Plain speaking from shire mum tells kids how to protect themselves

It’s a warning for children that can’t be spelt out too plainly.

How do parents help their children be aware of sexual predators and who do children tell if they are abused?

By the book: Michelle Derrig is an important message for children. Picture: John Veage

By the book: Michelle Derrig is an important message for children. Picture: John Veage

Now a shire mother-of-four, Michelle Derrig has decided to tackle the issue by publishing a book on the issue that speaks directly to children in language they will understand.

Called Only For Me, it is a 32-page, soft cover rhyming book that aims to empower children with the knowledge that their body is private and that they have a right to protect their privacy.

The book is aimed at three- to eight-year-olds and has been written in consultation with childcare experts.

Michelle decided to write the book after speaking to a couple of other mothers who said their children had been abused by children their own age.

“In both these cases because the mothers thought that because their children were with other children that they would be safe,” Michelle said.

“It was a catalyst. I thought, what can we do to protect our kids? I felt the only solution was, when we hear of these cases, that we as parents need to have that conversation with our children.

“The book says that abuse is not okay no matter if it is a stranger, a friend or someone in the family.

“There is a line in the books that says, ‘Even if they are cool or clever, sweet or kind, it just does not matter.’

“It’s not just the stranger who abuses children. That is only in 11 per cent of cases. 89 per cent of children will be abused by someone they know.”

Michelle has a background in administration and marketing and for the past 11 years has been a stay-at-home mum of her her children, now aged from 22 months to 11 years.

Deciding to write the book, Michelle teamed up with Nicole Mackenzie, a former Disney animator and mother-of-three.

Since publishing the book in July, Michelle has sold 900 copies.

“In that time we have had lots of endorsements and testimonial,” Michelle said.

“The one that speaks strongest to me was a mother who said she had received a disclosure form her child at the first reading.

“I believe the book is something that is gentle and dignified in dealing with such a subject. The parents read out loud it and discuss it with their child.

“I had professional input when writing the book so that it complies with current child protection recommendations including using correct anatomical terms.”

She has also sent a copy to Pope Francis and received a reply thanking her from one of his advisors.

The book was originally launched by St John Bosco Engadine where than 100 copies were sold in a two week period.

Michelle decided to self-publish the book so that it could be sold at a price affordable for most families.

Only for Me can be purchased for $11.95 plus $4 postage at

Michelle is also running the Only for Me initiative through pre-schools, schools and day care centres. Free delivery of the book is offered when it is ordered through a school or preschool participating through the Only For Me initiative.

The book is also sold at Bloomin’ Books, Caringbah for $11.95.

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