When physical or sexual assault is carried out by one child upon another, consideration should be given as to whether or not these procedures should be followed in respect of either or both children.
This will depend upon a number of factors:
- The nature and severity of the abuse.
- The nature of the relationship between ‘victim’ and ‘abuser’.
- The difference in age between the two.
- Whether any degree of force or coercion is used.
- Whether it is a ‘one-off’ incident, or persistent over time.
- The appropriateness of response by the parents.
- Whether the abusive behaviour is age appropriate e.g. is it sexual exploration that might normally be expected between children of the same age.
- Any known history in either child’s family that should arouse increased concern.
Where the ’abuser’ is over the age of criminal responsibility (8) the police will wish to establish whether an offence has been committed. If a Criminal Investigation is conducted it is essential that the child’s named person is informed so that the needs of the child can be addressed.
Inappropriate sexual behaviour by a child is sometimes caused by their lack of understanding of appropriate boundaries.