Sexual Behaviours In Children

A guide to IDENTIFY, UNDERSTAND and RESPOND to sexual behaviours

Knowing how to identify and respond to sexual behaviours in children and young people helps adults to support the development of healthy sexuality and protect young people from harm or abuse.

Sexuality is integral to a person's identity and develops throughout life. It is natural for children and young people to express their sexuality through their behaviour. Healthy sexual behaviour may be expressed in a variety of ways through play and relationships and relates to the stage of development.

Sexual behaviours are not just about sex. They include any talk, touch, questions, conversations and interests which relate to sexuality and relationships.

When children or young people display sexual behaviour which increases their vulnerability or causes harm to another, adults have a responsibility to take action to provide support and protection.

Children and young people who have a disability, have been abused or have experienced other disruptions to their development or socialisation, may be at increased risk of exposure to, or of developing, unsafe or harmful sexual behaviours. Adults who care for these young people have a duty of care to provide relevant information and support.


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.