God Gave Elizabeth Grace the Right to Feel Safe

Page 1

God gave Elizabeth Grace the Right to Feel Safe Written by Andrea Musulin & Justine O’Malley . Illustrated by Safy Tashkandy

God gave Elizabeth Grace the Right to Feel Safe Written by Andrea Musulin & Justine O’Malley . Illustrated by Safy Tashkandy

God gave Elizabeth Grace the Right to Feel Safe Written by Andrea Musulin & Justine O’Malley . Illustrated by Safy Tashkandy

This book was made possible through the generous support of the Knights of the Southern Cross in Western Australia. The Order of the Knights of the Southern Cross in Western Australia is an organisation of Catholic laymen who operate with the support of the Australian Bishops. It is an autonomous branch of a national fraternal organisation that operates in each Australian state. The Order is guided by the Catholic faith and the cardinal and chivalrous virtues of prudence, faith, justice, fortitude and temperance in all its charitable works. It strives to serve the wider community and support those in need. www.kscwa.org.au

Š The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Perth. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without permission of the copyright owners. No responsibility is accepted by the producer, publisher or printer for any infringement of copyright or otherwise arising from the contents of this publication. Published in Australia by The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Perth.



God gave Elizabeth Grace the Right to Feel Safe is dedicated to Safeguarding Officers and all those who serve children, young people and their families in Catholic communities in Western Australia.


Archbishop’s Foreword When I became Archbishop of Perth in 2012, I made a commitment to myself and the Archdiocese that I would make the safety and well-being of our children and young people my first priority, and that I would respond in a compassionate, sensitive and just way to all those who had suffered sexual abuse by clergy and Church personnel under the jurisdiction of my office. Central to the fulfilment of this commitment has been the establishment of the Safeguarding Program in the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth. At the very heart of this initiative is our commitment to the principle that children and young people have an absolute right to physical, spiritual and psychological safety at all times, and that the Church should now and into the future be at the forefront of efforts to make this a reality. God gave Elizabeth Grace the Right to Feel Safe is a joint initiative between the Safeguarding Office of the Archdiocese of Perth and Catholic Education Western Australia. Stories represent a meaningful way through which deeper truths and realities can be explored in the home, in the classroom and beyond. Story continues to be an integral component within the Protective Behaviours Program. Storybooks uniquely provide a meaningful way in which parents, carers and educators can teach children and young people about sensitive subjects. God gave Elizabeth Grace the Right to Feel Safe further builds upon the popular ‘Protecting God’s Children’ parent and caregiver resource which was produced by the Archdiocese of Perth’s Safeguarding Office. The aim of the storybook is to increase the personal safety and resilience of our children and young people. In support of this aim, it is intended that this resource may, additionally, serve to: • • • • • •


create a language of safety develop emotional intelligence develop optimism identify unsafe secrets illustrate how appropriate help may be sought when feeling unsafe or worried assist in developing problem-solving skills.

Parishes and schools rely on strong partnerships with parents and caregivers to provide children with the best possible learning opportunities. It is only through ongoing collaboration that we can assist all children and young people to flourish in a safe and healthy environment. God gave Elizabeth Grace the Right to Feel Safe represents an evolutionary step in the development of the Safeguarding Program and seeks to complement the ongoing dedication and tireless efforts of our Safeguarding Officers in each parish. By their presence and active engagement in parishes, the 230 Safeguarding Officers across the Archdiocese of Perth seek to ensure that the dignity of all persons is honoured and protected. It is my intention that this resource will further empower parents and caregivers to enter into meaningful conversations with their children as an extension of the ‘Protecting God’s Children’ Program. My sincerest hope is that this resource will prove to be a valuable tool for children, their parents, carers and teachers, as we all seek to keep our children and young people safe. I invite you to join with me in continuing our shared commitment to this vital work, walking together in the footsteps of the Good Shepherd.

Most Rev Timothy Costelloe SDB Catholic Archbishop of Perth


Meet Elizabeth Grace


Elizabeth Grace liked Monday because she had art class.

