In the United Kingdom, this guidance applies to designated safeguarding leads (DSLs), their assistants, principals, and senior management groups in schools and educational institutions[footnote 1]. A concise overview on handling incidents can be accessed on the website of the UK Council for Internet Safety (UKCIS) for other staff members to review.
For children and young individuals in England, extracurricular clubs, youth organizations, and providers that offer education outside of school settings can also serve as valuable guidance for good practice.
Professionals working in educational environments in Wales should refer to the following guidance on addressing occurrences.
Practitioners working in educational settings should seek advice and guidance on safeguarding young people and children in Scotland and responding to incidents.
1.2 What is included in this guidance?
This advice outlines how to respond to an incident of nudes and semi-nudes being shared (see section 1.4 for a definition), including:.
The categories of incidents that this guidance includes are:.
This recommendation does not include:
In response, colleges, schools, and local authorities should also refer to the Department for Education’s guidance on safeguarding statutory education to ensure the safety of children in these educational settings.
1.3 What is the current state of this guidance?
UKCIS, representing the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), has overseen the creation of this guidance in collaboration with the UKCIS Education Working Group.
This guidance is not legally required, and schools and colleges should read this in addition to:
The advice, which was published in 2016 by UKCIS in conjunction with the NPCC and Charlotte Aynsley, serves as a replacement for the guidance document titled ‘Sexting in schools and colleges: responding to incidents and ensuring the safety of young individuals’.
1.4 ‘Sharing explicit photos and partially clothed images’: explanation
This advice uses the term ‘nudes and semi-nudes’ to mean the posting or sending of live streams, videos, or images that are nude or semi-nude by young people under the age of 18 online. This could be done through forums or chat apps, gaming platforms, or social media. It could also involve sharing between devices through offline services like Apple’s AirDrop.
The term ‘nudes’ is commonly recognized by young people and more appropriately encompasses all types of image sharing incidents. Children and young people may use alternative terms such as ‘dick pics’ or ‘pics’.
It is possible for a young person in a consensual relationship to be coerced into sharing images. Such images may be shared and created by young people in relationships, both those who are not in a relationship and those who are. The motivations behind these actions are not always criminal or sexual.
More detailed instructions on the reasons for capturing and distributing pictures and videos can be located in section 1.6.
The sharing of nudes and semi-nudes can happen publicly online, in 1:1 messaging or via group chats and closed social media accounts.
Images, videos, or live streams that depict nudity or partial nudity may involve more than one minor or young individual.
Among individuals employed in educational environments, there exist various hazards that necessitate meticulous supervision. Instances that involve minors and adolescents are intricate, rendering it unlawful to address them, encompassing activities such as generating and disseminating explicit photographs and videos of individuals below the age of 18, even if done with their consent.
1.4(a) Different interpretations
Many experts may describe ‘naked and partially naked’ as:.
Instances involving the sharing of explicit photos and partially explicit photos are commonly known as ‘revenge porn’ and ‘upskirting'[footnote 6]. Nevertheless, when it comes to non-consensual sharing of images between adults, these terms are frequently employed in the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015, Voyeurism (Offences) Act 2019, and Sexual Offences Act 2003, as detailed in sections 33-35 and 67A.
1.5 Why is this important for environments that work with children?
Sharing live online streams and photos/videos has become an integral part of people’s daily lives, allowing them to connect with friends and record their experiences.
The main emphasis of this guidance is on the sharing of explicit and partially explicit photos and videos. Nevertheless, it is crucial to acknowledge that children and young individuals send a range of pictures and videos, some of which are not explicit, partially explicit, or meant to be exploitative. These photos and videos can be exchanged through messaging applications or uploaded on social media and platforms for sharing images.
According to a study conducted by Brook and NCA-CEOP in 2017, it was discovered that a considerable proportion of children and adolescents are not exchanging explicit photographs or videos, although numerous educational institutions are facing a rise in cases where such explicit content is being circulated.
The potential risks are substantial, as further sharing of the imagery could result in embarrassment, bullying, and heightened susceptibility to blackmail and Exploitation.. However, the majority of children and young individuals are not engaged in the creation or dissemination of such images and videos.
Sharing and producing explicit images of individuals under the age of 18 is also considered illegal, which raises significant concerns within educational environments that cater to children and young individuals, as well as among parents and guardians.
Children and young individuals are protected, aided, and instructed to ensure that educational environments are capable of promptly and assuredly responding. In this context, problems are frequently recognized or reported, and the exchange of information can occur, although the creation of such visuals will probably occur away from educational settings.
Assistance and resources from various sources are also available. Images depicting partially clothed and fully unclothed individuals are used to address incidents and guide the development of procedures in educational settings. The primary goal of this support is to provide guidance and advice.
These protocols should be included in the safeguarding arrangements of an educational institution, and all occurrences should be addressed as safeguarding issues.
The primary concern at all times should be the protection and welfare of young and vulnerable individuals, and the response to these incidents should be guided by the principle of proportionality.
