Teaching personal safety to children and young people, also known as protective behaviours, can help them to navigate friendships, peer relationships and bullying, and situations where they may be at risk of injury or abuse.  

You can begin teaching personal safety with your child at home, and there are a range of books and online resources to help you do it well.  

It’s important to let other family members, teachers and educators know about the personal safety skills you’re teaching at home so you can work together to keep the child or young person safe.  

Many early education and care centres and schools will have some form of personal safety or protective behaviours education featured in their program.  

Children are safer when we teach them about their rights to be heard, listened to, and believed.


Learning about personal safety is important because it can: 

  • help prevent children and young people entering unsafe situations. 
  • help children and young people know what to do if they find themselves in an unsafe place or situation. 
  • give children and young people a voice and build their confidence and self-esteem.
  • help children and young people understand their rights.  

There are some important key messages within personal safety education and it’s best if all of the messages are included in some way: 

  • Every child and young person has the right to feel safe all the time. 
  • Everyone has the right to privacy and respect.  
  • Private parts are private.
  • It’s ok to say ‘no’.
  • There will always be someone who will listen and help.
  • Most adults are safe, helpful, and responsible people, but you should tell a trusted adult if someone else makes you feel yucky or unsafe.   

Children and young people need to learn about other people’s rights as well as their own. As well as understanding their right to say ‘no’, they should learn about asking permission, and respecting another person’s choice when that person says ‘no’.  

Keeping children safe is a shared responsibility. While understanding personal safety will give children and young people some confidence and skills to act, this cannot remove risk altogether. Adults also need to behave in ways that keep children and young people safe. Teaching about stranger danger isn’t an effective way to protect children and young people from harm.  

Resources & Reading

There is plenty of guidance online about teaching personal safety or protective behaviours to children, check out these websites: Office of Children's Guardian - For parents and carers and Bravehearts  

Books for children about consent and personal safety: 

  • The SAFE Book Series by NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian 
  • My body belongs to me – written by Jill Starishevsky, illustrated by Angela Padron 
  • Everyone’s Got a Bottom – written by Tess Rowley, illustrated by Jodi Edwards
  • Only for Me by Michelle Derrig
  • Don’t Hug Doug (He Doesn’t Like it) – written by Carrie Finison and illustrated by Daniel Wiseman
  • Rissy No Kisses – written by Katey Howes and illustrated by Jess Engle 
  • Let’s talk about body Boundaries, Consent and Respect –written by Jayneen Sanders and illustrated by Sarah Jennings 
  • ABC of Body Safety and Consent – written by Jayneen Sanders and illustrated by Courtney Dawson
  • Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept – written by Jayneen Sanders and illustrated by Craig Smith
  • My Underpants Rule! – written and illustrated by Kate and Rod Power

Short animation, songs and storytime videos:

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