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

It can even include grooming children for sexual and criminal exploitation.

What should schools and other providers be doing about it?
As with many forms of domestic abuse, victims of such abuse may think they are powerless to leave a situation – sometimes for financial reasons, sometimes because of the emotional abuse they have been subject to, or because of fear of violence.

Unfortunately, peer-on-peer abuse can and does happen in a whole range of settings that children attend. However, it often goes unseen. It might take place online, for example, or away from the school or setting. Therefore, training for professionals to help them recognise the signs, and know what to do, is essential.

For schools and colleges, there’s detailed Department for Education advice on what to do if a child is sexually harassed or experiences sexual violence. This expands on the principles set out in the statutory guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education (2021)

Please contact the school safeguarding team if you have any concerns that a child is being abused by their peers.