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Safeguarding for Parents

Peer on Peer Abuse and Harmful Sexual Behaviour (Information for parents/carers)

It is important to recognise that abuse isn’t always perpetrated by adults; children can abuse other children and it can happen both inside and outside of educational settings and online. This is referred to as 'peer on peer abuse' and can include:

  • bullying, including cyberbullying, prejudice-based and discriminatory bullying
  • abuse in intimate personal relationships between peers
  • physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm; this may include an online element which facilitates, threatens and/or encourages physical abuse
  • sexual violence, such as rape, assault by penetration and sexual assault; this may include an online element which facilitates, threatens and/or encourages sexual violence
  • sexual harassment, such as sexual comments, remarks, jokes and online sexual harassment, which may be standalone or part of a broader pattern of abuse
  • causing someone to engage in sexual activity without consent
  • consensual and non-consensual sharing of nude and semi nude images and or videos (also known as sexting or youth produced sexual imagery)
  • ‘Upskirting’ which involves taking a picture under someone’s clothing without them knowing; this is usually with the intention of viewing their genitals or buttocks for sexual gratification, or cause the victim humiliation, distress or alarm. Upskirting is a criminal offence and anyone of any gender, can be a victim
  • initiation/hazing type violence and rituals.


Please find below a guidance document for parents helping you to support your child to understand peer on peer abuse and online sexual harassment. It is a sensitive topic, and not one all parents feel comfortable discussing with their children. 

The commissioner's team brought together a group of 16 - 21 year olds and asked them talk about what they think parents should know, and what they should say to their child(ren) when talking about sexualised bullying and the pressures of growing up online. 

Key advice from the young adults in the focus groups included: 

  • Start conversations early, before your child gets a phone or social media account. Keep the conversation going over time, adapting to your child. 
  • Young people want their parents to learn about new technology and trends, including risky behaviours and dangerous spaces online. 
  • Create a safe and trusting home environment.

For further information please click on the link below

 'The things I wish my parents had known'

These documents support parents in how to talk to the child(ren) about the following:

  • Pornography
  • Sharing nude images
  • Sexualised bullying
  • Editing photos and body image
  • Peer pressure


By learners for learners....