Elizabeth Grace liked Friday because she had library time.

Elizabeth Grace liked Saturday because she had soccer practice. 9

Elizabeth Grace loved Sundays because after Mass her family and friends always had lunch at her house.





When Grandad arrived, he would put his arms out and ask if Elizabeth Grace wanted a bear hug. Usually she did, but sometimes she gave him a high five instead. Her favourite relative, Aunty Flora, was a train driver. When she arrived, she would put her hand out and say, “pleased to meet you” and ask if Elizabeth Grace would like to wear her hat. Sometimes, Elizabeth Grace would say, “yes please” and sometimes she would say, “not today, thanks, I don’t want to mess up my hair”. Aunts, uncles and cousins joined Elizabeth Grace and her family around the table every Sunday. Mum said there was always room for one more and so sometimes she would even invite families from the neighbourhood to join them for lunch.


Last week, the Robinson family from down the road came to Sunday lunch. The Robinson twins were in Elizabeth Grace’s class and they had an older brother named Robert who had just started to drive. Robert had a shiny red car but he didn’t talk much and spent a lot of time looking at his phone. Elizabeth Grace was surprised when he said he would like to join the younger children and play hide and seek after lunch. Elizabeth Grace found the perfect hiding spot in a cupboard under the stairs. She could hear footsteps near the cupboard and, when the door opened, she saw Robert. “Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone you are hiding in here,” Robert said, and he crawled into the cupboard with her. Elizabeth Grace said, “hey, this is my hiding spot! Go find your own!”



But Robert stayed, even though there wasn’t enough room in the cupboard for two people. Elizabeth Grace felt very uncomfortable.


Robert said it might be better if she sat on his lap. Elizabeth Grace said, “no, thanks” as she was fine where she was, but Robert moved closer and put his arm around her anyway. Her heart started beating very fast and her hands began to feel sweaty. Robert suggested they could watch a movie on YouTube while they were waiting, and he turned on his phone. Elizabeth Grace didn’t like the movie on Robert’s phone; the people in the movie had no clothes on. Elizabeth Grace was very glad when the Robinson twins opened the cupboard and yelled, “found you!” Elizabeth Grace crawled out of the cupboard as fast as she could and Robert said, “don’t tell anyone about the movie, Elizabeth Grace. We can watch it again next week; it can be our secret”. Robert then gave Elizabeth Grace a hug. Elizabeth Grace didn’t like this hug and her tummy started to feel like there were butterflies inside it.


On Monday, Elizabeth Grace didn’t feel happy and excited like she usually did when it was time for art class. She was thinking about the secret Robert had told her to keep. When she thought about the hug Robert had given her and the movie he had shown her, she felt worried. Elizabeth felt worried all week but, on Friday, Mrs Rossi, the librarian, read them a new story about being the boss of their body. After reading the story, she taught the children that God gave all children the right to feel safe and be safe at all times. She also said God made all children and all things that God made were good. She explained that no one should touch any part of your body unless you give them permission. Mrs Rossi also said that God made the private parts of your body and these private parts have proper names which are important to use so no one gets confused. She said girls have breasts, a vagina and a bottom and boys have a penis, testicles and a bottom. Even though God made these parts, He did not make them for sharing with other children, teenagers or adults.


J o s h u a

1 : 9

“ I p r a i s e yo u , fo r I a m wo n d e r f u l l y m a d e. Wo n d e r f u l a r e y o u r w o r k s ; m y s o u l k n ows i t v e r y w e l l . �



Elizabeth Grace felt like she had butterflies in her tummy when she heard Mrs Rossi talk about being the boss of your body. She didn’t want Robert to put his arm around her or give her a hug. She didn’t want to watch the movie where the people had forgotten to put their clothes on and cover up their private parts. She didn’t want to keep the secret and she didn’t want Robert to come to lunch on Sunday. What could she do?

