It’s a good idea to revisit personal safety strategies with young children on a regular basis because they learn well through repetition and reviewing the concepts. This could include up to four times a year or more, depending on how a young child retains or understands the information. We have visual and audio resources to assist such as our ‘parent pack’ to reinforce key messages presented in the Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure Show. This also allows the key messages to be communicated using a selection of different styles such as interactive activities, games, colourful posters and music.
Young children need a support network of trusted adults they can talk to if they ever feel unsafe or unsure. This support network should include trusted adults from their family or school but also contain contacts and phone numbers from official and recognised authorities. Parents and carers should also be aware of ‘who’ each contact is on their child’s plan.
This is an activity that needs revisiting on a regular basis because support contacts can change, move away or become no longer available to help. We have a Helper Plan template in our Activity Book that can also be found in our Parent Packs.
It is also a good idea to discuss why they have chosen their adult supporters and a good moment to explore the meaning of trust and who they perceive to be a safe person and how they feel about them.
The private parts are named using everyday terms in the show. They are identified as ‘the mouth, the chest, between the legs and the bottom.’ This is accessible language for all abilities and easy to understand for lower primary. We do not use the anatomical names in the show as the right support, scaffolding and parental permission are ideally required before these names are introduced to young children.
We provide an optional (not compulsory) activity using anatomical names in our ‘in-class’ resource specifically for teachers, which is aligned to the AU Physical and Health National Curriculum. Once again, parental permission could be required before introducing the names in class depending on the age of the children and the school policy.
Yes, copies of the songs available on CDs can be ordered from our online shop. The songs help young children remember the key messages from the show including Yes and No Feelings, Warning Signs, Private Parts, Secrets and Run and Tell. There are 2 versions available with the same lyrics but slightly different music styles produced for 0-4 years and 5-8 years engagement but we use the 0-4 years version for the songs in the Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure Show.
There are many factors to consider when identifying ‘safe’ people but to explain the methodology used in the show, we base this heavily around children’s emotional literacy. Emotional literacy is all about your feelings, identifying and recognising different kinds of feelings and ‘how’ to manage your feelings. The show presents tools to help young children begin to recognise when they could be in an unsafe or unsure situation and importantly, what to do next to gain help.
Short examples are used to practise recognition of feelings in a safe platform that include positive and negative emotions, warning signs in the body, and what to do if you feel unsafe and unsure.
The show also presents the ‘Helper Plan’, which is a template for children to nominate their support network of trusted people to talk to when they feel unsafe or unsure. The education team take time to present this at the end of the Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure Show and encourage this activity to take place in the classroom or with parents.
Educating children from a young age to recognise when they feel unsafe or unsure can assist in the process of reporting and gaining the support they need to protect them from harm.
The skills acquired through this program can also be applied to other scenarios that cause children to feel unsafe or unsure (examples include bullying, domestic violence, respect for privacy ) The show also teaches them to be resilient and to keep on trying to seek the assistance they need to be safe.
Children below the age of three may not be able retain or fully understand the concepts presented. We recommend the gradual use of stories, posters or songs for much younger children to introduce concepts one at a time.
It is challenging for very young children to understand and retain all the key messages presented in the show due to their minimum amount of life experience and their ability to concentrate for the duration of time it is presented (being between 25-35 minutes).
Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure Show does not involve sex education and essentially presents safety strategies that lead towards seeking the appropriate support to gain assistance.
The show includes identifying the private parts of the body and body ownership as part of the process but at no point is the word ‘sex’ referred to or ‘sexual intercourse’ explored or explained. The private parts are identified and names using everyday terminology that includes the mouth, the chest, between the legs and the bottom. This language is accessible for different kinds of learners and it is worth noting we do not use anatomical names in the show being an inappropriate platform for introducing them.
We have 6 teams located along the Eastern Board of Australia stretching from Cairns down to Tasmania.
For more remote schools and centres, we have produced a DVD of the show and have our Ditto in a Box ‘in-class’ resource which can either complement the show or work as a stand alone program of study.
Children will be empowered by the tools that are presented to help them recognise the difference between a safe and unsafe scenario and what to do to gain assistance.
The following content is stepped through to assist this process:
One of the main aims of the show is to encourage young children to develop a support network and to realise it is ok to ask for help when they feel unsafe or unsure. In addition, the show stresses the importance of resilience in terms of not giving up if you can’t find help the first time you try.
1 in 5 children will be sexually harmed in some way before their 18th birthday.
As with most statistics in this area, there are few that are definitive. We have taken the 1 in 5 statistic from a number of different studies over the years. It is important to note that this includes the continuum of sexual behaviours – from non-contact offences such as grooming, online offences and exposure through to the contact such as fondling and penetrative offences: Some of the research we base this statistic on include:
A child may choose to disclose or not disclose, and their reasons for doing so can be very complex, due to the complicated relationship between a victim and the offender.
Bravehearts recommend speaking to children and young people about relationships, private parts and other personal safety education to provide them with the knowledge and confidence to disclose if they ever need to.
Bravehearts also recommend that parents and carers pay attention to their child’s emotions, behaviour and routines. Changes may be gradual or sudden, and any changes in a child’s behaviour should be monitored. Some common indicators in children that they may have experienced child sexual assault include:
Short term effects may include:
Long term effects may include:
It is really important to understand that the impacts and effects of child sexual assault can be minimised. Children, young people and adults who are supported and believed when they speak out are less likely to endure long terms negative impacts.