“This program is designed to teach really big concepts for really little kids without overwhelming or scaring them,” says Hoben.
Developed by the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NYSPCC), Safe Touches is an evidence-based, age-appropriate child sexual abuse prevention program created for children in kindergarten through third grade. During this highly interactive, classroom-based workshop, specially trained facilitators use puppets to act out various scenarios in which a ‘safe’ or ‘unsafe’ touch has taken place to help students distinguish the difference between the two types of touches and how to respond if they have been inappropriately touched.
“By identifying touches as safe, unsafe or confusing, students learn that no one should touch their body in a way that makes them feel unsafe or uncomfortable,” says Hoben. “A major point this program drives home to students is to trust their feelings. If it feels icky, speak up.”
Another major point that this program emphasizes is that it is never the child’s fault if someone else violates safe boundaries. The program also helps them identify adults both at home and at school that they can talk to if they ever feel unsafe or uncomfortable.
Following the workshop, each child receives a My Body Belongs to Me activity booklet to bring home and complete with his or her parent or caregiver. The activity booklet reinforces the safety concepts learned in the workshop and facilitates conversations about body safety at home.