Holy Family School
Child Protection Policy
The Board of Management recognises that child protection and welfare considerations permeate all aspects of school life and must be reflected in all of the school’s policies, practices and activities. Accordingly, in accordance with the requirements of the Department of Education & Skills’ Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools, the Board of Management of Holy Family School has agreed the following child protection policy.
This Policy is to be read in conjunction with ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools’ and ‘Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children’ Copies of these publications are available on website www.hse.ie www.education.ie and www.dcya.gov.ie and a copy is also beside notice board in main hall and in main entrance hall in White Star.
The Holy Family School aims to provide its pupils with the highest standard of care and protection in order to promote each child’s well being and safeguard him/her from harm.
The Board of Management of the Holy Family School has adopted and will implement fully and without modification the Department’s Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools as part of this overall child protection policy.
Designated Liaison Person (DLP)
The principal Rachel Moynagh will act as Designated Liaison Person. The Deputy DLP is Treassa O'Meara. The school is on a split site. The seniors are in the White Star Building on the main street. Andrea McHugh is the Deputy DLP there. The DLP has specific responsibility for child protection and will represent the school in all dealings with Health Boards, An Garda Síochána and other parties in connection with allegations of abuse. All matters pertaining to the processing or investigation of child abuse should be processed through the DLP.
Aims of Child Protection Policy
In its policies, practices and activities the Holy Family School will adhere to the following principles of best practice in child protection and welfare:
The school will:
- recognise that the protection and welfare of children is of paramount importance, regardless of all other considerations
- fully co-operate with the relevant statutory authorities in relation to child protection and welfare matters
- adopt safe practices to minimise the possibility of harm or accidents happening to children and protect workers from the necessity to take unnecessary risks that may leave them open to accusations of abuse or neglect
- develop a practice of openness with parents and encourage parental involvement in the education of their children; and
- fully respect confidentiality requirements in dealing with child protection matters.
Definition and Recognition of Child Abuse
See ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools’ Chapter 2 (pg 13) and ‘Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children’ Chapter 2 (pg 8), Chapter 8 (pg. 56), Chapter 9 (pg 60)
Signs and symptoms of child abuse
see also appendix
Role and Responsibilities of the Board of Management
- To arrange for the planning, development and implementation of an effective Child Protection Policy
- To monitor and evaluate its effectiveness on an annual basis
- To provide ongoing staff development and training
- The board recognises that it has two duties of care. The primary duty is the protection, safety and welfare of the children attending the Holy Family School. The Board as an employer also has duties and responsibilities towards its employees
- The DLP / Deputy DLP has specific responsibility for child protection in the school
- All staff have a general duty of care to ensure the protection of children from harm
Specifically the Board of Management will:
- Appoint a DLP and Deputy DLP – [Principal Rachel Moynagh / Treassa O'Meara/ Andrea McHugh (White Star)]
- Have clear guidelines and procedures for dealing with allegations / suspicions of child abuse (Stay Safe, RSE and SPHE)
- Monitor the progress of students who are identified as being at risk
- Ensure that curricular provision is in place for the prevention of child abuse
- Investigate and respond to allegations of child abuse against a school employee which have been reported to the HSE / Gardai.
- Decide on teachers attendance at child protection meetings / case conferences and to advise teachers prior to attending such meetings / conferences
- Arrange for Garda clearance for all staff working in the school
- (i) Check if any reports were made to the HSE by the DLP, since the last Board of Management meeting. (ii) The principal will state the number of cases, since the last Board meeting, where the DLP sought advice from the HSE and as a result of this advice, no report was made, or (iii) where there were no such cases at (i) or (ii) above, state this fact.
Roles of School Staff Members
- Staff have a general duty of care to ensure the protection of children from harm
- Staff must familiarise themselves with ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools’ and ‘Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children’
- Child Protection Policy must be read by every staff member each year. Each staff member must sign a form indicating that they have read and understand the Child Protection Policy.
- Any staff member, who suspects that a child is being abused, or is at risk of abuse, has a responsibility to report their concern to the DLP. Each staff member is expected to follow the procedure for reporting. A suspicion, which is not supported by any objective signs of abuse, would not constitute a reasonable suspicion, or reasonable grounds for concern.
