Education key to keeping children and young people safe
Debbie Boyse developed Child Safe Strategies in 2016 with a goal to support organisations, clubs, parents, and carers to learn more about child abuse in a safe and practical way and help them develop strategies to keep children and young people safe from harm.
Child Safe Strategies aims to raise awareness for those taking care of children and young people, with a particular focus on the insidious impact of child sexual abuse.
“Let’s face it, no one wants to think about it; knowledge and education are the keys to prevention,” Debbie said.
“I started my career in Victoria Police and then later moved across to child protection, working for the Victorian and federal governments.
“My greatest learnings were when I managed an anonymous helpline which allowed people to call up and speak candidly about their experiences.
“Until then, I don’t think I realised just how many survivors of abuse there are, as most people I spoke to had never spoken about it before, let alone reported it to authorities.
“The helpline allowed people from all demographics to speak openly and seek support as required – whether the abuse happened in an organisation or family.”
Child Safe Standards are legislated in Victoria, which Debbie said was progress, and additional standards will come into play in July 2022.
“We need to ensure that every person knows the rules,” she said.
“This assists in two ways; staff understand what their role and responsibilities are when working with children and young people, and thus protects that staff member.
“If someone is working outside the rules, the staff member that becomes aware of that behaviour will feel confident and empowered to speak up.
“When you then educate and empower children and families, the safety once again increases.
“As we know from past and current abuse, most people don’t speak up for a myriad of reasons. Education is key.”
Debbie is excited to present a parent session she has put together to help identify what makes an organisation child safe for use when choosing for their children.
“This might be a dance club, sporting club, school, disability support, council activity, or any other place where children and young people might attend,” she said.
“The second part of the training involves very practical information to help listen to children and respond
“This has never been more important than it is now with the online world we have all had
“Book in a session for your club, parent group or organisation and let’s all keep children and young people safe.”
Head to childsafestrategies.com.au for more information.