Members of the Toowoomba Child Protection and Investigation Unit have instigated a dual-agency project to help improve the personal safety and awareness of students at Harristown State High School. Partnering with staff from the high school, and with the assistance of the school based police officer, Senior Constable Rebekah Naumann, a 10 week program has been developed to assist students in developing strategies to deal with a variety of confrontational situations.
Whether itâ€™s bullying, acts of violence or any other situation that threatens the safety of the students, the program participants are being taught how to identify, neutralise and safely escape from such situations.
â€˜The school were eager to engage with us to come up with an innovative way to educate their students in how to be confident, resilient and able to protect themselves. The Personal Safety and Self Defence Project teaches the students how to defuse situations and quickly move to a safer environment where they no longer feel threatenedâ€™, said project co-ordinator Detective Senior Sergeant Paul Hart. â€˜We are teaching the students to identify potentially dangerous situations and maintain clarity and awareness as they take steps to ensure they can protect themselves and others if they need to do so. We also educate the students about the legal parameters they should be aware of if confronted with a dangerous situation, and just what they can and canâ€™t do if they do need to defend themselvesâ€™.
The officers say they have really enjoyed working with the group of 30 students each Wednesday afternoon. Feedback from the students has also been very positive andÂ it seems as though everyone is enjoying the program.
Photograph and article content by Senior Sergeant Paul Hart