L u k e

1 2 : 2 - 3

“ Fo r t he r e i s no t h i n g c ove r e d , t h a t s h a l l n o t b e r eve a l e d ; n e i t h e r h i d , t h a t s h a l l n o t b e k n ow n. T h e r e fo r e, w h a t s o e ve r ye h a ve s p o ke n i n darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.”



Mrs Rossi said we don’t have to keep secrets about being touched or about the private parts of our bodies even if the person is someone we know and like. If we have a secret about our private parts, touching games involving our private parts, or a secret about photos or movies that show private parts, we should tell an adult we trust. Mrs Rossi also said sometimes children might think they trust someone but it turns out the person they thought they could trust actually makes them feel unsafe. She said that in all situations it was very important to keep asking adults until someone listens and helps. Mrs Rossi reminded us that we are all very special in God’s eyes and we have a right to feel safe and be safe at all times. After school that day, Elizabeth Grace thought about what she had learnt about secrets. Who were some adults she trusted? Who could Elizabeth Grace tell? She smiled and thought, “Mrs Rossi is my favourite teacher, she is someone I trust and she is someone who will listen to me. I will tell her first thing on Monday morning.”


But when Elizabeth Grace woke up on Saturday, she was feeling even more worried than the day before. Who else could Elizabeth Grace tell? She smiled and thought, “I could tell my soccer coach”. But after soccer practice when Elizabeth Grace asked if she could talk with coach, he said, “sorry, Elizabeth Grace, I’m in a rush today” as he started to pack away.


Elizabeth Grace stopped smiling. Who could she tell now?

That afternoon, Elizabeth Grace went to the parish Busy Bee. Mum and Dad were helping Father Stephen in the garden and he asked Elizabeth Grace if she could tidy the pamphlets in the foyer. While she was in the foyer, she noticed a new poster on the wall. It was a poster of the Parish Safeguarding Officer. The poster said that Safeguarding Officers were available to listen to children if they wanted to talk about anything that might be worrying them.


When Elizabeth Grace woke up on Sunday morning, the butterflies were still in her tummy. Today was usually her favourite day of the week but she didn’t feel happy and excited, she felt sad and worried. She still hadn’t told anyone about the secret. After Mass, Elizabeth Grace sat in the garden while her Mum and Dad spoke with Father Stephen. A lady sat down next to Elizabeth Grace on the bench. She smiled and Elizabeth Grace recognised that she was the Safeguarding Officer from the poster. “Hello,” the lady said. “My name is Rose and I’m a Safeguarding Officer in your parish. I couldn’t help but notice you are looking sad. What is your name?”

P s a l m

1 3 9 : 1 4

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be a f r a i d ; d o n o t b e d i s c o u r a g e d , fo r t h e L O R D yo u r G o d w i l l b e w i t h yo u wherever you go.”



Elizabeth Grace took a deep breath. “My name is Elizabeth Grace. What do you think someone should do if they have a secret?” “Well,” said Rose, “God wants you to talk about things that worry you. It is very important for you to tell someone you trust if you have an unsafe secret, someone who will listen to you, believe you and help you to feel safe again.” Elizabeth Grace smiled and knew exactly what she could do. Elizabeth Grace told her Mum and Dad about the secret Robert had told her to keep. They said she was very brave to share the secret and they would be able to help her. “We are so glad you told us,” Mum said. “God gave all children the right to feel safe and be safe at all times and children need to keep asking adults for help if they don’t feel safe, until they feel safe again.” Elizabeth Grace smiled and gave them both a big hug.

P r o v e r b s

2 2 : 6

“ Tr a i n u p a c h i l d i n t h e w a y h e s h o u l d g o , e v e n w h e n h e is old, he will not depart from it.”


It wasn’t long until Sundays became Elizabeth Grace’s favourite day of the week again.


Teacher and Parent Notes Child safety and protection is our collective responsibility. We all have a role to play in promoting and modelling healthy and respectful relationships. Church leaders, together with school leaders and staff educators, parents, carers and all members of our community, share the responsibility of creating a child-safe culture.

