The History of Protective Behaviours Program

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 became aware that the ‘stranger danger’ concept was not enough to protect children from harm which was often being caused by people known and trusted by them. Peg developed and refined the Protective Behaviours program to empower and protect children.
The Protective Behaviours program was implemented 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 in health, education, disability, and child protection sectors.
Over the years, the original Protective Behaviours program has evolved and expanded to include the additional topics of Public and Private, Safe and Unsafe Secrets, Assertiveness, Personal Space and Consent. WA Child Safety Services has developed additional programs that complement the Protective Behaviours training to empower our children and young people to respond to issues they are facing in the current climate. These programs include Cyber Safety, Healthy Relationships (Domestic Violence Prevention), and the Impact of Pornography.
All of our programs are delivered in a non-confronting way, using easy to understand language and, in the case of children’s workshops, in accordance with their ages and developmental stages.
Peg was tragically killed in a car accident on 6 May 1991. WA Child Safety Services honours Peg’s legacy as we continue to deliver Protective Behaviours training in Perth.