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  • 1.1 The triune brain | RVTS Guide for schools

    THE TRIUNE BRAIN In order to function, the brain requires the different parts of itself to cooperate seamlessly. To simplify, we can say we have a survival brain, an emotional brain and a logical brain (MacLean, 1985). ​ The survival brain is in control of functions like reflexes, breathing, heartbeat, blood pressure and body temperature. The emotional brain is central to emotional states like anger and fear, and controls memory functions and stress hormones. The logical brain provides us with language, awareness, the ability to reason and consciously controlled motor functions, among other things (Stien & Kendall, 2004). TWO MOTIVATIONAL SYSTEMS ARE IN CONTROL OF OUR ACTIONS The survival system (often called the alarm system) makes sure one is safe and out of harm’s way. The exploration system is characterized by curiosity and stimulates exploration, discovery and learning. The systems can’t be “on” at the same time, and the survival system always overrides the exploration system. Prior life experiences strongly affect how the systems cooperate with each other. When children have experienced something hurtful their survival system will, most of the time, be active, and the exploration system inactive. The children are occupied with scanning their surroundings for danger, which hinders their ability to learn. Even though we adults know the classroom is safe, the brains of these children are preparing for danger. To change this, the children need constant safe experiences in the classroom, until their brain has enough of them to realize it is, in fact, safe. The teacher’s understanding, predictability and perseverance can help the children’s brain to increasingly activate the exploration system. Doing this will improve the children’s learning ability, and the children get to experience the good of the world (Ringereide og Thorkildsen, 2019). LECTURER Kjersti Draugedalen has worked as a primary school teacher for over 10 years in Uganda, Groruddalen and Re municipality. She has further education in pedagogical guidance and sexual assault in the perspective of a lifespan. She is currently working on a public Ph.D. titled: “The opportunity teachers have to discover and implement measures for children and young people displaying harmful sexual behaviour in primary school”. Draugedalen is a proponent of inclusivity in schools, and especially the important role a teacher plays when meeting vulnerable children. RESOURCES Listen to a read-aloud version of the text 1.1 The triune brain RVTS Mid 00:00 / 00:50 Previous Next Innholdsfortegnelse As teachers we often meet pupils who challenge us in different ways, and this changes us as teachers. What maybe changes us most is meeting pupils who display problematic or harmful sexual behaviour. We adults usually panic and lose the calm needed to best approach the situation. However, new brain research may allow us to approach pupils struggling, especially with a sexualized behaviour, but also other kinds of disruptive behaviours. You see, the brain is divided into three parts: we have a survival brain, an emotional brain and a logical brain. The logical brain is activated when we are safe and calm, but the connection between the logical brain and the survival brain is shut down when we are worried and in a state of emergency preparedness, as we call it. This means that if us teachers are to educate pupils open to learning new things, we need the logical brain to be firmly activated. A very useful tool for explaining when children and adults have their logical brain “on”, is “the Window of Tolerance”. All humans have a window of tolerance, and while we are safe and open to learning within it, outside of it we enter “emergency preparedness”. Being in a state of emergency preparedness means the body is completely focused on how to avoid danger. For teachers, this means that we have to regulate children into their window of tolerance in order to educate, which, in turn, requires us adults to be calm and regulated ourselves. It is typical of us adults to go outside of our tolerance window when we are met with harmful sexual behaviour. It is therefore very important for us to be aware of our own triggers and reactions in order to approach children in the best possible way. We teachers use ourselves to teach, meaning our own self is the main tool we use in our profession. This fosters not only professional development, but a personal development, and means that when I, as a teacher, become triggered, I have to be very aware of what is happening to me personally, since I am the tool in the situation. Yes, relations and safety in school have been discussed for many years, but I think what is missing from the conversation is how we as teachers integrate ourselves when working on relations. Since, when we are safe and calm ourselves, we can make our pupils feel safe. We teachers need to stay calm upon meeting challenging behaviour. Being able to deal with pupils who behave in a way that triggers us, may be one of the most important things we do. You see, to be able to make change happen, we need to have a close relation with the pupil in question. In other words, us teachers are responsible for the relation and must invest in it from the first day of school, so that when hurtful and difficult situations occur, we can help regulate the pupil into their tolerance window. We can then encourage change via close dialogue and genuine guidance that does not feel constructed or fake. I believe attempting to correct pupils displaying any kind of challenging behaviour – but maybe especially sexualized behaviour – without having laid the ground work of building a relation, can result in the intervention going so badly you close the door on providing aid. This is why we emphasize building relations and safety first as part of the work of universal prevention in schools. Kjersti Draugedalen, Pedagog, Tønsberg kommune. Show transcript Duration: 5:14

