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Take a down to earth approach to protect and keep Aussie kids safe

Approximately one in five children will experience child sexual assault or exploitation. Image Caroline Hernandez - Unsplash

WHAT a dilemma; Bravehearts White Balloon Day on Friday, September 10, without balloons.

Bravehearts does not sell balloons as part of its White Balloon Day campaign nor endorse the release or use of balloons.

With lockdown impacting workplaces, schools and social gatherings, new initiatives are suggested by the Bravehearts organisation to support its aim of protecting kids and preventing child sexual assault and exploitation.

CEO Alison Geale said children are at risk more than ever through COVID-19, particularly as they isolate with predators that are known to the family.

“Additionally, our children are more vulnerable to online predators during a lockdown, where they are spending more time unsupervised online,” Ms Geale said.

The simplest way to engage in White Balloon Day is to wear white.

Get that t-shirt out of the wardrobe, take a selfie and upload it onto social media, add hashtags #WhiteBalloonDay #WBD2021 #Bravehearts #ProtectKids, and ask your mates to donate each time they view the image.

Another option is to fundraise online by registering on the Bravehearts website, which automatically creates your personal fundraising page for a quick method your friends, workmates, and family can use to make speedy and straightforward donations.

When her seven-year-old daughter disclosed her sexual assault in 1997, Hetty Johnston couldn’t find an organisation that could help in her time of need.

So, she set up Bravehearts to provide support and advocacy to others affected by this crime.

Bravehearts is Australia’s leading child protection organisation and the only charity in the country dedicated solely to the prevention of child sexual assault and exploitation.

Donations received will continue to fund counselling services, preventative education and research, together with supporting lobbying and advocacy on behalf of child sexual assault survivors.

Approximately one in five children will experience child sexual assault or exploitation, and in up to 90 per cent of cases, the offender is known to the family.

“It’s crucial we continue to shine a light on these risks and that children and families are still receiving support and education,” Ms Geale said.

“It’s time to break the silence and stigma surrounding child sexual assault; it’s everyone’s job to keep our children safe.

“Bravehearts’ White Balloon Day is a day of action and the first step in raising awareness and creating a safer world for our kids.”

Bravehearts’ major sponsors Superannuation Australia Advice and Busy Bees Early Learning Australia, will match all donations made on the day.

If you have been affected by child sexual assault, call Bravehearts on 1800 272 831, Monday to Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm AEST or go to bravehearts.org.au

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Carol Saffer

Carol Saffer is an award-winning journalist enthusiastic about creating copy that engages audiences. She is curious by nature, possesses a growth mindset and thrives on new and unusual challenges. Carol has experience as a reporter for various regional Victorian newspapers and writing for Business Day in The Age. Her previous career was in the fashion industry, and she holds post-graduate degrees in business and journalism.

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