Protecting Pre-schoolers from Sexual Abuse
The general silence around the topic of preventing child sexual abuse leaves the young ones worse off for it, says the team behind KidzLive, a programme that teaches pre-school children where the lines are drawn – and how to protect themselves.
“Most young children are not well-informed about sexual abuse prevention,” says Ms Geraldine Tan, who is part of the public education team at Children's Society’s Research and Outreach Centre. She and Ms Tan Lee Lee have been delivering this programme since 2013.
Ms Tan Lee Lee adds: “Many parents don’t talk about sexual abuse prevention openly with their young children.” She also notes that some early childhood educators also find the topic hard to broach, while others have limited resources in impressing such messages on the children.
It makes KidzLive’s mission even more important, as they try and arm young children with information and skills they can use if caught in a bad situation. Both women say they derive most satisfaction when the children remember the messages they are taught.
The programme uses interactive activities like a story and a song to teach children to respect their bodies, differentiate between good and bad touches, and to tell a trusted adult if they are touched inappropriately. They also use cloth dolls to teach children about their private body parts.
While KidzLive was started in 2000 with primary school students in mind, since 2011, it has targeted pre-schoolers. In the last four years, it has reached out to more than 4,000 pre-schoolers.
Soon, the team will also provide training to pre-school teachers on how to conduct KidzLive for their students and reach out to their young charges.
“There is only so much we can do in the time we spend with the children, and we hope that teachers will recognise and seize teachable moments to reinforce these messages.”