MEDIA RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION
10 August 2011
Bravehearts Leads National Campaign in the Fight Against Child Sexual Assault
White Balloon Day - 7 September 2011 - Child Protection Week 5-11 Sept
White Balloon Day on September 7 (during Child Protection Week 4 –11 September) is the initiative of Bravehearts Inc. and the only national annual campaign taking the fight against child sexual assault to every corner of Australia with the vision of making Australia the safest place in the world to raise a child.
In Australia, 59,000 children are sexually assaulted each year. With an estimated one in five sexually assaulted before their 18th birthday, Bravehearts’ White Balloon Day aims to engage the support of the nation to prevent child sexual assault while raising vital funds to deliver Bravehearts’ unique specialised child protection programs.
Recognised as the leading independent child protection agency in Australia, Bravehearts’ charter addresses all facets relating to child sexual assault including prevention, specialist therapy, support, education, research, advocacy, legislative reforms and online resources - all make a remarkable, quantifiable and positive difference in the protection of Australia’s children against sexual assault.
Following the inaugural White Balloon Day in Queensland in 1997, statewide awareness resulted in an unprecedented 514 per cent increase in disclosures of sexual assault to the Queensland Police. Fifteen years on, Bravehearts has expanded its programs and extended its reach:, aiming to protect and educate more kids and increase the national reporting statistics in every Australian state and territory.
Bravehearts’ Founder and Executive Director Hetty Johnston said, “On behalf of Aussie kids everywhere, in our mission to stop child sexual assault on a national scale we are dedicated to engaging all Australians in the fight against child sexual assault and at the same time, encourage victims to come forward and report these crimes.
“Through White Balloon Day we also aim to educate and empower children to identify inappropriate behaviour and to tell someone when they feel unsafe. Importantly, we aim to promote child protection through educating parents and adults in ways we can all protect our kids from harm,” Ms Johnston said.
Paying tribute to the work of Bravehearts, Australian Federal Police Commander Grant Edwards said, “There is not a child in this nation that has not benefited from the tireless work of Bravehearts Inc.. Bravehearts has forged a movement for change in how the issue of child sexual assault is dealt with by government, the judiciary and the community at large.
“Since its inception in 1997, Bravehearts has continued its good work in moving this taboo subject out of the shadows and into the light while providing crucial support for victims and their families.”
In the 2010/11 financial year, Bravehearts’ qualified therapists provided more than 2000 individual counselling sessions, responded to 1500+ crisis calls from Australia and overseas, and made approximately 200 advocacy representations.
Bravehearts education teams also deliver the ‘Ditto Keep Safe Adventure’ education program in multiple regions throughout Australia. The effectiveness of this valuable in-school child protection program is demonstrated in its popularity with the program often booked out a year in advance.
Thanks to community support, so far this year Bravehearts’ education teams have presented the Ditto program to around 35,000 students and will reach more than 50,000 children before the end of the year.
In addition to raising awareness, White Balloon Day is also Bravehearts’ principle fundraising initiative and in 2011, they aim to raise $500,000 to enable Bravehearts to continue its essential work in education, advocacy and support services to protect all Australian children from child sexual assault.
“Bravehearts believes communities in every corner of Australia have a responsibility to get involved in protecting their children, and we’re inviting all Australians - individuals, businesses and communities to get behind White Balloon Day to join us in saying NO to child sexual assault.
“By working together, we can help give a voice to those touched by this issue, raise vital funds to support our programs that educate, empower and protect Aussie kids and help make Australia the safest place in the word to raise a child,” Ms Johnston said.
Angry Anderson AM, Ambassador for White Balloon Day appealed to all Australians to support this national campaign saying, “Every Australian child deserves the right to feel safe and every adult has a responsibility to make sure we do everything in our power to protect our kids from harm.”
“Come on Australia, let’s do what we can to protect our kids. We can all get behind White Balloon Day, say NO to child sexual assault and raise vital funds to help educate, empower and protect our kids!
“Please support White Balloon Day and register to host a White fundraising event, wear White on White Balloon Day - Wednesday 7 September, purchase White Balloons and key rings or make a donation at our website or any branch of Bendigo Bank, and enable Bravehearts to help kids in need,” said Angry.
"As a survivor, I know only too well the consequences of child sexual assault... Please join me in the fight to protect all of our kids from the pain caused by sexual assault,.. And be part of the solution not part of the problem...” he said.
Visit www.whiteballoonday.com.au to register your event or for more information on White Balloon Day or child protection please call Bravehearts on 1800 BRAVE1 (272 831).
