Keeping Ourselves Safe: Information for principals and Boards of Trustees

Abuse occurs in all communities, regardless of their ethnic, socio-economic, geographic and religious make-up. A child who has been abused is less likely to reach their full potential as an individual, may struggle to focus on learning, and may fail to thrive.

What is Keeping Ourselves Safe?

Keeping Ourselves Safe (KOS) consists of a comprehensive range of child protection resources to help students learn and apply a range of safety skills that they can use when interacting with others. For more details on the resources, see the Information for Teachers page, or see the frequently asked questions (PDF, 66KB).

The New Zealand Police recommends that schools use the learning activities in Keeping Ourselves Safe within a whole-school approach as described in the intervention planning tool (PDF, 321KB).

How principals and boards can support KOS

Principals and boards are strongly encouraged to support KOS by ensuring the school's child protection policy includes both prevention and response procedures.

Prevention procedures may include implementing classroom lessons (e.g., those described in the lesson plans) and whole-school activities that promote positive behaviours and encourage an environment in which children who feel abused are empowered to speak up about the abuse.

Response procedures clearly describe how to identify and respond to suspected abuse and neglect (as required under the Vulnerable Children Act 2014).

Policy development is part of the implementation process for KOS described in:

Monitoring the effectiveness of KOS

The effectiveness of KOS can be monitored through analysis of school data gathered from the Wellbeing@school surveys.

KOS resources and support

The Police supports schools to operate KOS through:

Sexuality education guide

The Ministry of Education’s Sexuality Education: a guide for principals, boards of trustees, and teachers is also of relevance to schools when considering child abuse / relationship violence programmes.

'Check 4' - safety checking the children's workforce

The Vulnerable Childrens Act 2014 means people who work with children must undergo a safety check. There are four different categories of worker, and four years in which to get workforces safety checked. It is important to phase safety checking across the four years allowed for in the legislation.

Go to childrensactionplan.govt.nz for more information on safety checking.