Abuse and Self Protection

What Is Abuse?

Abuse includes all types of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect, negligence and exploitation, which results in actual or potential harm to a person's health, survival, development or dignity. (vii) Staying Safe should be considered a human right. No person should ever have to experience abuse, regardless of gender, age, culture, religion or other.

So what can we do to ensure our safety around others, and the safety of those in our care? We're pleased to check out the following information, and of course, we'd love you to let us know if you have any other ideas to ensure the safety of your loved ones. Stay tuned for one of our soon to be released FREE books "Spotting Sneaky People" - Another awesome Safe Spot Publication.

The Right Time To Teach Kids About People Safety

When is the right time to teach your kids about Staying Safe Around Other People? Here at Safe Spot, we believe kids are never too young to learn how to stay safe around other people. Likewise, helping our youth to hone their intuition and to recognise the difference between safe and unsafe people is perhaps one of the best life skills they can acquire.

Many of us were brought up learning about stranger danger and being told to fear or avoid people we don't know, but the truth is that 90% of all child abuse victims are abused by someone known to them or their families.(viii) For this reason, we can't emphasise enough, the importance of fostering safety awareness and intuition as early as possible.

Unfortunately, as parents, we know we can't always watch over our children 100% of the time, so what is the best way to keep our kids safe, and give them the knowledge and skills they require to protect themselves from people who may be likely to harm them?

This page is dedicated to helping kids to spot sneaky people. And remember, it's about helping people stay safe, so the following information can assist people of all ages in staying safe.

Check out our handy tips to help your kids and teens to detect suspicious behaviour, and to help them to know who to seek help from in an emergency.

Stranger Danger V Sneaky - Unsafe Behaviour.

In an emergency, or when danger presents itself, it is not always possible for children to find someone they know and trust to help them. In addition, most children who experience abuse, do so at the hand of someone known to them. Ironically, most guardians focus on teaching their kids about Stranger Danger, when in fact they should be teaching young people to focus on and recognise suspicious behaviour in order to stay safe.

Think of it this way; what if your child was at risk of harm and they needed to seek help from someone they didn't know? If they've been taught to fear strangers, who would they turn to for help? The reality is, there isn't always a trusted and known person at hand to rescue a child in need. Teaching kids to fear strangers may in fact prevent them from seeking help when needed. Our focus then, should be helping kids to look for signs that show them who is safe and who is not.

Teach Kids To Spot Sneaky People - Unsafe Behaviour

We can't always judge people by looks alone, nor on who they are. And rather than teach our kids to fear strangers, it is far more beneficial to focus on helping children become more aware of behaviour that could be potentially harmful.

As well helping our children to focus on the behaviour of others, it's important to teach them to use and value their intuition and to look for warning signs or things which make them feel uncomfortable. Encourage your children to taken note of the physical sensations in their body when they come in contact with a person who they think is unsafe (squeamy stomach, butterfliies, goosebumps, cold shivers, hairs standing up).

We know that unsafe behaviour does not always come just from strangers, and that people who intend to endanger children generally will try to engage them first with pleasant mannerisms and everyday conversation, and these people often don't appear overtly threatening at first. Because of this, we encourage kids to be on the look out for what we refer to as Sneaky People who may look and appear friendly, but who may give off warning signs that we can take not of. 

It's also important to let your children know that they can approach you as their parent or guardian and tell you anything, even if they think you will be sad, angry or disappointed at what they have to tell you. We should let our kids know that secrets are not good - especially if it involves something that makes them feel uncomfortable; that way, if they are ever in an unsafe situation, they're more likely to tell you about it.

Identifying Unsafe (sneaky) Behaviour

Here's some examples of unsafe behavior to teach your kids to be on the look out for.

  • A person touching a child inappropriately, in a sexual manner, or in a way that makes that child feel uncomfortable.
  • A person making inappropriate comments, uses offensive language or sexualising a child.
  • A person trying to separate or isolate a child from their safe environment or from others without that child's parent or guardian's approval. If a child is asked to get into a car, go for a walk, or leave any environment with someone without their parent or guardian's permission, the child should be taught to refuse and seek help from their parent/guardian or other adult.
  • An adult or adolescent asking a child for help. Generally, if an adult is in need of help, they will seek the assistance of another adult, not a child. If your child or young teenager is approached by an adult asking for help, there's a good chance they could be trying to coerce or manipulate. This should be seen as a warning and as sneaky behaviour. If approached by an adult or someone older than them for help, your child should seek the attention of others to offer assistance instead.
  • An adult bribing a child with objects of desire (toys, lollies, technology, money) or with threats to go with them or to do something.
  • A group, or more than one person trying to get an isolated child to join or follow them in conversation or activity.

People Safety Rules

Not everything you've learned about safety around others needs to be re-thought.

Kids need to know the following information, so they can seek help if they need to...

  • Their own first and last name
  • Where they live (address including street name, house number and town)
  • Mum, Dad or A family members first and last name
  • Contact details to get hold of their parents or guardians (Mum or Dad's telephone number)
  • An unsafe person could be someone they know, or a stranger, or even someone in their immediate family. Children should always be taught to focus on a person's behaviour, language and how they make them feel, rather than judging by who a person is or what they look like. (Looking for sneaky or unsafe behaviour will usually be a better indication of whether a person is safe or unsafe.)

We should be teaching our kids to NEVER DO the following...

  • Allow someone to make you feel uncomfortable (physically, verbally, sexually or emotionally)
  • Tell strangers your personal details unless you yourself could be in potential danger (home address, your name, parents names)
  • Be-friend people you don't know on social media sights and other technology
  • Allow someone to hurt their body in any way
  • Be forced or convinced to keep a secret (especially if that secret makes you feel unsafe, uneasy or uncomfortable)

AND Remind your kids to NEVER DO the following (UNLESS they have checked with their parent or guardian FIRST.)

  • Accept gifts of any kind from people you don't know
  • Travel or go with a person you don't know
  • Change where you're going or who you're going with
  • Show your private parts, or allow another person to touch your private parts

Spotting Sneaky People - New FREE Book Soon!

There's a brand new book in the making... "Spotting Sneaky People" is another awesome Safe Spot publication, which will help your kids to better understand how to engage their intuition when it comes to safety around others, and what behaviour to look for when deciding who is safe and who is not. Stay tuned for more info soon...

References

(vii) World Health Organisation (WHO) Child Maltreatment, Fact Sheet No. 150

(viii) National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (NAASCA)