An overview of the PBs process

Protective Behaviours (PBs) is a dynamic, confidence building process – an empowering approach to personal safety.  Based on two themes and seven strategies, PBs links safety with fun and excitement and an adventurous approach to life.  It starts with the first PBs theme, a positive statement about feeling safe: ‘We all have the right to feel safe all the time.’

With our right to feel safe comes a responsibility to respect that others have the right to feel safe with us.  We can identify if we are feeling unsafe by tuning into our ‘Early Warning Signs’ (EWS), physical responses that happen in our body like: butterflies in the stomach, wobbly knees etc. that let us know we don’t feel OK in this particular situation.  And if we’ve got those ‘Early Warning Signs’ we are encouraged to think clearly about what our options are and work out what action we need to take.  That action might be to contact somebody on our personal support network, and that is where the second theme of PBs comes in: ‘We can talk with someone about anything – even if it is awful or small.’

On our support network we would ideally have 4 people, in addition to those at home, who might be able to help us.  These people would each have a range of qualities including: to make time to listen, to show they believe in us and to be relied on to do something to help us feel safe again.  This might include problem solving, asking questions to empower us to come up with our own solutions, giving advice or simply listening to us.  Having four people, plus the ones at home, is suggested so that we have some variety and back up options if our first choice of contact is unavailable.

The PBs process also includes seven strategies that we can use to find a network person or to use in unsafe, or potentially unsafe situations.  The PBs process can increase our self-confidence and enhance our own thinking and problem solving skills.  In turn this can increase our ability to take protective action on our own behalf and seek the support of others when needed; to help us feel safe again.  When we are feeling safe we are more likely to feel confident, strong and empowered, engage in adventures and live life to the full within a framework of safety.

The PBs process is used by a range of different agencies and services throughout the UK including: Social Services, CAMHS, Prisons, Schools and Pre-school Settings, Police, NSPCC, Children’s Centres, Children’s Homes, Connexions and Domestic Violence Forums.

© 2011 Simon Sneath – Trainer in Protective Behaviours