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Youth & adolescents

adolescence is a time of change during which youth engage in and display a range of healthy and normal sexual behaviour...

but when it is harmful, action should be taken to address the behaviour and prevent further harm

Our youth service offers a specialised intervention services for males and females aged 13-17 years

With youth aged 13-17, behaviour is harmful or concerning when...

  • it is targeted at younger children or anyone more vulnerable
  • it is secretive
  • it is aggressive, forceful, manipulative or threatening
  • it is not consensual
  • the sexual behaviour continues despite requests to stop
  • the young person appears driven to engage in sexual behaviour regardless of whether they will be punished or reprimanded
  • others complain about the teenager’s sexual behaviour or are adversely affected
  • the sexual behaviour progresses in frequency, intensity or intrusiveness over time
  • the sexual behaviour is directed at adults who feel uncomfortable about it
  • the sexual behaviour is targeted at animals
  • the sexual behaviour includes using electronic technology to make, access or distribute images and videos of concerning and harmful sexual behaviour of themselves or others
  • verbal and/or physical expressions of anger precede, follow or accompany the sexual behaviour.

Some of the above information has been sourced and adapted from Ending Offending Together by Caroline Witten-Hannah, Frances Miller, John McCarthy

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Safe Network' services

Safe Network's youth service offers a specialised intervention service for males and females aged 13-17 years who display concerning and harmful sexual behaviour.

Sexual development is one of many areas of change for adolescents. Adolescents engage in and display a range of sexual behaviour that is healthy and normal for their age. But when it is harmful, action should be taken to address the behaviour and prevent further harm.

It is easier to stop concerning and harmful sexual behaviour in children and adolescents with specialist help that directly addresses their age-appropriate and developmental needs.

In addition to individual services for youth and adolescents, Safe Network provides the following further specialist services:

Tikanga informed services for Maori

Safe Network offers our services for Māori and others through kaupapa Māori informed therapeutic models of practice.

Approximately 35% of Safe Network's clients are Māori. Our services for Maori have been developed by Maori practitioners for Maori clients. Safe Network also has the external guidance, oversight and governance of Māori practitioners, and relationships with various Iwi.

Amanaki Pasifika

Safe Network offers our services for clients from Pasifika nations utilising clinical models embedded within various Pasifika cultural frameworks. Our Amanaki Pasifika service has been developed and is led by Pasifika clinicians who are able to meet the clinical and cultural needs of this client group.

Women and girls

Safe Network offers a specialised clinical assessment and intervention service for women and girls who present with concerning and harmful sexual behaviour, and for their families.

This service pathway spans the range of Safe Network's service areas and was designed to understand and accommodate the specific needs of female clients by providing a gender- responsive and collaborative service that acknowledges the social and cultural realities of women and girls.


Safe Network offers services for those who have accessed, produced, or traded child sexual abuse material or who have engaged or communicated with children and young people online in a sexual context (grooming). Clients in this service include those who have engaged in contact and non-contact abusive behaviour.

our goal is to work with our clients to ensure they are able to lead safe, balanced and healthy lives

What is the process

At Safe Network we want to make sure you get the help you need. It is important to assess whether Safe Network is the right place to provide that help. We conduct an assessment to find out about the individual, their history and the sexual behaviour that has brought them to Safe. Their strengths and resources will be assessed, as well as their problems.

Family members and partners are part of the assessment process. The effects of the concerning or harmful sexual behaviour, the safety of others and the needs of the family are all important factors for consideration.

Although assessment processes across the service areas may have aspects unique to the focus of that client group, all assessments are likely to involve the following:

  • two or three interviews with the individual and their significant family members or support person(s)
  • collection of information and reports from other agencies or professionals who are involved e.g. OT, Police, counsellors
  • completion of written questionnaires and psychological tests by the client and their adult family member or other support person(s).

Once the interviews and tests are completed, a detailed report is prepared. This will make recommendations about the person’s suitability for acceptance into one of Safe Network's services. A copy of this report, including recommendations about the next steps, will be sent to the referring agency or person if appropriate.

If an individual is accepted into one of Safe Network's services, they will be allocated to a suitable clinician to undertake the counselling and therapy. These clients are offered a tailored pathway within a suitable service that could range from 6-18 months’ duration. Each service includes all or some of the following:

  • weekly group sessions (except for children and female clients)
  • weekly one-to-one appointments as required
  • monthly family sessions
  • intensive group therapy and adventure-based interventions.

better life, better friendships, better relationships

Expected outcomes

Our goal is to work with you to ensure you are able to lead a safe and healthy life. This means that when you have completed counselling at Safe Network, we expect that you:

  • are able to have safe intimate relationships with others
  • will no longer engage in harmful sexual behaviour
  • gain acceptance as a safe, responsible member of your family, whanau, and community
  • are living a safe, healthy and balanced life.

Research indicates that around 95% of adults1 and 98% of adolescents2 with sexually harmful behaviour who complete one of Safe Network's services will not engage in any further harmful sexual behaviour.

  1. Community Solutions for the Community’s Problem: An outcome evaluation of three New Zealand community child sex offender treatment programmes, by Ian Lambie and Malcolm Stewart, 2003
  2. Getting it Right: An evaluation of New Zealand community treatment programmes for adolescents who sexually offend. Ka pu e ruha, ka hao te rangatahi, by Ian Lambie, 2007

Safe Network fact sheets