Although every child has the right to feel safe at all times, each year thousands of children across Australia experience abuse. It is estimated that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 7 boys will be subject to some form of unwanted sexual activity before the age of 18 (Australian Institute of Criminology, 1993).
The protective behaviours program is based on two themes:
We all have the right to feel safe at all times
We can talk with someone about anything, no matter what it is
By sharing protective behaviours with your child, you will be helping to develop lifelong skills of assertiveness, self-confidence, problem solving, communication, resilience and help seeking.
What does Protective Behaviours aim to do? Statistical data shows that children are more likely to be harmed by someone they know rather than someone they do not know.
There are many personal safety issues that our children are exposed to. We are now more aware of the physical and emotional trauma of bullying, cyberbullying, exclusions, sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse and living with domestic violence.
Our children are potentially exposed to a wide range of situations that put them at risk that could cause them short and long term physical and emotional harm and violate their basic rights.
Teaching preventative strategies is a proactive way to strengthen our children’s ability to keep themselves safe and minimise risk. It is important children develop personal safety and resilience skills from a well presented and structured program. For child abuse prevention programs to be of value they need to be taught over time and constantly reinforced. Protective Behaviours can be used by children and adults to keep themselves safe and works towards reducing violence in the community. It provides the basis for helping children be safe and stay safe from the risks that surround us in everyday lives.
The Protective Behaviours beliefs and skills:
· are lifelong;
· are for a range of places where we might be unsafe – at home, at school, in the community; and
· can be applied to a range of unsafe situations including physical abuse, family violence, sexual abuse, bullying, emotional abuse and verbal abuse.
The parent handbook can be accessed here