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Resources for keeping children safe from sexual abuse

January 2014

A list of books to read with children and young people to help them understand, recognise and protect themselves from sexually abusive or inappropriate behaviour.

Books for children to learn self-protection
Books for children and young people with special needs
Books for young people
Books for professionals to use in direct work with children
Related content
Further reading

Books for children to learn self-protection

Kidpower safety comics: an introduction to "people safety" skills for younger children ages 3 to 10 and their adults.
van der Zande, I. and Golert, A.
Santa Cruz, Calif.: Kidpower Teenpower Fullpower International, 2012
Comic book for adults to use with children aged 3-10 years, aimed at teaching children basic "people safety" skills. Illustrates a range of scenarios on: how to stop bullying and teasing; setting clear boundaries; how to get help in an emergency; using voice as a powerful safety tool; and safe touch. Includes a section for adults covering how to use the resource and some examples of how to practice specific safety skills with children.

I have the right to be safe (PDF).
Queensland: Family Planning Queensland, 2012
Illustrated booklet for children explaining different types of touch (friendly, loving, helping, sexy and NO), rules about touch to keep children safe and who to turn to if someone touches you in a place that makes you uncomfortable. Recommended to be used as part of a self protection education program with the parent/carer factsheet, 'Feel Safe: promoting self protection'.

No trespassing: this is my body.
Fitzgerald, P.
Santa Monica, Calif.: Safely Ever After, Inc., 2011
Illustrated children's book to help children learn about personal safety, private parts and appropriate touching. Includes a guide for parents with prevention tips for recognising possible child abuse (ages 4-8 years).

Bobby and Mandee's good touch bad touch.
Kahn, R. and Hardie, C.
Arlington, Texas: Future Horizons, 2011
Illustrated book for young children (5-9 years old). Explains what is a good touch, what is a bad touch and how it can make you feel and what to do if someone is touching you in a bad way. Includes a question and answer test, tips for parents and space to list safe adults the child can contact.

Kiko and the hand (PDF).
[Strasbourg, France]: Council of Europe, 2011
Illustrated children's book to help children learn about good and bad touch. Teaches children when to say 'no' to touch (ages 3-6 years).

I said no: a kid-to-kid guide to keeping private parts private.
King, Z., King, K. and Rama, S. (ill)
Weaverville, CA: Boulden Publishing, 2010
Illustrated children's book aiming to help children learn about appropriate touching and setting healthy boundaries in relation to their bodies. Explores appropriate touching and with whom; how to deal with inappropriate behaviour; when and where to get help; and dealing with feelings of guilt and shame. Suitable for primary school aged children (ages 4 years and over).

Some parts are not for sharing.
Federico, J. K.
Oklahoma: Tate Publishing & Enterprises, 2008
Illustrated children's story book helping young children to learn about the boundaries of appropriate touching in a non-threatening way. Using a story based on sea creatures, explains how some parts of the body are not for sharing, and encourages children to tell an adult if someone asks or tries to touch them in a "private area". Suitable for pre-school children.

Help... me feel safe and happy (PDF).
Swanley, Kent: Churches' Child Protection Advisory Service, 2007
Leaflet for young children about feeling happy and feeling safe. Describes different ways of communicating feelings, encourages children to tell adults when they feel unsafe, to say no if they feel threatened, the difference between good and bad touches and when to share secrets.

Little monkey's one safe place.
Edwards, R. and Winter, S.
London: Frances Lincoln Children's Books, 2007
When Little Monkey is frightened by the storm he searches all through the jungle looking for a safe place only to find that the safest place is with his mother. This is the dual language Polish/English edition.

In the know.
Miller, M.
London: NSPCC, 2007
Magazine style children's resources, aimed at children aged 8-11, which provides advice on how to protect themselves from abuse and encourages them to find someone to talk to if they are experiencing abuse. Contains quizzes, question and answer sections, colourful illustrations and comic-strips. Includes guidance on bullying, neglect, sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse and general safety advice.

Everyone's got a bottom.
Rowley, T. and Edwards, J.
Fortitude Valley, Qld.: Family Planning Queensland, 2007
A story for young (aged 3 to 8 years) children which aims to provide parents and caregivers with a way to gently introduce the subject of self protection.

