How do we discover what children need from adults to feel safe?

How do we discover what children need from adults to feel safe?

1 min 15 sec read

You never hear about it…

Until it is too late,

too big,

too damaging

– because it is only then, when things get so obvious that it gets out.

But then again, sometimes it never gets out at all.

I’m talking about children being sexually abused.

Catherine Rushforth and I ran our courseUnderstanding and Responding to Sexualised Behaviours in Children recently. It isn’t the norm when it comes to staff CPD but we wanted to lift lids. We wanted to encourage whole staff awareness of the early signs and to get school staff tuning in to their children’s subtle calls for help.

In an exercise that brought the staff back to being a child themselves, we explored what a child needs in an adult when there is something going on for them.

We explored what would support a child in being able to ‘tell’ when we know that verbal disclosure is very rare.

It was powerful. The energy in the room changed completely.

When you truly come from a place of understanding the needs of a child you can provide a safe space that enables a child rather than silences them.

Can you imagine being that child?

Perhaps the one who feels locked in everywhere, with no one to turn to.

Except, here – in this space, with these people, because they give you the things you need to feel safe. They enable you to take the courageous steps to ask for help.

I wonder, when you were younger and when something big (no matter what it is) was going on for you…was there someone you could turn to? Could you get the help you needed?  Or was that safe space lacking? And I wonder – if you were a child in your school, right now, could you tell?

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