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 

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 

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.  

More information to follow

In response to a growing international demand, Sensoa is currently translating its comprehensive information on the Sensoa Flag System in English.

On 1 February 2024, the following information will be available on this website:

  • Examples of situations of sexual behaviour of (vulnerable) children, adolescents and adults that help you assess sexual behaviour 
  • Materials and work formats to get started with the Flag System
  • A Tips & tricks guide to adapt the method to specific cultural or organisational needs
  • A questionnaire to collect indications on the impact of implementing the Flag System in your organisation
  • A comprehensive guide to respond to sexual behaviour
  • A roadmap to deal with incidents as a professional
  • Terms of use for anyone who wants to work with the Flag System

Sensoa, Flemish expertise centre for sexual health

  • We provide information and advice on sexuality and relationships to different target groups.
  • We support professionals in Flanders and Brussels to talk about sex with education and materials.
  • We do not answer personal questions.
  • Due to a lack of funding of our international work, we cannot answer questions or help with the international implementation of the Flag System, other than providing information on this website.