Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Between Children Policy


 For the purposes of this policy, we use the widely recognised and understood term ‘victim’ for a child who has been subject to sexual violence and/or sexual harassment. Swift knows it is important that we recognise that not everyone who has been subjected to sexual violence and/or sexual harassment considers themselves a victim or would want to be described in this way, we will always be conscious of this when managing any incident and are prepared to use any term with which the individual child or young person is most comfortable.

Also, for the purpose of this policy, we use the widely used and recognised term ‘alleged perpetrator(s)’ and where appropriate ‘perpetrator(s)’.

 When speaking in front of children and young people who may have been in this position, all Swift staff will use carefully selected words so as not to cause added distress or confusion, not least because in some cases the sexual behaviour will have been harmful to the perpetrator as well as the victim. The use of appropriate terminology is vital in the appropriate management of a disclosure or concern.


Sexual violence and sexual harassment can occur between two children of any age and sex from primary school, through to secondary stage and into colleges. It can occur through a group of children sexually assaulting or sexually harassing a single child or group of children.

Sexual violence and sexual harassment exist on a continuum and may overlap; they can occur online and face to face (both physically and verbally) and are never acceptable.

Swift maintains an attitude of ‘it could happen here’. We believe early intervention can help prevent problematic, abusive and/or violent behaviour in the future.

Children who are victims of sexual violence and sexual harassment, wherever it happens, will likely find the experience stressful and distressing, with the potential to adversely affect their educational attainment and will be exacerbated if the alleged perpetrator(s) attends the same school or college.

 As set out in Part one of KCSIE, schools and colleges Swift is aware that safeguarding incidents and/or behaviours can be associated with factors outside the school or college, including intimate personal relationships, but it is essential that all victims are reassured that they are being taken seriously and that they will be supported and kept safe. A victim should never be given the impression that they are creating a problem by reporting sexual violence or sexual harassment. Nor should a victim ever me made to feel ashamed for making a report.

Along with providing support to children who are victims of sexual violence or sexual harassment, Swift aims to provide the alleged perpetrator(s) with an education, safeguarding support as appropriate and implement any relevant sanctions.

 A child abusing another child may be a sign they have been abused themselves or a sign of wider issues that require addressing within the culture of the school or college. Responding with sanctions and providing appropriate support, can, and should, occur at the same time if necessary.

Reports of sexual violence and sexual harassment are extremely complex to manage. It is essential that victims are protected, offered appropriate support and every effort made to ensure their education is not disrupted.

 It is also important that other children and young people and Academy staff are supported and protected as appropriate.


Sexual violence and sexual abuse can happen anywhere, as previously stated, all Swift staff maintain an attitude of ‘it could happen here’.

All staff are aware of their duty to respond appropriately to all reports and concerns, including those outside the Academy, and or online.

All staff are aware that:

  • There is a zero-tolerance approach to sexual violence and sexual harassment. It is never acceptable, it will not be tolerated and should never be passed off as “banter”, “just having a laugh”, “part of growing up” or “boys being boys”.
  • Challenging physical behaviour (potentially criminal in nature), such as grabbing bottoms, breasts and genitalia, pulling down trousers, flicking bras and lifting up skirts is not acceptable.
  • Dismissing or tolerating such behaviours risks normalising them
  • Not recognising, acknowledging or understanding the scale of harassment and abuse and/or downplaying some behaviours related to abuse can lead to a culture of unacceptable behaviour, an unsafe environment and in worst case scenarios a culture that normalises abuse leading to children accepting it as normal and not coming forward to report it
  •  Understanding that all of the above can be driven by wider societal factors beyond the school and college, such as everyday sexist stereotypes and everyday sexist language.
  • Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) are three times more likely to be abused than their peers.
  • 13 Additional barriers can sometimes exist when recognising abuse in SEND children. These can include:
  • assumptions that indicators of possible abuse such as behaviour, mood and injury relate to the child’s disability without further exploration
  • the potential for children with SEND being disproportionately impacted by behaviours such as bullying and harassment, without outwardly showing any signs
  • communication barriers and difficulties overcoming these barriers. Any reports of abuse involving children with SEND will therefore require close liaison with the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy)
  • Children who are lesbian, gay, bi, or trans (LGBT) can be targeted by their peers. In some cases, a child who is perceived by their peers to be LGBT (whether they are or not) can be just as vulnerable as children who identify as LGBT.
  • That staff can be victims of sexual violence and sexual harassment.
  • Swift has arrangements in place to protect staff from such abuse, including clear reporting and support mechanisms.

Sexual violence: child on child sexual violence

Swift understands that children can, and sometimes do, abuse their peers in this way and that it can happen both inside and outside of Academy. The term for this is child on child sexual violence.

