Harmful sexual behaviour includes:

  • using sexually explicit words and phrases
  • inappropriate touching
  • using sexual violence or threats
  • full penetrative sex with other children or adults.

Children and young people who develop harmful sexual behaviour harm themselves and others.

Read more about harmful sexual behaviour

Worried about a child?

Contact our trained helpline counsellors for 24/7 help, advice and support.

0808 800 5000

Report a concern

Children's stories

"I'd pulled my bedroom door off its hinges a couple of times. I didn't know how to deal with my anger."

Read Robbie's story

Help and advice

Signs, symptoms and effects

The signs, symptoms and effects of harmful sexual behaviour
Find out more

Research and resources

Research and reports about harmful sexual behaviour, and resources for professionals.
Find research and resources

If you're worried about a child, even if you're unsure, phone the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000.

What we do about harmful sexual behaviour

Turn the Page

We protect children from the most common type of contact sexual abuse.
Turn the Page service

National Clinical Assessment and Treatment Service (NCATS)

Treating young high risk people who show the most serious kinds of harmful sexual behaviour.
National Clinical Assessment and Treatment Service (NCATS)

Get expert training and consultancy

Grow your child protection knowledge and skills with CPD certified courses delivered by our experts nationwide and online.
Get expert training

Specialist and bespoke child protection courses

Training on specialist child protection subjects and courses tailored to your staff's needs.
Specialist training courses

Child protection consultancy service

Tailored safeguarding and child protection support for any organisation.
Our consultancy service

ChildLine

ChildLine is our free, confidential helpline for children and young people. Whenever children need us, ChildLine is there for them – by phone, email or live chat.

0800 1111

Contact ChildLine

ChildLine Schools Service

Our ground-breaking ChildLine Schools Service uses specially trained volunteers to talk to primary school children about abuse. 
ChildLine Schools Service

Sexual abuse

A child is sexually abused when they are forced or persuaded to take part in sexual activities. This doesn't have to be physical contact, and it can happen online
Read more about sexual abuse

Grooming

Children and young people can be groomed online, or by someone they have met - for example a family member, friend or professional.
Read more about grooming

Child sexual exploitation

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a type of sexual abuse in which children are sexually exploited for money, power or status.
Read more about child sexual exploitation

Donate now

Abuse changes childhoods. But so can we. Your donation will help make sure we're there, whenever a child needs us.

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