About 12 years ago, while walking my dog at 7:00am, a teenager rode his bike towards me and as he passed me he grabbed me on the breast. I didn’t scream. I just froze. Once I got over the initial shock, I picked up a huge stick with the intention of poking it into the spokes of his bike, if he came back.  I know ‘everyone has the right to feel safe’ but sometimes it is alright to break the rules to keep yourself safe.

I returned home in a state of shock and told my partner of the horrible event that had happened. He, of course, jumped in the car and roamed the streets trying to find the perpetrator, but to no avail. That afternoon on my way home from school, I went to the police station to report what had happened. My main concern was that the area I walked in had many elderly women, who I would often see out watering their gardens in their nighties, at this time of the morning.  This teenage boy attacked me and I had the protection of a dog and I didn’t want him escalating to hurting anyone else, someone perhaps less able to fight back.

The police informed me that they had already had eight reports of similar incidents; they asked if I would be happy to be used as a decoy to try and catch him.  Of course I agreed. The next day six plain-clothed police officers and I set the trap which caught the perpetrator. It turned out that he had attacked 15 women. I was the youngest and the eldest was 88 years old.  He would either grab them on the breast or grab them between their legs.  I still remember how hard it was for me to report this reasonably minor offence to the police. I can’t begin to imagine how hard it must be for a child to report abuse, particularly when the perpetrator is someone they trust and most often love.

I still to this day almost jump off the footpath if someone comes up behind me on their bike, after all this time I still get my Early Warning Signs. I have no control over it; my body just takes over to keep me safe. 

I have a real concern when I see people on public transport with ear phones in or people walking down the street texting, they are so far removed from their immediate surroundings. These sort of actions can inhibit your Early Warning Signs and sometimes you are so unaware of your surrounding environment you put yourself at risk.      

Early Warning Signs are such an important part of the teaching of Abuse Prevention Education.  Two good tools for teaching Early Warning Signs are the Mr Bean YouTube clips below.  



I am excited about being invited to be a Keynote speaker at the No2 Bullying Conference.

The 2013 No 2 Bullying Conference will be held at the Outrigger Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast from Wednesday 22nd to Friday 24th May.  It is proudly hosted by the "not for profit" Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Association Inc.
You will have the opportunity to hear the thoughts of leaders, practitioners, academics, researchers and educators whilst conference streams will address School, Cyber and Workplace Bullying.
Please visit the conference website for more information.  http://www.no2bullying.org.au/   http://www.no2bullying.org.au/program.html

Product of the Month:

These heavy duty white plastic 160 x 60 cm banners have the outline of a child, in either male or female, Aboriginal or Caucasian, and have an X stand - sturdy and complete with its own carry case - for presentation. Placing the banner on the floor or table the facilitator would get children to use whiteboard markers to draw on the banner, expressing what they know about the feelings a body experiences, and where on the body those feelings take place. Once finished the banner is displayed on the X stand for discussion. The banner can be cleaned with dishwashing detergent or spray and wipe, and when dry rolled up and stored in its slim and easy to store cylindrical container for next time.

Safe 4 Kids Early Warning Signs Banners
Price AUD$99.95 (inc. GST)

‘How does my body tell me I’m feeling unsafe?’ pictures a boy and a girl who are exhibiting unsafe symptoms, such as red cheeks, heart beating fast, feeling nauseous, goose bumps etc. It is a confirmation for children that any of these symptoms are a sign that something is not right, and a reminder to do something about it.

Early Warning Signs Poster
Price AUD$8.99 (inc. GST)

For more tips and to keep up-to-date with other resources, you may like to follow me on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter or check out my You tube channel.   

Safe4Kids Training Programs

Holly-ann provides specialised training for teachers, childcare educators and parents to provide them with skills and practical ideas for teaching Protective Behaviours to children. You can begin to implement this program in your school, childcare centre or home with a basic training workshop - in two hours you can gain enough knowledge to immediately start teaching your children and begin modeling the language, concepts and strategies of Abuse Prevention Education.

The One Day Training explores in depth the themes, concepts and strategies of Protective Behaviour education. This training covers all of the Protective Behaviour modules, including Secret Enablers, Saying "No", Three Safety Questions and Public and Private. It is a complete program providing tools and resources which can be integrated into any curricula, and for any time frame. It brings an awareness of the terminology necessary to give children a voice to help protect them and keep them safe.

Basic Training for Teachers is a two hour professional development covering the concepts and strategies of Protective Behaviour education.  Teachers are walked through a ten week lesson plan which also covers how to integrate Protective Behaviours education into every learning area. 

Classroom Mentoring is provided to insure teachers feel comfortable with the content of Protective Behaviours Education.  It was developed out of necessity after observing that some teachers were not confident to teach Protective Behaviours, or found the content more confrontational than expected.  Holly-ann goes into classes and models the lessons given to the teachers in the training session.  This has proven to be a very successful model for improving the uptake of the program in schools.

Basic Training for Childcare Educators is a two hour workshop teaching educators how to teach Protective Behaviours to very young children.  Abuse prevention needs to start at a young age, and Holly-ann has developed a hands-on approach with lesson plans for this age group. 

The Parent Workshop is an informative two hour session on Protective Behaviours, detailing what Protective Behaviour education is, the need for it, how and why it should be taught to their children,.  There is a focus on developing a common family language around child abuse prevention. Parents are encouraged to learn to listen to their children, use the correct anatomical names for private body parts and teach their children to persist in seeking help if they feel unsafe or if something bad is happening or has happened to them.  It is imperative that parents know what their children are learning so that they can support the program at home. 

Holly-ann is also available for customised in-house training and consulting by request.
If you would like more information about training, or would like to engage Holly-ann as a speaker at your event, please contact her directly at holly-ann@safe4kids.com.au