  • 1.4 Interagency cooperation | RVTS Guide for schools

    INTERAGENCY COOPERATION An early effort is imperative to prevent injury and provide help to vulnerable children struggling with problematic and harmful sexual behaviour. Such complex situations require a coordinated effort across professional groups. A well-established interagency relationship – with clear goals and defined roles – increases the chance of children getting the professional and social assistance they need – when they need it. Previous Next Innholdsfortegnelse Listen to a read-aloud version of the text on this page 1.4 Interagency Cooperation RVTS Mid 00:00 / 00:31

  • 5. Harmful sexual behaviour | RVTS Guide for schools

    5. HARMFUL SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR Harmful sexual behaviour is harmful both to the child exposed to it and the child inflicting it, and requires an immediate response from adults. ​ Harmful sexual behaviour is an umbrella term for behaviour we classify as non-normative and non-acceptable sexual behaviour. It is usually characterized as being excessive, secretive, violating, forceful, regressive or threatening. ​ In this chapter we give you insight into general statistics about harmful sexual behaviour, different causes of the behaviour, as well as suggestions on how to look after both affected parties. Previous Next Innholdsfortegnelse PAGES IN THIS CHAPTER CHARACTERISTICS OF HARMFUL SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR IN CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE WILL NOT REPEAT HARMFUL SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR BOTH BOYS AND GIRLS ALREADY KNOW EACH OTHER DIFFERENT CAUSES FOR THE BEHAVIOUR CARE FOR BOTH PARTIES INVOLVED REPORT AND INVESTIGATE HARMFUL SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR ONLINE

  • 7.5 Appendix 4 | RVTS Guide for schools

    APPENDIX 4 TEMPLATE FOR DOCUMENTATION AND INFORMATION WHEN DISCOVERING HARMFUL SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR File format: docx (Microsoft Word) Pages: 1 File size: 15 kB Download file Previous Next Innholdsfortegnelse

  • 4.5 The school’s responsibility | RVTS Guide for schools

    THE SCHOOL’S RESPONSIBILITY The Education Act Section 9A-4 (Obligation to act in order to ensure pupils a good psychosocial environment), states: “Everyone working at the school must keep an eye on the pupils to ensure they have a good psychosocial school environment, and if possible, intervene against violations such as bullying, violence, discrimination and harassment. (…) Everyone working at the school must inform the head teacher if they suspect or find out that a pupil does not have a good psychosocial school environment”. THE OBLIGATION TO ACT CONSISTS OF FIVE SUBSECTIONS: Obligation to pay attention (Investigate and observe to gather information on what occurred.) Have conversations with the pupils involved to better understand what happened, and support everyone involved. Obligation to intervene Obligation to notify the school management (principal) Obligation to investigate (investigate and observe to gather information on what occurred.) Obligation to implement measures (make a plan of action) THE SCHOOL MUST CREATE A WRITTEN PLAN WHEN MEASURES ARE TO BE IMPLEMENTED IN A CASE. THE PLAN MUST DESCRIBE: a) What problem the measures are to solve b) What measures the school has planned c) When the measures will be implemented d) Who is responsible for implementation of the measures e) When the measures will be evaluated. The school must document what will be done to comply with the obligation to act. You MUST abide by The Education Act Chapter 9A if you receive information or suspect someone is exposed (by other pupils) to, or exposes other pupils to problematic or harmful sexual behaviour. Listen to a read-aloud version of the text on this page 4.5 The Schools responsibility RVTS Mid 00:00 / 01:57 «A need for observation and information gathering to ensure the correct actions are taken by adults.» - THE TRAFFIC LIGHT, P. 5 Previous Next Innholdsfortegnelse

