Peer on Peer Abuse and Harmful Sexual Behaviour East Sussex Schools Conference , January 2018 Anna Holland –Consultant Social Worker, NSPCC
What is today about? Keeping Children Safe in education – What is harmful sexual behaviour/peer on peer abuse? What do we know about why it happens? What might schools be dealing with? What can school leaders and school staff do to help?
What is Harmful Sexual Behaviour? Unlike adults, children and adolescents are still developing. Both their life circumstances and their development of self can be subject to change. So how do we know where the line is and what to do about it? Hackett, 2014 refers to Harmful Sexual Behaviours as: “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” Harmful Sexual Behaviour includes: Contact and non-contact behaviours Online and offline behaviours (including technology-assisted behaviours) Group, Gang and/or peer-influenced behaviours
What are we being told ? NSPCC (2018) “Is this sexual abuse?”: NSPCC helplines report about peer sexual abuse. London: NSPCC. “My daughter’s friend came to play at our house. I went upstairs and walked into the bedroom to see my daughter pulling her knickers down and her friend sat with her mobile phone about to take a photo.”Parent
What are we being told ? NSPCC (2018) “Is this sexual abuse?”: NSPCC helplines report about peer sexual abuse. London: NSPCC. “Me and my boyfriend are both 14 and he came over earlier because we had talked about having sex for the first time. Although I had said yes before, I told him I didn’t want to do it. If two people were going to “do it” but one of them decides they don’t want to and lets the other person know, but the other person goes through with it and does it anyway, is that classed as rape?” Boy, aged 14
What is the scale of the issue? We know that a third of sexual abuse against children is perpetrated by other children/young people (Hackett, S 2014) . Key findings from the NSPCC: Many adults contacting our helpline for advice about children’s sexualised behaviour are unclear about which behaviours are part of ‘normal’ sexual development, and what is harmful and/or abusive. Parents and professionals don’t always know the most appropriate way to respond to children who display harmful sexual behaviour and/or who have experienced peer sexual abuse. NSPCC (2018) “Is this sexual abuse?”: NSPCC helplines report about peer sexual abuse. London: NSPCC. The NSPCC published a report of analysis of calls to their adult helpline and Childline about peer sexual abuse (NSPCC,2018)
What are young people telling us? Young people can be confused about whether or not they have experienced peer sexual abuse. Reasons for this include: • they are confused about what constitutes ‘normal’ sexual activity; • they don’t know whether they gave consent; • they were drunk when the abuse took place; • the abuse was carried out by a friend or partner; • the abuse took place online; and/or • they blame themselves for what happened. Young people are often reluctant to tell anybody about peer sexual abuse. They may: • worry that they won’t be taken seriously; • fear they will be blamed or bullied about what happened; • be frightened of what the other young person will do to them if they speak out; and/or • not think that what happened was serious enough to report. NSPCC (2018) “Is this sexual abuse?”: NSPCC helplines report about peer sexual abuse. London: NSPCC.
Why Schools? After the home, school is the second most common location for incidents of problematic or harmful sexual behaviour to take place (Hackett , 2016) This means that schools will often be dealing with these safeguarding issues within their day to day work. There are recent cases where compensation has been granted due to sexual assaults which have occurred on school grounds. (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-46263401) There should be a policy in place in your schools to address and deal with this.
Continuum of behaviours Sexual behaviours can sit on a continuum ranging from healthy , to problematic, to harmful. It’s important to understand what healthy looks like so that we can avoid over-reaction or unnecessary anxiety, but also so we can be clear on which issues we need to understand more/take action on .
Brook Sexual Behaviours Traffic Light Tool Green behaviours reflect safe and healthy sexual development. They are: Displayed between children or young people of similar age or developmental ability Reflective of natural curiosity, experimentation, consensual activities and positive choices Amber behaviours have the potential to be outside of safe and healthy development. They may be: Unusual for that particular child or young person Of potential concern due to age or developmental differences Of potential concern due to activity type, frequency, duration or the context in which they occur Amber behaviours signal the need to take notice and gather information to consider appropriate action Red behaviours are outside of safe and healthy behaviour. They may be: Excessive, secretive, compulsive, coercive, degrading or threatening Involving significant age, developmental or power differences Of concern due to the activity type, frequency, duration or the context in which they occur Red behaviours indicate a need for immediate intervention and action, though it is important to consider actions carefully
What does this mean for schools? Recognise: Identify Behaviour that is worrying and/or harmful. Respond: Responses to incidents of harmful sexual behaviour should be sensitive and timely in order to safeguard both the victim of the harmful sexual behaviour and the young person who has displayed it. School staff need to be clear with young people about next steps and what these will be (eg. Informing parents/carers, further investigation by school, Local Authority and potentially police) . Record: In a detailed and sensitive way, think about: • Distress caused • Type of behaviour and degree of intrusion • Power differences between victim and perpetrator • Any coercion • Number of times the behaviour has taken place • Where the behaviour took place • Was there consent and was it valid? Make sure language used is clear and specific.
