When referring to sexual harassment we mean ‘unwanted conduct of a sexual nature’ that can occur online and offline. When we reference sexual harassment, we do so in the context of child on child sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is likely to: violate a child’s dignity, and/or make them feel intimidated, degraded or humiliated and/or create a hostile, offensive or sexualised environment.
Whilst not intended to be an exhaustive list, sexual harassment can include:
- sexual comments, such as: telling sexual stories, making lewd comments, making sexual remarks about clothes and appearance and calling someone sexualised names;
- Sexual “jokes” or taunting;
- Physical behaviour, such as: deliberately brushing against someone, interfering with someone’s clothes
- Online sexual harassment. This may be standalone, or part of a wider pattern of sexual harassment and/or sexual violence. It may include:
- Non-consensual sharing of sexual images and videos;
- Sexualised online bullying;
- Unwanted sexual comments and messages, including, on social media; and o Sexual exploitation; coercion and threats
Harmful Sexualised Behaviour
Children’s sexual behaviour exists on a wide continuum, ranging from normal and developmentally expected to inappropriate, problematic, abusive and violent. Problematic, abusive and violent sexual behaviour is developmentally inappropriate and may cause developmental damage. A useful umbrella term is “harmful sexual behaviour” (HSB). The term has been widely adopted in child protection. HSB can occur online and/or face-to-face and can also occur simultaneously between the two. HSB should be considered in a child protection context.
When considering HSB, both ages and the stages of development of the children are critical factors. Sexual behaviour between children can be considered harmful if one of the children is much older, particularly if there is more than two years’ difference or if one of the children is pre-pubescent and the other is not. However, a younger child can abuse an older child, particularly if they have power over them, for example, if the older child is disabled or smaller in stature. Confidential specialist support and advice on HSB is available from the specialist sexual violence sector. All of our staff have a good understanding of HSB.
HSB can, in some cases, progress on a continuum. Addressing inappropriate behaviour can be an important intervention that helps prevent problematic, abusive and/or violent behaviour in the future. Children displaying HSB have often experienced their own abuse and trauma. It is important that they are also offered appropriate support.
This is when someone sends or receives a sexually explicit text, image or video or use of live stream. This includes sending ‘nude pics’, ‘rude pics’ or ‘nude selfies’. This can be via Peer on Peer or other adults. It is illegal to possess, take or distribute sexual images of someone who is under 18, even if the young person under the age of 18 has taken the image themselves and passed it on themselves.
Our school takes a zero-tolerance approach if children are found to be sending sexual images of themselves or others whether intentionally or maliciously in our school. Our school has a duty of care to inform the Police and Children’s Social Care if such a case occurs. We will also notify parents directly if their children are involved. In addition to supporting our children with being safe in a digital world and highlighting the dangers, we refer to the guidance on ‘Sharing Nudes and Semi Nudes’ from the UK Council for Internet Safety (Dec 2020) and understand how to handle such incidents if they arise in our school: https://ineqe.com/wp–content/uploads/2021/01/UKCIS_sharing_nudes_and_semi_nudes_advice_for_education_settings_V2.pdf
Our school staff follow school procedures in reporting such concerns and promote E-Safety and dangers of Sharing Nudes, Sexting, Grooming and CSE through lessons, PSHE and assemblies. Our pupils are taught how to keep safe on and offline and E-Safety is promoted throughout the school and home environment. Where appropriate, our school has also discussed local and national cases where grooming of young children has taken place, such as the Kayleigh Haywood Story/Brecks Game to highlight the dangers.
Our e-safety policy is highlighted to staff, pupils and parents and is available on our school’s website including our acceptable usage policy and our staff have undergone relevant online safety at induction and regularly throughout the year.
Up-skirting is the act of taking a photograph of underneath a person’s skirt without their consent. It’s often performed in a public place; public transport or on an escalator, with crowds of people making it harder to spot people taking these photos. It could also happen on the way to and from school and within a school. Being victim to such an incident can cause emotional distress for the young child or young person involved. All staff take these types of incidents seriously and our staff are aware of the law against ‘Up skirting’ which came into force on April 12, 2019, in England and Wales. If our staff are made aware of such incidents, the schools will follow its safeguarding procedures in addition to seeking advice from the Police.
abuse in intimate personal relationships between children (sometimes known as ‘teenage relationship abuse’) • sexual violence such as rape, assault by penetration and sexual assault; (this may include an online element which facilitates, threatens and/or encourages sexual violence) • causing someone to engage in sexual activity without consent, such as forcing someone to strip, touch themselves sexually, or to engage in sexual activity with a third party • initiation/hazing type violence and rituals (this could include activities involving harassment, abuse or humiliation used as a way of initiating a person into a group and may also include an online element).