Media Release: White Balloon Day floats idea of child safety
Release Date: Tuesday, September 07 2010, 05:49 AM
The Australian Federal Police (AFP), the National Association of Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) and Bravehearts will today host White Balloon Day as part of National Child Protection Week in Canberra.
White Balloon Day was established by child protection advocacy group Bravehearts to highlight child sexual assault in Australia, and the theme of this year’s White Balloon Day is “Help us help our children”.
Using the symbol of a white balloon, the day has worked to raise public awareness of all forms of child abuse and neglect, and support victims of such exploitation, for the past 14 years.
Chief Police Officer for the ACT, Assistant Commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg said the well-being and safety of Australia’s children is everyone’s responsibility.
“Combating the exploitation of children is a community effort involving parents, teachers, children, neighbours and friends,” he said.
“The exploitation and abuse of children can occur in a variety of forms and today provides a chance to put these issues into a public forum and encourage parents, carers and teachers to talk to their children.
“Keeping our children safe and giving them the knowledge to protect themselves is not just a law enforcement issue, it is a responsibility we all need to take seriously.”
Bravehearts Founder and Executive Director Hetty Johnston encouraged Australians to rally behind the cause to help more children and survivors receive the support they need.
“White Balloon Day provides the community at large an opportunity to show their support for the protection of children against sexual assault and harm, and to show their support for the police and others who work tirelessly to protect our children,” she said.
“By supporting White Balloon Day, people are demonstrating that our nation has zero tolerance toward those who would harm our children.”
Dr Sue Packer of NAPCAN said an important part of raising awareness of child exploitation issues was to highlight ways to prevent children from becoming victims.
“Technology advances in the last 20 years are unprecedented, but like all great inventions, they also have a downside,” she said.
“Our children are able to have contact with strangers as never before and this calls for new education and new strategies. It is up to us to minimise the risks to our children.”
The AFP will also launch an educational video to inform young people about the consequences of creating and sharing inappropriate images, and urge them to be careful of doing so.
The video is the latest initiative as part of the ‘ThinkUKnow’ campaign, which has educated parents, teachers and youth on cyber-safety across Australia over the past 18 months.
View the educational video
AFP National Media Team
Phone: (02) 6131 6333