- Teachers provide curricular support through SPHE/RSE and Stay Safe Programmes
Dealing with Disclosures from Children
When information is offered in confidence the member of staff will need tact and sensitivity in responding to the disclosure. The members of staff will need to reassure the child, and retain his/her trust, while explaining the need for action, which will necessarily involve other adults being informed. It is important to tell the child, that everything possible will be done to protect and support him/her but not to make promises that cannot be kept e.g. promising not to tell anyone else. The welfare of the child is regarded as the first and paramount consideration. In so far as is practicable, due consideration will be given, having regard to age and understanding, the wishes of the child.
The following advice is offered to school personnel to whom a child makes a disclosure of abuse:
(a) It is important to stay calm and not to show any extreme reaction to what the child is saying. Listen compassionately and take what the child is saying seriously;
(b) It should be understood that the child has decided to tell about something very important and has taken a risk to do so. The experience of telling should be a positive one so that the child will not mind talking to those involved;
(c) The child should understand that it is not possible that any information will be kept a secret;
(d) No judgmental statement should be made about the person against whom the allegation is made;
(e) The child should not be questioned unless the nature of what he/she is saying is unclear. Leading questions should be avoided. Open, non-specific questions should be used such as “Can you explain to me what you mean by that?”;
(f) The child should be given some indication of what would happen next, such as informing the Designated Liaison Person, parents/carers, HSE or possibly An Garda Síochána. It should be kept in mind that the child may have been threatened and may feel vulnerable at this stage;
(g) Record the disclosure immediately afterwards using, as far as possible, the child’s own words.
This information should then be reported to the DLP as outlined in Chapter 4 of ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools’.
Reporting of Concerns: See page 23 of ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools’ and Chapter 3 of ‘Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children’.
The Chairperson of the Board of Management will be informed before the DLP makes contact with the relevant authorities unless the situation demands that more immediate action to be taken for the safety of the child in which case the Chairperson may be informed after the report has been submitted.
Any professional who suspects child abuse should inform parents / carers if a report is to be submitted to the HSE or An Garda Síochána unless doing so is likely to endanger the child.
In cases of emergency, where a child appears to be at immediate and serious risk, and a duty social worker is unavailable, an Garda Síochána should be contacted. Under no circumstances should a child be left in a dangerous situation pending HSE intervention.
School procedures already in place and new procedures being put in place will be examined with reference to “Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children and ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools’ and any Child Protection issues that arise will be addressed.
The following policies have been addressed with reference to Child Protection:-
Stay Safe & Intimate Care, Code of Behaviour & Discipline, Countering Bullying Behaviour, Internet Acceptable Use Policy, Relationships & Sexuality Education, Break / Lunch Time Supervision, Accident / Incident Procedures, Swimming Procedures, Health & Safety Policy, Policy on Outings, Sick Children Policy, Feeding Policy.
The Board has ensured that the necessary policies, protocols or practices as appropriate are in place in respect of each of the above listed items.
The Holy Family School respects the confidentiality of each student. Where there is need to pass on information about a student to another staff member / therapist, parent /guardian it should be done in a discreet, factual and professional manner. Where discussion is required it should be done in a private setting. Students should never be discussed outside the school setting. When handling disclosures the communication of information must be confined to those who have an obligation to receive it and third parties should not be privy to allegations unless it is necessary to involve them as matters unfold.
Procedures for Board of Management in cases of allegations or suspicions of child abuse by a school employee:
Where an allegation of abuse or neglect is made against a school employee, the DLP shall immediately act in accordance with the procedures outlined in section 4.2 (Chapter 4: Pg 23 of ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools’)
Once a disclosure is made by a child, a written record of the disclosure shall be made as soon as possible by the person receiving it. If a child wishes to make a written statement this should be allowed. Where an allegation of abuse or neglect is made by an adult, a written statement should be sought from this person. The ability of the HSE or the employer to assess suspicions or allegations of abuse or neglect will depend on the amount and quality of information conveyed to them. Whether or not the matter is being reported to the HSE, the DLP shall always inform the employer of the allegation.
