Protective Behaviours Program

Supported by an Australian Research Council Linkage grant, researchers from Griffith University School of Applied Psychology and the Menzies Health Institute of Queensland are part of a team who are evaluating a school-based protective behaviours program for young children.

The research team includes principal investigators:

  • Professor Melanie Zimmer-Gembeck, Griffith University
  • Dr. Dianne Shanley, Griffith University
  • Professor Russell Hawkins, James Cook University
  • Associate Professor Kerryann Walsh, Queensland University of Technology
  • Dr. Kaye Pickering, Act for Kids
  • Dr Katrina Lines, Act for Kids.

The Learn to BE SAFE with Emmy and friends (TM) program is designed to educate children about unsafe situations and teaches safe behaviours. The program is provided to schools by the not-for-profit organisation Act for Kids, who work to prevent and treat child abuse and neglect.

As part of work through the Cochrane Collaboration, project collaborator Dr. Kerryann Walsh recently led a team to conduct a review of similar programs and found that they were generally effective in increasing children’s knowledge and self-protective skills (Walsh, Zwi, Woolfenden, & Shlonsky, 2015). However, the current study of the Emmy program is one of the first internationally to conduct a randomised control trial using a large sample of children from multiple geographic regions. Results of the study will be used to inform future school-based programs for young children.

Schools on the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Townsville are currently participating in this ongoing study which aims to increase children’s interpersonal safety.

If you would like to know more about the study please contact the Protective Behaviours Program:
(07) 5678 0931
protectivebehaviours@griffith.edu.au.