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I am cetain that this is the best place to seek advice on this one, its not something I have come accross before and would really value the views of others.


This happen on Friday and I am trying to come up with a "damage limitation" way of dealing with this. The two boys are both 4 and the girl is 3, so the boys will be at school in September but all three will be still here over the summer holidays.


The following is taken from the email that the parent of the girl has sent to me


"Hi xxxx


I felt that it would be good to put today’s events into writing, it is a shame it has fallen on a Friday as it would have been nice to chat further. I know xxx(deputy manager) did try to ring me back at home but unfortunately I didn’t get home till after 6 by which point it was too late to ring back, I kept my mobile with me but had failed to mention to you to use that number so I am sorry about that.


In the car and after we got home from nursery xxx (girl age 3) seemed a little quiet – usually telling me all about her day but she didn’t today. When I asked what she had done today she started talking and the following is her account of what happened.


“After lunch I was in the reading corner with xx(boy 1) and xxx(boy 2). B1 told B2 to lift up my dress and to pull my pants and see if I had a willy, they were laughing and B1 said she’s got a willy, then he told B2 to touch my bottom and to do it at the back too, I couldn’t get away and B2 was pulling my dress and pants, I didn’t like him touching me. I got away and went to tell xxxdeputy manager, xxxdeputy manager came to the book corner and told them off. When she talked to them they didn’t say anything. Then I went to the toilet because I needed a wee. I was in the toilet and someone was talking, it scared me because B1 was standing on the toilet and looking at me while I did a wee wee and saying to look at my bottom.”


When I asked her how she felt, she said she felt sad. She felt that B1 was being mean.


Unfortunately it raises several questions that need to be addressed.


1/ Why was this allowed to happen and once it had, why was B1 allowed to follow her into the toilet, where was the supervision?


2/ Why was I not told about this when I collected her?


3/ Why does B1 feel the need to be looking at or touching girl’s bottoms, not something that would usually be happening with this age group, kids learn by example so is there a child protection issue here?


I have been happy with girl’s care until now but today’s events cannot be ignored. At present, girl is upset and is adamant she will not return to nursery as she is scared this situation will happen again, she has gone to bed, finally, still talking about it and is still disturbed by it.


I hope to hear from you with an account of what happened from deputy manager’s point of view, I am available on my mobile anytime on xxxx xxxxxx.


Thanks xxx(Me), I understand this will be awkward for you too but I hope you understand my concerns, I look forward to speaking to you on Monday."


My deputy didn't tell me about this, we were busy on Friday; the first I knew was a phone call from mum.


I spoke to B1's mum, who almost seemed like she was laughing at me, her response being that if she had her way he would run aroung the house naked due to her upbrining in France. I don't quite get this repy. its left me puzzled.


Boy 2's mum said that he is easily lead by B1, they know each other outside of nursery as dads work together.


So could anyone help me with this one, I really want to address this in a sensitive manner but I think telling this parent that "its a phase they go through" will not be enough in this case. I have refered to our behaviour management policy and this reiterates the need to explain to the two boys that what they have done has hurt the girls feeling etc.


Thank you all for taking the time to read this rather long post.



Edited by BMG
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Hmm a very difficult one to handle :


First stop will be to talk to the Deputy about her take on the events and what she said/did so you have the facts - also a reminder that something of this serious nature should have been referred to you immediatley , even if it was busy.


Then you will need to get suitable'damage limitation' answers to the mothers questions, whilst being honest, yes it is a phase they go through (awareness of the differences in gender and body image etc. and natural curiosity) but there are issues around appropriateness and how the behaviour made the girl feel, also the fact that having been told that it wasn't a nice thing to do one of the boys was allowed to follow her to the toilet ( levels of supervision may have to come into this and a change of policy with regard to supervision of the toilet area? ) Reassuring the parent that the other parents have been made aware ( within bounds of confidentiality) procedures have been reviewed and that some work is being done on safegaurding and care of our own bodies , feelings etc for all of the children should be sufficient to ally her concerns and make her feel they have been taken seriously. Another stern talking to the boys by yourself may well be in order as well about your disappointment at thier behaviour and that maybe the girls Mums disappointment too .


Good Luck, never a pleasant thing to have to do.

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Hi there,


didn't want to read and run but not sure how helpful I can be....


My first reaction was of shock - this is an awful situation for the girl to be in....


I think my first point of action would be to say to mum that you need to discuss this with your staff, and ensure confidentiality is maintained and would ask her to do the same. I think you need some time to assess exactly what happened, what was said and what staff did.


Were the staff aware that this had happened? Child says she told but we all know that doesn't always happen...

If so, why were you not contacted? I would expect an emergency phone call if something like this had happended at my setting


I'm trying to put myself in the situation and wondering what I would do... if a child just came over and said XXX tried to touch my bottom" I would probably say toXXX that was not appropriate and speak to mums. and record the incident mindful of anything else that might happen.


A little while ago I witnessed a group of 2 boys washing their hands and 1 girl on the toilet having a converstaion about whether she had a willy - to be honest it was just quite amusing and I did retell to parents so they were aware - it is in some ways just a natural phase of interest, but mum is right to feel concerned - has she panicked and put a more sinister tone to her retelling?


Perhaps call her in so talk about it - so she knows you are taking her concern seriously..


