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Now I know it was wrong

Report of the cross-party parliamentary inquiry: into support and sanctions for children who display harmful sexual behaviour

The Inquiry was set up by Nusrat Ghani MP (Con, Wealden), in partnership with Barnardo’s, to examine how we respond to children who display harmful sexual behaviour (HSB).

For more information, please read our advice for parents, including how to spot warning signs and where to get help.

Terms of reference


  • Children who display HSB should be treated as children first and foremost
  • The Government should work with relevant partners to develop a national strategy for preventing and responding to harmful sexual behaviour in children
  • The Government should work closely with schools, local government, the voluntary sector and others to:
    • Improve support for parents in keeping their children safe from HSB
    • Increase children’s knowledge and understanding of safe and healthy relationships
    • Restrict access to inappropriate online content
  • The Government should work with partners to commission research to further our understanding of HSB, in order to:
    • Improve identification of children at risk
    • Improve prevention of HSB and child sexual exploitation/child abuse
    • Identify gaps in provision
    • Improve the effectiveness of interventions
    • Improve outcomes for children who display HSB