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Harmful Sexual Behaviour

What is harmful sexual behaviour?

Harmful sexual behaviour (HSB) is developmentally inappropriate sexual behaviour which is displayed by children and young people and which may be harmful or abusive (derived from Hackett, 2014). It may also be referred to as sexually harmful behaviour or sexualised behaviour.

HSB encompasses a range of behaviour, which can be displayed towards younger children, peers, older children or adults. It is harmful to the children and young people who display it, as well as the people it is directed towards.

Technology assisted HSB

Technology assisted HSB (TA-HSB) is sexualised behaviour which children or young people engage in using the internet or technology such as mobile phones. This might include:

  • viewing pornography (including extreme pornography or viewing indecent images of children)
  • sexting

(Hollis and Belton, 2017)

NSPCC Learning

Child sexual abuse is an important public health issue, and parents, carers and families have a vital role to play in keeping children safe.

Children and young people are most likely to be at risk of sexual abuse within their family and community. But not all sexual abuse is carried out by adults.

It is hard for us to think about children and young people sexually abusing other children and young people, and it isn’t always easy to tell the difference between abusive and normal sexual behaviours in children.

Children, particularly in younger age groups, might engage in such behaviour without knowing that it is wrong or abusive. That’s why it can be more helpful to talk about harmful sexual behaviour rather than abuse.

Source: https://www.stopitnow.org.uk/

Further information

Understanding Sexual Behaviour in Children | NSPCC

Stop It Now! UK and Ireland

Review of Sexual Abuse in Schools and Colleges - GOV.UK

Brook – Healthy Lives for Young People

Talking to Your Child About Online Sexual Harassment - Children's Commissioner

Moor End Academy is committed to supporting all those impacted by peer on peer sexual abuse and harmful sexual behaviours.

If you are concerned about a child displaying harmful sexual behaviours, please contact the Safeguarding Team on 01484 222230.