Safeguarding Young People in Care

Sexuality and Relationship Education


Over the last two decades, there has been increasing political attention on sexual abuse in care. Research has not only shown that sexual abuse in care occurs but also that abuse can be perpetrated by other children and young people in care, children of foster carers, as well as by foster carers and residential staff members. One of the main risk factors turns out to be the absence of relationship and sexuality education in care. This chapter describes the work in a three-year project where partners in four European countries developed products to educate (future) professionals to address sex and sexuality with young people in care, assist young people’s healthy sexual development, and safeguard children and young people from abuse. Grounded in the holistic approach of the WHO’s Standards for Sexuality in Europe, and based on literature review and interviews, five core competencies were developed and operationalized in a reflection instrument. Based on this, an open access (online) course for teams in care and open access materials for social work education were developed and can be found at">

Reference Boendermaker, L. (2021). Safeguarding Young People in Care: Sexuality and Relationship Education. In SJ. Dodd (Ed.), The Routledge International Handbook of Social Work and Sexualities (1 ed., pp. 431-441). (Routledge International Handbooks). Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.
1 January 2021