Wolston St Margarets Church of England Primary School

Walston St Margret's
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PEER ON PEER ABUSE

 

All staff are aware that children can abuse other children we refer to this as peer on peer abuse. This can happen inside or outside of our setting and online. If staff have any concerns regarding peer on peer abuse, even if there are no reports in our setting, they should still speak to the DSL (or deputy).

All staff are expected to challenge inappropriate behaviours between peers, many of which are listed below, that are actually abusive in nature. Downplaying certain behaviours, for example dismissing sexual harassment as “just banter”, “just having a laugh”, “part of growing up” or “boys being boys” can lead to a culture of unacceptable behaviours, an unsafe environment for children and in worst case scenarios a culture that normalises abuse leading to children accepting it as normal and not coming forward to report it.

 Peer on peer abuse is most likely to include, but may not be limited to:

  • bullying (including cyberbullying, prejudice-based and discriminatory bullying);
  • abuse in intimate personal relationships between peers;
  • physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm (this may include an element of online which facilitates, threatens and/or encourages physical abuse);
  • sexual violence, such as rape, assault by penetration and sexual assault (this may include an online element which facilitates, threatens and/or encourages sexual violence);
  • sexual harassment, such as sexual comments, remarks, jokes and online sexual harassment, which may be stand-alone or part of a broader pattern of abuse;
  • causing someone to engage in sexual activity without consent, such as forcing someone to strip, touch themselves sexually, or to engage in sexual activity with a third party;
  • consensual and non-consensual sharing of nudes and semi nudes images and or videos (also known as sexting or youth produced sexual imagery);
  • up-skirting, which typically involves taking a picture under a person’s clothing without them knowing, with the intention of viewing their genitals or buttocks to obtain sexual gratification, or cause the victim humiliation, distress or alarm;
  • initiation/hazing type violence and rituals (this could include activities involving harassment, abuse or humiliation used as a way of initiating a person into a group and may also include an online element).

We recognise that any child can be vulnerable to peer on peer abuse due to the strength of peer influence, especially during adolescence, and staff should be alert to signs of such abuse amongst all children. Individual and situational factors can increase a child’s vulnerability to abuse by their peers. We know that research suggests:

  • peer on peer abuse may affect boys differently from girls (i.e. that it is more likely that girls will be victims and boys perpetrators). However, all peer on peer abuse is unacceptable and will be taken seriously;
  • children with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) are three times more likely to be abused than their peers without , and
  • some children may be more likely to experience peer on peer abuse than others as a result of certain characteristics such as sexual orientation, ethnicity, race or religious beliefs.