Harmful sexual behaviour

What is harmful sexual behaviour?

Harmful sexual behaviour includes:

·         using sexually explicit words and phrases

·         inappropriate touching

·         using sexual violence or threats

·         full penetrative sex with other children or adults.

Children and young people who develop harmful sexual behaviour harm themselves and others.

 Sexual behaviour between children is also considered harmful if one of the children is much older – particularly if there is more than two years’ difference in age or if one of the children is pre-pubescent and the other isn’t (Davies, 2012).

However, a younger child can abuse an older child, particularly if they have power over them – for example, if the older child is disabled (Rich, 2011).

If you’re not sure whether a sexual behaviour is harmful find out about the signs, symptoms and effects of harmful sexual behaviour here; https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/child-abuse-and-neglect/harmful-sexual-behaviour/what-is/

 Harmful sexual behaviour framework

The NSPCC with Research in Practice has published an operational framework to help local areas respond to children and young people displaying harmful sexual behaviour. This aims to deliver clear policies and procedures and refresh local practice guidelines and assessment tools, and its production has involved a large number of national organisations and subject experts.

What to do if you are worried about a child. To discuss concerns or make a referral: