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A national strategy on harmful sexual behaviour in children is needed, says NAHT

Commenting on the Barnardo’s report into harmful sexual behaviour ‘Now I know it was wrong: Report of the parliamentary inquiry into support and sanctions for children who display harmful sexual behaviour’, Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT says: “we welcome work by Barnardo’s into this sensitive, and often ignored, area. We also thank Barnardo’s for hearing evidence from school leaders on the challenges they face.

“We completely agree with the report’s insistence that young people showing harmful sexual behaviour should still be treated as children, and clear pathways to support should be available.

“School leaders will welcome the call for a national strategy for preventing and responding to harmful sexual behaviour in children. This is crucial if we are to put in place the right support and training for schools to deliver for children in their care.

“We welcome calls to restrict inappropriate online content. The government needs to provide the right training for schools, and technical support to help deliver this.”

Sarah Hannafin, policy advisor at school leaders’ union NAHT says: “The report is clear that all children should have access to high quality, age-appropriate information and advice about healthy relationships. We wholeheartedly support this. NAHT has long campaigned for age appropriate sex and relationship education. This is currently only statutory in maintained secondary schools and the DfE guidance has not been reviewed since 2000, leaving it hopelessly outdated, particularly in dealing with changes in how young people communicate online.”

James Bowen, Director of middle leader’s union NAHT Edge, says: “High quality, funded training must be made available to teachers to develop their knowledge, understanding and confidence in teaching pupils about these issues.

“Child protection training for all school staff needs to be developed to include recognising, and dealing with, concerning and harmful sexual behaviours.”

Page Published: 08/07/2016

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