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Harmful sexual behaviour: learning from case reviews (NSPCC)

Last updated by on Thursday, December 16, 2021


Published case reviews since 2018 highlight that harmful sexual behaviour (HSB) should be recognised as a potential indicator of abuse and that sometimes this can be challenging for professionals to recognise and respond to.


Professionals such as practitioners or those who work in foster care or education, should work together to look for the reasons behind a child's behaviour, provide them with tailored support and consider appropriate safeguarding responses.


The learning emphasises the importance of: 


  • all adults working or volunteering with children being trained to recognise and respond to abuse and neglect
  • using a child-centred approach that considers the complex needs and individual lived experiences of all children and families involved
  • carrying out holistic, multi-agency assessments that assess the different needs of children and take wider contextual information into account.


Download the briefing from the NSPCC.