Talking with Children and Young People
We Put Children First: Talking with children and young people is a protective behaviours approach for children and young people we support about our position on child safety, what unacceptable behaviour is, and how to raise concerns. It also aims to provide an opportunity for children and young people and workers to provide feedback about the safety of each child we support.
Our approach to talking with young people in out of home care incorporates the SAFE book series developed by the NSW Children's Guardian.
“The books support the rights of children and promotes them having a voice.
- Help children identify the parts of their body that are private
- Help them understand their feelings
- Encourage them to think about five people who they trust to help them if they feel scared, sad or upset” (NSW Children’s Guardian)
LWB case workers will be reading books to children from March 2018 as part of this approach, they will also be assessing two questions in relation to each child: one about their perception of the safety and wellbeing of each child, and one about the child’s self-report of their support network (this is related to the content of the SAFE Book – “Fiona and her five heroes”).
To support children’s learning about protective behaviours, we will be reinforcing the messages in each book with a range of child focused activities including:
- A SAFE series Activity Book that contains activity and colouring in sheets developed by the Children’s Guardian
- Colour-in post cards that children can complete and give to each of their SAFE Heroes. The postcard explains the responsibilities of a hero and provides links to further information. .
- A book mark for children to keep and record the names of their SAFE heroes
- Colour in pencils and a bag to hold all of the SAFE books and resources.
During 2018, LWB will be developing approaches for talking with older children and young people about child safety.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why are we talking with children about their safety?
At Life Without Barriers, we all share the responsibility for child safety. We know that, as an organisation that supports children, it’s not enough to educate our staff and carers about child sexual abuse. We also need to proactively engage children in an age-appropriate manner about sexual abuse. Children need to be taught how to raise concerns and make complaints if they feel unsafe, and we need to work to create opportunities for children to speak up if they feel sad, scared or upset.
Q: Why are we using the SAFE Book Series?
The NSW Children’s Guardian (OCG) has developed a series of four children’s books known as the SAFE series. Each book includes a theme that works in conjunction with the other books in the series and can be used as a way of teaching children about Protective Behaviours, that is, behaviours that will help keep them safe from harm or abuse.
The aim of the SAFE series is to reduce incidents of abuse by removing the secrecy abusers rely upon as a tool to offend against children. It also helps children understand their emotions, particularly when they feel sad, scared or upset. The SAFE series supports a situational prevention approach to protecting children by attempting to make it more difficult for abusers to engage in inappropriate behaviour and increasing the chances of them getting caught.
Q: What age of child are the books suitable for?
The books have been written for young children. Based on feedback from a pilot group, and in discussion with the OCG, we’re implementing the books with children aged 2-10.
Q: Why are we interested in children having five heroes?
It is important for children to know they have people who are there to help them if they encounter an abuser, or feel sad, scared or upset. Providing a child with a network of people who will support them is an important aspect of protective behaviours. Teaching children to tell all of their five heroes if something is wrong is important because it’s possible that one or more people might not respond appropriately to the child.