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What should I do if I’m worried about my own harmful sexual behaviour? Or someone else’s?

What should I do if I’m worried about my own harmful sexual behaviour? Or someone else’s?

Can you think of any sexual behaviour you’ve experienced that was harmful in some way?

This might be because:

  • someone has harmed you
  • you’re worried about a friend’s actions
  • you’ve harmed someone else

If so, it’s important to find some support.

It can be hard to know how to get help. Talking to an adult you trust may be the best first step. This could be a parent, some other family member, a youth worker or a teacher.

It can also be difficult to know how to start talking to them about this. Sometimes it helps to tell the person you have something serious to talk about, and then arrange a time. This will mean you’re less likely to change your mind about telling them. Also, it lets them know they need to really pay attention to what you’re saying.

Sometimes adults don’t know how to react at first. They might even need some advice themselves. Here are a couple of places they can get advice:

  • The Parents Protect website– we help parents and carers protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation
  • The Stop It Now! helpline – a safe space for people to talk about their concerns and get help to prevent child sexual abuse

Remember, no one deserves to go through any type of abuse or harm. We want you to feel like you can get the support you need. There are services you can talk to– take a look at the list at the end of this page.

If you’ve sexually harmed someone, or you’re worried you might

Most young people who’ve done something sexually harmful stop doing it as they grow into adults.

Remember, this behaviour doesn’t have to define you, and you don’t have to go through this alone.

To help make sure you don’t do anything sexually harmful yourself, or you stop as soon as possible, it can be helpful to:

  • understand how the behavior happened in the first place
  • get support

This may seem daunting, but by exploring this website, you’ve already taken a step toward finding the help and advice you need.

Think about which adults you trust and who you can talk to. Maybe start with your loved ones?

You may also find it helpful to talk to someone outside the situation who can offer caring support without judging you. You’re very welcome to try our email service. They’re anonymous, so you don’t need to tell us who you are.

This can be a very difficult thing to go through, especially if the police are involved. Take a look at our pages on what to do if you’re in trouble with the police because of your harmful sexual behaviour, dealing with regrets about harmful sexual behaviours, and managing difficult emotions.

Also, our page on building a good life can help you plan some positive changes to help you lead a happy and healthy life.

Building a good life

Find out about the Good Lives Model, to help you understand your behaviour and set goals for a good life.

Read more

You may be worried about online sexual behaviours. These include sending sexual images and looking at illegal images. If so, you can visit our pages on what to do if you’ve shared a nude, or been sent one and what to do if you’re worried you’ve harmed someone sexually.

If anything on this page has upset you, or something has happened in your life to upset or hurt you, then you can get help. Speak to someone you trust to ask for support.

Here are some places you can also visit to get help and information:

  • Our email service where an advisor can give you support and advice, and you don’t have to say who you are
  • ChildLine – “You can contact Childline about anything. Whatever your worry, it’s better out than in. We’re here to support you.”


Your online mental well being community

Youth Access

The advice and counseling network

The Mix

Free, confidential support for young people under 25 via online, social and mobile

To find out about more places you can get support and information, see our list of other helpful organisations.

Are you struggling?

Our advisors can give you support and advice, and you don’t have to say who you are.

  • image 100% anonymous
  • image Expert help and advice

Did you find this information useful?