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Harmful sexual behaviour - NSPCC Learning

Last updated by on Wednesday, June 5, 2024


NSPCC Learning has published a new statistics briefing on harmful sexual behaviour. It looks at data and statistics about harmful sexual behaviour in the UK to help professionals make evidence-based decisions, covering the scale of the issue and what data tells us about children who experienced or display harmful sexual behaviour.


Key findings from the data

  • There is some cross-over between online and offline HSB and between child sexual exploitation and HSB.
  • Harmful sexual behaviour is most commonly identified in adolescent boys, but girls and younger children can also display HSB.
  • A significant proportion of children who display HSB also have a learning disability.
  • The majority of children who display HSB have themselves experienced trauma, including abuse or neglect.
  • The majority of children and young people displaying HSB do not become sexual offenders as adults.
  • Young people who display HSB often experience other emotional, behavioural and peer related difficulties.