abuse applies to all school employees
The duty to report applies to all school employees. and to confidential advisers who receive information about possible sexual abuse or sexual harassment in the context of their job. In such cases employees are not allowed to maintain confidentiality.
Consulting with the confidential inspector about sexual offences at school
If the school board receives a report of a possible sexual offence, they must immediately consult with the Inspectorate of Education’s confidential inspector. The inspector will then determine whether there is a reasonable suspicion that a criminal offence has occurred.
School board must report sexual offences
If, after consulting with the confidential inspector, there are grounds for suspecting a sexual offence has been committed, the school board is required to file a criminal complaint of abuse with the police, even if there are doubts. The school board must also notify the people involved about the criminal complaint.
Confidential inspectors not required to file criminal complaint
Confidential inspectors are not required to report sexual abuse or sexual harassment to the police. They are legally bound to keep confidential anything that pupils, parents or staff members of a school tell them in confidence. It is the school board that is required to file the criminal complaint.