This behavior can create unhealthy and unsafe norms, enabling peer-on-peer abuse and preventing young people and children from disclosing. It is important to prevent this and also to prevent other young people and children from disclosing. These unhealthy and unsafe norms can be created, which also enable peer-on-peer abuse and prevent young people and children from disclosing. The school’s culture directly affects how these incidents, including harmful sexual behavior at a low level, are responded to. Sharing nudes and semi-nudes, which can fall under this category, can lead to damaging or unhealthy cultures within the school community and individual incidents of sexual behavior and peer abuse.
It must be recognised that the individual case management can affect school-wide culture, peer response and all children’s ability to speak out.
1.6 Comprehending incentives and actions
In order to ensure a proportionate and appropriate response to an incident of sharing semi-nudes and nudes, the use of set tools in education settings can be utilized. The appropriateness of the incident and the motivations behind it may vary depending on the individual’s or young person’s circumstances. It is important to note that incidents involving the sharing of semi-nudes and nudes among young people and children often do not involve criminal or sexual motivations, as this can occur within a wide range of circumstances.
1.6(a) Describing the occurrence
Finkelhor and Wolak’s classification system of youth-created visual content cases can be employed to define and evaluate occurrences based on motives.
Events can generally be categorized into two groups.
Every occurrence must be evaluated for a suitable and balanced reaction, and various forms of peer-to-peer sharing incidents can exemplify the practice that educational institutions can incorporate during staff training. Annex B provides further details.
1.6(b) Evaluating conduct
It is important to be aware that sexually inappropriate or risky behavior, which may initially not appear to be sexually abusive or harmful, can occur among people and young children who have been normalized to such behavior. Therefore, education within the relevant setting or designated safeguarding leads (DSLs) should emphasize the need to be mindful of this.
The incident should be dealt with proportionally, taking into account the displayed behavior. It is important to note that this isolated incident, demonstrating abusive or problematic behavior, may not be indicative of the overall sexual behavior of a young person or child. The “Continuum Hackett’s” model can also help practitioners understand that young people and children can fluidly move between each category on a wide continuum of behaviors, from normal to violent and abusive.
Fig 2: Derived from ‘A continuum of children and young people’s sexual behaviors’ (Hackett, 2010).
The perpetration of sadism involves the use of sexually and/or psychologically arousing violence, which may include elements of physically violent and sexually abusive behavior. The victim may not be able to freely give consent or may lack informed consent. To ensure compliance, the perpetrator may use force, coercion, or misuse their power. There are no elements of overt victimization with unexpected or socially unusual outcomes or intentions. Generally, within the context of peer groups, reciprocal and consensual behaviors are accepted as socially expected and developmentally appropriate decision-making. Violent, abusive, problematic, and inappropriate behaviors are not considered acceptable.
Professionals must consider a child or young person’s sexual conduct in the context of their age and growth, and they can utilize tools like Brook’s Sexual Behaviours Traffic Light Tool to identify it. When working with children below the age of 13, it is crucial for professionals to collaborate with safeguarding partners and receive guidance on identifying and addressing harmful behaviors and/or underage sexual activity. DSLs (or similar roles) have the responsibility to adhere to local policies and procedures to effectively fulfill this task. Understanding a child’s sexual behavior within the framework of their age and development is essential for professionals.
Any young person or child displaying harmful sexual behavior should be supported and protected, while also encouraged to adopt positive patterns of behavior and move forward from the incident.
Within the context of a young person or child displaying appropriate sexual behavior, consideration should still be given to whether sharing or taking semi-nude or nude pictures raises any additional concerns or impacts their development or age.
Further support and resources on dealing with harmful sexual behavior in educational settings can be found on the Contextual Safeguarding Network website.
1.7(a) Lewd pictures of minors
It is against the law to have pictures of yourself if you are under 18. This includes pictures of someone under 18 that are considered ‘offensive’. Creating, owning, and spreading any pictures of someone under 18 that are considered ‘offensive’ is complicated due to its legal standing. Addressing cases of sharing explicit and partially explicit photos.
The legislation relevant to the Protection of Children Act 1978 (Wales and England) was amended in 2003 to include offenses of a sexual nature. [Footnote: Wales]
When deciding whether a child’s photograph is indecent, cases are prosecuted based on what is recognized as the standard of propriety for a district or magistrate judge, or a jury. The question of what constitutes ‘indecent’ is not defined in the legislation.
If the following criteria are met, one or more images are likely to be defined as such; however, it does not always mean that nudity is indecent.
1.7(b) Unauthorized image distribution
The sharing of private sexual images or videos without consent, with the intention to cause distress, is also considered illegal. The relevant legislation can be found in section 33 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015.
1.8 Preventing unwarranted criminalization of minors
Created well in advance of widespread internet usage, smartphones, and digital photography, the legislation was not designed to incriminate minors and adolescents. Its purpose was to safeguard them from adults who aim to exploit them sexually or derive pleasure from their Exploitation., making it illegal to possess indecent images of children.
However, individuals who are minors and adolescents who distribute explicit images of themselves or others are in violation of the law.
