The Sensoa Flag System is a method developed in Flanders for professionals working with children, young people and adults to promote discussion around (transgressive) sexual behaviour, assess it correctly and respond appropriately. 

With the Flag System you can:  

  • Objectively assess sexual behaviour of children, young people and adults 
  • Discuss sexual behaviour with the persons involved and other professionals 
  • Better coordinate the (educational) steps to be taken within your team 
  • As a manager, develop a vision and policy on sexual health within your organisation 

The Flag System helps you reach a carefully considered response after applying six criteria to a specific situation. This provides a counterweight to emotional or panicky reactions, or to indifference.

What are the criteria of the Flag System? 

Based on six criteria, you can classify sexual behaviour into four categories of severity, denoted by different colour flags. For each colour flag, you are presented an appropriate response. 

Six criteria 

  1. Mutual consent 
  2. Voluntary engagement 
  3. Equality 
  4. Level of development or functioning 
  5. Context
  6. Impact 

More information about the six criteria 

What are the flags of the Flag System?  

Four flags 

  • Green flag: acceptable sexual behaviour  
  • Yellow flag: moderately transgressive sexual behaviour 
  • Red flag: seriously transgressive sexual behaviour 
  • Black flag: severely transgressive sexual behaviour 

More information about the four flags

Situations that help you assess sexual behaviour 

The example situations show specific situations of sexual behaviour of (vulnerable) children, young people and adults. Each situation is assessed using the six criteria for healthy sexual behaviour. Based on this assessment, a response is suggested.   

Take a look at the six criteria applied to common situations 

Respond to sexual behaviour with the response guide 

The response guide is a guideline that provides a structure for your communication with all persons involved. You go over the different guidelines on how to act in case of a green, yellow, red and black flag.

A more detailed response with the response guide

Developmental Chart 

The Developmental Chart is an additional tool used in combination with the Sensoa Flag System. It contains an overview of sexually suggestive behaviour that may be displayed in each age category, from 0 to 18 years old.  

The Chart is based on Western scientific literature on the sexual development of young people.  

Consult the Developmental Chart 

Start with the Flag System

There are different ways to start with the Flag System: you can use our work formats and methods, or practise with the example situations showing specific situations of sexual behaviour of (vulnerable) children, young people and adults. 

Discover our entire range of materials and work formats of the Flag System 

Use the Flag System in your organisation or country 

Using the Flag System in your organisation or country may be challenging. Cultural adaptations may be necessary. The Tips & tricks guide will help you adapt the method to specific cultural or organisational needs.

More about the Flag System and cultural adaptations

Improve the implementation of the Flag System in your organisation

With the Knowledge, Attitude and Self-Efficacy questionnaire, you can assess to what extent people understand sexually transgressive behaviour and what attitude and convictions they have. On the basis of this assessment, organisations can see whether there is a need for further training or intervention, such as the Flag System.

More about measuring the impact in your organisation

Terms of Use and legal conditions - Sensoa Flag System

The Sensoa Flag System can be freely used by anyone who wishes to promote sexual health and prevent sexually transgressive behaviour.

A few important conditions are attached to its use: The Flag System must be used as it was intended; commercial use is not permitted; and essential elements, such as the criteria, may not be adapted.

There are also legal and regulatory aspects involved when using the Sensoa Flag System. Thus, it is best to always take into account laws, applicable professional agreements, protocols and procedures that apply in your context or country. 

Read all Terms of Use for the Sensoa Flag System

Read the legal agreements for the Sensoa Flag System

History of the Flag System 

In 2009, Sensoa decided to develop the Flag System. Since then, the Flag System has been further developed into numerous applications.   

Read more about the development and impact of the Flag System