“Safe Touches” is an innovative program with a nationwide impact for the prevention of sexual abuse of children between the ages of 5-9. On the initiative of ELIZA, the program operates with the scientific collaboration of The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NYSPCC), the very first child protection organisation in the world. Graduate students of the American College of Greece (ACG), under the supervision of experienced faculty clinicians, are also part of the program’s implementation.
The main goal of this program is to help young children distinguish between ‘safe’ and ‘not safe’ touches, and to learn to say NO, in order to protect themselves from sexual abuse. Puppets have a leading role in the training of children as they teach them how to protect themselves. At the end of the program, the children along with their teacher or their parent, can process what they have learnt with the activity book they are given.
The program’s goals
For children ages 5-9:
- To help children distinguish between a ‘safe’ and a ‘not safe’ touch from an adult
- To develop communication and assertiveness skills to protect themselves and learn how to ask for help from trusted adults, to stop or prevent abusive situations
For parents and educators:
- To become aware of and learn about the phenomenon, the symptoms and cases of sexual abuse and be able to identify the factors that increase the risk
- To inform and provide counselling for better communication with children and the course of actions necessary, in the event that an incident of sexual abuse is disclosed
Information about the program
During the implementation of the program, special focus is placed on the training of primary and preschool teachers as well as parents. Furthermore, in the event of a disclosure and a child being identified as a victim of sexual abuse, the appropriate authorities are notified and all procedures required by Greek law are followed.
The program takes place since 2016 in public and private schools of our country. So far 2.600 children, as well as 1.000 teachers and 2.000 parents have received training.
Our aim is to disseminate “Safe Touches” at all schools so as to empower more children through digital technology. The face-to-face version of the program along with a respective training and a manual for teachers will enter the pilot phase so as to be evaluated. We hope that it will be included into the programs approved by the Institute of Educational Policy of the Ministry of Education. Upon final approval, the program will be included in the training process of all pre-school, first, second and third grade primary school children in public schools and will be available to be chosen as a self-protection tool in combination with an integrated public awareness campaign.
Stavros Niarchos Foundation is the Founding Donor of the Program, COSMOTE is the Sponsor, while Nea Odos SA and the Bank of Greece are the Supporters.
ELIZA’s Board of Directors as well as its scientific team express their deepest gratitude to all those who believed in the program’s potential from the start and fervently supported it.
Safe Touches - Digital Platform
“Safe Touches” goes to every school, using digital technology to help an increasing number of children.
Over 2020-2021 ELIZA, in response to requests for nationwide implementation of the “Safe Touches” Programme and its incorporation into the educational process at all Kindergartens and A’, B’ and C’ Primary School Classes in Greece, and in response also to the requirements of the digital age, is offering a “digital” Safe Touches course, which all teachers across the country can access and then pass on to their pupils.
The “live” programme was recorded, and after teachers followed a training course and were supplied with a comprehensive user manual it was included in the Skill Labs of the Institute of Educational Policy. Thus, all teachers in all A’, B’ and C’ Primary School Classes in Greece can choose to implement the Programme in the classroom.
The digital programme has three components:
- The Safe Touches programme, addressed to children in A’, B’ and C’ Primary School Classes
- Training video for teachers
- Educational video for parents
A digital platform has been set up for the programme, including all training/educational material.
Visit the Safe Touches platform here
Contact Safe Touches
If you would like more information or wish to contact us concerning the “Safe Touches” program, you can send us your enquiries at [email protected] and our team of experts will promptly respond. Private schools can apply for the face to face version of the program (pre-school, first, second and third grade).