young people sexuality

The Flag System: identifying (un)acceptable sexual behaviour

The Sensoa Flag System© is an evidence-based tool developed by Sensoa for identifying healthy and unacceptable sexual behaviour of children and youngsters aged 0 to 18. The Flag System enables professionals (care, social work, education and other fields) to make a clear distinction between healthy and unacceptable sexual behaviour and supports them in talking with children about sexuality.

With the help of this tool, professionals are able to effectively identify sexual behaviour. It guides its users to determine when certain sexual behaviour is permissible and when other sexual behaviour should be restricted or forbidden, following objective criteria. It also provides professionals with guidelines on how to respond pedagogically and helps them support young people to experience their sexuality in a sensible and healthy way.

Prevention of sexual aggression

The Flag System is used for the prevention of sexual aggression and in supporting healthy sexual development: making sexuality, desires, boundaries, criteria and gradations of sexual behaviour insightful and a subject of discussion, since it makes talking about sexual behaviour easier. It is a necessary tool, taking into account that in the Netherlands and in Belgium approximately one in  five young people have experienced non-physical or physical sexual aggression.

Many professionals are uncertain about what is and what is not acceptable. The questions ‘How can I help children and young people to assess when sexual behaviour is ok or not?’ and 'How do I respond to (un)acceptable behaviour?’ are very relevant these days. The Flag System  offers an answer to these questions.

European opportunities

Sexual behaviour and sexual aggression are human traits and therefore boundaries can be crossed in this respect. We understand that professionals and organizations in other European countries are dealing with the same difficulties in identifying (un)acceptable sexual behaviour and effectively streamlining the pedagogical response in an ever-changing society. Even though the Flag System might need adjustments to fit other European settings and countries, the huge demand in both Belgium and the Netherlands makes us believe that there is a need for this tool in other countries as well. 

International website

Rutgers and Sensoa will launch giving online access to the Flag System for countries outside the Netherlands and Belgium. The website will be online by the end of 2017. 

We want to assess how the Flag System will be received in other European countries and what organisations need from Rutgers and Sensoa in order to implement this tool. Therefore, a platform will be created in the Netherlands and Belgium to inform professionals and organisations about this project and further developments.


If you are interested in implementing the Flag System in your country and/or if you wish to stay connected, please fill in this form. We will make sure you receive our updates regularly.

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