Will continue to think about this but I have to go finish cooking my dinner!


Sorry to run - sure you will get some other responses too and I will check back later.!




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omg - what a nightmare....firstly i'd be having a strong word with your deputy and find out what happened, was it recorded, why didn't she phone you, where are the details. This is a very serious issue and needs to be handled with care for all concerned. Have there been any child protection issues previously. I'm sorry but no child of four should be that interested in a girls bottom without reason...this needs to be dealt with quickly. Ring the mum at home - after you've spoken to staff and find out exactly what the child said ( the words used in her response are not the childs but have been translated - and probably added to so try to get the exact response Record everything!

You need all the info before you can formulate a plan. The most important person in this is the girl - if they touched her then this is an assult xD you need to get the professionals involved if it is as serious as it sounds you can ring the NSPCC or social services (but do not name names yet as then it becomes official)

Do not tell the parent this is a phase - if that was my daughter i would not be impressed!

The mum sounds as if she is taking this sensibly - act now and you may stop a major issue, don't and you'll have social services on your door :o

sorry to be so demanding but just been involved with a family who's four year old has just been sexually assaulted by two four year old boys...... :(:(

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Just wanted to add to my previuos post - the boy who's mother was/is very laid back about nakedness etc in the house 'having grown up in France !' It may be that his awareness as it is comes from the attitudes at home, and being possibly exposed to or viewed situations that maybe are not appropriate for a child of this age to see. Maybe another word to the Mum about considering how other parents may feel, who may not be so 'liberated', and try to get her to see how his actions could be misconstrued by others, which may even lead to issues around child protection

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Thanks for the replies so far, lots to think about I know. I really want to get my approach right when speaking to this parent.


Some of the issues around supervision in the toilets are already "works in progress" in that we have identified the need to change the position of the door to the toilets to allow staff to see who is there/what is happening easier.


Please keep the replies coming, I really do appreciate your help; its like having a discussion with a virtual crititcal friend, very helpful indeed.




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Hi firstly can we be really careful what we disclose on here as safeguarding all children should always be uppermost in our minds. Secondly it sounds from your text that the mum of the child in question is trying to be reasonable but definetly requires answers to her comments. I would like to see the girl return to the setting giving lots of support and reasurrance. She needs to feel a sense of trust and care with the adults around her.

Firstly check with the Deputy to see why this was not cascaded down, rather concerned that child B1's mum didnot see the implications of this, and it is certainly not a reasonable answer from parent of B2 to say that he is easily led.

Obvious sensitivity in this area is required but child protection should always be paramount in our minds if in doubt shout, contact your area NSPCC or Local Social Services, no names at this stage.

Is there anyway of changing your toilet use?.

Sorry to be quite forceful in my text but this is a highly charged and emmotive subject for us all.

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I'd first tell your deputy that she needs to write down the whole of what the girl said to her, she may have said it in such a way that no alarms were rung but after dwelling on it it may have worried the girl more so by the time she saw her mom she had more to say about it.

Do you have an incident book/sheets? If so I'd record everything deputy and mom of girl have said and the responses for th boys moms. I'd ask each parent to sign to the effect that they are aware the incident has been recorded under your safeguarding policy and that the children will be observed further with any other inappropriate behaviour reocrded.

It might make the boys moms realsie just how serious this is to you, the girl and her mother.

You need to let them know that Child protection isnt just for the girl, for all you know the boys, either both or one, could be seeing or being subject to stuff at home that neither mom is aware of.

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Hi firstly can we be really careful what we disclose on here as safeguarding all children should always be uppermost in our minds.

With this in mind I've sent you a PM, BMG.


Take care - hope you can bring about a resolution which safeguards everyone's welfare.


Maz x

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Thanks everyone


I have been getting myself in a tizzy over this as it is the weekend, I probably wouldn't have got in such a pickle if I had been able to deal with it on Friday, but as it was so late in the day it was impossible.


I really do appreciate all this support, thank you.



Edited by BMG
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Haven't had experince of anything of this nature but have had other things where thoughtful consideration is appropriate.

My advice would be to keep talking to the girl's mother. Previous respondants comment regarding confidentiality from this parent is absolutely right and needs to be discussed. I would not expect you to arrive in work tomorrow with an answer - i would talk to the girl's mum ... explain that you are gathering info and that you will keep her informed ... direct her towards your policies as relevant to this incident ... I would want written testimonies regarding what the Deputy saw / heard / did ... what the other parents were told and what they said ... what all the children were told and what was said .... these should all be written, dated and signed and kept locked away. I would be observing the behaviour of the boys all the while thinking ... thinking ... thinking. I would be considering whether staff had followed correct procedures / policies and if yes I would be considering whether my policies needed amending and if no I would be considering whether disciplinary action was necessary (towards Deputy).

I would ask for the mum's patience while this process was being followed, explaining that process cannot be rushed. I would want the girl in Nursery and would be seeking to restore her confidence and provide reassurance to her and her family.


This may turn out to be a child protection issue that needs reporting officially, on the other hand it may turn out to be children's natural curiosity ... I don't know and nor do you at this point so to keep an open mind and don't make any hasty decisions until you have all the facts in front of you. I would ask for help from your LA if in doubt.


Good luck

pw xx

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