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The History of the Protective Behaviours Program

Updated: May 9, 2022

This article was written by Kayelene Kerr from eSafeKids.

eSafeKids provides Protective Behaviours workshops, training, books and resources. eSafeKids is based in Perth, Western Australia.
eSafeKids Protective Behaviours Perth WA

The Protective Behaviours program is taught in many schools and organisations across the world. It was first developed in the 1970s by Peg Flandreau West, a school pastoral care worker in Wisconsin, USA. In her work with children, Peg found children coming to her for help and telling her they were not feeling safe. Peg recognised the ‘stranger danger’ concept was not enough to protect children from harm which was often being caused by people known and trusted by them.

With the help of a colleague Joan Levy and friend Donna Fortin Peg developed and refined the Protective Behaviours program . Peg, Joan and Donna started to devise a program to empower children to recognise when they did not feel safe and to explore what they could do. Over a few years the program was refined and developed into the themes, concepts and strategies now commonly known as Protective Behaviours.

The Protective Behaviours education program commenced in Australia in the 1980s when Peg introduced the ‘Basic Essentials’ manual which was initially delivered by Victoria Police. The program has since expanded across Australia and other parts of the world, supported by government and non-government agencies and organisations in health, education, disability, and child protection sectors.

The Protective Behaviours program aims to prevent abuse, reduce violence and promote safety and wellbeing. The education focuses on developing life skills of empowerment, self awareness, emotional intelligence, problem solving, persistence, assertiveness and help seeking.

Over the years, the original Protective Behaviours program has evolved and expanded to include the additional topics. eSafeKids has developed additional programs that complement the Protective Behaviours program. These additions empower children and young people to respond to contemporary issues they are facing. These programs include Cyber Safety, Respectful Relationships and Reducing The Harm: Talking About Children and Pornography. Programs are delivered in a non-confronting way, using easy to understand language and in accordance with the child's age and developmental stage.

Peg was tragically killed in a car accident on 6 May 1991.

eSafeKids honours Peg’s legacy as we continue to deliver Protective Behaviours training and workshops.

In Western Australia all students are taught protective behaviours prevention education.

WA Government Schools

Under the Department of Education’s Child Protection policy, principals are required to implement protective behaviours education that aligns with the Western Australian Curriculum across all phases of schooling.

WA Non-Government Schools

Registration Standard 10

Link: Preventing and Responding to Child Abuse

To learn more about the eSafeKids Protective Behaviours workshops and training visit our services page.

To view our wide range of child friendly resources visit our online shop.

Join the free eSafeKids online Members' Community. It has been created to support and inspire you to teach Protective Behaviours in your home, school, organisation and/or community setting.

About The Author

Kayelene Kerr is recognised as one of Western Australia’s most experienced specialist providers of Protective Behaviours, Body Safety, Cyber Safety, Digital Wellness and Pornography education workshops. Kayelene is passionate about the prevention of child abuse and sexual exploitation, drawing on over 24 years’ experience of study and law enforcement, investigating sexual crimes, including technology facilitated crimes. Kayelene delivers engaging and sought after prevention education workshops to educate, equip and empower children and young people, and to help support parents, carers, educators and other professionals. Kayelene believes protecting children from harm is a shared responsibility and everyone can play a role in the care, safety and protection of children. Kayelene aims to inspire the trusted adults in children’s lives to tackle sometimes challenging topics.

About eSafeKids

eSafeKids strives to reduce and prevent harm through proactive prevention education, supporting and inspiring parents, carers, educators and other professionals to talk with children, young people and vulnerable adults about protective behaviours, body safety, cyber safety, digital wellness and pornography. eSafeKids is based in Perth, Western Australia.

eSafeKids provides books and resources to teach children about social and emotional intelligence, resilience, empathy, gender equality, consent, body safety, protective behaviours, cyber safety, digital wellness, media literacy, puberty and pornography.

eSafeKids books can support educators teaching protective behaviours and child abuse prevention education that aligns with the Western Australian Curriculum, Australian Curriculum, Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and National Quality Framework: National Quality Standards (NQS).

Protective Behaviours


Educate, equip and empower children with knowledge through stories!

Reading with children provides an opportunity to teach vital life skills in a child friendly, fun, age and stage appropriate way. Reading books that are meaningful can have a lasting impact. Selecting books with teachable moments and content can assist you to discuss a wide range of topics, particularly those that are sometimes tricky and sensitive.

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