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1. Personal safety means keeping your feelings and body safe if people act thoughtless, mean, scary, or dangerous.

Personal safety means being in charge of yourself so that you act safely towards others.

2. Violence against young people is a leading health issue of our time.

According to a World Health Organization Fact Sheet about Violence Against Children published June 8, 2020:

  • Violence against children includes all forms of violence against people under 18 years old, whether perpetrated by parents or other caregivers, peers, romantic partners, or strangers.
  • Globally, it is estimated that up to 1 billion children aged 2–17 years, have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence or neglect in the past year.
  • Experiencing violence in childhood impacts lifelong health and well-being.

3. Most of the people who harm children are NOT strangers.

According to the National Victims Center, 95% of sexual abuse happens with people children know. Of these, one third are family members – stepparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, siblings, grandparents and parents. Two thirds are other people known to the child – neighbors, youth group leaders, teachers, other children, religious leaders and friends. Experts estimate that one in three girls and one in four boys will be sexually abused before they are eighteen years old.

4. Molesters will often spend up to a year cultivating a trusting relationship with a family, a school, a religious community, or a group of friends before they make their first move.

They will often start by systematically creating an emotional connection with a child, pushing the child’s boundaries and ensuring that the child won’t tell before they do anything that is sexual. This means that children who have skills for setting boundaries and getting help are less likely to be targeted by a molester.

5. There were over 600 documented reports of kidnapping attempts from non-family members in the US in 2020

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, there were over 600 verified reports of child abduction attempts by non-family members in the last year. There are far more reports that could not be verified, and even more cases that were not reported. According to the FBI data about children being kidnapped by kidnappings, “From 2010 through 2017, the most recent data available, the number has ranged from a low of 303 in 2016 to a high of 384 in 2011 with no clear directional trend.” Tragically, over 40% of these children were killed. Because of the terrifying consequences, even an attempted kidnapping is traumatic for everyone involved. A 10 year study of attempted child kidnappings by people who were not known to the child showed that the young teens in public, especially on the street during the day time, were most at risk. Most children were able to escape by refusing to come close, running away, yelling, and fighting back. https://www.missingkids.org/content/dam/missingkids/pdfs/ncmec-analysis/attemptedabductions10yearanalysisjune2016.pdf

6. One out of seven school children have either been victimized by bullying or have bullied others.

Most children have witnessed bullying. Bullying is harmful. Adults are responsible for noticing all forms of bullying and for taking action to make it against the rules.

7. Just telling children about the bad things that might happen makes them anxious.

Coaching children so they can be successful in actually practicing skills helps them to become more confident and capable.

8. Young children are very literal, and we need to be sure that they understand what we mean.

Telling children, “Never talk to a stranger” is untrue because we ask them to greet people they see as strangers all the time. Telling children,“Never let anyone touch your private areas” is also untrue. For example, an adult might need to touch a child’s private areas to help them stay clean and healthy, or to stay safe when climbing. We also cannot pick up a small child without actually having part of their body touch part of our body. The most important safety rule is, “Any kind of touch should NOT have to be a secret.” This is why Kidpower focuses on using language that is clear, truthful, consistent, and positive!

9. Adults need to provide ongoing supervision to ensure the safety of the children in their lives and to keep LISTENING to children.

However, it is also important that children learn how to protect themselves by knowing their safety rules and following their safety plans. Most kidnappings can be prevented if children are able to be aware, move away from someone they don’t know, and check first with their adult. Most sexual abuse and most bullying can be prevented if children can set personal boundaries and be ask for help. Most assaults can be stopped if children yell and run to safety when they are scared.

10. Kidpower’s training and skills will help to keep young people safe – and to protect them from trauma.

Child protection skills empower adults to recognize and avoid possible danger, to advocate for the well being of children and teens in their care, and to prepare kids to take charge of their own safety. Learning and practicing personal safety and self-defense skills help to prepare people of all ages to stay safe everywhere they go with everyone they meet, in person and online. Kidpower workshops provide live training led by Kidpower instructors. The Kidpower Online Learning Center provides courses videos and workbooks for teaching all ages and abilities. The Kidpower Library provides over 400 free online resources.

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Copyright © 2012 - present. All rights reserved.

Published: March 8, 2012   |   Last Updated: March 1, 2022

Kidpower Founder and Executive Irene van der Zande is a master at teaching safety through stories and practices and at inspiring others to do the same. Her child protection and personal safety expertise has been featured by USA Today, CNN, Today Moms, the LA Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Publications include: cartoon-illustrated Kidpower Safety Comics and Kidpower Teaching Books curriculum; Bullying: What Adults Need to Know and Do to Keep Kids Safe; the Relationship Safety Skills Handbook for Teens and Adults; Earliest Teachable Moment: Personal Safety for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers; The Kidpower Book for Caring Adults: Personal Safety, Self-Protection, Confidence, and Advocacy for Young People, and the Amazon Best Seller Doing Right by Our Kids: Protecting Child Safety at All Levels.