Keeping Ourselves Safe
A positive personal safety skills programme that aims to provide young people with the skills to cope with situations that might involve abuse. For delivery in schools by teachers supported by Police Education Officers.
Type of intervention
Classroom setting, family group
Target groups, level of prevention and subgroups
- Children and Young People (Victims) | Primary prevention | Young Children (0-5 years), Children (6-11 years), Young People (12-17 years), Young Adults (18-20 years), Adults (21+ years) | Male and female | Classroom setting, family work | English
- Communities and Families | Primary prevention | Young Children (0-5 years), Children (6-11 years), Young People (12-17 years), Young Adults (18-20 years), Adults (21+ years) | Male and female | Classroom setting, family work | English
Keeping Ourselves Safe (KOS) provides children and young people with the skills to cope with situations that might involve risk, including sexual abuse. It has modules for children in the following age groups: 5-7, 8-10, 11-12 and 13-17 years of age. The programmes are intended for use with parents and are delivered by teachers with the support of police in schools. It was developed in New Zealand (NZ) and is designed for all communities in NZ including Maori children.
KOS was developed by Emeritus Professor Freda Briggs of the University of South Australia, Magill. The programme is delivered through partnership between NZ schools and the NZ Police Schools Community Service: see www.police.govt.nz/services/yes.
Mode and context of delivery
KOS is a positive personal safety programme delivered in schools through a partnership between the teaching staff and the Police Education Service. It is designed to take place within a whole school safety framework and to be sequential with developmentally appropriate programmes taking place throughout a child's time in school from year one through to year 13. Detailed written guidance and resources are provided to support learning experiences. These include story boards, games, songs, DVDs and work books for use at home. A key part of the programme is the involvement of parents.
Level/nature of staff expertise required
KOS is designed to be delivered by teachers who have received specific training in the use of the KOS materials and who are skilled in using interactive learning methods. They are supported by Police Education Officers who are specially trained in child protection and in the use of these materials. Detailed guidance, checklists, activities and resources are provided to assist
Intensity/extent of engagement with target group(s)
This is a comprehensive programme which follows a specific learning sequence. There are a number of focus areas in each age specific programme, for example in ‘Knowing What to Do’ for five to seven year olds, there are four focus areas. For each focus area there are a number of learning activities to select from to achieve the desired learning outcomes. This builds in a level of structure and flexibility and means that intensity of engagement varies within a clear framework.
Description of intervention
KOS was developed in New Zealand by Professor Freda Briggs. It has been and is extensively used in schools, has a good evidence base and a wide range of freely available published resources to support delivery. Its unique feature is the involvement of the Police Education Service.
KOS is a positive personal safety programme delivered in schools through a partnership between the teaching staff and the Police Education Service as part of their Schools Community Service. It is designed to be integrated into the curriculum and to take place within a whole school safety framework (see www.police.govt.nz for this and related programmes). It consists of the following developmentally appropriate programmes which are designed to take place throughout a child's time in school from year one through to year 13 and to build on one another:
- Knowing What To Do – ages 5-7 years
- Getting Help – ages 8-10 years
- Standing Up for Myself – ages 11-12 years
- Confident Kids
- Building Resiliency – ages 13 -17 years
Parents are informed about the programmes in advance and receive supportive information as well as workbooks which are designed to be used at home and to support the learning acquired. Teachers receive specific training to deliver the programmes and detailed teaching guides and kits, all of which can be downloaded from www.police.govt.nz/services/yes.
For each of the above learning modules there are several focus areas which have supported learning experiences and a range of interactive learning activities and resources to select from, for example posters, videos, stories, songs, cartoons and touch cards.
Pre- and post-intervention evaluations have been completed and published and show evidence of changes in knowledge, skills and behaviour as a result of completing the programme.
A useful summary of what has been learnt from different evaluations can be found in the following report: 'To what extent can KOS protect children?' (2002) by Freda Briggs, Emeritus Professor, University of South Australia, available at www.police.govt.nz/sites/default/files/publications/kos-freda-briggs.pdf. Also see references below.
- Briggs, F. & Hawkins, RMF (1994) Follow up data on the effectiveness of Keeping Ourselves Safe when used with children of 5 -8. Reports to the New Zealand Police: Law Related Education, University of South Australia, Magill.
- Briggs, F. & Hawkins, RMF (1996) Keeping Ourselves Safe: A Survey of New Zealand Children aged 10 -12 years and their parents. University of South Australia, Magill.
- Choosing between child protection programmes. Child Abuse Review Vol. 3 272 -284 (1994) Briggs, F. and Hawkins, RMF
All programmes and resources are available to download from https://www.police.govt.nz/advice-services/personal-and-community-safety/school-portal/resources/successful-relationships-0
Address: Contact National Manager, Youth Education Services at Police National HQ, Box 3017, Wellington
INFORMATION CORRECT AT JULY 2021