[Footnote 9] Young people and children with a criminal record may encounter various obstacles in accessing housing, travel, employment, training, and education. They often face discrimination and stigma. However, it is important to avoid unnecessarily criminalizing young people and children.
If there is a potential harm or risk involved, it is important to consider the specific context of each case when determining the appropriate action to take in order to protect and educate young people and children about identifying healthy and unhealthy behaviors within relationships. Sharing or taking semi-nude or nude images may not always be harmful to all young people and children, so it should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. However, it is important to recognize that the exploration of relationships and the natural curiosity about sex often lead young people and children to engage in risky behavior when sharing and creating images.
The following section clarifies that when the police investigate an incident involving the sharing of explicit photos and videos, it does not necessarily result in the child or young person involved obtaining a criminal record.
1.9 The law enforcement reaction
The NPCC has stressed that instances involving the distribution of graphic images and videos should give priority to safeguarding minors.
Further guidance on the circumstances can be found in Section 2, where it would be suitable. Instances that can be categorized as ‘experimental’ (refer to section 1.6) do not exhibit abusive or aggravating components and evidence. For instance, incidents in educational environments often do not require police involvement in numerous cases.
Additional instructions for section 2 (refer to equivalent or MASH) recommend reporting incidents with abusive and/or aggravating elements to the police via the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH). By conducting multi-agency assessments, it is crucial to gather all evidence, including conducting a comprehensive inquiry, to ascertain whether police involvement may be necessary in certain instances.
In rare cases, a legal response and official punishment towards a minor or adolescent would solely be contemplated, even if the authorities are implicated. In regards to law enforcement pertaining to the inquiry of sharing explicit photos and videos, the NPCC and College of Policing have created operational guidance to aid local police departments in crafting a unified, efficient, and fair response in this domain.
1.9(a) Recording of Criminal Activities
When an incident of sharing explicit images is reported to the police, it will be recorded on their crime systems, and the individuals involved, including the child or young person, will be categorized as involved in a ‘crime’. This is in accordance with the Home Office Counting Rules and National Crime Recording Standards, which require the police to document such incidents.
This is not equivalent to having a criminal history.
1.9(b) Law enforcement determination
Once a report is made to the authorities, they will conduct an inquiry and determine a suitable resolution.
If an incident is found to have abusive and/or aggravating factors, the child or young person may receive a caution or conviction.
If there is no evidence of abuse or any of the following, and an incident is determined to be non-abusive, the police can use an outcome 21 code to document the results of the investigation. This helps reduce the potential harm to children and young individuals.
The outcome 21 code, initiated in 2016, assists in formalizing the discretion that the police have in dealing with offenses like the distribution of explicit photographs and videos.
Outcome 21 declares:
Since it was not in the best interest of the public, law enforcement has the authority to document their decision to not pursue additional measures, even if a minor has committed a crime and the police possess evidence of their involvement.
The decision to utilize result 21 in these situations is likely to be reassessed by a suitably senior and/or experienced official.
The immediate and broader consequences should also be clarified. This information should be conveyed by law enforcement to the educational institution when suitable, the child’s guardians or caregivers, and the individual impacted once a suitable resolution has been determined.
1.9(c) Background check for criminal records
The choice to reveal details as a component of any background check for criminal records (known as a DBS certificate in England) is determined by whether that information is pertinent to the potential harm an individual may present to children, young individuals, or vulnerable adults.
It is feasible for a DBS certificate to reveal an occurrence of distributing explicit photos and partially explicit photos stored on police databases with outcome 21.
It should be included in the consideration that when someone takes up a working position with children, for the purpose of disclosure, the relevant information should be reasonably believed by the chief officer to be provided. The decision to include should be made on the basis that the chief officer reasonably believes the information to be relevant. In cases where a chief officer is considering what information to consider, it should be provided that in addition to cautions and convictions held on the National Police Computer, information about the individual should be considered. However, only information falling short of a caution or conviction can be included on a DBS certificate when an individual has applied for an Enhanced Criminal Records Check.
1.9(d) Collaborative partnership
If there is an unknown incident of a college or school, the DSL or setting should inform the police, as per the statutory guidance for ensuring the safety of children in education.
Out-of-school educational establishments should collaborate with appropriate multi-agency partners.
2. Managing accidents
2.1 Initial reaction
It is recommended and considered best practice to have a policy in place to protect children in various settings, including out-of-school settings. Additionally, all colleges and schools are required to have an effective policy in place to protect children, as stated in footnote 10.
Consistent with this, employees should address instances of explicit and partially explicit content being circulated, and the policy should align with the educational institution’s stance on such occurrences.
When an incident involving naked and partially naked individuals comes to the notice of any staff member in an educational environment:.
Figure 3 presents the suggested strategy that educational establishments should embrace when addressing an incident. This strategy is succinctly summarized in this section.
It is important to note that in different scenarios, several evaluations and risk evaluations might be necessary, hence a disclosure might not occur as a singular occurrence, and the child and young individual might provide additional information at a later point.
The exercise training in B Annex may be used to highlight staff issues. Procedures within the child protection policy should cover them to enable them to recognize concerns and be equipped with the necessary support and safeguarding training. All staff members in an educational setting must have a duty to refer and recognize any incidents involving semi-nudes and nudes.
