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. It can be displayed towards younger children, peers, older children or adults. It’s harmful to the children and young people who display it, as well as those it is directed towards.”

NSPCC briefing (2017)


A Young People’s Guide to Making Positive Relationships Matter

Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4

• Developed with young people for young people
• An online guide with equality, diversity, children’s rights and social justice at its heart
• Supports your right to speak out about and change things that matter to you

Activities to Start a Conversation About Gender Inequality and Gender Based Violence in the Classroom

Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4

An engaging introductory lesson exploring the definition of gender based violence and highlighting some key experiences including public sexual harassment, upskirting and victim blaming.

Let’s Talk About Porn

Key Stage 4
This teaching resource lesson plan is designed to help teachers and facilitators educate young people about pornography, specifically online. Created by Carmel Glassbrook (lead practitioner for the Professionals Online Safety Helpline) this . . . resource has been developed over a couple of years in response to the need from schools and teachers to have something that can help with the growing issue of pornography consumption in teenagers. The lesson is broken down into three main sections, which can be taught together or separately; The history of porn, The legalities and Myth busters.



Concerned about a child or young person’s sexual behaviour?

Are you concerned about a young person or child’s sexual behaviour around other children? Does a child you know do or say things you feel are inappropriate or that make you uncomfortable? Has a child you know taken sexual exploration too far? Or do you know a child with sexual behaviour problems online?

Harmful sexual behaviour in schools training (eLearning)

Are you aware of the differences between healthy sexual behaviours and those which are of concern? Do you know what to do if a child or young person has experienced sexual harassment and abuse or is displaying sexualised behaviour? Get the knowledge and skills you need to recognise, report and record sexualised behaviour concerns with our elearning courses for primary or secondary schools.

Harmful Sexual Behaviour Support Service

The support service is available for anyone in England working with children and young people, particularly, designated safeguarding leads within primary and secondary schools and alternative provision. Support is also available to early years provision, colleges and wider safeguarding professionals (including police, social workers and health care professionals). If children within your care have been displaying or are affected by specific incidents of Harmful Sexual Behaviour, the support service can provide initial support and signpost to further resources and advice.


16/12/2021 : How to talk to your children about porn and other online harms

06/12/2021 : Hundreds of calls made to UK helpline about sexual abuse in schools

12/12/2021 : Instagram influencer received ‘hundreds’ of obscene photos

10/01/2022 : New Harmful Sexual Behaviour Support Service Launched
South West Grid for Learning

08/12/2021 : Pupils pressured regularly for nude photos, Estyn report finds

Documents and Publications

Unsocial Spaces

Domestic abuse is getting ‘smarter’. When Refuge first started work 50 years ago, domestic abuse was . . . widely thought of as black eyes and broken bones. The reality for women now is that domestic abuse can take many different, insidious forms. One of those is tech abuse – where perpetrators use technology to harass, stalk, intimidate and control women.

Harmful sexual behaviour prevention toolkit

This toolkit is designed for parents, carers, family members and professionals, to help everyone . . . play their part in keeping children safe. It has links to useful information, resources, and support as well as practical tips to prevent harmful sexual behaviour and provide safe environments for families.

Responding to children who display sexualised behaviour: continuum guide

Children and young people typically display a range of sexualised behaviours as they grow up. . . . However some may display problematic or abusive sexualised behaviour. This is harmful to the children who display it as well as the people it’s directed towards.


Direct work with children displaying harmful sexual behaviour
Using trauma-informed and therapeutic practices with children and young people. In January 2020, we published a series . . . of podcast episodes on assessing and preventing harmful sexual behaviour (HSB). Our newly published three-part series focuses on direct work with children and young people displaying HSB and using trauma-informed and therapeutic practices.

Gain an insight into assessing high and lower level sexual behaviour concerns in schools
It can be hard to determine what healthy, problematic, inappropriate or serious sexual behaviour looks like in schools, . . . particularly where there are limited resources available. This is where specialist provision and services can help. They can support you in assessing the young person who has displayed sexually harmful behaviour and help you to understand the nature and extent of the behaviour.

Harmful sexual behaviour in schools
Why is it important for schools, colleges and academies to be aware of harmful sexual behaviour? Around a third of child . . . sexual abuse is by other children or young people (Hackett, 2014). Educational settings play a key role in identifying and preventing harmful sexual behaviour.

How to prevent and effectively respond to harmful sexual behaviour (HSB) in schools, academies and colleges
What is good practice for preventing harmful sexual behaviour? We explore how you can use preventative and proactive . . . measures to protect young people and manage incidents of sexualised behaviour appropriately.