Harmful Sexual Behaviour

Harmful sexual behaviour (HSB) is defined by the National Children's Bureau as “Sexual behaviours expressed by children and young people under the age of 18 years old that are developmentally inappropriate, may be harmful towards self or others and/ or be abusive towards another child, young person or adult.”


CYSCP has produced a Children Who Sexually Harm procedure document for practitioners working with families locally. 

The purpose of all intervention is the protection of children. Many young people who sexually abuse others have themselves been harmed and this should always be considered. Sexual abuse by children is as harmful to victims as sexual abuse by adults so early identification and intervention are essential in the prevention of future sexual harm. 

Children who sexually harm other children should be held responsible for their behaviour whilst also being considered to be children in need of services themselves. Where possible parents/carers need to be involved in supporting children in dealing with this behaviour. 

A multi-disciplinary/agency approach is the most effective way of addressing concerns regarding a child’s harmful sexual behaviour. 


CYSCP provides online and face to face training for practitioners.


Useful Links and Documents




HSB Guidelines  
Resources and Guidance
DfE Report
Harassment in Schools
Keeping Children Safe in Education
Traffic Light Tool
Home Office
Disrespect Nobody campaign
CSA Centre
Key Messages from Research
CYSCP Children Who Sexually
Harm Procedure
Keeping Children
Safe in Education
Warning Signs
Now I Know it Was Wrong report
NSPCC Case Reviews HSB
National Children's Bureau
Report on HSB
Inquiry with advice for parents
HSB Toolkit for Professionals
Children's Society, Victim Support
and NPCC
HSB Research Briefing NSPCC
    NSPCC Peer Sexual Abuse Neglect and Harmful Sexual Behaviour

Simon Hackett
    LARCWorkforce Perspectives
on HSB
NICE Guideline - Report
    Young people engaging in sexually
abusive behaviour
CSA Centre Research
Some Links and Resources - Relationships