  • 2.7 Measures which promote healthy sexual development – part 2 | RVTS Guide for schools

    Strategies Measures Give praise, positive attention Guidance, descriptive comments Co-regulation Discuss different kinds of coping strategies (e.g. similarities between thoughts, emotions and behaviour, problem solving skills) Conversing, observational learning Empathy (e.g. showing you are compassionate toward others, giving compliments) Self-control (e.g. learning about emotions and regulation) BEHAVIOURAL SUPPORT STRATEGIES COGNITION-ORIENTED STRATEGIES SOCIAL SKILLS Cooperation (e.g. friendship skills, sharing, helping others, following rules and instructions) Self-assertion (e.g. introducing oneself, taking the initiative, resisting pressure) Responsibility (e.g. keeping agreements, turning down unreasonable suggestions from others) Tell someone when experiencing something difficult, unreasonable or uncomfortable MEASURES WHICH PROMOTE HEALTHY SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT – PART 2 Listen to a read-aloud version of the text on this page 2.7 social an emotional competence RVTS Mid 00:00 / 02:35 «Social competence and social skills are important for children and young people’s developing relations with both peers and adults.» - VEILEDER UDIR, P.10 Previous Next Innholdsfortegnelse 2. SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL COMPETENCE Education in social and emotional competency is the second component of the universal prevention of harmful sexual behaviour. In the core curriculum of the Knowledge Promotion Reform 20, social learning and development is described in Section 2.1: ​ “Being able to understand what others think, feel and experience is the basis for achieving empathy and friendship between pupils (…). Everyone shall learn to cooperate, work with others and develop abilities within co-determination and co-responsibility” ( ​ Several programs have been developed for schools aiming to teach their pupils social and emotional skills. The programs used in prevention contain mostly the same topics and areas of competence (see Useful resources). Observational learning and reinforcing desired behaviour are central principles, based around the idea that changes in children’s behaviour happen through changes in the behaviour of significant adults. The teacher becomes an important role model in how to behave properly in a classroom, by themselves being a good example of such behaviour. DIFFERENT STRATEGIES Education in social and emotional competency can be based on different strategies:

  • Marita Sandvik | RVTS Guide for schools

    MARITA SANDVIK VERNEPLEIER OG FAGRÅDGIVER VED BRØSET KOMPETANSESENTER Marita Sandvik is a social worker with a master’s degree in mental health care. She is also a cognitive therapist with experience working with violence and sexual crimes at St.Olav’s Hospital, Brøset department (Central professional unit for committal to care, Center for safety-, prison- and judicial psychiatry) and Trondheim Prison. ​ At the moment she works at RVTS Mid with raising competence around problematic and harmful sexual behaviour in children and young people. Sandvik is especially a proponent of prevention of assault by professional development and establishing access to treatment and following-up for adults and children in danger of committing sexual violations. She is in addition a coordinator for the Resource team for problematic and harmful sexual behaviour (REBESSA). Back Innholdsfortegnelse

