Protecting students from harm by adults

  • Recognizing signs of abuse or harm in students
  • A student tells you about abuse or harm
  • Reporting abuse or harm in a school setting
  • Recognizing inappropriate behaviour by adults in a school setting
  • Reporting inappropriate behaviour by adults in a school setting
  • What's in our curriculum?

We all have an obligation to protect students from harm. In the Yukon, it's the law to protect children and youth from abuse, harm or unlawful behaviour by adults.

  1. Recognizing signs of abuse or harm in students

    Students show signs of abuse or harm in different ways

    Abuse and harm can leave long-lasting mental and emotional impacts. Signs of abuse are not always obvious.

    Students who experience abuse or harm may show:

    • Behavioural signs
    • Physical signs
    • Mental signs
    • Emotional signs

    Abuse or harm can be:

    • Physical
    • Sexual
    • Emotional or social
    • Neglect
    • Cultural or identity
    • Cyber (abuse using digital or online technology)


    If someone is abusing a student, the student may not:

    • speak up about the abuse; or
    • be aware that what they're experiencing is abuse.

    Signs of abuse in students:

    • They withdraw from activities, friends and school.
    • They have unexplained bruising or injuries.
    • They complain of hunger, or regularly having no breakfast, lunch, or snacks.
    • They do not have proper clothing for cold weather.
    • They show an understanding or knowledge of sexual matters beyond their age.
    • They show sexualized behaviour.
    • They avoid going home or run away from home.
    • They're defiant or disobedient.
    • They engage in self-harming behaviour.
    • They make statements that may indicate they're experiencing harm or abuse.

  2. A student tells you about abuse or harm

    If a student tells you someone is abusing or harming them these are some ways to respond:

    • Listen to the student.
    • Be calm and patient – give the student time and space to speak.
    • Let the student use their own words.
    • Do not ask leading questions.
    • Do not "quiz" the student about the details of harm or inappropriate behaviour.
    • Do not be afraid of "saying the wrong thing".
    • Supportive listening is more important than what you say.
    • Reassure the student that it's okay for them to tell you what happened.
    • Address any concerns and reassure them that they are not at fault.
    • Explain to the student that you'll need to share or report their experience to someone else.
    • Respect that the student may only reveal partial details.
    • Acknowledge the student's bravery and strength.
    • Manage the student's expectations and avoid making promises you cannot keep.

  3. Reporting abuse or harm in a school setting

    If you suspect that someone is abusing a child or youth, you must report it.

    Who to contact:

    • Phone Yukon Family and Children’s Services 867-667-3002
    • Your local RCMP detachment.


    If you believe a child is in immediate danger or if your report is an emergency, phone 911.

    Educators' role in protecting students from harm

    Educators and staff in Yukon schools have to:

    • protect children; and
    • report any abuse of or harm to children .

    Student protection policy

    We've created the Student Protection Policy: Preventing and Responding to Harm by Adults. It outlines employees and adults' roles and responsibilities in relation to school activities. The policy:

    • aims to support employees and adults in a school setting; and
    • empowers them to prevent, respond to and report alleged or suspected harm to students.

  4. Recognizing inappropriate behaviour by adults in a school setting

    Inappropriate behaviour is any action that happens when adults cross the boundaries that should exist between them and students.

    Examples of inappropriate behaviour:

    • Having unauthorized contact with a student – private meetings outside of school hours, offering private transport, or engaging in private communication.
    • Making comments of an adult nature or using inappropriate language around students.
    • Sharing details of their private or intimate life.
    • Attempting to form an overly friendly or intimate relationship that goes beyond typical educator-student interactions.
    • Showing favouritism, such as offering gifts or special treatment.


    Get more information on signs of abuse or harm.

  5. Reporting inappropriate behaviour by adults in a school setting

    When you learn about inappropriate adult behaviour

    Talk to your:

    • school principal;
    • superintendent; or
    • executive director.

    School or department staff learn about inappropriate adult behaviour

    They must report it using our procedures. 

    Resources and support services


    There are several support services in the Yukon for students who are experiencing abuse or harm and for their families. These resources include:

  6. What's in our curriculum?

    In the Yukon's Kindergarten to Grade-12 Physical and Health Education curriculum, students learn about a variety of subject areas:

    • importance of physical activity;
    • healthy lifestyles;
    • healthy relationships;
    • understanding themselves and others; and
    • personal choices.


    From Kindergarten to Grade-3 students learn:

    • to identify and describe safe and unsafe situations and ways of being touched;
    • the names of their body parts;
    • caring behaviours among classmates and within families;
    • to identify and describe practices that promote mental wellbeing; and
    • to identify and describe feelings and worries.


    In grades 4 to 7, students learn:

    • to identify and describe avoidance or assertiveness to use in unsafe and/or uncomfortable situations;
    • strategies for responding to discrimination, stereotyping and bullying;
    • strategies for developing and maintaining positive relationships;
    • strategies to manage changes during puberty; and
    • factors that positively influence mental wellbeing and self-identity.


    In grades 8 to 12, students learn to:

    • propose strategies for avoiding and/or responding to potentially unsafe, abusive or exploitive situations;
    • propose strategies for developing and maintaining healthy relationships;
    • describe and assess strategies for promoting mental wellbeing for themselves and others;
    • create and assess strategies for managing physical, emotional and social changes during puberty;
    • describe the impact of transition and change on identities; and
    • describe factors that shape personal identities, including social and cultural.


    Students learn about consent from Kindergarten to Grade-12 through age and developmentally appropriate discussions around:

    • their body parts;
    • unsafe or uncomfortable situations and ways of being touched;
    • discrimination, stereotyping and bullying; and
    • developing and maintaining positive relationships.


If you have any questions, email [email protected] or [email protected].