Children have the right to: •

be treated with respect and protected from harm

be heard, supported and encouraged to be involved in all aspects of their safety, wherever appropriate

feel and be safe in their interactions with adults and other children and young people

understand, as early as possible, what is meant by ‘feeling and being safe’

receive the support of staff in their education or care setting and parishes whose role includes advocacy for their safety and well-being.


Prevention Education teaches children from a young age to: •

recognise an unsafe situation and tell a trusted adult about it

understand the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touching

understand ways of keeping themselves safe

build practical self-protective skills and strategies.

This book is a tool to support respectful conversations about safety to ensure we create a culture where children are heard, are safe and can thrive.

The key Prevention Education topics covered in this book include: •

The right to be safe and feel safe

Identifying different feelings

Personal space

Consent and physical touch (including hugs and high fives)

Warning signs

The concept of power

Parts of the body

Public and private (including the correct anatomical names for all parts of the body)

Exploring the meaning of trust

Unsafe secrets

Developing a trusted network

Problem solving

Being assertive

Saying no

Practising persistence

Asking for help from trusted network adults.


The following suggested discussion questions and conversation starters can be used to initiate open and empowering dialogue with children. Also encourage children to ask their own questions about these important topics.

Pages 8 - 11 Relationships are the foundations of children’s identity. To build a strong sense of identity, children must feel they belong, are valued, and accepted. Discuss with the class the types of activities they like and who they like doing them with. Explain there are many things people share in common and many things that make people different.

Page 13 Reinforce the key message that children should have control over who touches them. If they are uncomfortable about someone touching them, they must tell them to stop and tell a trusted adult as soon as possible. Remind children, however, that if someone does touch them in a way they don’t like or makes them feel uncomfortable, it is not their fault. Also emphasise that private parts are not for sharing, not for keeping secrets about and not for playing games with. “Do you always have to hug or kiss another person if you don’t want to?” “What could you do or say if someone wanted to give you a hug and you didn’t want them to?”


Page 14 Discuss power, including the power that adults and older children can have. When is it ok for an adult or older child to use appropriate power (eg tidy up the room). “How do you think Elizabeth Grace felt when Robert crawled into the cupboard with her?” “Why did he think it was ok to stay even after Elizabeth Grace asked him to leave?”

Pages 16 - 17 Discuss the warning signs that Elizabeth Grace was experiencing (heart beating fast, sweaty hands, butterflies in her tummy). “When you feel uncomfortable, worried or unsafe, what warning signs do you feel in your body?” For young children, seeing sexually explicit images or movies online can be uncomfortable, upsetting and confusing. Acknowledge they may also be curious. Looking at such texts regularly can affect their ability to form healthy, respectful relationships. Talking about such viewing (age appropriately) is one of the best ways to protect children from risks online such as exposure to pornography. “How do we know that the movie Robert showed Elizabeth Grace wasn’t a movie meant for children?” (they had no clothes on) “What could someone do if they saw this type of movie?” (cover their eyes, look away quickly, tell a trusted adult in their network)


Page 18 Children need awareness of a range of feelings and be able to discuss their own feelings. “How did Elizabeth Grace usually feel on Mondays?” “How did she feel this week?” “Why do you think her feelings have changed?” It might be uncomfortable at first, but it is important to use the anatomically correct names for all body parts, including breasts, vagina (can also include vulva), penis, testicles and bottom. This knowledge enhances children’s body image and self-confidence and gives them the language for asking questions about their body and telling about any inappropriate touching of their private parts. “What should someone do if they were touched on their private parts without a good reason (like a check-up at the doctor)?”

Page 21 It is important that children learn how to recognise an unsafe secret and know what to do about it. “What do you think is the difference between a safe secret and an unsafe secret?” “What is an example of a safe secret that someone could keep for a short time?” “What was the unsafe secret that Robert told Elizabeth Grace to keep?”


Page 23 Explore the meaning of trust in a relationship. Discuss why Elizabeth Grace wanted to tell Mrs Rossi, her teacher, about the secret. “Mrs Rossi was a trusted adult. Who else might be in Elizabeth Grace’s network?” “Who are some trusted adults that you could ask for help if you were feeling worried or unsafe?”

