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Sexualised Behaviour

Page last updated: 09/10/2018

​​Harmful sexual behaviour describes when children or young people engage in sexual discussions or acts that are inappropriate for their age or development. Many will naturally grow out of these behaviours so, whilst it is important they are not unnecessarily stigmatised, their actions should also not be ignored. In cases of a small number of children and young people who commit sexual offences, there is evidence that shows early opportunities to recognise and address their behaviours were missed. 

NICE has published new guidance to enable practitioners help children and young people who display harmful sexual behaviour: Harmful Sexual Behaviour Among Children and Young People (NICE, 2016).

The Brook Advisory Service Sexual Behaviours Traffic Light Tool supports professionals working with children and young people by helping them to identify and respond appropriately to sexual behaviours. 

The NSPCC has information on harmful sexual behaviour in children.

The UKCCIS has produced non-statutory guidance for schools to support for them with incident of sexting. This advice is non-statutory and should be read alongside Keeping Children Safe in Education (DfE, 2016) and Searching, Screening and Confiscation - advice for schools (DfE, 2014): Sexting in schools and colleges: Responding to incidents and safeguarding young people (UKCCIS, 2016)​

This advice, Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Between Children in Schools (DfE, 2018)​, sets out what sexual violence and sexual harassment is, how to minimise the risk of it occuring and what to do when it does occur, or is alleged to have occured.