Harmful Sexual Behaviour

Girl sitting and looking out of window

The Harmful Sexual Behaviour Support Service, run by SWGfL in partnership with the Marie Collins Foundation, is now available to safeguarding professionals across England and provides the tools to equip and empower practitioners to address the alarming normalisation of harmful sexual behaviour in children and young people.

The telephone and email support, which is funded by the Home Office and developed in collaboration with the Department for Education, is available Monday – Friday, 8am to 8pm.

Call: 0344 255 0623

Email: hsbs@swgfl.org.uk

How will it support you?

The Harmful Sexual Behaviour Support Service is for education and safeguarding professionals and will provide:

  1. Advice on individual cases or incidents of harmful sexual behaviour, to ensure an appropriate response both for children displaying this behaviour and others affected by it
  2. Guidance on policy development on tackling harmful sexual behaviour
  3. Relevant resources, best practice and contacts around harmful sexual behaviour, both locally and nationally

Why act now?

The service has been established in response to the 2021 Ofsted review, which revealed a prevalence of child-on-child sexual harassment and abuse so widespread that, for some children, incidents are ‘so commonplace that they see no point in reporting them’ and ‘consider them normal’.

What is Harmful Sexual Behaviour?

Developmentally inappropriate sexual behaviour which is displayed by children and young people (under the age of 18) and which may be harmful or abusive. It can be displayed towards younger children, peers, older children or adults. It can be harmful to the children and young people who display it, as well as those it is directed towards.

Child-on-Child (Peer-on-Peer) abuse toolkit

Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSLs) from Primary, Secondary and Further Education settings, together with Southampton Safeguarding Children Partnership (SSCP), Southampton County Council (SCC) representatives and Police Education staff, have created a Child-on-Child Abuse toolkit.