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Peer-on-peer child abuse

Peer-on-peer child abuse is a term used to describe children abusing other children.

Peer-on-peer child abuse can include:

  • bullying (including online bullying and bullying because of someone’s race, religion, sexuality, disability or trans status)

  • abuse by your girlfriend, boyfriend or partner

  • physical abuse

  • sexual violence, such as rape and sexual assault

  • sexual harassment

  • sharing naked or semi-naked photos or videos without permission

  • upskirting

  • initiation/hazing type violence and rituals to harass, abuse and humiliate

  • emotional abuse

  • financial abuse

  • coercive control

Spotting the signs

Things to look out for if you suspect a child is a victim of peer-on-peer child abuse:

  • absence from school or lack of interest in school activities

  • physical injuries which can’t be explained

  • mental or emotional health issues

  • becoming withdrawn or showing a lack of self esteem

  • lack of sleep

  • alcohol or substance misuse

  • sudden changes in behaviour

  • inappropriate behaviour

  • showing harmful behaviour towards others or self (self-harm, violent outbursts)

Report it

If you suspect that peer-on-peer child abuse is happening it is always best to report it.

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