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Keeping Ourselves Safe: Information for parents/whānau

What will children and young people learn?

They will learn:

  • to work out when their safety is at risk
  • how to keep safe when they meet and mix with other people
  • who and how to ask for help if they, or someone they know, is being abused
  • to go on asking for help until someone does something to stop the abuse
  • that it is important to make and follow personal, family and school safety rules.

They will know:

  • that abuse is never okay
  • that abuse is never their fault.

View the Keeping Ourselves Safe programme resources.

What part do parents, caregivers and whānau play?

Parents and whānau are strongly encouraged to support Keeping Ourselves Safe.

  • You can attend a meeting at school to tell you more about Keeping Ourselves Safe.
  • You can find out about abuse and what to do if you think a child you know is being abused.
  • You can talk to your child about what they have learnt in Keeping Ourselves Safe.
  • You can set safety guidelines with your family.
  • You can help young children with the Keeping Ourselves Safe activities they bring home.
  • You can give the same safety messages as the school is giving.

Frequently asked questions

Why does my child need Keeping Ourselves Safe?


Any child can be abused. While the family home may be a safe place, the child will have contact with many people and enter a number of other homes. You can’t keep them safe all the time. If it doesn’t happen to your child, and we hope it doesn’t, it may happen to their friend.


Doesn’t Keeping Ourselves Safe destroy a child’s innocence?


Children have the right to be protected from all types of abuse and to learn how to keep safe. Abusers may take advantage of children's innocence and their ignorance about what is inappropriate reportable behaviour. Keeping Ourselves Safe teaches children safety skills appropriate to their age, in a safe, positive classroom environment. Keeping Ourselves Safe also supports parents and whānau with information to help them protect their children from all types of abuse.


Isn’t this just an anti-male programme?


It is accepted that anyone can be an abuser. The stories and scenarios in Keeping Ourselves Safe demonstrate a variety of abusers: male, female, young, old. They also present adults in positive, caring roles.


Does this mean my male partner can’t bathe my child?


Positive family interactions, such as those involved with caring for a child, are very important for a child’s wellbeing. So are hugs and cuddles.


What should I do if I suspect abuse?


Ensure the child is safe from immediate harm. Show love, concern and support and reassure the child that it is not their fault. Report the abuse to Police or Oranga Tamariki.


What happens when abuse is reported to Oranga Tamariki or Police?


A child protection social worker from Oranga Tamariki will have the job of ensuring the young person is safe. A member of the Police Child Protection Team will investigate whether an offence has been committed and will find out who is responsible.


I teach my child about stranger danger. Isn’t that enough?


Most children are abused by someone they know. If you teach them that abuse only happens from people they don’t know, they will not recognise it when it is done by a known and often trusted person.


What sort of abuse are we talking about?


There are five types of child maltreatment – physical, emotional, sexual, neglect and family violence. The programme also addresses cyber abuse. All forms are damaging for a child.


How will I know what is being taught?


The school will send information home, and your child will bring home activities to complete with you. Lesson plans are available on the NZ Police website for you to see what is being taught. You can contact your school at any time.


Can I withdraw my child from Keeping Ourselves Safe?


You can withdraw your child if the school agrees to this. Remember, though, that any child can be abused and your child does need some education on how to avoid abuse.


Should I prevent my child from going on the internet?


There are unsafe situations that can arise online. However, the internet is also a valuable information and social tool.

To help your child keep safe, make sure the computer is in a family space, personal devices are not in bedrooms overnight, and your child knows never to give out their name and address online, or to agree to meet someone they have met online.

Talk to your child about what they do and enjoy online, in the same way you ask them about their day at school.

Visit the Parent section on Netsafe’s website for more advice and support.