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Age From: 


Age To: 


Delivered To: 

  • Children/Students


  • Component 2 : Social and emotional learning for students


  • Social and emotional skills
  • Personal Safety


Target group:
Professionals working with children and young people, parents, and community groups. Children and young people where appropriate.


Protective Behaviours, a personal safety program, aims to promote resilience in children, young people, and adults, using empowerment strategies, clear communication, and awareness of “safe” behaviours. Ultimately the aim is to reduce violence in our community and prevent child abuse.

The Protective Behaviours program was originally developed as a child abuse prevention program. Today however, Protective Behaviours has a much broader application, not merely focusing on abuse prevention but addressing empowerment, communication, self-esteem, resilience, social skills and other life skills. By teaching and promoting these concepts, Protective Behaviours helps to prevent abuse, reduce violence and promote life-enriching rather than life-depleting experiences. It encourages people to:

  • Assert their right to feel safe
  • Listen to what their body tells them
  • Follow up by taking action to either solve problems on their own or to seek assistance from other people.


The Protective Behaviours program has universal appeal as it can be applied in a range of settings (including health, welfare, education, violence prevention, and crime prevention) to enhance resilience, encourage a positive sense of self, and promote wellbeing.

Theme 1: We all have the right to feel safe all of the time
Discussion of the first theme of Protective Behaviours including shared Rights and Responsibilities, the Continuum of Safety, and early warning signs / Body Signals.

Theme 2: Nothing is so awful that we can’t talk about it with someone
Explores the effects of talking to people about problems, how to talk to people, and how to establish an effective personal network.

The Seven Protective Behaviours Strategies
A range of strategies are used to implement the core ideas of the program:

  1. Theme reinforcement – reinforcing the two themes verbally, visually and by example.
  2. Network review – establishing and regularly reviewing an effective network.
  3. One step removed – using a ‘third person’ approach for problem solving, to seek assistance or to check out someone’s ideas before making a disclosure. This includes role-play, videos, and asking for help on behalf of another person.
  4. Protective interrupting – any action we take to interrupt a potentially unsafe situation. This includes keeping children safe from making inappropriate public disclosures.
  5. Persistence – persisting in seeking help until we feel safe again and our body signals have gone away.
  6. Risking on purpose – deliberately choosing to take a risk when we desire the possible outcome (e.g. going for a job interview). This also involves remembering and honouring our responsibilities towards the safety of others.
  7. The language of safety – while this is one of the seven Protective Behaviours strategies, it is discussed at the beginning of the training, as it provides the platform for the entire program.

Program Structure / Methods of Delivery: 

The Protective Behaviours program comprises four sets of lesson plans that enable teachers to teach and reinforce protective behaviours at four developmental levels: prep, level 1&2, level 3&4 and level 5&6. The lesson plans provide teachers with a variety of activities to choose from when implementing the program. The lesson plans are not meant to provide a prescriptive, structured curriculum program of activities, but rather to give ideas for adaptation within a classroom context, and also for targeted work with individual students. Teachers may choose to use small groups, team teaching with other teachers or parents, formal and informal sessions, environments other than the classroom and any other method that suits their teaching style which is in keeping with the program content and strategies.

Staff professional learning (PL):

Protective Behaviours training is available to professionals and community groups working with children and young people. Information sessions and workshops are also available for Parents, School and Community groups and some groups of young people where it is deemed appropriate. Ideally the principles and activities of Protective Behaviours are worked into the curriculum and school policies once training has been completed by staff.



Training costs vary depending on the location of the venue and the number of participants. 

Protective Behaviours also has a wide range of materials and resources to support the facilitation of this program.

Program Specific Audience: 


Structured Sessions: 


Student Assessment Measures: 


Professional Learning: 

  • Professional Learning Available

Professional Learning Compulsory: 


Formal Parent/Carer Component Provided: 

Evidence of Effectiveness

Evidence of Effectiveness Rating: 


Evidence of Effectiveness Description: 

(According to criteria developed by CASEL for rating program effectiveness.) No evaluations were submitted that met the inclusion criteria.

Identified Theoretical Framework: 


Identified Theoretical Framework Description: 

Activities involved in the training and implementation of Protective Behaviours are both didactic and experiential. Concepts such as self-talk, thoughts, feelings and behaviours have a cognitive basis whilst scenarios around the concepts of the continuum of safety, body signals and unwritten rules are based in action methods.

Survey/Audit Tools Available: 



Children’s Protection Society (2004). Building blocks to safe schools. Melbourne, Australia: Author.



Di Margetts

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