Safe Wayz is a program supporting children under ten who have displayed problematic or harmful sexual behaviours, including their families and carers.

Safe Wayz can answer questions, address concerns, provide counselling and make referrals.

Safe Wayz is a safe and respectful child- and family-centred program.

Safe Wayz is for children of all cultures, backgrounds and abilities. Each Local Health District has at least one Aboriginal Safe Wayz worker and cultural consultation is required for non-Aboriginal staff working with Aboriginal children and families.

If you are concerned about sexualised behaviour by a child under ten, guidance and support is available through the Safe Wayz program.

Anyone can contact the Safe Wayz team or refer into the program, including:

  • parents, families and carers
  • NSW Health staff
  • schools, teachers and early childhood centres
  • GPs and other professionals.


 Safe Wayz program providers.

Frequently asked questions

  • Some sexual behaviours are part of normal, healthy child development. Other sexualised behaviours are problematic and can be harmful to the child or other children. 

    A sexual behaviour requires further investigation if it falls outside of what is expected for a child's stage of development, especially when:

    • the inappropriate behaviour persists
    • the child does not stop the behaviour when asked
    • there is an inequality in age or development with other children (if involved)
    • there is a lack of reciprocity or mutuality between those involved
    • the behaviour is compulsive.

    Some sexualised behaviours can harm others, even when the child doesn't mean to. This can include when coercion or force is used, or when the behaviours are secretive or threatening.

  • Safe Wayz offers information, counselling and referrals to children with sexualised behaviours, their families and carers.

    Safe Wayz can also collaborate with other Government and non-government agencies working with children who have sexualised behaviours. For example, helping with safety planning or providing advice.

    Anyone can contact Safe Wayz program providers to find out more.

  • ​Each local health district has a range of services delivering the Safe Wayz program, including:

    Each local health district has a team coordinating the Safe Wayz program. These teams include at least one Aboriginal team member.

    To access the Safe Wayz program, contact your local health district.

  • Safe Wayz is a program for all children from all backgrounds and abilities. Staff are committed to providing culturally safe and inclusive services for all children, and the program can be adapted to meet a child or family member's specific needs. Staff work in partnership with disability specialists where needed. Safe Wayz staff are culturally competent and can work with families who speak languages other than English.

    Each Safe Wayz team has at least one identified Aboriginal team member, and cultural consultation is required for non-Aboriginal staff working with Aboriginal children and families. The Safe Wayz program is incorporated in each local health district's sexual assault service's Aboriginal Action Plan.

  • Children who have been sexually harmed are supported by a range of NSW Government services. These children can continue to receive this support whether or not the child who has harmed is in the Safe Wayz program.

    For more information about available support services refer to Information for victims of sexual assault.

  • Safe Wayz aims to

    • prevent harmful sexual behaviours from occurring
    • intervene early when sexualised behaviours first emerge
    • help children understand and address the behaviours in safe and supportive ways.

    Identifying sexualised behaviours and seeking help early can prevent further harm, both for the child engaging in the behaviours and other children who may be impacted. Early support can help improve a child's outcomes. With support, almost all children resolve these behaviours.

    The design of the Safe Wayz program follows recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. It takes a public health approach: preventing harmful sexual behaviours occurring, intervening early when sexualised behaviours first emerge, and enabling children with harmful sexual behaviours to access assessment and counselling.

Current as at: Friday 2 September 2022