Privacy Notice for Adults (Parents/Carers/Guardians)

This privacy notice relates to the Understanding Sexual Behaviours of Children and Young People in the UK research project.

University of Birmingham researchers are surveying young people aged 13 to 18 in the UK to create evidence-based definitions of developmentally-typical and problematic or harmful sexual behaviours among this group. This is an unexplored research area with no current professional assessment tools for these behaviours underpinned by UK evidence. Keeping pace with trends in sexual practices is necessary to safeguard young people's health and to support them with their sexual well-being. As a result of our survey/project, healthcare and rehabilitation professionals, policymakers, parents and carers will be able to draw on evidence to understand problematic, harmful and normal childhood sexual behaviour that considers rapidly changing digital and real-life influences. Our survey data will help develop an assessment tool based on the UK context that practitioners can use as a first response. Dr Sophie King-Hill leads this project.

In order to carry out the research project described above, we will need to collect information about young people, and some of this information will be their personal data. Under data protection law, we must provide specific information about what we do with their data and their rights. We have set out below the key information trusted adults (parents/carers/guardians/teachers) need to know about how we will use young people's personal data in this study.

The University of Birmingham's web page 'Data Protection - How the University Uses Your Data' sets out much of this information, including how to ask any questions you may have about how participants' personal data is used, how they can exercise their rights or complain about the way the data is being handled. The rest of the key information you need to know about how we use young people's personal data concerning this study is set out below.

Please read this privacy notice carefully, as it provides important information about how we handle young people's personal information and their/your rights. Before participating, we encourage young people to discuss our participant information and privacy notice with a trusted adult such as a parent, carer or teacher.

Who is the Data Controller?

The University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT is the data controller for the personal data we process concerning young people in this study.

What data are we processing, and for what purpose will we use it?

As the Participant Information Sheet explains, we will collect and process young people's personal data to conduct the research project. We shall be processing several categories of data from children and young people ("Data Subjects"), including:

  • Racial or ethnic origin
  • Sexual orientation
  • Sex life
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Pregnancy
  • Religion/beliefs

We will use your data for the following purposes:

  • To examine what constitutes normative, problematic, and harmful sexual behaviours in UK children and young people aged 13 to 18 years old to underpin an assessment tool for these behaviours used by professionals working with this group.
  • To use special category personal data (as outlined above) to inform the research project being conducted.
  • To archive all personal data captured within the Research. The location of the data for this purpose will be in the Research Data Store (RDS) and held for 10 years in an anonymised format.

What is our legal basis for processing your data?

The legal justification we have under data protection law for processing your personal data is that it is in the University's legitimate interests to carry out the research the data has been provided for. These interests are to investigate a range of normative, problematic, and harmful sexual behaviours in children and young people aged 13 – 18 years to underpin an assessment tool for professionals. No assessment tools for these behaviours currently exist that are underpinned by UK focused research and presents an unexplored research area within the UK context.

As this is special category data, our data processing must also satisfy and additional condition and in this scenario the condition is for the purposes of research. Appropriate safeguards have been put in place to ensure the rights and freedoms of children and young people taking part in this research are not infringed to the extent that these will override the legitimate interest of the research. To demonstrate compliance, a Data Protection Impact Assessment ("DPIA") has been carried out which is accessible by contacting the Principal Investigator.

 These data will not be used to make decisions about young people.

Who will my personal data be shared with?

For the purposes of the research project, an external organisation - an electronic survey provider, Qualtrics - will assist us in collecting and processing young people's data on our behalf. This organisation acts on our behalf in accordance with our instructions and does not process young people's data for any purpose over and above what we have asked them to do. We ensure we have appropriate contracts with them to protect and safeguard the data collected. If personal data are transferred outside the European Union (for example, or if one of our partners is based outside the EU or we use a cloud-based app with servers based outside the EU), we have adopted appropriate safeguards to ensure the confidentiality and security of young people's personal data.

There may be scenarios where we are subject to a legal obligation to disclose or share your personal data, such as with law enforcement agencies, regulatory bodies or public authorities in order to prevent or detect crime. We will only ever disclose young people's personal data to these third parties to the extent required by law.

How long will my personal data be kept?

Young people's data will be retained for 10 years after the publication of the research outcomes as per the University's policies.

How do we protect your data?

We implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to protect data that we process from unauthorised disclosure, use, alteration or destruction. Young people's information is securely stored on a dedicated drive, and access is controlled by the University's secure access policy for the duration of the research study period.

We will always keep these under review to make sure that the measures we have implemented remain appropriate.

Any personal data is not subject to any automated decision-making.

What rights and options do I have?

Young people and their parents/carers/guardians have the following rights in respect of your personal data:

  • to be informed about how the University will use your personal data. This should be done before data is collected and is often done by way of a 'privacy notice' which is outlined on this page.
  • to access the personal information the University holds about you. This is known as a Subject Access Request. More information about making Subject Access Requests can be found below.
  • to correct inaccuracies or, where appropriate and taking into account the purpose for which we process young people's data, the right to have incomplete data completed.
  • to have your personal data erased. This is a limited right which applies, among other circumstances, when the data is no longer required or the processing has no legal justification.
  • to object to the processing of your personal data when that processing is based on specific criteria, such as the public interest or other legitimate interests unless we have compelling lawful grounds to continue.

How do I complain or lodge a complaint about the research?

Any queries or concerns about processing personal data by or on behalf of the University or in relation to the exercise of any Data Subject rights should contact the Information Compliance Officer in the first instance.

For more information on exercising your rights, email or write to:

The Information Compliance Manager 
Legal Services 
The University of Birmingham 
B15 2TT

Alternatively, you can contact Mrs. Susan Cottam (Ethics Manager) at if you have a complaint or are unhappy with the research.

How do I contact the research team?

If you have any questions about any aspect of this privacy notice or your data, please contact the research team via email at or quoting "Privacy Notice – Understanding Sexual Behaviours in Children and Young People in the UK" in the subject or body of the email.

Are changes made to this webpage?

This privacy notice is effective from September 2023 and is reviewed when necessary. Any changes will be published here.