More than 650 children at seven schools and kindergartens in the most remote parts of North Queensland will learn important personal safety skills that will educate, empower and protect them against child sexual assault this week.
Child protection advocate Bravehearts through its Cairns-based education team is taking its acclaimed Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure show to communities in Weipa, Aurukun and Napranum to teach kids aged from three to eight about how to stay safe in a range of situations from bullying to sexual assault.
The 40-minute live production underpins children’s instinctive understandings and feelings around personal safety in a non-confrontational and safe way, teaching them about warning signs, privacy, that it’s Ok to say no if they don’t feel safe and what to do if they feel unsafe or unsure.
The national program has reached 440,000 children across Australia since 2008. The Cairns team alone visited almost 25,000 children last year and is expected to surpass this figure in 2015 as an increasing number of schools and daycare centres become empowered around the prevention of child sexual assault.
The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) will transport the education team to each location.
Bravehearts Founder and CEO Hetty Johnson AM, says it’s essential that kids in remote parts of Australia do not miss out on personal safety tools.
“This Ditto show is making a significant difference in realising our Vision of making Australia the safest place in the world to raise a child by 2020, and will educate children in remote areas,” she said.
“Over the past five years we have been able to exchange ideas, build friendships and deliver effective child protection programs into these amazing communities, working with children, elders and parents.
“The incredible success of these programs has been a culmination of hard work, determination, mutual trust and a genuine respect for the culture and individualism of each community.”
Research shows that a staggering 1 in 5 children will be sexually assaulted in some way before they turn 18.
Ditto’s 5 Tips
Based on Bravehearts’ Ditto Keep safe Adventure program, the 5 basic principles we need to teach our children (remember: it’s never too early to sow the seeds of personal safety) are:
1) To trust their feelings and to distinguish between ‘yes’ and ‘no’ feelings
2) To say ‘no’ to adults if they feel unsafe and unsure
3) That they own their own bodies
4) That nothing is so yucky that they can’t tell someone about it
5) That if they feel unsafe or unsure to run and tell someone they trust.
Would you like to talk to someone? Call Bravehearts information and support line on 1800 272 831.