Hundreds of Torres Strait children have been taught key personal safety skills with Bravehearts’ acclaimed 'Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure Show’ visiting seven schools in the region.
Teaching kids to stay safe in a range of situations from bullying to sexual assault, the program reached 825 kids from Horn, Thursday, Saibai , Badu, Darnley and Boigu Islands.
The Torres Strait is the latest remote region to be visited by the program, which is quickly gaining momentum across Australia having educated more than 400,000 children aged from three to eight.
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.
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 it was great to take the program to so many children in the Torres Strait,” 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.”
Senior Constable Cheryl Young, Thursday Island Police, says the Ditto show provides excellent support to the role of police in the community by teaching children vital information about personal safety that could prevent them from one day becoming victims of crime," she says.
“Typically, remote communities have a general lack of education and resources available to them but this program brings to light important issues that children and parents would otherwise be unaware of.
“When you see how quickly the children learn the key safety messages, you have no doubt it is an effective program and we’re delighted Bravehearts was able to visit a number of communities in the Torres Strait.”
Research shows that a staggering 1 in 5 children will be sexually assaulted in some way before they turn 18, so educating and empowering them from a young age is paramount to prevention.
How can you help?
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.