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Working safely with families/whānau where children are displaying concerning sexual behaviour

Updated: 22 September 2013

What's Important To Us

Working with children and families where a child is displaying concerning sexual behaviour is a complex area of our work that is often fraught with high running emotions within the family/whānau and community. It is important that we respond appropriately to children and that we support families/whānau to manage children's behaviour safely.

Concerning sexual behaviour evokes a response of discomfort and awkwardness in many adults. While some adults consider such behaviour playful, others fear it indicates a path towards more harmful sexual behaviour. It is important to not under or over react when a child displays concerning sexual behaviour.

The following key information refers to children displaying concerning sexual behaviour as those aged 10 years and under.

This is a guide only, and social worker judgement is required when considering if this information is appropriate for an older child, or whether referring to Working safely with young people who are displaying harmful sexual behaviour would be more appropriate.