The delivery of child abuse prevention education in Aboriginal communities is an area in which Safe4Kids specialises. Holly-ann Martin is the Managing Director and delivers all the training for Safe4Kids. Holly has over 30 years of experience in teaching child abuse prevention education. Over the past 11 years, Holly has taught the Safe4Kids program in 70 different Aboriginal communities across Australia. Many of these are remote communities located in the Central Desert region of the Northern Territory (NT) and the Kimberely region of Western Australia (WA). The remaining communities are located in the ‘Top End’ of the NT, Queensland, New South Wales, the APY Lands and the Mid West and the Gascoyne regions of WA. Holly-ann has built a solid rapport with these communities, which is evident by being invited back on multiple occasions to continue the delivery of the Safe4Kids Program.
The Safe4Kids Child Abuse Prevention Education Program designed for Aboriginal communities is a non-threatening, sustainable, innovative, culturally sensitive, relevant early intervention abuse prevention program. The delivery of the Program is from the bottom up; that is, its primary focus is to teach Aboriginal children strategies to help keep them safe.
It is unrealistic to expect children to protect themselves against abuse. It is the job of parents and adults in our community to protect children; however, a trusted adult cannot be with a child all of the time, and that is why children need to understand the concepts of body safety to try and help keep them safe.
Our whole of community approach underpins the success of the Safe4Kids program in Aboriginal communities. This approach includes liaising with the community and informing them about the protective behaviours education the children are learning at school. A whole of community education focus is essential and includes educating school staff and Aboriginal teacher assistants, parents, carers, community members, local police, healthcare staff and any other government and non-government agency staff in the community. Emphasis is on developing a language and culture of safety for children and adults alike, improving communication between them and broadening the networks available to children when they feel unsafe.
The delivery of the Safe4Kids program is through both the school classroom and community education information sessions. Aboriginal men and Aboriginal women information sessions are held separately in line with cultural requirements. Holly has conducted over 70 Aboriginal men’s workshops and has not experienced any issues being a woman talking to Aboriginal men about how to help keep their children safe. The men are very appreciative to hear about what their children are learning, and that their children are receiving this vital education.
In addition to child sexual abuse prevention education, the Safe4Kids program also covers the negative impact of pornography, cyberbullying, cyber-sex, cyber payback, and highlights the importance of respectful relationships training – all aimed at improving the emotional health of Aboriginal children and their overall quality of life.
An indication of the success of the Safe4Kids program in Aboriginal communities is highlighted by community members asking service providers to apply for funding to have the program delivered in their community. The Safe4Kids program is also identified in the New South Wales Ombudsman report: Responding to Child Sexual Assault in Aboriginal Communities – December 2012. In this report, the Safe4Kids program is recognised not only for its focus and success in educating children but also for the program’s efforts to increase awareness among the children’s parents and carers and other community members and service providers. The education resource titled: Understanding and addressing the needs of children and young people living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) A resource for teachers, published in 2014; recognises the effective approach of the Safe4Kids program in teaching children with FASD.
To view or read testimonials on the effectiveness of the Safe4Kids program in Aboriginal communities, please visit our testimonials page.
For more information and to discuss your specific training requirements, please don’t hesitate to contact us. – We are here to help you!