Child on Child Abuse: sexual violence and sexual harassment
We take all signs, reports and concerns of child-on-child sexual violence and sexual harassment very seriously, including those that have happened outside of the school and/or online, and maintain an attitude of ‘it could happen here’. Sexual violence and sexual harassment are never acceptable.
At Hillcross we take a zero-tolerance approach to sexual violence and sexual harassment - it is never acceptable and it will not be tolerated. Failure to do so 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. It is vitally important that everyone in the school community recognises, acknowledges and understands the scale of harassment and abuse and that even if there are no reports it does not mean it is not happening, it may be the case that it is just not being reported. At Hillcross we challenge physical behaviour (potentially criminal in nature) such as grabbing bottoms, breasts and genitalia, pulling down trousers and lifting up skirts. Dismissing or tolerating such behaviours risks normalising them.
How do we minimise the risk of it occurring at Hillcross?
At Hillcross all staff working with children maintain an attitude of ‘it could happen here’. We will respond appropriately to all reports and concerns, including those outside of school, or online.
- Our school values of Aspiration, Challenge, Compassion, Respect and Responsibility are upheld by all members of our community which help create an environment where all children at our school are supportive and respectful of each other. This is underpinned by our school behaviour policy.
- We recognise that preventative education is crucial and we teach our children about safeguarding and child protection explicitly within our PSHE curriculum (which incorporates the Relationships, Sex and Health Education curriculum) as well as across other subject areas as appropriate. This includes how to stay safe online and is underpinned by our Nurturing Positive Attachments and Emotional Intelligence programmes.
- Our children are taught that all relatinships (e.g. friends, family, online) can be supported by being kind, considerate and respectful, including the use of respectful language; being honest; listening to each other; respecting personal space, privacy and boundaries; accepting each other’s differences; focussing on the good things in each other; and praising each other on their achievements
- Social media can be a forum for sexual harassment and is very likely to play a central role in the fall out from any incident or alleged incident. In addition to our own online safety curriculum, we work with an organisation called Growth Against Violence (GAV) who run workshops with children in Year 5 and Year 6 about which include using social media safely.
- It is particularly important to look out for potential patterns of concerning, problematic or inappropriate behaviour. Where a pattern is identified, the school or college should decide on a course of action. Consideration should be given to whether there are wider cultural issues within the school or college that enabled the inappropriate behaviour to occur and where appropriate extra teaching time and/or staff training could be delivered to minimise the risk of it happening again.