What does this mean for schools? Report: Reporting incidents will contribute to a chronology which can be drawn upon at a later time to reflect how long the behaviours have been happening and the degree in which school have been managing and containing the concerns. Risk Manage: It could be very easy to view all behaviour through a lens of risk. It is important to consider each behaviour in the context of what is normal behaviour developmentally. It is also important to not lose sight of the vulnerability and needs of the young person displaying the harmful sexual behaviour . It is important that any risk management / supervision around the young person does not restrict their opportunity to integrate amongst their peer group. If the young person is feeling isolated and side-lined in any way this may provoke further problematic behaviours. There are several tools and risk assessments available (eg. AIM/RAMP/University of Bedfordshire)
What’s out there to Help Schools? The AIM Project: understanding and managing problematic and harmful sexual behaviours in education settings: a guide for education staff in schools and colleges. 3rd edn. Stockport: The AIM Project. pp 163 (Carson, Carol (2017) ) DfE (2018) Sexual Violence and Sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges DfE (2018) Keeping Children Safe in Education , Statutory Guidance Sexting in Schools and Colleges; Responding to Incidents and Safeguarding young people (UKCCIS) NICE Guidelines (2016) Harmful Sexual Behaviour amongst children and young people NSPCC :Harmful Sexual Behaviour Framework NSPCC e-learning for schools – Managing Sexualised Behaviour in schools Brook Sexual Behaviours Traffic Light Tool East Sussex Protocol for Schools Thinkuknow- Education Resource for professionals and young people - CEOP
NSPCC Resources : NCATS and Turn The Page NSPCC deliver services in various locations across the UK: Turn The Page Service runs from 8 Service Centres in the UK . Nationally NCATS (National Clinical Assessment and Treatment Service) is set up to provide assessment and treatment services to children and young people who have displayed harmful sexual behaviour. They can also offer consultation and further training to a range of professionals. Find out more at NSPCC.org.uk/services-and-resources/
NSPCC Resources : Speak out. Stay safe. • Child-friendly, interactive assemblies and workshops for 5-11 year olds. • Helping children to: • understand abuse in all its forms and recognise the signs • know how to protect themselves • know how to get help, and sources of help available, including Childline. Find out more, and request a visit at NSPCC.org.uk/speakout
NSPCC Resources: Lesson resources and guides • Lesson plans and activities including: • Talk PANTS: Helping you to keep primary aged children safe from sexual abuse • Share Aware: Teaching materials to help KS2 pupils stay safe online. • Making sense of relationships: PSHE lesson plans for KS2-4 on personal safety and healthy relationships. • Available for free from • NSPCC.org.uk/schools
NSPCC Resources :Online and face-to-face training • Online: • Child protection in schools • Keeping children safe online • Safer recruitment in education • Managing sexualised behaviour in schools • Face-to-face: • Introduction to child protection • Designated and lead officer course • Safer recruitment in education • Find out more at NSPCC.org.uk/schools
NSPCC Resources: Consultancy • Tailored package for all schools can include: • Policy review and health check • Safeguarding audit • Review of procedures and processes • Curriculum mapping • Signposting to resources and services • Bespoke packages for: • Multi Academy Trusts • Independent schools • Special schools • Free schools • Visit NSPCC.org.uk/schools
Further Reading and Resources • Carson, Carol (2017) The AIM Project: understanding and managing problematic and harmful sexual behaviours in education settings: a guide for education staff in schools and colleges. 3rd edn. Stockport: The AIM Project. pp 163 • The profile of children and young people accessing an NSPCC service for Harmful Sexual Behaviour https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/research-resources/2017/profile-children-young-people-accessing-service-for-harmful-sexual-behaviour/ • Children and young people who engage in TA-HSB https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/research-resources/2017/children-young-people-technology-assisted-harmful-sexual-behaviour/ • Is this Sexual Abuse? , NSPCC 2018 https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/research-resources/2018/is-this-sexual-abuse/ • NSPCC Harmful Sexual Behaviour Framework https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/research-resources/2016/harmful-sexual-behaviour-framework/ • NSPCC E- Learning : Managing Sexualised Behaviour in Schools: https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/training/schools/managing-sexualised-behaviour-in-schools-online-courses/ • DfE (2018) Sexual Violence and Sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/719902/Sexual_violence_and_sexual_harassment_between_children_in_schools_and_colleges.pdf • DfE (2018) Keeping Children Safe in Education , Statutory Guidance https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/741314/Keeping_Children_Safe_in_Education__3_September_2018_14.09.18.pdf • NICE Guidelines (2016) Harmful Sexual Behaviour amongst children and young people https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng55/resources/harmful-sexual-behaviour-among-children-and-young-people-pdf-1837514975173 • Sexting in Schools and Colleges; Responding to Incidents and Safeguarding young people (UKCCIS) https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/609874/6_2939_SP_NCA_Sexting_In_Schools_FINAL_Update_Jan17.pdf • Brook Sexual Behaviours Traffic Light Tool: https://www.brook.org.uk/our-work/category/sexual-behaviours-traffic-light-tool • Thinkuknowhttps://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/14_plus/ • Stop it Now – Helpline and Resources (Part of the Lucy Faithful Foundation ) https://www.stopitnow.org.uk/