Page 24 Reinforce the concept that children may need to persist in seeking help from trusted networks until they have been heard, feel adequate action has been taken and feel safe again. “What should Elizabeth Grace do now?”

Page 25 Learning to identify and express feelings helps children develop the skills they need to manage their feelings effectively. “Elizabeth Grace has stopped smiling. How do you think she is feeling and why do you think she is feeling this way?” Ask children to demonstrate/identify a variety of facial expressions.


Pages 25 - 26 Reinforce that some people they don’t know may be trusted and helpful; for example, a police officer, a security guard in uniform, a safeguarding officer from the parish. Ask children to identify other people who work, live or volunteer in the community who might be trusted and helpful.

Page 28 Children should be listened to and believed by people in their network. Children need to be encouraged to persist and go to different people in their network until they are helped and feel safe again. “How do you think Elizabeth Grace felt once she told her Mum and Dad about the secret and why?�

Catholic schools and parishes rely on strong partnerships with parents and carers to provide children with the best possible learning opportunities. Working together, we can ensure all children flourish in a safe and healthy environment.


Useful links for parents Kids Helpline

Office of the E-Safety Commissioner

Free, private and confidential 24/7 phone and

Online safety education, assistance and complaints service

online counselling service for ages 5-25

for cyber bullying and illegal online content

1800 551 800

1800 880 176




Western Australia Police

Early intervention mental health services with

For emergencies 000

emphasis on meditation

General enquiries and police attendance

1800 650 890


131 444

www.headspace.com Department for Communities

Sexual Assault Resource Centre

Works proactively for children and young people

24-hour emergency line that offers assistance and

who are in need and supports families and

support to any person 13 years and over who has

individuals at risk or in crisis.

experienced any form of unwanted sexual contact or

(08) 6217 6888


1800 273 889

(08) 6458 1828

E: cpduty@cpfs.wa.gov.au

1800 199 888 www.kemh.health.wa.gov.au

Centrecare Inc Aims to strengthen people and communities through provision of counselling and social services (08) 9325 6644 www.centrecare.com.au

Crisis Care Helpline 24-hour information and counselling service for people in crisis who need urgent help from the Department of Communities (08) 9223 1111 1800 199 008 Regional

Ngala Parenting Line


Telephone and online help with parenting teenagers (08) 9368 9368 1800 111 546 Regional


Perth Catholic Archdiocese Safeguarding Office Provides training in all aspects of safeguarding and child protection within the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth. This office also oversees the daily proactive and reactive operations of over 260 parish-based Safeguarding Officers and 23 Catholic agencies. Freecall

1800 072 390


(08) 9221 7762





Catholic Diocese of Bunbury Safeguarding Office Phone

(08) 9721 0524



Catholic Diocese of Geraldton Safeguarding Office Phone

(08) 9921 3221



Catholic Diocese of Broome Safeguarding Office Phone

0408 018 682



Catholic Education Western Australia Childsafe Team The CEWA Childsafe Team supports our Catholic schools in implementing the nine elements of the CEWA Childsafe Framework to provide safe, supportive learning environments in which students can thrive.



(08) 6380 5200





God gave Elizabeth Grace the Right to Feel Safe Elizabeth Grace has a secret, but it is not a very nice secret! The secret worries her and she just doesn’t know what to do. One day in class, her teacher said that “God gives all children the right to feel and be safe at all times and if you are not feeling safe, you should talk to someone about it”. So, after some thought, Elizabeth Grace did exactly that, she talked about it to adults that she trusted. After talking about the secret, Elizabeth Grace realised that she didn’t have to keep the secret after all.

Published in Australia by The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Perth. © The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Perth. All rights reserved. Book title created by Sechelela Sarota, Year 6, Catholic Education Western Australia.

God gave Elizabeth Grace the Right to Feel Safe Written by Andrea Musulin & Justine O’Malley . Illustrated by Safy Tashkandy

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