New Data Released from the Harmful Sexual Behaviour Support Service

New Data Released from the Harmful Sexual Behaviour Support Service

As part of our continued support for professionals since the closure of the Harmful Sexual Behaviour Support Service pilot, we have released a new infographic with data revealing how the service supported cases during its 10-month operation.

The Harmful Sexual Behaviour Support Service was launched by SWGfL in partnership with the Marie Collins Foundation in January 2022, as a response to the 2021 Ofsted report which revealed the extent of harmful sexual behaviour found within schools and colleges. The support service was particularly available to support Designated Safeguarding Leads, teachers and other professionals working within various youth settings within England.  

You can download the Harmful Sexual Behaviour Support Service infographic below.

Download Infographic

Infographic Data

Our latest infographic, which explores the 710 individual cases the Service supported until its closure in October 2022, demonstrates how common harmful sexual behaviour has been within educational and youth settings. Key statistics in the infographic reveal that:

  • Non-consensual touching of others was the most reported type of harmful sexual behaviour the service received.
  • Designated Safeguarding Leads called 155 times.
  • Over 50% of cases the Service supported were in relation to harmful sexual behaviour incidents, and 25% were general enquiries.
  • 100% of professionals that contacted the service said they would recommend it to someone else.

These new statistics reveal the extent of harmful sexual behaviour in educational and youth settings, and the need to support professionals with advice and guidance on how to appropriately respond to harmful sexual behaviour.

Continuous Support

Information regarding harmful sexual behaviour within schools continues to grow, as seen in the latest report by the Children’s Commissioner, which considers the links between harmful sexual behaviour and pornography. To address this growth and support service cases, we have released free resources and guidance on how to identify and address harmful sexual behaviour in schools.

Based on the knowledge and experiences of the Service practitioners, the resources include a series of templates, guides, and advice to support professionals working with children:

  • Harmful Sexual Behaviour in Schools Resources, which include an FAQ and a series of templates to create school policies and risk assessments. These resources enable professionals to have a foundation to understand and assess harmful sexual behaviours, with further guidance on writing referrals to local children’s services.
  • Recognising Harmful Sexual Behaviour, to get advice and guidance on how to recognise and respond to harmful sexual behaviour in children and young people, and the different types of harmful sexual behaviours that can be identified.
  • Online Safety Policy Templates for Schools, designed by Online Safety experts, these adaptable templates on e-safety help schools create an online safety policy to fit their needs.

Alongside these resources, service practitioners have created a video training package to support teachers, safeguarding leads and professionals working with children. The training module consists of nine videos that consider what harmful sexual behaviour is, and how schools and other organisations can appropriately respond to cases. You can find out more about the Harmful Sexual Behaviour Support Service, our resources and supportive guidance by visiting our website.

Further Resources from SWGfL

If you are a professional working with children who is concerned about any online safety issue, you can contact the Professionals Online Safety Helpline to access support, information and advice. The Helpline is open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm, and can be accessed by calling 0344 381 4772, or by emailing

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