Team Bios

A little about me…

My name is Debbie Boyse and I developed Child Safe Strategies in 2016. My goal was, and still is, to support organisations, parents, and carers to learn more about child abuse in a safe and practical way and help them develop strategies to keep children and young people safe from harm.

My mission is to raise awareness for those taking care of children and young people, with a particular focus on the insidious impact of child sexual abuse. Let’s face it, no one wants to think about it, but knowledge and education are the keys to prevention.

I have worked in this sector for several years now. I started my career in the Victorian Police Force and then later moved across to Child Protection, working for the Victorian and Canberra Government. My greatest learnings were when I managed an anonymous helpline which allowed people to call up and speak candidly about their experiences. Until then, I don’t think I realised just how many survivors of abuse there are, as most people I spoke to had never spoken about it before, let alone reported it to authorities. The helpline allowed people from all demographics to speak openly and seek support as required – whether the abuse happened in an organisation or family.

I draw on several scenarios when training as I find that people learn and retain more information when they have real life examples. When I worked with Child Wise prior to standards, we advocated strongly for legislative requirements to come into play so that organisations and clubs would take the action that was desperately required to make their places for children safe. Child Safe Standards are now legislated in Victoria, which is progress. While many organisations have their policies and practices sorted, I have found that it is only a minority of staff in organisations that are often driving this essential work. All staff and volunteers need to understand why this work is so important. This is where training comes into it. When you have well informed board and leadership groups, the culture is transformed, and staff understand it is everyone’s responsibility to keep children safe. I have found this evident when staff in the front line are trained, as their ability to identify and manage risks to prevent abuse is truly outstanding.

We need to ensure that every person knows the rules. This assists in two ways; staff understand what their role and responsibilities are when working with children and young people, and thus protects that staff member. If someone is working outside the rules, the staff member that becomes aware of that behaviour will feel confident and empowered to speak up. When you then educate and empower children and families, the safety once again increases. As we know from past and current abuse, most people don’t speak up for a myriad of reasons. Education is key!

I have developed a session for parents to help them identify what makes an organisation child safe for use when choosing for their children. This might be a dance club, sporting club, school, disability support, council activity, or any other place where children and young people might attend. The second part of the training involves very practical information to help listen to children and respond to concerns. This has never been more important than it is now with the online world we have all had to embrace.

I am excited to work with you and be part of your child safe journey.                     

A little about me…

Over the past six years, child safeguarding trainer, Sophie Cieciwa, has been in top gear running training sessions throughout Australia. 

And with one constant question in mind.

Is this session going to help keep kids safe? 

Sophie has trained 1000’s of staff members, managers, CEOs, medical professionals, and educators in child safeguarding strategies and practices. She works with participants to identify risks in their organisation, reflect on their recruitment strategy through a child-safe lens, and facilitate group workshops on the Child Safe Standards and Principles. 

Sophie says educating adults is crucial to creating a child-safe environment. But also boldly asks, ‘What if none of these trained-up and switched-on people are around when an unsafe situation starts to unfold for a child or young person? ‘

And it’s just them.   And the unsafe person.   

Sophie is passionate about empowering children and advocates that kids who participate in fun games and activities incorporating personal safety messages are likelier to respond effectively to inappropriate behaviour.   

Having run Personal Safety for Children sessions in schools, kindergartens and early learning centres Sophie says ‘We owe it to our young people to equip them as young as possible in age-appropriate ways’. 

Training adults to keep kids safe was a natural segue for Sophie who, before running training sessions at Child Wise, worked in the youth wellbeing sector for over a decade.  Ensuring child safeguards were in place underpinning all aspects, including recruiting, training, and managing mentors to provide support at youth programs. Sophie says her passion for empowering children came from attending endless soul-baring workshops and camps with young people.       

Kids and young people of all ages have the right to feel safe and be safe.  But it’s up to us, the adults, to ensure this happens in practice. Ongoing effective training is essential for a child-safe organisation.  

Sophie looks forward to working with you and running interesting and informative sessions. 


Every child has the right to feel safe and be safe.