Responding to Scenarios - Advice from the Harmful Sexual Behaviour Support Service

Responding to Scenarios - Advice from the Harmful Sexual Behaviour Support Service

Throughout July, the Harmful Sexual Behaviour Support Service has launched a new campaign across social media to show how professionals can get support in dealing with incidents of HSB involving children and young people. Since the start of the campaign, we have shown what the impact has been since launching in January and how over 500 professionals have already used the support service to get advice and broaden their understanding of how HSB can affect the children and young people in their care.

Specific Guidance on Incidents

As well as showing what the impact has been, this social media campaign will now be looking more closely at what specific advice there is relating to incidents of harmful sexual behaviour. From what we have seen on the support service, several incidents are quite common and this week, we will be showing what our practitioners have to say on the matter.

As an example, one of the most common incidents we have seen involves the non-consensual touching of others. See the incident below and the practitioner’s response.

Practitioner: ’’Speak to the pupils affected by the behaviour and establish what happened. This may be difficult and embarrassing for them, but it is important to ascertain the facts, and not to ignore or minimise this type of behaviour. Speak to the pupil who allegedly displayed the behaviour and get their view of the situation too.

You may want to convene a meeting with all professionals who work with the students to discuss and to develop a risk assessment and comprehensive plan to improve the situation. You should do this even if the case does not reach intervention thresholds of statutory services, such as children’s social care.

Conclusions from this meeting should form the basis of a safety plan, to ensure the safety of both the child displaying sexually harmful behaviour and the child affected by it, as well as other students and staff. This should include agreed next steps, the thoughts and wishes of the victims, and their parents and carers, where appropriate.’’

We’ll be taking a look at some other scenarios throughout the week, providing the relevant practitioner advice. These scenarios include:

  • ‘’I work in a special school and have noticed that some of my students are using a lot of sexualised language, both offline and online. What should I do?’’
  • ‘’What do I do if a young person exposes themselves to other children?’’
  • An incident occurred recently involving a student displaying harmful sexual behaviour. The initial HSB incident has been dealt with, but I am concerned that the behaviour may be linked to other safeguarding concerns. What do you suggest? 

Continue to follow the campaign by following us on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn. If you need support, contact the HSB support service on 0344 2250623 or via email:

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