 For the purpose of this policy, when sexual violence is mentioned, we are referring to sexual offences under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

Sexual offences can be described as:

  • Rape: A person (A) commits an offence of rape if: he intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person (B) with his penis, B does not consent to the penetration and A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
  • Assault by Penetration: A person (A) commits an offence if: s/he intentionally penetrates the vagina or anus of another person (B) with a part of her/his body or anything else, the penetration is sexual, B does not consent to the penetration and A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
  • Sexual Assault: A person (A) commits an offence of sexual assault if: s/he intentionally touches another person (B), the touching is sexual, B does not consent to the touching and A does not reasonably believe that B consents. It should be noted here that sexual assault covers a very wide range of behaviour so a single act of kissing someone without consent or touching someone’s bottom/breasts/genitalia without consent, can still constitute sexual assault.
  • Causing someone to engage in sexual activity without consent: A person (A) commits an offence if: s/he intentionally causes another person (B) to engage in an activity, the activity is sexual, B does not consent to engaging in the activity, and A does not reasonably believe that B consents. This could include forcing someone to strip, touch themselves sexually, or to engage in sexual activity with a third party.

What is consent?

  • Consent is about having the freedom and capacity to choose. Consent to sexual activity may be given to one sort of sexual activity but not another, vaginal but not anal sex or penetration with conditions, such as wearing a condom.
  • Consent can be withdrawn at any time during sexual activity and each time activity occurs. Someone consents to vaginal, anal or oral penetration only if s/he agrees by choice to that penetration and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice.
  • A child under the age of 13 can never consent to any sexual activity
  • The age of consent is 16
  • Sexual intercourse without consent is rape.

Sexual harassment: child on child sexual harassment

For the purpose of this policy, when referring to sexual harassment we mean ‘unwanted conduct of a sexual nature’ that can occur online and offline and both inside and outside of the Academy.

The term for sexual harassment is child on child sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment is likely to:

  • violate a child’s dignity
  • make them feel intimidated, degraded or humiliated
  •  create a hostile, offensive or sexualised environment.

Sexual harassment can include:

  • Sexual comments, such as:
  • telling sexual stories
  • making lewd comments
  • making sexual remarks about clothes and appearance
  • calling someone sexualised names
  •  sexual “jokes” or taunting
  •  Physical behaviour, such as:
  • deliberately brushing against someone
  • interfering with someone’s clothes
  • displaying pictures, photos or drawings of a sexual nature
  • Online sexual harassment, such as:
  • consensual and non-consensual sharing of nude and semi-nude images and/or videos (It is a criminal offence to take and share nude photographs of children under the age of 18) 
  • sharing of unwanted explicit content
  • upskirting (is a criminal offence)
  • sexualised online bullying
  • unwanted sexual comments and messages, including, on social media
  • sexual exploitation
  • coercion and threats

Swift has a duty of care to determine when these actions cross a line into sexual violence.

Harmful Sexual behaviour 

Swift is aware that children’s sexual behaviour spans wide continuum, from normal and developmentally expected to inappropriate, problematic, abusive and violent.

Problematic, abusive and violent sexual behaviour is developmentally inappropriate and may cause developmental damage. The widely adopted umbrella term for this is “harmful sexual behaviour” (HSB).

HSB can occur online and/or face to face and can also occur simultaneously between the two.

An awareness of developmental behaviour is critical when considering HSB, with behaviour deemed harmful if there is more than 2 years difference in the ages of children/young people or if one of the children is pre-pubescent, and the other not.

Swift is aware that a younger child can abuse an older child, particularly if they have power over them, such as the other child has a disability or is smaller in stature.

Early intervention is key in reducing the risk of such behaviours escalating.

The Designated Safeguarding Lead will have a good understanding of HSB, with training refreshed every 3 years, or when legislation changes.

Extra familial harms

Safeguarding incidents and/or behaviours can be associated with factors outside the Academy and/or can occur between children outside of these environments.

At Swift, all staff, and in particular, the designated safeguarding lead (and deputies) will always consider whether the young people that attend the Academy are at risk of abuse or exploitation in situations outside their families.

Extra-familial harms take a variety of different forms and children can be vulnerable to multiple harms including (but not limited to):

  • sexual exploitation
  • criminal exploitation
  • sexual abuse
  • serious youth violence
  • county lines

Technology is a significant component in many safeguarding and wellbeing issues. Children are at risk of abuse online as well as face to face.

In many cases abuse will take place concurrently via online channels and in daily life.

Children can also abuse their peers online; this can take the form of:

  • abusive, harassing, and misogynistic messages
  • the non-consensual sharing of indecent images, especially around chat groups
  • the sharing of abusive images and pornography, to those who do not want to receive such content.

In all cases, if staff are unsure, they should always speak to the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy).

It is important that Swift provides as much information as possible as part of the referral process to the LADO or social care. This will allow any assessment to consider all the available evidence and enable a contextual approach to addressing such harm.


All Swift staff take part in mandatory safeguarding training on induction, monthly ‘Safeguarding Snippets’ sessions, and annually thereafter. Continued CPD takes place regularly to cover all aspects of safeguarding.  


Legal Obligations

Swift has a statutory duty to:

  •  Safeguard and promote the welfare of the children in our care.
  • Read and understand Keeping Children Safe in Education and Working Together to Safeguard Children
  • Cooperate with safeguarding partnerships
  • Have a behaviour policy, with measures in place to prevent all forms of bullying, including cyber bullying, prejudice-based and discriminatory bullying

Author: Jayne Hipkiss (approved by Jack Edwards, Academy Director)


Version: 2

Board Approval:

Managing Director Name: Gregory Morrall 




Date: 08/07/2022


Reviewed on 20/07/2023


Review Due: 19/07/2024


Reviewed by: Jayne Hipkiss


Approved by: Jack Edwards