10 key actions to reduce child-on-child abuse

All schools need to take planned action to make a difference to child-on-child abuse. How confident are you identifying and planning for change? Joanna Nicolas provides guidance

Joanna Nicolas was part of the OFSTED rapid review of sexual abuse in schools, which visited 32 schools and spoke to 900 children and young people, following thousands of disclosures on the website Everyone’s Invited.

Her 10 key actions for schools and safeguarding leaders will help you recognise, respond to and reduce child-on-child abuse.

  1. Write your safeguarding policy and procedures in a way that children can understand. (04:29 – 05:40)
  2. Ensure your pupils know it’s important to share concerns and what will happen if they do. (05:41 – 07:29)
  3. Have a culture that lives and breathes your policies and procedures, where children see all adults behaving in a way that reflects everything in them and there’s no turning a ‘blind eye’. (07:30 – 11:09)
  4. Build a whole-school approach with no divide between academic, pastoral or operational staff. Poor behaviour often happens en masse e.g. in the dining room. Do your catering team know procedures and policies, feel very much part of the school community and supported to be just as responsible for picking up low-level concerns and behaviours? (11:10 – 12:10)
  5. Elevate safeguarding and ensure representation on the executive team e.g. have a director of safeguarding. (12:10 – 12:40)
  6. Develop a culture of honesty and openness where everyone feels able to come forward and know allegations will be taken seriously. (12:41 – 14:00)
  7. Consistently apply your approach when dealing with poor behaviour through to abuse. (14:00 – 15:39)
  8. Maintain a rigorous response to criminal behaviour. Sharing images should be treated in the same way as other criminal behaviour such as drug use. (15:40 – 17:28)
  9. Use data to learn and effect change. Flag criminal behaviour, discrimination and action against protected characteristics with consistent tags on your safeguarding software to build a clear picture that doesn’t minimise behaviour. (17:28 – 19:15)
  10. Tie your PSHCE curriculum in with your safeguarding policy and procedures. Everything in your community should consistently show where you stand and what behaviours are acceptable. (19:15 – 21:17)

Last Updated: 
19 Jan 2022