What is the Flag System?

With the help of this tool, professionals are able to effectively identify acceptable and unacceptable sexual behaviour of children and young people aged 0-18.

It guides its users in determining when certain sexual behaviour is acceptable and when other sexual behaviour should be restricted or forbidden, following objective criteria. It also provides professionals with guidelines on how to respond and helps them support young people to experience their sexuality in a sensible and healthy way. 

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Why use the Flag System?

It’s crucial that all children and youths have a healthy sexual development.


This growth process starts at an early age. However, in many cases the boundaries of children and youths are crossed, and they are confronted with sexually unacceptable behaviour. The Flag System is used in supporting healthy sexual development and preventing sexual coercion.

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How does it work?
drawing mums and dads

The Flag System uses six criteria for identifying sexual behaviour, four categories (flags) for gradations (green, yellow, red and black), a developmental chart with gradations of sexual behaviour, and a number of cards with situation drawings and the recommended educational responses.

Professionals use the drawings to discuss situations with, for example, co-workers. The criteria help them identify the sexual behaviour on the card. The flags are used to categorise the severity of the behaviour and determine the correct educational response.

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Who is it for?

The Flag System is meant for childcare workers and other professionals working with children and young people between the ages of 0–18 years.

It is used by professionals in different settings (care, education, social work, sports and other fields) to discuss sexually (un)acceptable behaviour with co-workers, management, parents, care-takers and with the children and young people themselves.

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