Who keeps children safe?

Objective: To understand when children feel safe and unsafe, and who they feel they can turn to for help and support

Age group: 6+

How many children? Up to 30

Time: 1 hour

Resources needed: Glass of water, 1 sheet of paper for each child, pencils or pens


Catch the interest of the group by first putting a glass of water in the middle of the table and then on the very edge of the table so it nearly falls off. Each time, ask the children; ‘is the glass of water safe or unsafe?’ Check that children have an understanding of what ‘safe’ means (protected from or not exposed to danger or risk; not likely to be harmed or lost).

Follow this with the question, ‘what makes people feel safe?’ (e.g. what do people need to have to feel safe? What kind of places feel safe? What kind of people make people feel safe?)

And/or, ‘what makes children feel safe?’ E.g. being looked after; spending time with friends; walking with an adult I know and like

Ask: Can you think of any people who can help children to feel safe? It might be people at home, in the community, or at the school or other places children go.

Explain that we will draw a picture to show who are the people who keep us safe – who takes care of you and makes sure you are ok? (e.g. parents, teachers, friends)

Now on a piece of paper, draw the centre of a flower – a circle – with a picture of you inside.

Think about who are the people who you ask for help or who keep you safe.

Draw a big petal for someone who helps you the most – write their name inside and also what they do to help or what they are like.

Draw smaller petals for people who you sometimes ask for help or who help you sometimes (not all the time). The biggest ones should be the people who help you the most or do the most to keep you safe. Remember to write the names and characteristics of the people inside the petals.

Ask some of the children to share their flowers explaining which people give them the most support in difficult times, and what kinds of support they give.

Follow this with a group discussion on:

  • The characteristics of people that enable them to be most helpful or supportive to children or young people
  • What kinds of help do children and young people most want/need when they have problems or there are hard times? What advice would you give to adults? Do you think adults do a good job?
  • Are there any kinds of support you don’t have that you would like to have?
  • Do you think children can play a part in supporting other children? Do you do this? Do other children do this for you? How? (e.g. friends, brothers and sisters)

Part of this exercise is adapted from material developed by Keeping Children Safe  and Save the Children Norway, A Kit of Tools for Participatory Evaluation with Children, Young People and Adults

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