Everyone's Invited: Police urge students to contact them over sex assault allegations at Edinburgh University

Police Scotland have urged survivors of sexual abuse to get in contact after accounts of alleged attacks linked to the University of Edinburgh appeared online.

Hundreds of online accounts, such as on Instagram page @edi_anonymous, have shone a light on sexual abuse across the University of Edinburgh (Photo: TSPL and edi_anonymous).

More than 100 reported incidents have been described on Edinburgh Anonymous Instagram account while there are 13 linked to the university on the Everyone’s Invited website.

One post alleged five friends had "been raped by this one boy in Pollock Halls".

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In another account, the writer tells how she was raped by a fellow student in her first term of University at the same halls.

She went on to say she did not tell anyone as she feared she would be named an “attention seeker.”

The University of Edinburgh described the allegations as "distressing” and “disturbing” and said it was taking action.

A spokesperson said: “We recognise that sexual violence is a problem in society and the University has a duty to help address the problem.

"We are committed to addressing the issue of sexual violence on campus and have invested significantly in awareness raising, delivering training for students and staff and ensuring there is effective professional support available for any student who needs it.

“We take all complaints about any students or staff members seriously, and deal with any incidents that are brought to our attention in a sensitive manner.

"We encourage students to use our official reporting channels so that we are then able to fully investigate any incidents and provide those affected with the help and support they need.”

The @edi_anonymous account set up on Instagram last summer by an Edinburgh student has received 101 accounts from students, detailing allegations from sexual harassment to rape.

One reads: “We are assaulted, blamed and then left to put ourselves back together.”

Another: “I felt horrible after it but didn’t say anything.”

Only one of the 101 accounts mentions going to the police and only one details reporting to the university, the page owner who wishes to remain anonymous said.

Police Scotland has not set up an Edinburgh-specific campaign around the website testimonies, however urged anyone who has gone through sexual assault to contact them or a partner agency.

Recently, Police Scotland launched a 'Get Consent' campaign which hopes to tackle issues surrounding sexual consent across Scotland.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Tackling sexual crime is a priority and we will always treat reports of sexual offences with the utmost sensitivity and professionalism and investigate them thoroughly.

“We work closely in partnership with a number of groups, both within and outside universities, including support organisations, to make sure students and others are aware of how to report anything of this nature.

“If anyone feels unable to contact Police Scotland direct, they can make an anonymous call to the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

"Help is also available through other organisations such as Rape Crisis Scotland which can be contacted on 08088-01-03-02.”

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