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Sexually Harmful Behaviour

Sign, symptoms and effects

Find out more about the signs, symptoms and effects of sexually harmful behaviour:

Good practice guidance

Child on child sexual abuse is an emerging issue of national awareness and concern.

Below is a short checklist of some of the critical factors that all agencies and practitioners must remember when dealing with sexualised behaviour cases:

  • All agencies’ assessments should be ‘integrated’ and ‘holistic’ when they have concerns about sexualised behaviour by a child, especially if they have a learning difficulty (as a common additional factor can be poor communication and language skills). Assessments must always attempt to establish the cause of the behaviour and if abuse or grooming is a factor.
  • Agencies (social care, education, police and health) should meet to share information and agree their assessments in such cases so that the quality of multi-agency assessment, planning and risk management is improved.
  • Children’s social care must ensure that health/education and the SARC (St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre) are included in strategy discussions and assessments for sexualised behaviour in children.
  • Remember to assess all potential victims as well as the alleged perpetrator. The SARC should be used for sexual abuse medical assessments of victims.
  • Assessment and intervention MUST take account of Learning Difficulties and Disibility factors and the mental functional age of the perpetrator.
  • Achieving Best Evidence (ABE) to be used in evidence gathering and interviewing.

Brook traffic light assessment

Practitioners should be familiar with the guidance and traffic light tools from Brook to help you identify behaviours that are inappropriate or potentially harmful and therefore in need of assessment: