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  • Please see our Safeguarding webpage here

Child-on-Child Abuse Definition

Young people can abuse other young people. This is generally referred to as child-on-child abuse and can take many forms.

Child-on-child abuse can include serious bullying, relationship abuse, domestic violence, child sexual exploitation, harmful sexual behaviour, and/or gender based violence. This form of abuse occurs when there is any kind of physical, sexual, emotional or financial abuse or coercive control exercised between young people.

It can also include (but is not limited to) bullying (including cyberbullying, prejudice based and discriminatory bullying); sexual violence and sexual harassment; physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm; abuse in intimate personal relationships between peers; causing someone to engage in sexual activity without consent; consensual and non-consensual sharing of nudes and semi nudes images and or videos; upskirting and initiating/hazard type violence and rituals. It can occur online and offline and is likely to violate dignity and/or make them feel intimidated, degraded or humiliated, and/or create a hostile, offensive or sexualised environment.

(Keeping Children Safe in Education, 2022)

Examples of unwanted conduct of a sexual nature

Physical behaviour e.g. deliberately brushing against someone, interfering with someone’s clothes and displaying pictures, photos or drawings of a sexual nature Sexual

Sexual comments e.g. telling sexual stories, making lewd comments, making sexual remarks about clothes and appearance and calling someone sexualised names; sexual “jokes” or taunting;

Online sexual harassment which may be standalone, or part of a wider pattern of sexual  harassment and/or sexual violence. non-consensual sharing of sexual images and videos; sexualised online bullying; unwanted sexual comments and messages, including, on social media; and sexual exploitation; coercion and threats

VULNERABLE GROUPS:  abuse can happen to anyone at any age. Both boys and girls can be victims;

  • Women and girls over aged 10
  • Black and ethnic minority young people often under identified as victims and over-identified as perpetrators; 
  • young people with intra-familial abuse in their histories or those living with domestic abuse are more likely to be vulnerable;
  • young people in care and those who have experienced loss of a parent, sibling or friend through bereavement; · young people with SEND are three times more likely to be abused than their peers;
  • young people who have been abused or have abused their peers
  • Understanding the power dynamic that can exist between young people is very important in helping to identify and respond to child-on-child abuse – there will be a power imbalance and this may be due to age or status – social or economic – and the perpetrator in one situation may be the powerless victim in another so it is essential to try to understand the perpetrator and what is driving the behaviour before taking sanctions. A thorough investigation of the concerns should take place to include any wider context which may be known. However, the victim should always be made to feel safe and actions will need to be taken to separate victim and perpetrator and ensure that the abuse is not allowed to continue. The issues of the interplay between power, choice and consent should be explored with young people.

At Balshaw's we ensure that:

  • We have robust Safeguarding procedures in place to minimise the risk of child-on-child abuse;
  • All staff and Governors know allegations of child-on-child abuse will be recorded, investigated and dealt with;
  • We have clear processes as to how victims, perpetrators and any other child affected by child-on-child abuse will be supported;
  • We are clear and consistent that abuse is abuse and should never be tolerated or passed off as “banter”, “just having a laugh” or “part of growing up”;
  • We recognise the gendered nature of child-on-child abuse (i.e. that it is more likely that girls will be victims and boys perpetrators), but that all child- on-child abuse is unacceptable and will be taken seriously; 
  • We are knowledgeable about the different forms child-on-child abuse can take