  • Privacy policy | RVTS Guide for schools

    PRIVACY AND COOKIES We at aim to treat personal information carefully and with respect. We collect data from those who visit our website on the grounds of functionality and user experience. This information is used to optimize the content of our website, look at user patterns, and customize targeted advertising. To this end we use cookies, which you can read more about in the next paragraphs. ​ COOKIES This e-learning: is owned by RVTS Mid, and uses cookies. By using this website, you are consenting to these cookies being inserted into your web browser. Cookies are a standard piece of internet technology and used by most websites. Cookies are inserted into the internal storage of your web browser, and helps us understand how you use the website. In the long term this information is used to give you a better experience when you next visit the site. Most of the new internet browsers like Opera, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and so on, accept cookies automatically. If you do not want to accept cookies you have to manually change the settings of your browser. Keep in mind that this might lead to several websites not functioning properly. ​ THE WEBSITE’S OWNER AND CONTACT INFO RVTS Mid St. Olavs Hospital Schwachs gate 1 N-7030 Trondheim Telephone: 72 82 20 05 Fax: 72 82 20 33 E-mail: ​ THIS WEBSITE USES THE FOLLOWING COOKIES FOR THE STATED PURPOSES: Source: Google Analytics Purpose: Collect information about how visitors interact with the website. We use this information in reports made to improve the website, and for general statistics about visiting- and click frequency. The cookies make all information anonymous, meaning they only convey information about the number of people clicking on the website, where these clicks come from and what sites they visit. Cookies from Google: _unam, _utma, _utmb, _utmc, _utmt, _utmz, _ga, gat. Read more about the different cookies and their function at Google. Purpose: Managing status through your visiting the website. Cookies: PHPSESSID Duration: Session ​ WEBSITE STATISTICS To optimize and further develop our website we collect necessary information about your visit to This includes, among other things, information on your web browser, operative system, screen size, unit, and length of the visit. The information is saved by third parties like Google Analytics, and will be stored for the length of time specified by the services. The information is only used for internal traffic related to optimization of the website, and is not given to outsiders. Any visit to our website will be logged by our servers and contain information about the IP-address, web browser, operative system, use/navigation etc. of the visitor. We use this information in fault finding and improvements in the case of deviations, and do not share it with any third parties. ​ E-MAIL COMMUNICATION Every inquiry sent to our contact-mail is saved by us. They are logged as part of your cooperation with us, and will be stored for up to 5 years. We utilize this system with every inquiry, as well as logging of measures and communication between parties. This information is handled internally at and is not given to any third parties. ​ DATA CONTROLLER The CEO of is responsible for processing the collected personal information. The CEO is responsible for arranging internal controls of the processing of personal information, and for reporting and correcting potential deviations from current laws and regulations. We strive to always abide by the current privacy regulations. You are welcome to send us an e-mail at if you have any questions, or call tel.: 72 82 20 05 Home Innholdsfortegnelse

  • 7.3 Appendix 2 | RVTS Guide for schools

    APPENDIX 2 EXAMPLE OF HOW TO MANAGE PROBLEMATIC SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR IN LOWER SECONDARY SCHOOL In grade 8 at a secondary school there were a lot of pupils using sexualized and violating language toward each other, and a group of boys especially liked to initiate it. This usually affected the girls in the class, but would sometimes affect a few of the boys, too. The contact teacher expressed that he didn’t get to spend enough time with the pupils, and felt conflicts and violating behaviour weren’t dealt with properly as a consequence. Multiple other teachers went into the same class, but said the pupils neither listened to them nor followed the rules they made during lessons, resulting in many warnings being issued. ​ A lot of parents started contacting the school with concerns about the classroom environment, and several of the girls wished to change schools/classes. Finally the contact teacher called the local consultation team to discuss the sexualized language used in the class. He was advised to contact the Child Welfare Service for guidance and an assessment of the classroom environment, in addition to PPT for help with systemic change. ​ The teacher, the Child Welfare Service and PPT then agreed on the importance of working both individually and systemically. The Child Welfare Service and PPT held a meeting with available resource persons at school (contact teacher, school social worker, school nurse and management) to create an overarching plan for changing the classroom environment. The Child Welfare Service assisted the resource persons with assessing concerns around individual pupils. They also looked into the class dynamics along with PPT. It turned out several of the pupils were struggling for various reasons and not receiving treatment. Some of them had trouble academically and couldn’t keep up with academic progression, others dealt with poor conditions at home. This insight resulted in supportive measures being implemented in a few families by the Child Welfare Service, and individual assessments from PPT. The resource persons were in addition tasked with creating concise guidelines and structures for every teacher coming into the class to ensure a general and predictable approach towards every pupil. ​ The teachers were all to focus on building trustful relations with the pupils and model the kind of communication wanted in a classroom. The contact teacher would get some time freed up in his schedule every week to talk more with the pupils who needed it. The social teacher did the same thing. The school nurse and contact teacher spent time regularly holding lessons on sexuality, relations and boundaries, and consulted with the pupils to emerge at a set of guidelines for everyone to follow. The rest of the school, in turn, focused extra on the guidelines at the orders of the management, and this was communicated at assemblies and to guardians. All the teachers involved with the class regularly met to ensure coordination and update each other on what was going on. ​ After a while teachers, guardians and even pupils discovered the bad language had disappeared, and the environment in the class had noticeably increased. Illustration: Jens A. Larsen Aas Listen to a read-aloud version of the text on this page 7.3 Appendix 2 Example from lower secondary school RVTS Mid 00:00 / 03:20 Previous Next Innholdsfortegnelse

