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Safe touch and personal safety
All young people need human contact but sometimes it is difficult to meet this need in a way that feels and is safe and understood for young people in out of home care. For some young people in care their experience of touch has been one of abuse.
They often have very confused ideas about their personal space and that of others.
Some forms of touch may also trigger bad memories for them. If some young people do not get safe, positive touch from their carers, they are at much higher risk of getting touch in other ways that are not safe.
So it is important to be considerate of:
- Modelling respectful boundaries when it comes to touch and affection.
- Ask permission. Not forcing young people to give hugs or touch when they may not want to – it doesn’t help them understand the rights they have about their own bodies and then the right of respecting other people boundaries.
- Be attentive to what might trigger the young person to feel unsafe.
- Encourage them to seek help when they feel uncomfortable.