Concerning Sexual Behaviours

Sexual behaviours which cause concern because of:

  • persistence, intensity, frequency or duration of behaviours
  • the type of activity or knowledge for the age and stage of development
  • inequality in age, size, power or developmental ability
  • risk to the health and safety of the child or others
  • unusual changes in a child’s behaviour

These behaviours signal the need to monitor and provide extra support.

0 to 4 years

  • masturbation in preference to other activities
  • preoccupation with sexual behaviours
  • persistently watching others in sexual activity, toileting or when nude
  • explicit sexual talk, art or play
  • following others into private spaces e.g. toilets, bathrooms to look at them or touch them
  • pulling other children’s pants down or skirts up against their will
  • touching the genitals/private parts of other children in preference to other activities
  • attempting to touch or touching adults on the breasts, bottom, or genitals in ways that are persistent and/or invasive
  • touching the genitals/private parts of animals after redirection

5 to 9 years

  • masturbation in preference to other activities, in public, with others and/or causing self injury
  • explicit talk, art or play of sexual nature
  • persistent questions about sexuality despite being answered
  • persistent nudity and/or exposing private parts in public places
  • persistently watching or following others to look at or touch them
  • pulling other children’s pants down or skirts up against their will
  • persistently mimicking sexual flirting behaviour too advanced for age, with other children or adults
  • touching genitals/private parts of animals after redirection
  • use of mobile phone and internet with known and unknown people which may include giving out identifying details

10 to 13 years

  • masturbation in preference to other activities, in public and/or causing self injury
  • persistent explicit talk, art or play which is sexual or sexually intimidating
  • accessing age restricted materials e.g. movies, games, internet with sexually explicit content
  • persistent expression of fear of sexually transmitted infection or pregnancy
  • marked changes to behaviour e.g. older or adult flirting behaviours, seeking relationships with older children or adults in preference to peers
  • engaging in sexual activities with an unknown peer e.g. deep kissing, mutual masturbation
  • oral sex and/or intercourse with a known partner of similar age and developmental ability
  • using mobile phones and internet with unknown people which may include giving
  • out identifying details

14 to 17 years

  • sexual preoccupation which interferes with daily function
  • intentional spying on others while they are engaged in sexual activity or nudity
  • explicit communications, art or actions which are obscene or sexually intimidating
  • repeated exposure of private parts in a public place with peers e.g. flashing
  • unsafe sexual behaviour, including unprotected sex, sexual activity while intoxicated, multiple partners and/or frequent change of partner
  • presence of sexually transmitted infection or unplanned pregnancy
  • oral sex and/or intercourse with known partner of more than two years age difference or with significant difference in development
  • arranging a meeting with an online acquaintance accompanied by a peer or known adult
  • using mobile phones and internet to send or receive sexual images of another person with their consent

 

Red sexual behaviours are problematic or harmful, forceful, secretive, compulsive, coercive or degrading signal the need to provide immediate protection and follow up support. Read more.

 

Green sexual behaviours are normal, age appropriate, spontaneous, curious, mutual, light hearted and easily diverted experimentation provide opportunities to talk, explain and support. Read more.

 

Identify the behaviour
Understand the behaviour
Respond to address the child's needs

 

This content originally published by Family Planning Queensland. © 2012 Family Planning Queensland. Reprinted with permission.