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Catherine Wayte

Primary School

Child-on-child abuse - what parents need to know

At Catherine Wayte Primary School we are committed to safeguarding all our children from all types of abuse which includes peer-on-peer abuse. This page aims to inform families what this is, and how they can support our school in safeguarding children outside of school. If any of the content in this page raises concerns about your child or a child you know please contact the school and ask to speak to the Safeguarding team. 


What is it?

Peer on peer abuse occurs when a young person is exploited, bullied and / or harmed by their peers who are the same or similar age; everyone directly involved in peer on peer abuse is under the age of 18.

Peer-on-peer abuse includes, but is not limited to:

  • physical and sexual abuse
  • sexual harassment and violence
  • emotional harm
  • on and offline bullying
  • teenage relationship abuse


How prevalent is peer-on-peer abuse?

Research suggests that peer-on-peer abuse is one of the most common forms of abuse affecting children in the UK. For example, more than four in ten teenage schoolgirls aged between 13 and 17 in England have experienced sexual coercion (Barter et al 2015). Two thirds of contact sexual abuse experienced by children aged 17 or under was committed by someone who was also aged 17 or under (Radford et al 2011) 


Why is it important parents know about this?

Parents should understand the importance of being aware of, and challenging inappropriate or abusive behaviours between their child and their peers. It is important children feel they will be listened to and their concerns taken seriously. Downplaying certain behaviours, for example dismissing sexual harassment as “banter”, “just having a laugh”, “part of growing up” or “boys being boys” can lead to children accepting it as normal and not coming forward to report it. It can also lead to the perpetrators of the abuse believing their behaviour is acceptable.

Further information and support