School employees, other than the DLP, who receive allegations of abuse or neglect against another school employee, shall report the matter without delay to the DLP as outlined in section 4.1 of these procedures. The DLP shall then follow the procedures outlined in section 4.2 of these procedures.
Where the allegation or concern relates to the DLP, the school employee shall, without delay, report the matter to the Chairperson of the Board of Management or in schools where the VEC is the employer to the CEO of the VEC concerned. In such cases, the Chairperson or CEO as appropriate shall assume the role normally undertaken by the DLP and shall follow the procedures set out in section 4.2 for dealing with the allegation or concern.
School employees who form suspicions regarding the conduct of another school employee shall consult with the DLP who may wish to consult with the HSE. If the DLP is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for the suspicion, he/she shall report the matter to the HSE immediately. The DLP shall also report the matter to the employer who shall proceed in accordance with the procedures outlined in section 5.4 (Chapter 5: Pg 30 of ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools’.
Where circumstances warrant it, as a precautionary measure in order to protect the children in the school and in accordance with the principles of natural justice and the presumption of innocence, the Chairperson of the Board of Management is authorised by the school authority to direct an employee to immediately absent himself / herself from the school without loss of pay until the matter has been considered by the employer. The employee will be invited to a meeting with the Chairperson, the purpose of which is to inform the employee of the allegation and the action being taken. The employee may be accompanied by an appropriate person of his or her choice and will be so advised.
In any event, the employee will also be advised of the matter in writing.
Peer Abuse and Bullying
In some cases of child abuse the alleged perpetrator will also be a child. Peer abuse is a complex area and school personnel are advised to familiarise themselves in this regard with the advice provided in Chapter 9 of ‘Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children’.
See also Chapter 6 of ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools’.
In the Holy Family School we aim:
- To create a friendly, cheerful and open environment where students can interact in a free and secure manner, where positive relationships with others can be fostered and maintained.
- To provide a broad curriculum which will encourage and facilitate the overall development of each student to his/her full potential.
- To focus positively on the abilities, strengths of each student while recognising and supporting areas of need.
- To provide a learning environment where students are respected and treated equally by each other and those assisting in their care.
- To promote positive social interaction through Circle Time
- To promote self esteem and assertiveness through our SPHE programme
- To promote an awareness of stay safe skills through RSE and Stay Safe Programmes
- The appointment of a DLP / Deputy DLP – Rachel Moynagh / Treassa O'Meara / Andrea McHugh (White Star)
- Participation by all staff in Child Protection Awareness
- In the case of an allegation / suspicion of child abuse occurring – were all procedures followed and how effective were they?
- Delivery and participation by children in SPHE/RSE/Stay Safe programmes
- Feedback from parents, students, staff and Board of Management
Board of Management
The 3 fundamental principles which underpin the guidelines are that confidentiality, discretion and sensitivity should be maintained at all times.
The Chairperson should inform the Board of Management of all the details and remind the members of their serious responsibility to maintain strict confidentiality on all matters relating to the issue and the principles of due process and natural justice.
This policy has been made available to school personnel and the Parents’ Association and is readily accessible to parents on request. A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department and the patron if necessary.
This policy will be reviewed by the Board of Management once in every year.
The annual review of this policy was adopted by the Board of Management on
Acting Chairperson, Board of Management
Review Date: ________________________________________
Signs and symptoms of child abuse
1. Signs and symptoms of neglect
Child neglect is the most common category of abuse. A distinction can be made between 'wilful' neglect and 'circumstantial' neglect. 'Wilful' neglect would generally incorporate a direct and deliberate deprivation by a parent/carer of a child's most basic needs, e.g. withdrawal of food, shelter, warmth, clothing, contact with others. 'Circumstantial' neglect more often may be due to stress/inability to cope by parents or carers.
Neglect is closely correlated with low socio-economic factors and corresponding physical deprivations. It is also related to parental incapacity due to learning disability or psychological disturbance.
The neglect of children is 'usually a passive form of abuse involving omission rather than acts of commission' (Skuse and Bentovim, 1994). It comprises 'both a lack of physical caretaking and supervision and a failure to fulfil the developmental needs of the child in terms of cognitive stimulation'.