  • 3.2 The traffic light can help us differentiate part 2 | RVTS Guide for schools

    THE TRAFFIC LIGHT CAN HELP US DIFFERENTIATE – PART 2 LECTURER Birgit Hegge is a clinical social worker with a master’s degree in social subjects. She is also an educated specialist in sexological counselling, with approval from the Nordic Association for Clinical Sexology (NACS). She specializes in violence and sexual assault due to her many years of experience with mental health and child welfare. Hegge is a proponent of the prevention aspect of good sexual development and health. Previous Next Innholdsfortegnelse The Traffic Light is a framework for understanding sexuality, sexual development and how this is expressed in children and young people. In other words, the Traffic Light is meant to raise awareness of sexuality being an important part of children’s development – as important as language, for instance. It is also a tool to help us differentiate between healthy and problematic expressions of sexuality. Why is this important? In my experience, sexuality in children makes adults uncertain. We’re uncertain of what we see, what we should say, and how to react in the face of a child’s sexuality. We might just say nothing, reject or scold the child, resulting in the child not receiving the support and guidance they need. When it comes to sexuality, children need guidance and support just like in other aspects of life, and help to develop good sexual health as well as a healthy view of their own body. How does the Traffic Light help? Well, many adults report just reading it helps clarify what behaviours are acceptable. The Traffic Light is divided like the name indicates; in the colours green, yellow and red. The green light is the “go”-signal in traffic, and in this framework describes what a natural, healthy sexuality looks like. Now, if the child doesn’t show their sexuality, this is okay too. We are all different people, and not all children put their sexuality on display. At the green level, the child requires positive attention and support from you. The yellow light in traffic tells you to slow down or stop – or to get ready to drive. The same applies to yellow sexuality; you need to figure out what is happening. Are all the children fine? Do they find what’s happening acceptable? You have to find the answers to those questions; speak with the children, help them figure it out, ask them about their thoughts. Sometimes children need help with figuring out different ways to do things, and sexuality is no exception. Help them to adjust, find other ways, be more aware of everyone else’s boundaries. They need help with understanding and recognizing if they themselves are okay with what is occurring. If children don’t learn to recognize and enforce their own boundaries, they may have difficulties understanding how others can be uncomfortable. The red light means “stop”, both in traffic and in regard to sexuality. If the behaviour is red, you, the adult, must intervene immediately. This is why many people actively use the Traffic Light, either with fellow personnel or other acquaintances; they get to talk about it and read through the different categories, both colour and age group. The Traffic Light describes the different levels of age well, including what to expect and what sexuality in those ages looks like. However, such a framework can’t account for everything, and talking to other people reveals how humans are all different people with different boundaries. Adults are no exception, and we all react differently in the face of others’ sexuality – especially the sexuality of children. If you discuss it – preferably with your staff group – you can find out what this all means to you at your kindergarten/school/place of work, and how your institution should operate. You can together decide where the boundaries are, and why. What do you react to, and what don’t you react to? What keeps you from reacting in situations where you should have? If this has been discussed beforehand you can also create a strategy for how to act if a child expresses their sexuality in an unacceptable way. In addition, you can agree on a method of speaking to the child about sexuality. When we discuss the validity of our thoughts we become more assured, more open, and we appear more concise to children – and if we are clear and concise, children become assured as well. They receive the guidance, training and support they need to develop a healthy sexuality. This is the foundation of good sexual health; positive development, lots of joy, and healthy sexual common decency. Birgit Hegge, høgskolelektor VID, fakultet for helsefag. Vis teksten Spilletid: 7:15

