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LifeSkills Handbook Activity 36

This is a single activity session plan from The Lifeskills Handbook. There are 61 activity sessions altogether. The handbook is available from our resources section where you’ll also find downloadable storybooks, books and posters to help you in your work.

LifeSkills Handbooks Activity 36
Bad Touch

Purpose of Activity

  • To help children understand unwanted sexual actions
  • To discuss the types of people and places where ‘bad touch’ can occur
  • To find information on the law relating to sexual abuse

Life Skills: Problem-solving, Critical Thinking, Self-awareness, Empathy, Coping with Stress & Emotion

Important Points
In this activity, the phrase ‘bad touch’ is used to mean sexual abuse or any sexual touch or advance on a child.

As your group may include a child who has been sexually abused, before this session, make sure that support (such as counselling) is available. Think about how you will cope if a child tells you that they have been (or are being) sexually abused (see the Confidentiality section at the beginning of the handbook). This is called disclosure. Does your assistance programme have procedures for dealing with this? If a child tells you something, but says that they want you to keep it secret, what would you do? How will you cope with the knowledge that people are abusing children under your guidance?

There are no easy answers to these questions, but ensure that you have thought about and discussed them with colleagues BEFORE conducting this session. If any children in the groups are known to be victims of sexual abuse, talk to them about the session first; ask them if they want to discuss the subject with others. Respect their right to be silent or absent from the session. It may be useful to do this session in single sex groups and in two parts.

Children’s rights
It may be useful to conduct Activity 24: Rights and Responsibilities before this activity.


  • Puppets (three puppets: an adult, a child and an ‘advocate’ puppet)
  • Body maps on large sheets of paper
  • The educator’s demonstration body map
  • Coloured pens or crayons
  • Picture cards


  • Prepare the introductory puppet show. Adapt this to the probable experiences of the children.
  • Draw ‘body maps’ (a child-size outline of a body – front and back) onto sheets of paper. Enough for one per group of four children plus one extra.
  • Find out about national and international laws on sexual abuse and the relevant parts of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • Prepare the advocate puppet’s explanation.
  • Draw or paste picture cards with settings familiar to the children (market, under a bridge, a shop front, etc.)


  1. Explain the subject of the session. Refer back to Activity 24 on children’s rights and talk about a child’s right to protection.
  2. Using puppets, present a situation where an adult befriends a child and gives them food and lets them stay in their home. This adult then starts to sexually abuse the child.
  3. Discuss with the children if this kind of abuse ever occurs.
  4. Ask children to from groups of four and give each group a body map and a coloured pen. Children are asked to mark:
    • Parts of the body where they would not like to be touched by someone without their permission; or
    • Parts where they have been touched which made them feel uncomfortable
      Explain that both of these are forms of bad touch.
  5. If they want to, children can then show their body maps with one other group or with the whole group.

You can have a break here.

  1. Using the picture cards, discuss:
    • where can bad touch happen?
    • who does bad touch?
  2. Using one of these settings children act out a roleplay which show adults approaching children with the aim of bad touching.
  3. The groups present their drama. Encourage children to think and discuss how the abuse makes children feel and behave.
  4. Using the advocate puppet, the educator explains that all forms of sexual abuse against children is unacceptable in society and most are illegal in most countries.
  5. If you have already done Activity 22: Saying NO and Activity 23: Fight or Flight, it may be appropriate for the advocate puppet to remind children what they can do if they have been or are being abused. For example:
    • tell an adult whom they trust;
    • shout No or FIRE if someone approaches from the street; or
    • run away.

Follow-up Activities

If sexual abuse is a significant problem for the group, you can do further work on preventative and protective measures. Other activities which may help with this follow-up include:

  • Activity 22 – Communication: Saying No’
  • Activity 23 – Communication: Fight and flight
  • Activities 49-53 – Coping with Emotions

The children can develop a safety chart such as the one below.

Four Rules for Safety

1. Check first with an adult or older child whom I know and trust before going anywhere with someone I don’t know well.

2. When going to different places I try to be in the company of others I know and trust.

3. I say NO if someone tries to touch me in a way which makes me feel uncomfortable, frightened or confused. Then I go to tell an adult I trust what happened.

4. I listen to my feelings and talk to adults I know and trust about problems that are confusing.

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