Having heard the news story about a primary school teacher abusing girls in his classroom I am wondering how, as parents, we keep our children safe from abuse such as this? How can we give our children the skills to keep themselves safe?
I suppose the only thing we can do is adapt the "stranger danger" message - perhaps by adding "bottoms are private - only Mummie and Daddy or a doctor/nurse (when Mummie/Daddie present) should look. If anyone else does, tell Mummie straight away".
Plus "If a grown up is doing something you don't like, it's OK to say stop. If they don't, shout and run away, and tell Mummie". (Mine role-played something similar in a martial arts class, and I thought that was useful).
Yes, I think that is useful advice. It's so hard though isn't it when children are pre-programmed to trust their teachers, and as parents we reinforce this. You do what the teacher tells you to do don't you?
This teacher was caught because one little girl told her parents what he was doing. I think teaching children that their bodies belong to them and that no one has the right to touch them is critical. And that applies to every single adult in the child's life - their teacher, the bus driver, the man down the road, the scout leader, the swimming teacher, their uncle, their grandma, anyone
I think putting the onus of personal safety onto the children themselves is asking too much. Yes we have to teach 'stranger danger' but, as has already been pointed out, teachers are in a position of authority and they are also known to the child. The responsibility when we are talking about schools (or nurseries or similar environments) has to be on the organisation itself. Far better investigation of staff backgrounds, greater supervision in the workplace and more robust child protection policies. In my role as a cub leader, for example, I'm told to "plan activities that involve more than one other person being present, or at least are within sight and hearing of others". If this teacher had been made to adhere to that rule, he would not have access to lone children to abuse...
It's not practical to insist there are always two teachers in the classroom at any time though CE. The reports of this man describe how he was never actually alone with a child, there were always other children there.
I think "stranger danger" is a really unhelpful concept to teach actually, dividing the world into stranger = bad, familiar person = good isn't going to keep children safe. Firstly because most children are abused by someone who has gained their trust and isn't a stranger - and secondly because sometimes children might need to rely on strangers to help them.
I also don't think it's practical, in schools or nurseries, to always have 2 adults present.
Focussing on not keeping secrets, bodies belonging to them is the way to go - I think this includes not being tickled/hugged/kissed if the child doesn't want to as well, and not forcing children to give kisses/hugs. Children should be aware of what the boundaries are and that they apply in all situations and with all adults, so there is less confusion if something happens that they're not comfortable with.
2 adults not necessarily present but in sight of each other. That could mean keeping the door open to the classroom so that others can look in as they're passing. Opaque windows as well as solid walls into classroom design. Placing the responsibility onto the child for preventing themselves from being abused is too great. The victim is never responsible for the crime.