Any young person or child should take direct disclosure seriously. If a young person or child discloses an incident in which they are the subject, they are likely to be embarrassed and face consequences. They may have already tried to resolve the issue of sharing nudes and semi-nudes, and disclosing it in an educational setting is likely their last resort.
When a disclosure is made, staff members should ensure that the child feels comfortable and that sensitive and appropriate questions are asked to minimize any further trauma or distress.
Additional sources to assist adults in addressing reports of mistreatment can be located on the NSPCC website.
2.3 First evaluation meeting
The first review meeting should take into account the preliminary evidence and strive to establish:
If in this initial phase, it is necessary to promptly refer the matter to the police and/or children’s social care via the MASH or a similar mechanism. In order to determine any immediate dangers, DSLs can utilize Finkelhor and Wolak’s classification system and harmful sexual behavior resources described in section 1 to classify the incident and evaluate the actions of any child or young individual implicated.
The occurrence involves a grown-up.
There are concerns about the capacity of a person young or child who has been groomed, blackmailed, or coerced, to consent.
What do you know about videos or images that suggest unusual sexual acts, which may be violent or depict content that is inappropriate for young individuals in the 1.6 section of developmental stages, when assessing behavior based on guidance?
The involvement of any pupil in sexual acts, including images or videos, under the age of 13 is prohibited. (For more information about age considerations, please refer to Annex A.)
If a child or young person is sharing explicit images, such as nudes or semi-nudes, and showing signs of being suicidal or self-harming, you should consider them to be in immediate danger.
If additional information or concerns are revealed at a later time, an educational institution can opt to escalate the incident without involving law enforcement or child welfare services. They may still choose to address the incident even if none of the aforementioned conditions are met.
If necessary, individuals should be involved in their local support system and disciplinary framework.
The decision to respond to the incident should be reviewed throughout the entire process, taking into account the best interests of any young person or child, as well as considering the principles of protection and welfare and proportionality. The decision should be based on the best interests of the young person or child, considering the child protection or safeguarding procedures in line with the education setting, and should be recorded and documented accordingly. Input and input from other staff members, as well as input from the team leadership and manager or headteacher/principal of the education settings, should be taken into consideration when making the decision (or by the DSL).
If uncertainties persist after adhering to child protection protocols, it is advisable to adhere to local safeguarding measures.
2.4 Evaluating the hazards
When revisiting any applicable evaluation instruments, the DSL (or a comparable authority) ought to carry out a subsequent examination (which includes an interaction with any minor or adolescent implicated) in order to ascertain the details and evaluate the potential dangers if, during the preliminary evaluation phase, a determination has been reached to abstain from contacting law enforcement and/or child welfare services. The conditions surrounding occurrences can differ greatly.
When evaluating the hazards and deciding if a recommendation is necessary, the subsequent factors should also be taken into account:
DSLs should always use their professional judgment in conjunction with their assessment of incidents involving their colleagues to determine whether support or additional information from other agencies or the education setting is needed to manage the incident and whether a referral will be appropriate to address the risk of harm to a young person or child. DSLs are there to assist with these questions.
Annex A provides further detail on why these questions should be used to complement and support the DSL’s (or equivalent’s) professional judgement.
2.5 Assisting the youth involved
If feasible, the DSL (or an appropriate individual) should conduct this discussion. It is advisable to determine the most effective approach and engage in a dialogue with the child or adolescent after the school has evaluated them as not being in immediate danger.
If possible, the staff should make sure that a young person or child feels comfortable talking to a different member of staff. It is important to give a young person or child a sense of control over the reporting process. The staff member (or DSL) should provide support to make sure that the young person or child feels confident discussing the incident and that the conversation is handled appropriately.
The aim of the discussion is to:
When speaking about the exchange of graphic photos and partially graphic photos, it is vital that the DSL (or equivalent)/member of staff:
Children and adolescents who have had their explicit or partially explicit images shared publicly should be:
Minors and adolescents who have received an explicit or partially explicit image should be:
Children and young individuals who have distributed explicit images of another child or young person should be:
2.6 Communicating with parents and caregivers
Parents or caregivers should be well-informed and involved in the process, and they should not be kept in the dark unless there is a risk of harm to a young person or child. Any decision to not inform parents or caregivers should be made in conjunction with other services, such as social care for children, and the police, who would take the lead in making an informed decision.
Where appropriate, DSLs (or equivalents) should support any child or young person involved with determining the best approach for Providing information to parents and caregivers. and allow them to be a part of this process if they want to be.
2.7 Assisting parents and caregivers
Dealing with these situations may be difficult for carers and parents as they may struggle to know how to handle the varying emotions that a child may display. In any of these situations, it is possible for a person to share an image of another individual or receive an image of someone else, and they may also lose control of their own image. Young people and children can be involved in an incident in several different ways.
It is important for professionals to take concerns seriously and listen to whatever feelings individuals may have. It can be helpful for carers and parents to explain that it is normal for young people to be curious about sex, in order to reassure them. Additionally, it can also be helpful for social care or police personnel and staff members.
