The Sexual Behaviours Traffic Light Tool was developed by Brook, a young people’s sexual health & wellbeing charity in the UK. The tool was inspired by Brook’s Chief Executive, Simon Blake’s, visit to True Relationships & Reproductive Health (formerly Family Planning Queensland) and adapted their traffic light guide they had developed (The Sexual Behaviours Traffic Light Tool, 2017). Through an intensive consultation period asking experts in the field, The Sexual Behaviours Traffic Light Tool was created.
The Sexual Behaviours Traffic Light Tool is designed identify sexual behaviours through 3 categories: green, amber or red. All green, amber and red behaviours will require some form of attention and response, but the type of intervention will vary according to the behaviour (The Sexual Behaviours Traffic Light Tool, 2017). For example, green behaviours may highlight opportunities to provide positive feedback and information that supports healthy sexuality. Amber and red behaviours may require observation, documentation, education, referral to other services, increased supervision, therapy, safeguarding assessment and/or a legal response (The Sexual Behaviours Traffic Light Tool, 2017).
Firstly, it aims to help practitioners make decisions about safeguarding children and young people. Secondly, allows for the appropriate assessment and response to sexual behaviour in children and young people. Lastly, it hopes to educate others by helping them understand healthy sexual development and distinguish it from harmful behaviour (The Sexual Behaviours Traffic Light Tool, 2017). Furthermore, it should be noted that the resource does not aim to define how children and young people should behave, but to show which behaviours are a natural part of growing up and exploring sexuality, and which are problematic and may need intervention or support. The Australian version is not free.
The age categories it made for ranges from 0-17 years and the tool is broken up into 4 different age groups. They are 0-5 years, 5-9 years, 9-13 years and 13-17 years. While it is meant for those within that age range, the 13-17 age category may also be a useful guide for vulnerable young people, or young people with physical or learning disabilities, up to age 25. Also, the age categories deliberately overlap to demonstrate the fluidity and variable nature of development (The Sexual Behaviours Traffic Light Tool, 2017).
Since the tool is relatively new (developed in 2011), it currently has no proper journal review but is constantly collecting feedback for their ongoing evidence-based study. It is claimed that the tool was developed and tested by a large number of professionals who work with children and young people and that Brook ensures information contained in this tool and its guidance is accurate and up-to-date (The Sexual Behaviours Traffic Light Tool, 2017).
Considering cross-cultural validations, The Sexual Behaviours Traffic Light Tool uses a standardised normative list in the hopes that professionals across different agencies to use the same criteria when making decisions, thereby creating a unified approach to protecting children and young people.
The tool is free to use and can be found at https://www.brook.org.uk/our-work/the-sexual-behaviours-traffic-light-tool. However, if you would like to use the information in an internal document or policy requires an email request. In conclusion, The Sexual Behaviours Traffic Light Tool is great for screening to identify or even flag sexual-based problem behaviours. The only limitation of this tool is its lack of current evidence base research conducted on it.
The Sexual Behaviours Traffic Light Tool (2017, March). Retrieved from https://www.brook.org.uk/our-work/the-sexual-behaviours-traffic-light-tool