Child-on-Child Abuse in Schools and Colleges

Posted Date

2nd September 2021

Free Resource for Staff

Recent events and media coverage have brought to light the issue and scale of peer-on-peer abuse in schools and colleges. We've been deeply saddened to see the extent of sexual abuse, sexual assault, and sexual harassment suffered by children and young people at the hands of their peers.

We firmly believe that all children and adults should be safe from abuse, harm and neglect, wherever they live, learn or work. To support schools to tackle the issue of peer-on-peer abuse, we've created this free resource that can be shared with staff to help them understand the scale of the problem. We hope this will help to you to inform your team of the risks and help you support them to provide the best outcomes for the children and young people that you work with.

Recently updated to include KCSIE 2021 information and, for boarding schools, a section on residential settings.

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What Is Peer-On-Peer Abuse?

Peer-on-peer abuse is a growing concern and one that we have little reliable data on at present. Childline reported a 29% increase in children seeking help due to peer-on-peer sexual abuse. There is evidence to suggest that criminal exploitation and sexual abuse, both directly and in the form of grooming, are among the biggest concerns here. Peer-on-peer abuse includes:

  • Physical and sexual abuse
  • Sexual harassment and violence
  • Emotional harm
  • On and offline bullying
  • Teenage relationship abuse
  • Gang activity

This list is not exhaustive. The perpetrator and victim should be of a similar age and be under 18 years old, to understand more, visit our blog or see browse our other resources at the foot of this page. 


Sources of Help

If you've experienced abuse there is help available, the NSPCC has a dedicated helpline for children and young people who have experienced abuse at school and also for worried adults and professionals that need support and guidance. 

Young people and adults can contact the NSPCC 'Report Abuse in Education' helpline on 0800 136 663 or email

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