  • 2.5 Orientation | RVTS Guide for schools

    ORIENTATION Many people find out early on whether they are attracted to the same or opposite gender, but it is also normal to spend some time exploring your sexual identity. ​ Create a safe and open environment and acknowledge and support children and young people who wish to speak about their own gender awareness or orientation. Children are most afraid of rejection. ​ Children rely on safe adults who can support a healthy sexuality. They need adults who can be happy for them and their sexual development, while also being able to regulate and correct behaviour if it turns violating. Illustration: Jens A. Larsen Aas Listen to a read-aloud version of the text on this page 2.5 Orientation RVTS Mid 00:00 / 00:39 Adults and their responsibility in children’s sexual development 2.5 Adults and their responsibility in children´s sexual development RVTS Mid 00:00 / 01:40 «Children rely on safe adults who can support a healthy sexuality. They need adults who can be happy for them and their sexual development, while also being able to regulate and correct behaviour if it turns violating.» - THE TRAFFIC LIGHT Previous Next Innholdsfortegnelse Read a transcript of the audio recording “If adults can handle speaking to children about sexuality, we signal to them that it’s okay to talk about. Providing children and young people with this understanding will also be good for them in the long run. Now, say we shun sexuality instead of talk about it. Say we minimize the issue instead of facing it head on. What signals would we be sending? We would be telling children this isn’t a subject we are supposed to talk about. The thing is, talking about sex with a child, adolescent, or your own children can feel a bit awkward. Many parents don’t know what to say. I think conveying to the children that it is alright to talk about sexuality is incredibly important, and makes it easier for them to approach the subject as well. This is really good for people who experience bad things, like their boundaries being violated and exploited, or acquiescing to things that are not okay. Having the positive experience of being able to talk about it means they can tell an adult and receive help. If surrounding adults had shunned the subject, it might have been a lot harder to do this, but I am only thinking out loud.”

  • 4. Managing problematic sexual behaviour | RVTS Guide for schools

    4. MANAGING PROBLEMATIC SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR If any of the school staff suspects a pupil of displaying problematic or harmful sexual behaviour, they should bring this to someone’s attention right away. The concerns often begin with vague gut feelings and uncertainty about the violating behaviour. Discuss your worries with professionals as early as possible, so the correct measures can be speedily implemented at the school. ​ This way the school can investigate, observe and assess the situation to ensure the behaviour does not continue or escalate. While this is important, keep in mind that the goal is to help the child or young person have a healthy sexual behaviour. ​ In this chapter you will learn about “the Tolerance Window” and the part it plays during conversations with children about difficult subjects, professional advice on how to manage different problems, and be referred to several sources of information on the subjects. PAGES IN THIS CHAPTER SPEAKING WITH CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE ABOUT DIFFICULT SUBJECTS BEING MENTALLY AVAILABLE DURING CONVERSATIONS CREATING A SAFETY PLAN WORKING WITH SEXUALLY DEGRADING LANGUAGE, ATTITUDES AND BAD CULTURE IN A CLASSROOM ENVIRONMENT THE SCHOOL’S RESPONSIBILITY SUMMARY SUBJECT-RELATED QUESTIONS Previous Next Innholdsfortegnelse

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