Child-on-child sexual abuse: how to respond

Learn how to manage reports of child-on-child sexual violence and harassment in your school. Use our risk assessment to help you with your next steps, and display our poster so all staff know what to do if a child makes a disclosure.

Last reviewed on 9 June 2023
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School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 10745
  1. Understand the definitions
  2. Follow your school's safeguarding policy
  3. What staff need to know
  4. Pupils should feel confident reporting abuse
  5. Display our poster to boost staff confidence around pupil disclosures
  6. Respond immediately to concerns and disclosures
  7. Responding to a report: process and risk assessment
  8. How to support the pupils involved
  9. You can take disciplinary action while other investigations are ongoing
  10. How to work with parents and carers
  11. Unsubstantiated, unfounded, false or malicious reports
  12. Use The Key Safeguarding to brief your team

Understand the definitions

Following Ofsted's review of sexual abuse in schools and the Everyone's Invited movement, sexual abuse in all its forms is something you'll need to examine and address in your school.

The following 2 sections apply to all forms of child-on-child sexual abuse, while the resources and response process that follow specifically apply to incidents of sexual harassment and sexual violence between peers.

While these are just 2 forms of this abuse, they're covered in depth in Keeping Children Safe In Education (KCSIE) and can overlap with the others, making them an important issue for all staff to know how to respond to.

‘Victim’ is a widely recognised and understood term, but not everyone who has been subjected to abuse considers themselves a victim, or would want to be described that way. You should be prepared to use any term the child feels most comfortable