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4.11 Sexual Health

Last Modified: 30-Nov-2018 Review Date: 12-Jul-2019

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Legislation


​To assist residential care workers to develop practice that promotes discussion about sexual health issues with children.

To provide residential care workers with guidelines about providing information to children about sexual health and access to contraception.

Practice Requirements


Communities does not condone sexual relationships involving children under the age of consent (16 years of age), however young people living in out of home care are at high risk of early sexual initiation, risky sexual behaviours, and early pregnancy.

To lay the foundations for healthy sexual development and healthy relationships it is important to have age, developmentally and culturally appropriate discussions with children about sexual health from a young age.

This includes age, developmentally and culturally appropriate discussions about:

  • Feelings
  • Public and private parts of the body, places, behaviours and information
  • Safe and unsafe touch and protective behaviours
  • Consent and coercion
  • Self esteem
  • Body image
  • Puberty
  • Relationships
  • Sexuality
  • Conception and Pregnancy
  • Contraception
  • Sexual health
  • Online safety
  • Pornography

Case managers must ensure information about contraception and risks of sexually transmitted infections (safe sex) is provided and support the child to take steps to prevent unplanned pregnancy. It is recognised that talking about sexual issues with a child is a sensitive matter and is best undertaken by someone who has a trusting relationship with the child. In consultation with the case manager it may be decided that a residential care worker may be the most appropriate person to do so.

If a residential worker becomes aware that a child is, or is considering, becoming sexually active, it must be discussed with the child's case manager and documented how the child has been provided with information about the potential implications of being sexually active. Where possible and appropriate, (with the approval of the case manager and in collaboration with the case manager), residential care workers should take steps to protect the child from harm or to minimise the potential for harm by:

  • Providing access to information about contraception options
  • Facilitating access to contraception options
  • Identification of risk behaviours and education about safe and unsafe behaviours
  • Providing information and access to sexual health screening and testing
  • Helping young people understand and feel comfortable with their sexuality, gender and/or sexual identity


    Establishing a trusting relationship is the first step in helping a young person feel comfortable discussing sexual health issues. Residential care workers can help to build this rapport by:

    • Helping young people to understand that experimentation is normal however it is important to protect their health and safety, the health and safety of others, understand appropriate boundaries and consent

    • Adopting a non-judgemental approach

     • Being prepared to raise the issue of sexual health and show comfort in discussing the topic

    • Not assuming that the young person is heterosexual

    • Addressing the whole person and their developing relationships with other people rather than focusing only on the prevention of STIs and unwanted pregnancy


    Staff will be provided with information on protective behaviours, sexual health and healthy relationships to assist them in discussing sexual health in an age, developmentally and culturally appropriate way with children.

    Staffs are required to document sexual health discussions and resulting actions in case notes.




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