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Harmful Sexual Behaviour 

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.