Child neglect should be suspected in cases of:
• abandonment or desertion;
• children persistently being left alone without adequate care and supervision;
• malnourishment, lacking food, inappropriate food or erratic feeding;
• lack of warmth;
• lack of adequate clothing;
• inattention to basic hygiene;
• lack of protection and exposure to danger, including moral danger or lack of supervision appropriate to the child's age;
• persistent failure to attend school;
• non-organic failure to thrive, i.e. child not gaining weight due not only to malnutrition but also to emotional deprivation;
• failure to provide adequate care for the child's medical problems and developmental problems;
• exploited, overworked.
2. Characteristics of neglect
Child neglect is the most frequent category of abuse both in Ireland and internationally. In addition to being the most frequently reported type of abuse; neglect is also recognized as being the most harmful. Not only does neglect generally last throughout a childhood it also has long term consequences into adult life. Children are more likely to die from chronic neglect than from one instance of physical abuse. It is well established that severe neglect in infancy has a serious negative impact on brain development.
Neglect is associated with but not necessarily caused by poverty. It is strongly correlated with parental substance misuse, domestic violence and parental mental illness and disability.
Neglect may be categorised into different types: (adapted from Dubowitz, 1999):
• disorganised/chaotic neglect: this is typically where parenting is inconsistent and is often found in disorganized and crises prone families. The quality of parenting is inconsistent, with a lack of certainty and routine often resulting in emergencies regarding accommodation, finances and food. This type of neglect results in attachment disorders, promotes anxiety in children and leads to disruptive and attention seeking behaviour, with older children proving more difficult to control and discipline. The home may be unsafe from accidental harm, with a high incident of accidents occurring.
• depressed or passive neglect: this type of neglect fits the common stereotype and is often characterized by bleak and bare accommodation, without material comfort and with poor hygiene and little if any social and psychological stimulation. The household will have few toys, and those that are there may be broken, dirty or inappropriate for age. Young children will spend long periods in cots, playpens or pushchairs. There is often a lack of food, inadequate bedding and no clean clothes. There can be a sense of hopelessness, coupled with ambivalence about improving the household situation. In such environments children frequently are absent from school and have poor homework routines, Children subject to these circumstances are at risk of major developmental delay.
• chronic deprivation: this is most likely to occur where there is the absence of a key attachment figure. It is most often found in large institutions where infants and children may be physically well cared for but where there is no opportunity to form an attachment with an individual carer. In these situations children are dealt with by a range of adults, and their needs seen as part of the demands of a group of children. This form of deprivation will also be associated with poor stimulation and can result in serious developmental delays.
The following points illustrate the consequences of different types of neglect for children
• Inadequate food - failure to develop
• Household hazards – accidents
• Lack of hygiene – health and social problems
• Lack of attention to health – disease
• Inadequate mental health care – suicide or delinquency
• Inadequate emotional care – behaviour and educational
• Inadequate supervision – risk taking behaviour
• Unstable relationship – attachment problems
• Unstable living conditions – behaviour & anxiety, risk of accidents
• Exposure to domestic violence – behaviour, physical and mental health
• Community violence - anti social behaviour
3. Signs and symptoms of emotional abuse
Emotional neglect and abuse is found typically in a home lacking in emotional warmth. It is not necessarily associated with physical deprivation. The emotional needs of the children are not met; the parent’s relationship to the child may be without empathy and devoid of emotional responsiveness.
Emotional neglect and abuse occurs when adults responsible for taking care of children are unaware of and unable (for a range of reasons) to meet their children's emotional and developmental needs. Emotional neglect and abuse is not easy to recognise because the effects are not easily observable. Skuse (1989) states that 'emotional abuse refers to the habitual verbal harassment of a child by disparagement, criticism, threat and ridicule, and the inversion of love; whereby verbal and non-verbal means of rejection and withdrawal are substituted'.
Emotional neglect and abuse can be defined with reference to the indices listed below. However, it should be noted that no one indicator is conclusive of emotional abuse.
