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Harassment can be a big problem for young people, especially in a world of increased usage of smartphones, online messages, and social media sites making it easier for bullies to target individuals 24/7.

When bullying involves unwanted sexual behaviour including comments, suggestions, advances, or threats to another person, it is called sexual harassment or sexual bullying.


What is the difference between
Sexual Harassment & Sexual Bullying?

Sexual harassment and sexual bullying are very similar - they involve comments, gestures, actions, or attention that is unwanted and intended to hurt, offend, or intimidate another person. With sexual harassment, the focus is on things like appearance, body parts, sexual orientation, or sexual activity.

What does sexual harassment look like?

  • Making sexual jokes, comments, or gestures to or about someone

  • Spreading sexual rumors (in person, by text, or online)

  • Showing someone inappropriate sexual pictures or videos

  • Asking someone to send you naked pictures of herself or himself ("nudes")

  • Posting sexual comments, pictures, or videos on social media like Facebook, or sending explicit text messages

  • Making sexual comments or offers while pretending to be someone else online

  • Touching, grabbing, or pinching someone in a deliberately sexual way

  • Pulling at someone's clothing and brushing up against them in a purposefully sexual way

  • Asking someone to go out over and over again, even after the person has said no

How to handle sexual harassment or bullying

Each situation is unique so their is no single right answer. If someone makes you feel uncomfortable start by telling the person doing the harassing to stop. Let them know that this behaviour is not OK with you and that you feel uncomfortable. Sometimes that will be enough to make the person stop and consider their behaviour and your feelings moving forward.

Tell the person to stop and that you feel uncomfortable.

If the person does not stop then talk to a trusted adult.

Talking about sexual harassment or bullying can feel embarrassing at first however, that uncomfortable feeling quickly wears off after a minute or so into the conversation. In most cases, speaking to someone sooner leads to faster results and fewer problems moving forward.


Share what's happening with a trusted adult. Your trusted adult may be a parent, relative or teacher you can talk to? If you find the adult you talk to doesn't take your complaints seriously at first, you may have to repeat yourself or find someone else who will listen.

Make a log of when you feel you have been sexually harassed or bullied.

Making a log of events, including time, date and a short description of what has happened can help you if you, your family or school decide to report someone for sexually harassing or bullying you. Save any offensive pictures, videos, texts or messages and keep it in a safe place where you do not have to see it every day.

What to do if you witness sexual harassment or bullying?

See something? Say something!

If you witness or see someone you think is being sexually harassed or bullied, take action. If it feels safe to do so, say "Come on, let's get out of here" to the person being bullied or bothered. Do not confront the person harassing or bullying the person as this could cause further replications. 

If you do not feel confident or it is not safe to say something at the time you witness sexual harassment or bullying, report the event to a trusted adult; parent, relative, teacher etc. Maybe talk to the person being harassed or bullied when it is safe to do so and offer your support. 


0207 823 5430
Information and advice for parents, carers and young people with concerns about school bullying and abuse.


0800 1111
Support for children and young people in the UK, including a free helpline and 1-2-1 online chats with counsellors.


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