In every circumstance, parents or caregivers should be:
Furthermore, aside from the aforementioned recommendations, parents and caregivers should also receive the subsequent advice and guidance for particular situations.
Parents/guardians whose child’s explicit or partially explicit photos have been shared publicly should be:
Parents/guardians whose child has received explicit images and partially explicit images should be recommended to:
Parents/ caretakers whose child has shared another child’s explicit photos or partially explicit photos should be recommended to:
2.8 Collaborative Efforts among Multiple Agencies
If it is necessary to report to the police, contact can be made through the existing arrangements, such as dialing 999 or 101. In instances where there is a threat to life, local neighborhood police officers or the Community Police Support Officer can be approached, and in the first instance, an equivalent or the MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub) may be involved to ensure safer schools.
This may involve any young individual or child participating in interviews and using devices. Once a report is made to the police, they will conduct an investigation and record it.
2.9 Contact and Referrals for Social Care of Children
If the DSL (or equivalent) is aware of any child or young person who has prior contact with them, they should get in touch with children’s social care. This could include situations where the child or young person is currently or has previously been enrolled in an Early Help or Child Protection Plan.
They should refer the case if the DSL (or equivalent) believes there are broader concerns that warrant the involvement of children’s social services due to the investigation, in accordance with their safeguarding or child protection protocols.
DSLs should ensure that they are familiar and aware of any relevant local policies, procedures, names/contact points, and support available in responding to incidents in educational settings.
If there is a local MASH area, then this may be the most suitable place for an initial referral to educational settings.
2.10 Exploring devices, viewing and deleting explicit and partially explicit content
2.10(a) Observing the visuals
It is important to communicate clearly and effectively to carers, parents, and staff that incidents and possible responses should be based on the appropriate equivalents (or DSLs) of the content of imagery. It is crucial to avoid intentionally showing any semi-nudes or nudes unless there is a clear and valid reason to do so.
It is important that all staff members are clear on what they can and can’t do in relation to viewing semi-nudes and nudes, and that this is communicated to any carer, parent, or person with a young child who may be viewing them.
The viewing of any imagery that may cause harm or distress to a young or child should never be witnessed by an individual. It is always important to adhere to the child protection policies and procedures of the educational setting, and the decision to view any imagery should be based on the professional judgment of the DSL.
If a choice is made to observe visuals, the DSL (or similar) would have to be convinced that observing:
If it is necessary to observe the visuals, then the DSL (or similar) should be utilized.
Carers and parents should be aware of this procedure, as well as young people and children. The educational setting’s child protection or safeguarding procedures should include the confiscation and deletion of devices, as well as searching procedures. It is important to note that this advice is specifically for schools, and further details on confiscating and deleting devices can be found in the DfE’s guidance on screening and searching.
Emotional support may be necessary for both adults and young people, including children, as viewing semi-nudes and nudes can be distressing. It is important to ensure that the staff member responsible for DSLs (or equivalents) provides appropriate support following disclosure from a young person or child, or as a result of disclosure from a staff member. Additionally, staff members undertaking daily roles such as school monitoring or IT should also ensure that appropriate support is provided to young people or children following disclosure from them or from another staff member.
2.10(b) Removal of visuals
If the school has decided to delete semi-nudes and nudes from being shared online and on devices, other agencies do not need to be involved in the consideration process.
If the individuals refuse or it is later revealed that they have not erased the visuals, law enforcement may intervene. They are persisting in engaging in an unlawful act. It is imperative to notify them that possessing explicit photographs and partially clothed pictures is against the law. They ought to be provided with a specific timeframe to remove such content from all their devices, online storage platforms, and social media websites. Moreover, they should be requested to verify the deletion of these materials and ensure their complete eradication. In the majority of instances, it is appropriate to ask children and young individuals to delete such visuals.
The adolescent or youngster should not pose an additional danger unless this is communicated to parents and caregivers. Documentation of safeguarding measures should be kept, and choices regarding reasons, dates, and times should be documented. These choices must adhere to the safeguarding or child protection guidelines and protocols of the educational environment and should be made based on the professional assessment of the DSL (or equivalent) in order to remove inappropriate content and inspect a child or adolescent’s device.
2.11 Documenting occurrences
Their record should be kept to ensure that incidents, including those referred to external agencies, have been reported to the police and social care settings. The incidents shared should pertain to semi-nudes and nudes, and should include all relevant information. It is important that incidents that have not been reported to the police or social care settings, for reasons related to the education or social care of children, be recorded and signed off by the team leadership/manager or headteacher.
The statutory requirements, as outlined in your local safeguarding procedures and Keeping Children Safe in Education if applicable, specify the records that should be maintained.
2.12 Reporting explicit and partially explicit content online
The process of reporting and the Terms of Service should be publicly available on the websites of individual providers, where additional details can be accessed. A third party can file a report on behalf of the child or young individual using a public reporting feature provided by certain online service providers. Account holders can also utilize the reporting feature provided by the majority of online service providers to delete explicit photos and partially explicit photos from devices and social media, particularly if they are experiencing distress.
