As a child safe organisation, Lifestart is committed to ensuring the active promotion of the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children and young people in our community. This means we prioritize the safety of all children and have a variety of policies and procedures in place to protect them.
Our staff are mandatory reporters who undergo child protection training annually and must have completed current Working with Children Check (WWCC) – a requirement for anyone who works or volunteers in child-related work in NSW. This check involves a National Police Check (criminal history record check) and a review of reportable workplace misconduct. You might like to complete a ‘check the check’ for people who are in contact with your child via NSW Working with Children Check. This might include support workers, childcare workers, therapists, babysitters or team coaches.
Celebrating National Child Protection (NAPCAN) Week
3 – 9 September 2023
The National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) aims to prevent abuse before it occurs. The theme for National Child Protection Week 2023 is “Every child in every community needs a fair go”.
At Lifestart, whilst we work towards improving outcomes for the lives of children and young people living with a disability, we believe this encompasses ensuring every child and young person we work with is safe from abuse. This website has been developed to support carers and families in accessing information and resources that support safety, welfare and wellbeing.
Below, you will find useful information and links that encourage and support you to have conversations with your child about how to remain safe. Open, transparent and regular conversations are one way that you can create safe and positive environments for your child and the resources below will help guide you through these, sometimes tricky, discussions.
Our Top 5 Tips
For National Child Protection week 2023 we have decided to share our top 5 tips for speaking to your child about child safety and child protection:
- Speak plainly, use the correct language for body parts. Don’t be embarrassed, your child will follow your lead.
- Target the conversation at their level. You know your child best and how much they can understand and are interested in. Keep it simple and brief for little kids, as they get older the conversation will naturally become more sophisticated. Answer all their questions, even if they seem silly or weird!
- Let them know that they can tell you anything. Say things like “Nothing you ever tell me will make me stop loving you” or “Nothing is so yucky that you can’t tell me”.
- Start early! Don’t be afraid to have these conversations with little kids, it will be a basic version that they can understand but it lays the foundation for later conversations.
- Use resources to support you in the conversation. If you’re feeling embarrassed or unsure how to say things there are tonnes of book, songs, activities out there to help you. We’ve shared some of our favourites below to get you started.
Developing Protective Behaviours
Developing protective behaviours in your child is a situational crime prevention strategy. The Office of the Children’s Guardian offer a range of free resources and child-friendly activities to help you support your child to develop protective behaviours through the SAFE book series. This includes free downloadable posters, activity and colouring sheets. There are more resources available on the NAPCAN website.
You can support your child to develop protective behaviours through:
- Ensuring your child can identify a network of safe, trusted people they can talk to.
- Supporting them to identify their feelings and know what to do when they feel sad, worried, or angry.
- Giving your child a voice and the confidence to speak up about their personal boundaries. Children need to understand that their body belongs to them, and they have the final say over who can enter their space. e.g. give them a hug”.
- Helping your child to understand safe vs unsafe behaviour. This might include teaching your child that it’s not ok for an adult to ask them to keep a secret from you.
Watch Lifestart’s Tess read Secrets and Surprises by Jayneen Sanders
(suitable for children aged 2-6).
The Little BIG Chats book series has been written to assist parents, caregivers and educators to have open and age-appropriate conversations with early learners around crucial, and yet at times, ‘tough’ topics.
After reading the book, you could use these Discussion Questions as a guide to initiate open, age-appropriate and empowering conversations with your child.
After watching the video of Secrets and Surprises or reading the SAFE book series, sit with your child, and choose from one of the question prompts below to discuss the resources and being safe:
- What do you think this story is about?
- How do you think the character felt? Why do you think they feel that way?
- Who could the character talk to about how they are feeling?
- Who could you talk to when you’re feeling sad/worried/angry/scared?
Identify with your child 5 safe adults (heroes) they can go to if they need help or someone to talk to (including their parents).
- Identify what kinds of things could their child tell these 5 heroes?
- What do we need to think about when choosing these 5 heroes?
Opening up the conversation and talking through these questions can help your child identify and understand their feelings, whilst supporting them to identify trusted people who can help them if they ever need help.
All parents and carers want their child to be safe when playing and learning online. There are some great online resources available to help you to navigate online safety, but knowing where to look can be overwhelming.
The Kids eSafety Commissioner website is also a great place to visit – they have videos, downloadable resources and tools for parents, children and young adults. They even have tools your child can access for themselves here.
For younger children, see below some great video resources you can use to start the conversation about being safe online:
- Swoosh, Glide and Rule Number 5 (available to watch as an online reading and in Auslan).
Travel into the Australian bush, to the treetop home of eSafety sugar glider twins Swoosh and Glide as they learn with their family about being safe online: (click on picture to follow the link to video and online book and AUSLAN version).
- Play School’s Kiya’s Excellent eBirthday (available to watch online via ABC iView).
It’s the countdown to Kiya’s big birthday party! Kiya and her Play School family go online to make the arrangements. Be safe, kind, ask for help and make good choices. Celebrate with Kiya and stay safe online along the way!
Other Useful Resource Links
Please see below for links to some of our favourite child safety resources:
- Teeny Tiny Stevies: Boss of My Own Body | Official Animation – YouTube
- The Pantosaurus Song! | #TalkPANTS | NSPCC – YouTube
- Working with children and parents with disability – Working with children and families | Family & Community Services (nsw.gov.au)
- SAFE Series posters and activities | Office of the Children’s Guardian (nsw.gov.au)
- About | eSafeKids | Kayelene Kerr
- My Underpants Rule! | eSafeKids | Protective Behaviours Book
- Safeguarding LGBTQ+ children and young people | NSPCC Learning
- LGBTQ+ Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Toolkit – Say It Out Loud
- Resources (bodysafetyaustralia.com.au)
- Sexual Assault — TransHub
IF YOU ARE IN IMMEDIATE DANGER OR A CHILD IS AT IMMEDIATE RISK OF HARM, PLEASE CALL 000.
If you or someone you know are concerned that a child has been harmed or is at risk of harm, you can find help through the following links:
- Communities and Justice: Reporting a child at risk | Family & Community Services (nsw.gov.au)
- Parent Line: 1300 1300 52 | Parent Line NSW
- Caring for Children Website: Disclosures of abuse or neglect – Getting started | Caring for Children (nsw.gov.au)
- Bravehearts: Help for child sexual abuse | Bravehearts
- Kids Helpline: Kids Helpline | Phone Counselling Service | 1800 55 1800
- Lifeline Australia: Lifeline Australia – 13 11 14 – Crisis Support. Suicide Prevention.