At the Y, we believe in the Power of Inspired Young People. We know for children and young people to be inspired they need to feel safe and be safe. That is why our safeguarding vision is for all children and young people to feel safe and be safe at the Y, in their families and in their communities.
Over the past few months at ‘The Y’, we have been refreshing our safeguarding training for all staff on the new National Y-Safeguarding ‘Stay Safe, Tell Someone’ program.
The development of the program began in February 2019, when the Y engaged Delroy Consulting to seek the views of children and young people about their safety within Y programs; and how we communicated messages about their safety within Y programs. We heard from 517 children and young people from across Australia – 41 face to face sessions and 292 responses online in 17 different locations across 5 States and Territories from ages 3 – 18. Amongst these voices were the voices of:
• Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Children and Young People
• Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Children and Young People
• Children and Young People living with disability or mental illness
• Children and Young People who identify as gender or sexually diverse, or as members of the LGBTIQ+ community
• And Children and Young People experiencing:
o Homelessness, or housing insecurity.
o Misuse alcohol or other drugs.
o Exclusion from mainstream education.
The results of this research told us four key messages:
1. The best way for children and young people to learn about safety, and to raise concerns, is through direct communication with a trusted adult.
2. There should be as much information about the expected behaviour of adults, as there is about the expected behaviour of children and young people.
3. Keep information simple. Use images and words, and remind children and young people regularly of that information.
4. A Code of Conduct for adults should be seen as a ‘promise’ or ‘commitment’ between the adult and children and young people, not the adult and the organisation.
The Stay Safe, Tell Someone Program™
The Y have created our unique child and young person informed and co-designed Stay Safe Tell Someone Program™. The program is based on nudge theory, nudge theory seeks to improve understanding and management of the 'heuristic' influences on human behaviour, which is central to 'changing' people. Central to behaviour is decision-making from the choices available. For the Y’s Stay Safe Tell Someone Program™, this is as simple as ‘if you see something™, hear something™ or feel something™ that makes you feel unsafe or worried, you should tell someone™. the Y developed these statements and the four ‘heuristics’ in conjunction with children and young people across Australia to encourage children, young people and adults to tell someone if they were worried, concerned or are feeling unsafe.
The purpose of the Program is to change behaviour to support the current safeguarding mechanisms in place in an organisation (policies, procedures and practices) in response to the findings of the Royal Commission and fundamentally to help children, young people and adults to disclose concerns or feelings of unsafety earlier. In turn, this will help to prevent abuse from occurring and also enable survivors to receive support a lot sooner.
Remember if you or your child/ren see something, hear something, feel something – Tell Someone and empower your children to know it’s OK to speak up😊
For more information relating to the Stay Safe, Tell Someone program, visit… https://ymca.org.au/about-us/safeguarding-children-young-people/