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ABSTRACT: This article outlines the changes to the definition of sexual offences in Northern Ireland following the implementation of the Sexual Offences Northern Ireland Order 2008 in 2009, and its implications for nurses working with sexually active children in a range of clinical settings. The paper outlines the key changes for practice and addresses the needs of children in three different age groups with emphasis on children aged 13-15 years, and reviews mandatory reporting, the difference between the rights of children to consent and confidentiality, developmental sexual experimentation and sexual health protection. It reviews related policy and guidance and makes clear the differences between sexual abuse and exploitation, and experimentation. It seeks to advise the Safeguarding Committee of the Department of Health Northern Ireland on how best to support nurses working with sexually active children and when this activity should be discussed with line managers and safeguarding specialists or referred to the safeguarding authorities.British journal of nursing (Mark Allen Publishing) 03/2012; 21(5):282-5.