It is every child’s right to feel safe at all times. However, the rising number of child abuse cases over the years paints a different picture, with such cases hitting a record decade high in 2020. Children are facing new safety challenges, especially with the increased use of the Internet and social media. These challenges come in the form of cyberbullying and online grooming. 

To counter these issues, we piloted the BEing Safe Together (BEST) programme in 2021, with the aim of empowering children with the knowledge and skills to keep themselves safe in all situations, whether online or in real life. 

The programme saw six children attending our eight face-to-face BEST sessions over the November and December school holiday period. These sessions were held biweekly across four weeks.

Empowerment: Children taking ownership of their right to feel safe at all times 

We believe it is important for adults to be involved in children’s lives so that they can act as listeners and supporters to ensure their safety. During the last session, we invited parents and caregivers to take part in a session to better understand what the children had learnt. There was an exchange of tips on how to be a trusted adult and support a child’s safety, and parents also discussed challenges of being a trusted person and how to overcome these challenges. This session is in addition to the existing weekly guide provided to caregivers on how they can help children be more aware of their own safety. 

Feedback from the adults has been positive. Madam Siti*, whose child attended the programme, felt that it was beneficial for her daughter to learn from an outsider’s perspective about safe touching, saying the correct words like vagina and penis, and declaring an emphatic no. 

“It’s good that the parent and child go through the booklet after each session. My daughter mentioned that the class was fun but I am amazed she picked up and learned lots of knowledge. With the sessions she has attended, I can see that she has become more confident in asking for help. I am happy and hope the programme will continue,” added Madam Siti. 

Proud moment: Graduating from the BEST programme with a certificate from our staff 

It has also been an enriching experience for our staff. Sharmaine, one of the facilitators of BEST, was very heartened to see parents initiating conversations on the content of the programme and learning alongside their children. 

“Additionally, we were grateful that the children were open to sharing about their experiences and took it upon themselves to reflect on their learnings. The enthusiasm of the children and the eagerness of the parents to learn made us believe that the knowledge from this run of BEST will go a long way!”  

Parents can register their interest or be placed on the waiting list for future runs of BEST here.  

*The name has been changed to protect the beneficiary’s identity

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