In the case of emotional abuse and neglect, it is more likely to impact negatively on a child where there is a cluster of indices, where these are persistent over time and where there is a lack of other protective factors
• lack of comfort and love;
• lack of attachment;
• lack of proper stimulation (e.g. fun and play);
• lack of continuity of care (e.g. frequent moves);
• serious over-protectiveness;
• inappropriate non-physical punishment (e.g. locking in bedrooms);
• family conflicts and/or violence;
• every child who is abused sexually, physically or neglected is also emotionally abused;
• inappropriate expectations of a child's behaviour, relative to his/her age and stage of development.
Children who are physically and sexually abused and neglected also suffer from emotional abuse.
4. Signs and symptoms of physical abuse
Unsatisfactory explanations or varying explanations, frequency and clustering for the following events are high indices for concern regarding physical abuse:
• bruises (see below for more detail);
• swollen joints;
• burns/scalds(see below for more detail);
• haemorrhages (retinal, subdural);
• damage to body organs;
• poisonings – repeated (prescribed drugs, alcohol);
• failure to thrive;
There are many different forms of physical abuse, but skin, mouth and bone injuries are the most common.
Accidental bruises are common at places on the body where bone is fairly close to the skin. Bruises can also be found towards the front of the body, as the child usually will fall forwards.
Accidental bruises are common on the chin, nose, forehead, elbow, knees and shins. An accident-prone child can have frequent bruises in these areas. Such bruises will be diffuse, with no definite edges. Any bruising on a child before the age of mobility must be treated with concern.
Bruises caused by physical abuse are more likely to occur on soft tissues, e.g. cheek, buttocks, lower back, back, thighs, calves, neck, genitalia and mouth.
Marks from slapping or grabbing may form a distinctive pattern. Slap marks might occur on buttocks/cheeks and the outlining of fingers may be seen on any part of the body. Bruises caused by direct blows with a fist have no definite pattern, but may occur in parts of the body that do not usually receive injuries by accident. A punch over the eye (black eye syndrome) or ear would be of concern. Black eyes cannot be caused by a fall on to a flat surface. Two black eyes require two injuries and must always be suspect. Other distinctive patterns of bruising may be left by the use of straps, belts, sticks and feet. The outline of the object may be left on the child in a bruise on areas such as the back or thighs (areas covered by clothing).
Bruises may be associated with shaking, which can cause serious hidden bleeding and bruising inside the skull. Any bruising around the neck is suspicious since it is very unlikely to be accidentally acquired. Other injuries may feature – ruptured eardrum/fractured skull.
Mouth injury may be a cause of concern, e.g. torn mouth (frenulum) from forced bottle-feeding.
Children regularly have accidents that result in fractures. However, children's bones are more flexible than those of adults and the children themselves are lighter, so a fracture, particularly of the skull, usually signifies that considerable force has been applied.
A fracture of any sort should be regarded as suspicious in a child under 8 months of age. A fracture of the skull must be regarded as particularly suspicious in a child under 3 years.
Either case requires careful investigation as to the circumstances in which the fracture occurred. Swelling in the head or drowsiness may also indicate injury.
Children who have accidental burns usually have a hot liquid splashed on them by spilling or have come into contact with a hot object. The history that parents give is usually in keeping with the pattern of injury observed. However, repeated episodes may suggest inadequate care and attention to safety within the house.
Children who have received non-accidental burns may exhibit a pattern that is not adequately explained by parents. The child may have been immersed in a hot liquid. The burn may show a definite line, unlike the type seen in accidental splashing. The child may also have been held against a hot object, like a radiator or a ring of a cooker, leaving distinctive marks. Cigarette burns may result in multiple small lesions in places on the skin that would not generally be exposed to danger. There may be other skin conditions that can cause similar patterns and expert paediatric advice should be sought.
Children can get bitten either by animals or humans. Animal bites, e.g. dogs, commonly puncture and tear the skin, and usually the history is definite. Small children can also bite other children.
It is sometimes hard to differentiate between the bites of adults and children since measurements can be inaccurate. Any suspected adult bite mark must be taken very seriously. Consultant paediatricians may liaise with dental colleagues in order to identify marks correctly.
Children may commonly take medicines or chemicals that are dangerous and potentially life threatening. Aspects of care and safety within the home need to be considered with each event.
