Survive and Procreate: Supporting the sexual development of young people in care


Human brains are wired for two things: survival and procreation. As organisms, we are biologically wired to engage in behaviours to keep ourselves and our species thriving, and sex is simply one of many developmental areas that young people explore as they mature towards adulthood. However, while professionals are usually trained and well-equipped to support survival, they can be uncertain how to support young people with healthy sexual development. Whether this is out of concern for privacy, professional boundaries, or the potential to trigger trauma of past experiences, the unfortunate result is a lack of support for a group that is over-represented in both acting out and enduring harmful sexual behaviours.
This workshop explores normative sexual development in young people, the boundaries where normal behaviour becomes problematic or harmful, and how trauma impacts on these behaviours and on sexual health. This session lays out trauma-informed approaches to understanding and supporting sexual education, equipping professionals and carers with skills needed to approach difficult conversations and to safely support young people on a trajectory towards prosocial sexual development.
Learning outcomes:
•          Understand normative sexual development
•          Consider how context can impact how we regard behaviours as normative or problematic
•          Explore the impact of trauma and care experience on sexual development
•          Consider sexual health as an overlooked dimension of trauma-informed care
•          Identify trauma-informed strategies for supporting the sexual education and development of young people in care

Trainer: Dan Howell is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker who has worked extensively with children and young people who have experienced trauma and those who display harmful sexual behaviour. Dan has worked therapeutically with varying presentations including sibling sexual abuse, harmful sexual behaviour and sexual exploitation and abuse. Dan has supported a division of the Department of Human Services in Victoria in this area focusing on resourcing residential carers, case managers and clinical services with consultation, training and reflective practice and has delivered multiple workshops on harmful sexual behaviour including with the Centre for Excellence in Therapeutic Care. Dan is currently leading the development of the Northern Territories first community harmful sexual behaviour treatment service.

Target Audience

This workshop is designed for residential youth workers, residential house managers, therapeutic specialists and others working to support children and young people in out-of-home care.

Virtual workshop

Name Date Time Cost Register

Register Now


Can't find what you're looking for?

We are always working to meet your needs. Register your inquiry for this or other training services we provide and we will contact you as soon as we can.