My body belongs to me.
Starishevsky, J. and Muller, S.
New York: Safety Star Media, 2007
Illustrated children's book which tells the story of a child who is inappropriately touched by an uncle's friend. Aims to educate children about their bodies and appropriate/inappropriate touching through the use of non-threatening language and illustrations, and empower them to tell a parent or teacher if someone touches them inappropriately. A 'suggestions for the storyteller' section is included to assist in facilitating a discussion afterwards. Aimed at 4 to 8 year olds.

Safe hands: keeping safe - ages 8-12.
Brown, S.
Airdrie: Moira Anderson Foundation, 2007
Booklet for children aged 8 to 12 years. Outlines how to recognise the 'oh-oh' feeling of something being wrong, the importance of talking about what makes them feel unsafe, who to talk to if to if they feel uncomfortable and how they could help themselves in difficult situations.

The Super Six: a publication from the Children and Young People's Unit (PDF).
Belfast: Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, 2007
Comic for primary school children aimed at promoting and defending the rights of young children. The Super Six comic features six super heroes inspired by the six themes of the ten-year strategy for children and young people. The themes are: health, learning, achievement and enjoyment, contributing positively to society and community, safety, economic and environmental well-being and respect for the rights of children and young people. A teacher's guide, an Irish version and audio are also availabe from the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister website.

Those are my private parts.
Hansen, D. and Hansen, C.
[Lexington, Kentucky]: Empowerment Productions: [2004]
Uses rhyming to help children aged 4-8 understand messages about the prevention of child sexual abuse and inappropriate touch. Specifically mentions people children are likely to come into contact with, including family members, baby sitters or neighbours and empowers children to say no to inappropriate touching or to inappropriate touching games. Can be read by children or used as a tool by parents or carers.

Books for children and young people with special needs

An exceptional children's guide to touch: teaching social and physical boundaries to kids.
Manasco, H. and Manasco, K.
London: Jessica Kingsley, 2012
Illustrated book for children with special needs. Includes six stories explaining: friendly touch; accidental touch; hurtful touch; self-touching; what to do if touch feels inappropriate; and, issues surrounding the use of cameras and recording devices. Also includes information for adults concerning keeping children with special needs safe.

Books for young people

Safe hands: keeping safe: ages 12-16.
Brown, S.
Airdrie: Moira Anderson Foundation, 2007
Booklet for children aged 12 to 16 years. Focuses on the importance of being aware of online and mobile phone abuse, of identifying five people they would feel able to talk to about any problem and of thinking about what they would do if they find themselves in an uncomfortable situation.

Youth matters.
Storrier, C.
Dundee: VIP (Violence is Preventable) Project, 2006
Workbook for teenagers. Illustrated scenes and scenarios are presented asking the reader to write a story about what is happening or think about an appropriate response might be. Looks at personal safety, abuse, sexual exploitation, date rape, racism, sexism and disability.

Alex in wanderland.
Laurie, M. and Storrier, C.
Dundee: Young Women's Centre, 2005
A modern-day fairytale about a 14 year old girl named Alex who has been sexually abused by her father for six years. Struggling with the conflict between family loyalty and personal safety, she wanders into a strange land where she at last finds the answers she seeks. She returns home and calls a telephone helpline.

Books for professionals to use with children

Discussing child abuse.
Acred, C.
Cambridge: Independence, 2013
Educational resource aimed at informing and stimulating debate among 14-18 year-olds. Provides an overview of the topic of child abuse, discussing: what child abuse is, its prevalence, talking to children about keeping safe, sexual abuse, internet safety and child protection laws. Includes a selection of assignments to aid exploration of the ideas, facts and opinions presented in the resource from sources including newspaper articles, magazines, government reports and statistics and surveys.

Stay OK.
Edinburgh: Barnardo's, 2005
DVD containing a short animated film aimed at pre-school and primary school children. Designed to raise awareness and develop safety strategies to help children keep their bodies safe; and, to help children distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate touching. The film was developed and produced with the help of children at Barnardo's Polepark Family Service in Dundee, some who themselves have survived sexual abuse.

Talking about sex
Advice for parents with children and teenagers for addressing issues related to sex and sexual behaviour.

Further reading

Search the NSPCC Library Online for more resources to help keep children safe from sexual abuse.

Contact the NSPCC's information service for more information on protecting children from abuse