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Safeguarding: Harmful Sexual Behaviour

Harmful sexual behaviour

Harmful sexual behaviour involves problematic, abusive and violent sexual behaviour that is developmentally inappropriate.

Harmful sexual behaviour can be indicative of underlying safeguarding concerns; children who exhibit harmful sexual behaviour are likely to have experienced abuse or trauma themselves, such as:

  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Severe neglect
  • Parent rejection
  • Family breakdown
  • Domestic violence
  • Parental drug and alcohol abuse.

Harmful sexual behaviour can/may:

  • Cause developmental damage
  • Occur between children of any age and gender
  • Involve individuals or groups, targeting other individuals or groups
  • Occur online and/or offline
  • Be progressive and escalate