Welfare and Safeguarding

Open Evening Wednesday 29th September

Peer on Peer Abuse

It is important to recognise that abuse isn’t always perpetrated by adults; children can abuse other children too. This is referred to as peer-on-peer abuse and can include:

  • Bullying (including online/cyberbullying)
  • Sexual violence and sexual harassment (including online)
  • Physical abuse (such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting etc)
  • ‘Sexting’ (also known as ‘youth produced/involved sexual imagery’ or sharing ‘nude or semi-nude’ imagery)
  • Initiations, hazing type violence and social rituals

When talking about sexual abuse, we use the definitions in place from the DFE. These are:

Peer-on-peer sexual abuse

  • Sexual violence such as unwanted sexual contact including rape and sexual assault
  • Sexual harassment such as sexual comments, remarks, jokes and online sexual harassment
  • Upskirting
  • Sexting

Online sexual abuse may include:

  • Receiving unsolicited explicit photo or videos
  • Sending or being pressured into sending nude and semi-nude photos or videos
  • Being sent online explicit material

Harmful sexual behaviour is behaviour that is expressed by children and young people under the age of 18 that is developmentally inappropriate, may be harmful towards self and others, or abusive towards another child, young person or adult.

You can be assured that St Thomas a Becket will not tolerate any form of sexual abuse, violence or harassment. This behaviour will never be normalised, and will always be challenged. Issues such as these are addressed through a robust Relationships and Sex Education programme as part of the PSHE curriculum. Topics such as healthy relationships and consent are explored through this curriculum focus. This curriculum equips pupils with the knowledge and understanding of what is right and wrong, how to keep themselves safe and how to report incidents.

How can you support your child?

It is important that parents and carers are particularly aware of what their child is accessing online. Social media sites such as Snapchat and Whatsapp were found to be one of the most commonly used sites where online peer to peer sexual abuse takes place. Be aware of the sites your child is accessing and where possible ensure that you can monitor or access their phone. Be vigilant for any additional accounts they may have that you are unaware of and talk to them frequently about online safety.

NSPCC Net Aware, Parent info.org and CEOP have excellent sites that can support parents with online safety.

Make sure you are aware of where your child is going and who they are going with. Talk to them about where they have been and frequently remind them of what harmful sexual behaviour is. The more children understand harmful sexual behaviours, and that they are not tolerated, then the further we can go to changing these behaviours.

If you wish to report an incident of harmful sexual behaviour

If you do find out that your child has been a victim of harmful sexual behaviour, where a child is at immediate risk, this must always be reported to 999. Where there is no immediate risk, for example the incident may be historic, you can contact 101. You may be asked to contact the Police Safeguarding Unit. You can also record a historic incident of sexual abuse or harmful sexual behaviour even if it is some time since it has happened.

We also ask that you report any harmful sexual behaviour to school. You can do this by contacting the Designated Safeguarding Leads. They are:

 

Mrs Mason Mr Brown
Mrs Watson Mrs Sanderson
Mrs Dickerson Mrs Hale
Mr Firth Mr Lyons

 

As of the 1st April 2021, the DfE have commissioned the NSPCC to run a bespoke helpline to provide appropriate support and advice to victims of sexual abuse in education and concerned adults. Young people and adults can contact the NSPCC helpline, ‘Report Abuse in Education‘ on 0800 136 663 or email help@nspcc.org.uk

What we do

After a report is made, the safeguarding leads will inform you of the next part of the process so that you can make the decision that is right for you and your child. This may include sanctioning any inappropriate behaviour and working with local safeguarding partners such as the police or Social Care Direct. It is important to note that, as in all schools, if an incident of harmful sexual behaviour is reported we are often required to report these to the police and Social care direct. This should not cause alarm but we access these local safeguarding partners to enable further support for victims. As a safeguarding team, we meet weekly to talk about any incidents that have occurred to ensure that we have done everything possible to support your child and family.

Additional to the PSHE syllabus, there will be safeguarding assemblies about this and other safeguarding issues. The purpose of the assemblies is to ensure that pupils know how to report any incidents of harmful sexual behaviour to ensure that such incidents are dealt with swiftly and effectively by the academy.

Further information for Pupils and Parents

  • Childline

https://www.childline.org.uk/

Tel: 0800 1111

https://www.childnet.com/our-projects/project-deshame/i-am-a-parent-or-carer