We are able to offer multiple interview and photo opportunities including:
- Hetty Johnston - Bravehearts’ Founder and Executive Director
- Grant Edwards - Australian Federal Police Commander
- Angry Anderson - 2011 White Balloon Day Ambassador
- Simone Buchanan - 2011 White Balloon Day Ambassador
- Health and welfare experts on child protection in all states and territories including psychologists and police
- Case studies – survivors stories
- Media and special events will be taking place in all states and territories during Child Protection Week
White Balloon Day
White Balloon Day
White Balloon Day was established to prevent child sexual assault in Australia. It is Bravehearts' signature national event and in 2011 marks the 15th consecutive year as a national day of awareness and recognition that offers support for the victims of child sexual assault.
White Balloon Day is also the principle fundraising initiative. In 2011, we aim to raise $500,000 to support their essential programs enabling Bravehearts to continue to educate, empower and protect all Aussie kids.
White Balloon Day 2011 is proudly sponsored by the Federal Government’s National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children under the Parenting Appropriation.
2011 White Balloon Day Aims to Educate, Empower and Protect Our Kids
- Educate – the most important focus of White Balloon Day is education. This year, there will be a major focus on raising awareness and expanding the distribution of the Bravehearts Inc. education materials to parents, schools and children.
- Empower – with the tools learned from Bravehearts’ education program, children can identify inappropriate behaviour and learn valuable strategies for what to do if they feel unsafe.
- Protect – to give everyone in the community a sense of responsibility to protect children. This message is primarily targeted at parents who should be encouraged to not only protect their own children, but their children's friends and children in their community who may not have the same level of support at home.
How Australians Can Help
- Register a ‘White’ event at home or work and help raise awareness and funds. Events may include a morning or afternoon tea, a sausage sizzle or a fundraising car wash.
- Purchase merchandise including white balloons/keyrings etc at our website or at your local Bendigo Bank branch
- Create a ‘Wear White Wednesday’ 7 September and SAY NO to child sexual assault
- Donate to support the vital work of Bravehearts in protecting Aussie kids
How The Funds You Raise Can Help Aussie Kids
- $100 will protect 10 school-aged children through Bravehearts’ school education program – ‘Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure’
- $50 will give one counselling session to a child in need
- $25 will give support for a parent/guardian with Bravehearts’ professional counselling team
- Provide online access to information and support materials for children and adults affected by child sexual assault
- Reduce waiting lists for children and families in need of counselling and support
P: 02 9319 3844
M: 0414 821 957
By consistently searching to distinguish child sexual assault from other forms of child abuse and neglect, Bravehearts has brought the issue into focus. As a result of its persistence, this distinction was finally acknowledged and supported by the Commonwealth of Australia and its COAG partners through Outcome Six of the National Framework for the Protection of Australia’s Children 2009-2020.
Bravehearts’ work in the areas of specialist therapy, support, education, research, legislative reform and the provision of online resources has made a remarkable, quantifiable and positive difference in protecting everyone’s children. Our proven programs are highly effective, our knowledge is unsurpassed and our commitment to achieve our vision is unbridled.
Our Mission is to stop child sexual assault in our society.
Our Vision is to make Australia the safest place in the world to raise a child.
Bravehearts - Preventing Child Sexual Assault
- Educating kids about personal safety not only increases protective factors, but enhances resilience and encourages a positive sense of self
- School-based personal safety programs play a vital role in preventing child sexual assault, equipping children with the knowledge and skills they need to identify unsafe or risky situations, giving them an understanding of their rights to protect themselves and their own body
- In 2011, Bravehearts’ ‘Ditto Keep Safe Adventure’ education teams will have presented the in-school program in multiple regions throughout Australia reaching and protecting more than 50,000 children
- As a direct result of the ‘Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure’ education program, Bravehearts receives between 4 and 8 phone calls a week relating to concerns about child sexual assault
- In the 2010/11 financial year, Bravehearts’ provided more than 2000 individual counselling sessions, responded to 1500+ crisis calls from Australia and overseas, and made approximately 200 advocacy representations
If you feel that yourself or a member of your family requires counselling, please contact Bravehearts’ experienced and qualified counsellors on 1800 BRAVE1 (272 831)
Bravehearts’ Programs and Services Include:
- Specialist counselling for children who have been or are at risk of child sexual assault and support for non-offending family members
- Freecall Crisis Line: 1800 BRAVE 1 (272 831).- Telephone support for adult survivors of child sexual assault
- Professional advocacy and support
- Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure – A live school-based personal safety education program for children
- Resources for families and survivors, including interactive materials and workshops
- Research and lobbying
- Community awareness campaigns
- Sexual Assault Disclosure Scheme – SADS
- Online resources for schools, individuals, families and community groups
P: 02 9319 3844
M: 0414 686 091