Improving multi-agency responses to harmful sexual behaviour (HSB)

Last updated: 19 Feb 2019

Children and young people who display harmful sexual behaviour (HSB) often have multiple and complex needs. They and their family may already be working with more than one agency, including health, social care and criminal justice – or they may need support from a range of services. It's vital to have a co-ordinated response so that children receive the most effective support possible.

The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance on Harmful sexual behaviour among children and young people highlights the importance of multi-agency, multi-disciplinary working in responding to HSB (NICE, 2016).

Multi-agency working

We've summarised key learning for best practice to help frontline health practitioners and strategic leads work effectively with other teams and agencies

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HSB framework and audit tool

Our evidence-based tools help those with a strategic role in coordinating child protection and preventing child sexual abuse to audit and improve their local multi-agency responses to HSB. The resources provide a coordinated and consistent approach to help strategic leaders recognise and respond to risk and need.

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Guidance for strategic leads and commissioners

We've put together guidance to help complete the HSB framework and audit from a health perspective, so you can take positive action to improve the support you offer to children displaying HSB. 

> Download the guide (PDF) 

Watch video about the impact and value of health using the HSB framework

Working with schools

Health practitioners are ideally placed to work with and support school staff in managing children's sexualised behaviour. Our online training course helps school staff gain a better understanding of healthy and concerning sexualised behaviours, know how to respond to incidents of sexualised behaviour, accurately record and detail and incidents and implement safety plans. 

> Find out more

Further resources

Statistics briefing

This briefing looks at what available data can tell us about HSB to help professionals, and the organisations they work for, make evidence-based decisions.

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Learning from case reviews

Lessons from case reviews where harmful sexual behaviour was highlighted as a key issue.

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Reading list

Further reading and resources about HSB in the NSPCC Library catalogue

> Read more


References: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) (2016) Harmful sexual behaviour among children and young people [Accessed 30/11/2018].