Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast Gareth Ward MP has today announced that Bravehearts 22nd White Balloon Day this Friday 7th September is Australia’s leading child protection awareness and fundraising campaign held during National Child Protection Week (2nd–7th September 2018).
Mr Ward said that participating in White Balloon Day for National Child Protection Week is the single most significant step everyone can take toward protecting Australian children from harm.
“With statistics indicating that 1 in every 5 children is at risk of sexual harm before their 18th Birthday, together we can make a choice to protect Australian kids because child protection is everybody’s business,” he said.
“I am particularly pleased that the NSW Government, following the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, has introduced tougher sentencing standards for historical child sexual abuse offences.
“Institutions are also on notice to protect children from abuse, with the commencement of two new offences that put children’s safety first. The offences are:
· Concealing information relating to child abuse from Police (‘failure to report’); and
· Failing to reduce or remove a risk of a child being abused (‘failure to protect’).
“Each offence carries a maximum sentence of two years’ imprisonment, or, in the case of failure to report, five years if the concealment is for the individual’s or another person’s benefit.
“The Child Abuse Royal Commission uncovered too many examples of institutions letting down children in their care and the public at large by failing to report a child abuser from their ranks. From now on, penalties will apply if they don’t do the right thing,” Mr Ward said.
The ‘Chalk Art Project’ is also way for local schools, childcare centres and communities to mark White Balloon Day on Friday and raise awareness of child protection.
Last year’s project helped communities engage children in important conversations about personal safety and child protection.
Hetty Johnston AM, Founder and Executive Chair of Bravehearts said: “We are delighted that Gareth has joined forces with Bravehearts to support White Balloon Day as part of National Child Protection Week to increase awareness of the importance of child protection and raise essential funds to support Bravehearts vital work,” Mrs Johnston said.
Bravehearts’ White Balloon Day campaign, funded by the Department of Social Services - National Initiatives, is Australia’s longest running annual national awareness campaign for the prevention of child sexual assault.
During National Child Protection Week everyone with the responsibility to care for children can help them stay safe by participating in White Balloon Day and conducting any of Bravehearts child safe activities at: www.whiteballoonday.com.au.
Bravehearts offers specialised support, education and training services for children, families, schools, childcare centres and community organisations.
You call phone Bravehearts toll free Support Line on 1800 272 831, Monday to Friday between 8:30am to 4:30pm (AEST) or visit the Bravehearts website at: www.bravehearts.org.au.