Unhealthy relationships and relationship abuse

All teachers understand that a young person being in an unhealthy relationship can lead to abuse of many different types: controlling behaviour, emotional, financial, psychological abuse and more.

Free teaching resources are available on sexting, consent and preventing relationship abuse from the Home Office’s Disrespect Nobody campaign. The Home Office has worked with the PSHE association to develop the materials: :

Two discussion guides (for 8 to 12 year olds and one for 16 to 18 year olds)

Three lesson plans covering relationship abuse, consent and sexting

New materials for keeping children safe at parties

A new interactive for schools will soon be available to help young people stay safe at parties. More ‘Grooming parties’ are happening across the country and more young people are finding themselves being groomed and exploited in this way.

Access free resources here

Sign up to get free Rebecca’s Story resources here


It’s everyone’s responsibility

If you work or come into contact with young people in a school setting, whether in an employed or voluntary capacity, then you have a duty of care towards them.

If you work or come into contact with young people in a school setting, whether in an employed or voluntary capacity, then you have a duty of care towards them.

There is no specific offence for ‘child sexual exploitation.’ Therefore perpetrators can be convicted of a range of offences under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, and fall under section 47 the Children’s Act 1989 – ‘reasonable cause to suspect that a child who lives, or is found in their area is suffering, or is likely to suffer significant harm.’

These include:

• Sexual activity with a child

• Possessing indecent images of children

• Making indecent images of a child

• Inciting a child to engage in sexual activity

• Abuse of position of trust

• Administering a substance with intent to commit a sexual abuse

It is your responsibility to make sure that you:



• Know who to contact and HOW TO REPORT CONCERNS

You can help to raise awareness among young people themselves about recognising the signs of CSE and helping them keep themselves safe.

Talk to them about healthy relationships and what they can do to help protect themselves, if they are in a difficult situation.

Act on it! Report it!

You have a duty of care to report any concerns to the police or to your local authority.

  • Use your safeguarding policy and procedures – and remember, if you feel something’s not right, it probably isn’t.
  • Talk to your Designated Safeguarding Lead.
  • Complete the CSE Risk Factor Matrix together if you have concerns someone may be at risk of or experiencing child sexual exploitation
  • Listen to the child and if you have any concerns, do what is needed to help them.
  • If you consider the child to be at risk of harm through sexual exploitation, refer to First Response immediately on 0300 1313 126

Can you help the child yourself?

  • If the child is at low risk, it may be too early to refer the case on. It may be that providing advice and guidance, or other early intervention to a child, young person and/or family to help them stay safe, is more appropriate.
  • With parental consent or the consent of the young person themselves, a single agency or group of agencies can do this via an Early Help Assessment (EHA) or with the help of your Local Support team (LST)
  • If you are in any doubt, or if a young person is at an immediate risk, you should refer the case to: First Response in Staffordshire on 0800 1313 126 or Safeguarding and Referral Team on 01782 235100 in Stoke on Trent, following consultation with your own Safeguarding Lead or designated person.

If the child is at risk of harm or there are wider concerns:

  • Call Catch22 for advice on 01782 237106
  • Refer the case to First Response in Staffordshire on 0800 1313 126
  • Refer the child to a multi-agency CSE Panel for support
  • Contact Staffordshire Police on 101, or 999 in an emergency.

Sexual Consent and Young People

Young people do not understand consent.

Children do not understand that they should not send sexualised images or under what circumstances they can consent to sex.

The following educational videos can help with their understanding.

This video from Thames Valley Police explains consent in very simple terms

This video shows how sexting can have a massive impact on people’s lives

Further Resources to help you

Resources for schools

Share Aware Guide - a PDF guide produced to empower parents to keep their children safe online.

NetAware - a comprehensive guide for parents on over 50 of the top social networks, apps and games that young people use.

Talking to Your Child About Staying Safe Online - advice and tips from the NSPCC on how to have effective conversations with your children about an array of online topics, including cyberbullying, online porn, and sharing images and information.

Parental Controls - information on how parental controls can be used to help keep children safe online.

Teaching Materials

NSPCC Teaching Materials - Resources to support teachers to deliver online safety lessons to children aged 8-12.

Help for Young People

Online grooming - an advice page, looking at what online grooming is, how it happens, and what you can do to keep yourself safe.

Sexting - information on what sexting is, what the risks are, and what you can do if someone sends you a picture or asks for one.

Mobile phone safety - an advice page, focusing on how to use your phone safely. It covers what you should do if you are being bullied through your mobile or being pressured to share your phone number.

Online gaming - ChildLine content, giving advice on how to stay safe when gaming. It discusses voice chat, online bullying, and how to keep a record of abusive messages.

Use the right language

Your language can make a child feel believed and safe or blamed. Make sure you are offering the best possible service to children you work with by thinking about the words you use.

Download the ‘Appropriate Language: Child sexual and/or Criminal Exploitation, Guide for Professionals’ to get tips to support the child in the best way.

Stop the Trafficking leaflets

Five leaflets targeted at young people to help them recognise if they are being exploited, living in slavery or being trafficked.

A5 Sexual Exp Single Eng

A5 Countylines

A5 Domestic Servitude

A5 Forced Criminality

A5 Labour Agric Single Eng

Coming soon:

New free resource to help young people keep themselves safe at parties

A collection of CSE Videos

Here are some useful video resources for schools.

Lucy and the Boy - short animated video for young people highlighting the risks of sharing personal information with strangers online

I Saw Your Willy - short video for young people that shows the dangers of sharing private images and how quickly such pictures can spread.

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