NICE issues new guidelines on sexting

24 October 2016

NICE has issued guidance to improve support for children and young people displaying harmful sexual behaviour.

NICE issue guidelines on sexting: Shutterstock: 310344722

Behaviours such as ‘sexting’ – sending sexually explicit images or messages on smartphones, watching extreme pornography or using sexualised language such as adult slang to talk about sex – are highlighted as potential indicators.

Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive of NICE, said: “Inquisitive behaviour is a normal part of growing up and it is natural for children to ask about different body parts or be curious about the differences between girls and boys.

“However, there is also a minority of children and young people who engage in sexual behaviour that is not appropriate for their age or development.

“This guidance is about preparing teachers, nurses, social workers and others to recognise harmful sexual behaviour when it occurs and ensure they can work across team boundaries so that problem behaviour is not ignored or missed and children and young people receive the help they need.”

The guideline calls for a joined-up approach, with recommendations including ‘safeguarding leads’ for schools and early assessment of the child or young person. It advises practitioners to consider engaging with families before beginning an intervention, and tailor the support to suit the needs and age of the individual.
The guideline also identifies the need for further research to be carried out into the impact electronic media has on sexual behaviour.