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Harmful Sexual Behaviour 

The Secretary of State has asked Ofsted to undertake a thematic review into sexual abuse across state and independent schools and colleges. Ofsted has recently published its Terms of Reference

The definition of harmful sexual behaviours used by Wiltshire Safeguarding Children's Board is:

Sexual behaviours expressed by children and young people under the age of 18 years old that are developmentally inappropriate, may be harmful towards self or others, or be abusive towards another child, young person or adult. (derived from Hackett, 2014).

The use of this broad definition may prompt a range of responses including preventative, early intervention and specialist responses.

it is important that all school and college staff have an understanding of what sexual violence and sexual harassment might look like and what to do if they have a concern or receive a report. 

Schools and colleges should be aware of the importance of:

• making clear that sexual violence and sexual harassment is not acceptable, will never be tolerated and is not an inevitable part of growing up;

• not tolerating or dismissing sexual violence or sexual harassment as “banter”, “part of growing up”, “just having a laugh” or “boys being boys”;

• challenging behaviour (potentially criminal in nature), such as grabbing bottoms, breasts and genitalia and flicking bras and lifting up skirts. Dismissing or tolerating such behaviours risks normalising them; and

• understanding that all of the above can be driven by wider societal factors beyond the school and college, such as everyday sexist stereotypes and everyday sexist language. This is why a whole school/college approach (especially preventative education) is important.

 

External links to guidance and resources

A dedicated NSPCC helpline is now available to support anyone who has experienced sexual abuse in educational settings or has concerns about someone or the issues raised.

Part 5 of Keeping Children Safe in Educatiion (KCSIE) provides schools and colleges with detailed guidance about child-on-child sexual violence and sexual harassment.

The dedicated Sexual-violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges guidance supports schools and colleges to understand what child-on-child sexual violence and sexual harassment looks like, how to prevent it, how to respond to reports of it, and how to support victims.

Working together to safeguard children is very clear on how schools and colleges should work with their local multi-agency children’s partnerships as a relevant agency and how any concerns about a child should be referred.

Recently published schools coronavirus (Covid-19) operational guidance clarified that schools may choose to focus this year’s RSHE teaching on the immediate needs of their pupils, such as being safe, and staying healthy.

In teaching the new RSHE curriculum, schools must have regard to the statutory guidance.

Wiltshire Harmful Sexual Behaviour Protocol (WSCB, 2018)

Sexual bullying resources for schools from the Anti-Bullying Alliance

Peer on Peer Abuse Toolkit. (Farrer & Co, 2017)

Harmful sexual behaviour among children and young people (NICE, 2016)

What is harmful sexual behaviour? (NSPCC.org) 

www.disrespectnobody.co.uk (2017) Home Office campaign with information for young people.

Brook Sexual Behaviours Traffic Light Tool. (Brook.org.uk) 

Contextual Safeguarding Network, University of Bedfordshire Beyond referrals

Wiltshire Safeguarding Vulnerable People Partnership training page, contextual safeguarding and sexualised behaviour dates available

Related pages on this site

Relationships and Sex Education

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

Anti-bullying practice

NSPCC School Service