Implementation in the Netherlands by Movisie

In 2008, Erika Frans from Sensoa (Belgium) started working on what would eventually become the Sensoa Flag System in 2010. Movisie then translated the Flag System into a context fit for the Netherlands.

Movisie is a national expertise centre in the Netherlands, specialising in the field of social issues, concentrating on themes such as social care, participation, safety and domestic and sexual violence. Movisie is the licensee for the implementation of the Flag System in the Netherlands and has developed a system of quality assurance, with licensing for organisations and certificates for trainers.

Implementation setting

At that time (2010) in the Netherlands, the Flag System fitted really well in that it could help resolve issues found in the youth care sector. Research on sexual abuse in institutions for youth care showed a rather shocking picture and there was a very real need for prevention. The Flag System could help to address that need, with clear criteria about when sexual behaviour is okay and when it is not.

System of licensing

Movisie worked on the publicity of the Flag system by giving speeches, writing articles and giving workshops. In combination with this they set up a training framework about the Flag System for different groups of professionals who work with children aged 0-18. The basis of this training is the five modules Sensoa developed for implementing the Flag System. The main focus of the implementation process has been professionals in youth care, but also other professionals such as (professional) educators, youth (prevention) workers, teachers, (youth) investigating officers and (youth) lawyers. Movisie has labelled the Flag System “a protected intervention”. Which means that the intervention owner checks the quality of the intervention and monitors the use and application of the system to ensure it is fit for purpose.

Training business

There is a basic training session, in which professionals learn how to work with the Flag System. This training is primarily for a ‘training of trainers’ (ToT). Based on 'Buiten de Lijnen' (Sensoa et al, 2017. Translation: Outside Boundaries), there are also training sessions focused on specific target groups (children with e.g.learning disabilities, trauma in their past, ordifferent cultural backgrounds), and an e-learning course for professionals who work with people with learning disabilities. Professionals who have followed the training get a certificate, and those who are members of a relevant professional association can get credit points for the training. Movisie works with certified trainers for the basic training. Any professional who followed the ToT program of six half days after the basic training, can become certified. Part of this training is also ‘how to implement the Flag System in your organisation’. In order to keep the certification, professionals have to attend a yearly follow up day. An organisation that has at least two certified trainers will be awarded a license that allows them to provide the basic training internally.

In-depth material

While working with the various elements of the method, it became clear that there was a need for additional and more in-depth material. This is a need the manual ‘Outside of the Lines’ wanted to meet as it translated the Sensoa Flag System to benefit children and youths with special needs (low IQ), migration backgrounds or gender and psychiatric disorders. The manual was published in 2016 by a partnership between Sensoa and Dutch partners Movisie and Rutgers, adapting the method for the full Dutch-speaking language area to connect specific expertise on this subject. The method has been found to be effective by the University of Ghent. The Raak-Pro project in the Netherlands (a project aimed at implementing the Flag system in NL, funded by Raak Pro) showed that after implementing the Flag System in their organisation, professionals felt more capable of assessing and coping with the sexual behaviour of children and young people and more able to implement some methods used directly with young people.

Successful business

Already the method has been widely used in both Flanders (part of Belgium) and the Netherlands. For implementation purposes Sensoa and Movisie developed extra materials for specific sectors (such as sports, youth work and education). The system of licensing has become a successful business and the training of professionals in the use of the Flag System is now a considerable part of Movisie’s training business.