Non-accidental poisoning can occur and may be difficult to identify, but should be suspected in bizarre or recurrent episodes and when more than one child is involved. Drowsiness or hyperventilation may be a symptom.
Shaking is a frequent cause of brain damage in very young children.
This occurs where parents, usually the mother (according to current research and case
experience), fabricate stories of illness about their child or cause physical signs of illness. This can occur where the parent secretly administers dangerous drugs or other poisonous substances to the child or by smothering. The symptoms that alert to the possibility of fabricated/induced illness include:
(a) symptoms that cannot be explained by any medical tests; symptoms never observed by anyone other than the parent/carer; symptoms reported to occur only at home or when a parent/carer visits a child in hospital;
(b) high level of demand for investigation of symptoms without any documented physical signs;
(c) unexplained problems with medical treatment, such as drips coming out or lines being interfered with; presence of unprescribed medication or poisons in the blood or urine.
5. Signs and symptoms of sexual abuse
Child sexual abuse often covers a wide spectrum of abusive activities. It rarely involves just a single incident and usually occurs over a number of years. Child sexual abuse most commonly happens within the family.
Cases of sexual abuse principally come to light through:
(a) disclosure by the child or his/her siblings or friends;
(b) the suspicions of an adult;
(c) physical symptoms.
Colburn Faller (1989) provides a description of the wide spectrum of activities by adults which can constitute child sexual abuse. These include:
Non-contact sexual abuse
• 'Offensive sexual remarks', including statements the offender makes to the child regarding the child's sexual attributes, what he or she would like to do to the child and other sexual comments.
• Obscene phone-calls.
• Independent 'exposure' involving the offender showing the victim his/her private parts and/or masturbating in front of the victim.
• 'Voyeurism' involving instances when the offender observes the victim in a state of undress or in activities that provide the offender with sexual gratification. These may include activities that others do not regard as even remotely sexually stimulating.
• Involving any touching of the intimate body parts. The offender may fondle or masturbate the victim, and/or get the victim to fondle and/or masturbate them. Fondling can be either outside or inside clothes. It also includes 'frottage', i.e. where offender gains sexual gratification from rubbing his/her genitals against the victim's body or clothing.
Oral-genital sexual abuse
• Involving the offender licking, kissing, sucking or biting the child's genitals or inducing the child to do the same to them.
Interfemoral sexual abuse
• Sometimes referred to as 'dry sex' or 'vulvar intercourse', involving the offender placing his penis between the child's thighs.
Penetrative sexual abuse, of which there are four types:
• 'Digital penetration', involving putting fingers in the vagina or anus, or both. Usually the victim is penetrated by the offender, but sometimes the offender gets the child to penetrate them.
• 'Penetration with objects', involving penetration of the vagina, anus or occasionally mouth with an object.
• 'Genital penetration', involving the penis entering the vagina, sometimes partially.
• 'Anal penetration' involving the penis penetrating the anus.
• Involves situations of sexual victimisation where the person who is responsible for the exploitation may not have direct sexual contact with the child. Two types of this abuse are child pornography and child prostitution.
• 'Child pornography' includes still photography, videos and movies, and, more recently, computer generated pornography.
• 'Child prostitution' for the most part involves children of latency age or in adolescence. However, children as young as 4 and 5 are known to be abused in this way.
The sexual abuses described above may be found in combination with other abuses, such as physical abuse and urination and defecation on the victim. In some cases, physical abuse is an integral part of the sexual abuse; in others, drugs and alcohol may be given to the victim.
It is important to note that physical signs may not be evident in cases of sexual abuse due to the nature of the abuse and/or the fact that the disclosure was made some time after the abuse took place.
Carers and professionals should be alert to the following physical and behavioural signs:
• bleeding from the vagina/anus;
• difficulty/pain in passing urine/faeces;
• an infection may occur secondary to sexual abuse, which may or may not be a definitive sexually transmitted disease. Professionals should be informed if a child has a persistent vaginal discharge or has warts/rash in genital area;
• noticeable and uncharacteristic change of behaviour;
• hints about sexual activity;
• age-inappropriate understanding of sexual behaviour;