If the content consists of a sexual image of an individual below 18 years old and a website lacks a reporting feature, you have the option to report it directly to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF).
If you are concerned that you or a young person or child you know has been groomed or exploited online, you should report it to NCA-CEOP. This must be done as soon as possible in order to minimize the number of people who have seen the picture. The tool helps young people and children report online shared images that they have seen, and if it is possible to get the image removed. Young people and children can use the Remove Report tool from Childline and IWF to report videos and images that they are worried about, which might have been publicly shared.
2.13 Optimal approaches for addressing incidents
In order to provide an appropriate response and determine the nature of the incident that has taken place, personnel have the option of utilizing these case studies during a training session. Additional case studies can be located in annex B. The instructions provided in this section can aid an educational institution in effectively addressing three different incident scenarios, as illustrated in the case studies provided below.
3. Teaching kids and adolescents
3.1 Why teach children and adolescents about the importance of sharing explicit photos and partially explicit photos?
Teaching about safeguarding issues can help prevent harm to young people and children by providing them with the knowledge, skills, and attributes they need to identify and address sensitive issues. It promotes a whole setting approach to safeguarding, giving young people and children the space to explore key issues and build confidence in seeking support when they encounter problems. Additionally, it addresses the need for online risk identification and access to help when they need it.
The guidance document Keeping Children Safe in Education highlights that educational establishments should guarantee that children are taught about protection, which encompasses internet safety.
This includes being taught about respectful and positive online relationships, as well as the viewing and sharing of indecent images of children being considered a criminal offense. All schools should provide opportunities for young people and children to learn about online safety and the harms it can cause. Sex and Relationships Education (RSE) should be compulsory for all primary-aged and secondary-aged pupils, in order to educate them about healthy relationships.
Ensuring young people understand their right to be treated with respect and dignity, RSE and Relationships Education play a key role in teaching them how to treat others the same way in a relationship.
Children, staff, parents, and the broader community are provided with an opportunity, not only to connect, but also to initiate meaningful dialogues. This offers a chance to educate communities and peer groups on what constitutes normal or acceptable conduct, while also fostering the ability to address any concerns or apprehensions with a trusted adult and openly discuss subjects like comprehending and identifying healthy and detrimental behaviors.
3.2 When and where should we educate children and young individuals about the sharing of explicit photos and partially revealing images?
The school’s Computing programme should align with the National Curriculum requirements for the study of programmes, as well as the Sex and Relationships Education and Relationships Education curriculum. Additionally, discussions about the sharing of semi-nudes and nudes should take place within schools as part of the learning process.
In particular, without addressing the exchange of explicit photos and partially explicit photos, suitable instruction on the fundamental concepts of voluntary image sharing can be provided to children in primary school. Teaching should be tailored to children and young individuals’ online conduct and encounters, and aligned with their readiness for acquiring new knowledge, with instruction being integrated throughout all grade levels.
In the field of Education, images, such as explicit and partially explicit photographs, can be used and circulated to provide age-specific guidance and support in various educational settings.
Educational environments should also take into account:
This will encompass where to seek support from within and beyond the educational environment, what actions to avoid, what actions to take, what to communicate, and who to inform.
It is essential for young people and children to develop confidence by putting their actions into strategies and skills. Young people and children may find it embarrassing or difficult to ask for help, and they may be worried about the decisions they have made. It may also be extremely difficult for adults to ask for help. It is important to recognize how difficult it may be for young people and children to challenge or deny requests from their peers, especially those to whom they are attracted or seek approval from.
It is important for people, especially young children, to understand the significance of their school. The content of this incident will be explored as a part of their learning. The school will provide support to young children and reassure them if they have any concerns or difficulties. Additionally, this policy reinforces the inappropriate nature of abusive behaviors. It is crucial for young people and children to comprehend the school’s policy regarding semi-nudes and nudes.
3.3 How can we ensure the safe delivery of education?
Teaching should demonstrate the highest standards in providing secure and efficient education, including:[footnote 14].
The principles articulated in the Key Principles of Effective Prevention Education, produced by NCA-CEOP on behalf of the PSHE Association, should also be reflected in Teaching.
3.4 Utilizing external guests
The use of external visitors should be carefully considered to enhance the setting’s educational experience, ensuring that they are effective. The use of external visitors can provide significant benefits to educational settings in terms of support.
It is crucial to take into account:
For more information on how to accommodate external guests, please refer to:
3.5 What options are accessible?
The following organizations may provide education resources that young people and children may find helpful when planning for education and seeking opportunities.
Barnardos: Barnardos run specialist services for children and young people who have engaged in harmful sexual behaviour or are at risk of or experiencing child sexual abuse and Exploitation.
Kids and adolescents have the option to discuss any subject either through phone or online at Childline, which is a complimentary, personal, and secret service. Childline provides guidance and information on various subjects, such as explicit and partially explicit content, and offers the Report Remove tool in partnership with the IWF to assist individuals under 18 in reporting and removing inappropriate images and videos from the web. Moreover, Childline also offers online safety recommendations specifically for d/Deaf children and young individuals.
