By Jessica Wooley
‘Protective behaviours’ is an education program aimed at children who receive counselling services from SECASA. It teaches them what it means to be safe and unsafe, in their own behaviour and the behaviour of others.
This education program provides an opportunity to understand boundaries. The definition of ‘safe’ is explored thoroughly, looking at safe places, safe people and warning signs that a person or activity is unsafe. Usually the child has been in an unsafe situation in the past which has led them to becoming a client at SECASA.
In this program, children may be taught about:
• Body parts, and what makes them private or public
• Early warning signs of unsafe situations, for example if the child feels nervous
• Unsafe touching, for example, kicking and punching
• Secrets and bribes, and how these may be used by perpetrators online
• Family violence
The program is tailored to the individual child, and depends on their background and situation.
Based at Seaford, SECASA counsellor Giulia says that she enjoys running the program and that it can be extremely rewarding.
“My favourite part is when we finish protective behaviours and we have time in the counselling room, and it becomes the child’s space. If I have any concerns I will bring that into the counselling room. It’s great to be able to ask them what they want to do and go with that,” she said.