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What the law says on;Sexually inappropriate behaviour by children;School management

Last week an 11-year-old boy was removed from his Edinburgh school, after pleading guilty to a serious sex attack on his two-year-old cousin and being placed on the Sex Offenders' Register. The boy is on bail, awaiting sentence later this month. This week a 10-year-old Fife boy was accused of sexually abusing two six-year-old girls. The council is working with the agencies involved, and teachers are monitoring the situation, but the boy has not been excluded.

What does the law say?

"No definitive guidance can be given in respect of incidents that involve inappropriate sexual behaviour or abuse by children or young people. However, schools must ensure that such behaviour is taken seriously and will generally require referral to, and advice from, child protection agencies.

"Guidelines should be followed for both the child who is the victim and the child who is the alleged abuser since, in certain cases, abusive behaviour in childhood and adolescence is perpetrated by those who have been subject to sexually inappropriate behaviour or abuse themselves.

"There will be specific management issues to be considered in such cases, including the risk the alleged abuser presents to other children within the school.

"Where consideration has to be given as to the need to inform other parents or a school board, advice should be sought from the education authority or the governing body concerned."

Greens Scottish Education Manual, section 3: 10.5.2. February 1999, pound;140

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