Also accessible are educational resources for learning about special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) for young people and children. This session on online sexual harassment includes plans for promoting healthy relationships and sharing semi-nude and nude content. Childnet provides free online safety advice, educational resources, and information for parents, carers, professionals, and young people.
LGfL – London Grid for Learning provides training and complimentary resources for educational institutions, which encompass informative posters for both staff and children, as well as teaching materials for primary-aged children from Early Years to Key Stage 2. These resources aim to educate about the importance of not changing or undressing on camera or while utilizing electronic devices.
The Thinkuknow program, developed by the National Crime Agency, is an online safety education initiative. It provides advice and information to young people, children, carers, and parents regarding internet use, relationships, sex, and the sharing of semi-nudes and nudes. Additionally, it offers free access to educational resources for professionals in this field.
The NSPCC also offers learning materials for children and young individuals with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). They provide online resources and lesson plans that address topics such as healthy relationships, abusive behavior, and the protection of children against sexual abuse. In addition, the NSPCC offers guidance, training, and advice to parents, caregivers, and professionals across a wide range of child safeguarding topics.
The curriculum in England outlines how important learning goals on the topics of healthy relationships, consent, and abuse should be tackled. The PSHE Association offers guidance, training, and materials on PSHE education, which encompasses relationships and sexual education.
The Professionals Online Safety Helpline offers guidance and support for educators, provides materials for children and young individuals with SEND, as well as ProjectEVOLVE educational resources from South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL). These resources delve into the various aspects of the Education for a Connected World framework, covering topics such as responsible online sexual conduct, the sharing of images, and the importance of consent.
The Education for a Connected World framework, which outlines the knowledge and abilities that children and young individuals should have the chance to cultivate, covers various aspects including online relationships and self-image and identity. This framework has been published to aid education professionals. The UK Council for Internet Safety serves as a collaborative platform, bringing together the government, the tech community, and the third sector, with the aim of ensuring that the UK remains the safest online environment globally.
Appendix A: Inquiries to aid evaluation
When deciding whether to involve social care for children or the police, consideration should be given to the following questions: Will the person young at risk of harm be directly supported and managed by the school or other agencies? Will there be appropriate additional support or information available from other agencies? Will there be a referral in place, which is equivalent to the support provided by the DSL, to address these questions?
Do you have any worries about the youth’s susceptibility?
Why should this question be considered? It is important to take into account the mention of children’s social care when there are broader concerns about the well-being and protection of a child or young individual. This could encompass various factors such as the absence of positive role models within their household, limited interaction with parents, experiencing abuse, having special educational requirements or disabilities, and being under the care system. Additionally, it is crucial to consider whether a child or young person’s circumstances, background, or sexual orientation contribute to their heightened vulnerability.
For what reason were the unclothed and partly unclothed pictures distributed? Did the youthful person experience any form of force or compulsion, or did they willingly provide consent?
Why is this question being asked? Sharing nudes and semi-nudes among young people and children can be seen as a joke or a way to seek attention, or it can be a means of developing trust in a romantic relationship or flirting. However, there are clear risks involved when young people or children are pressured to share semi-nudes or nudes, and there are likely to be negative consequences. If someone has been coerced or pressured into sharing images without their consent or has been forced into image sharing, it is important to report this to the police. In addition, the understanding of the situation should take into account any disabilities, special educational needs, or the level of maturity of the young person or child involved. If someone has been coerced or pressured into sharing semi-nudes or nudes with others, appropriate action should be taken in accordance with the policy on harmful sexual behavior. If this behavior is part of a pattern, the National Clinical Assessment and Treatment Service for Sexual Behavior Harmful, such as the NSPCC, should be considered.
Was the person who produced the images shared them without the consent of the young individual? Have the semi-nudes and nudes that were produced been shared beyond their intended recipient?
Why is this question being asked?
What is the age of the young individual or individuals involved?
Are children under 13 dealt with differently when it comes to age? Why is this question asked? The law makes it clear that children under the age of 13 cannot legally consent to engage in sexual activity. This age group is treated differently under the 2003 Sexual Offences Act. Further action must be taken when an incident involves sexual behavior and children under 13, as it may indicate a wider concern for child protection or safeguarding. This repeated mention of potentially problematic sexual behavior and child protection highlights the importance of addressing these issues and ensuring the safety of children.
Did the youth send explicit photos and partially explicit photos to multiple individuals?
Why is this question important? There are broader concerns regarding the protection of children if a decision is to be made about referring them to social services. It is important to consider why they are sharing and if it suggests the presence of additional problems requiring support, such as low self-esteem, lack of confidence, or engaging in harmful sexual behavior by sharing explicit images with multiple individuals.
Does the youth comprehend the potential consequences of sharing explicit and partially explicit images?
Why is this question important? It is crucial to plan an appropriate response and assess whether the child or young person intentionally shared an image to cause harm by exploring their comprehension. It is also possible that they do not grasp the concept of consent. For instance, they may not comprehend the potential risks or harm it could inflict on another child or young person. Children and young people might create or distribute explicit or partially explicit images without fully comprehending the potential consequences of their actions.
Are there any additional worries if the parents or guardians are notified?
Concerns regarding parental abuse or cultural and religious factors that might impact how they or their community would respond may arise in situations like these, unless there is a valid reason to believe that informing them would endanger the young person. In such cases, it is important to inform the parents or caregivers. The DSL (or equivalent) should use their professional judgment to determine whether it is appropriate to involve them. If a child or young person expresses concerns about involving their parents or caregivers, the DSL should consider at what stage it is appropriate to involve them. If the decision is made not to involve a parent or caregiver, the reasons for this should be clearly documented. However, children and young people should be encouraged and supported to discuss their concerns with their parents or caregivers themselves, if possible.
Appendix B: Practice Drill
This exercise may be used by staff to explore issues around incidents of people, both young and children, responding to shared semi-nudes and nudes.
It is designed to highlight and illustrate a range of incidents, emphasizing the need for a response that is proportionate and appropriate for each incident considered.
Guidelines for the trainer
Please talk about the result and utilize de-identified examples that you are familiar with and can share if desired. The cards can be used again, but this will require some time. Make sure to prepare a set of case study cards for each group.
The 14 case studies (Resource sheet 2) correspond to the six typology categories in the following manner:
Consequently, trim and affix all 14 case studies, subsequently allocate a unique colored card to each of the six aforementioned categories.
B – Prepare 6 white ‘header’ cards for wall mounting – each card should display the title of one of the typologies.
1. Divide delegates into groups of 3-4. Where appropriate, mix delegates to include a wide range of experience / job role etc.
(If not, then make sure that they have at least one of every color) If there is enough time, distribute all 14 cards among the study group, giving each person 2 cards from set A.
3. Direct the participants to read every case study and contemplate the subsequent inquiries collectively:
At this point, request delegates to engage in a straightforward outline/ strategy of action – not exceeding 3 minutes per case.
Engage in a conversation with them regarding Finkelhor’s classification system and distribute Resource Sheet 1 to each member of the group. Additionally, offering a suitable and balanced reaction will assist them in determining the type of occurrence it describes.
Take note of any remarks on their sheets. Inquire as a collective to determine, for each instance, the typology category they would assign to it and provide each participant with a copy of Resource Sheet 3.
6. While delegates are working, place the 6 ‘header’ cards around the room.
The cards on the wall beneath the relevant ‘header’ card throughout the room prompt delegates to post once they have classified each of their case studies. It becomes evident rather swiftly that the colors align in clusters and indicate areas of agreement/disagreement among the groups regarding categorization.
8. Discuss the areas where there has been consensus/divergence to highlight differences in group thought.
Please contemplate the following and inquire of the participants: extract a range of occurrences that exemplify the diverse classifications, such as amorous, seeking attention, and aggravated grown-up instances.
The following factors should be taken into consideration: Individuals should contemplate their potential reaction. This assessment should encompass their response. Inquire the groups to contemplate the referral limit that the case studies fail to meet. In instances where there are ten.
Allow small groups to discuss these topics and refer to the main body of advice for any key elements to draw out. Remind staff to take the opportunity to discuss and share incidents related to procedures and policies, including semi-nudes and nudes.
Sheet of Resources 1
(Taken from Wolak and Finkelhor’s ‘Sexting: a Typology’ in March 2011).
Aggravated incidents involve criminal or abusive elements beyond the creation, sending or possession of youth‐produced sexual images Adult offenders attempt to develop relationships by Grooming. teenagers, in criminal sex offenses even without the added element of youth‐produced images. Victims may be family friends, relatives, community members or contacted via the Internet. The youth‐produced sexual images may be solicited by adult offenders. Youth Only: Intent to Harm cases that:• arise from interpersonal conflict such as break‐ups and fights among friends • involve criminal or abusive conduct such as blackmail, threats or deception • involve sexual abuse or Exploitation. by young people. Youth Only: Reckless Misuse No intent to harm but images are taken or sent without the knowing or willing participation of the young person who is pictured. In these cases, pictures are taken or sent thoughtlessly or recklessly and a victim may have been harmed as a result. Experimental incidents involve the creation and sending of youth‐produced sexual images, with no adult involvement, no apparent intent to harm or reckless misuse. Romantic episodes in which young people in ongoing relationships make images for themselves or each other, and images were not intended to be distributed beyond the pair. Sexual Attention Seeking in which images are made and sent between or among young people who were not known to be romantic partners, or where one young person takes pictures and sends them to many others or posts them online. Other. Cases that do not appear to have aggravating elements, like adult involvement, malicious motives or reckless misuse, but also do not fit into the Romantic or Attention Seeking sub‐types. These involve either young people who take pictures of themselves for themselves (no evidence of any sending or sharing or intent to do so) or pre‐adolescent children (age 9 or younger) who did not appear to have sexual motives.
Sheet 2 of Resources: Examples of Real-life Scenarios
(Includes case studies derived from Wolak and Finkelhor).