White Bal­loon Day to help lo­cal kids

Whitsunday Times - - COMMUNITY NEWS -

ONE in five Aus­tralian chil­dren will be sex­u­ally as­saulted be­fore their 18th birth­day and in 85 per cent of cases, the of­fender is known to the child as a rel­a­tive or a trusted friend, ac­cord­ing to govern­ment re­search.

Whit­sun­day res­i­dents, schools, coun­cil and or­gan­i­sa­tions are now pre­par­ing to play their part in rais­ing aware­ness and funds for chil­dren in need as the count­down be­gins for the Brave­hearts an­nual White Bal­loon Day on Septem­ber 6.

Launch­ing this week in the Whit­sun­days, the Aus­tralia-wide event is a key fix­ture of National Child Pro­tec­tion Week from Septem­ber 2-8, with all funds raised go­ing to­ward ed­u­ca­tion, preven­tion and coun­selling pro­grams.

Brave­hearts founder and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Hetty John­stone said White Bal­loon Day is a sym­bol of hope for fu­ture sur­vivors of this dev­as­tat­ing crime.

“White Bal­loon Day is about en­cour­ag­ing kids to come for­ward and break the si­lence, while we raise the nec­es­sary funds to en­sure vi­tal sup­port net­works and pro­grams can con­tinue,” she said.

“We are ask­ing the com­mu­nity to help us raise money to make Aus­tralia the safest place in the world to raise a child.”

Sup­port­ing White Bal­loon Day can be as sim­ple as ty­ing a white bal­loon to a let­ter­box or as grand as host­ing a fundrais­ing func­tion.

Brave­hearts is also call­ing for ev­ery­one to wear white on the day to show their sup­port for vic­tims of child sex­ual as­sault and to gen­er­ate aware­ness about this is­sue as it seeks to ed­u­cate, em­power and pro­tect the most vul­ner­a­ble mem­bers of the com­mu­nity – our kids.

Ms John­stone said un­less vic­tim’s come for­ward, many other chil­dren re­main tar­gets for pae­dophiles.

For more in­for­ma­tion or to reg­is­ter as a vol­un­teer, sim­ply log on to www.white­bal­loon­day.com.au.

PLAY YOUR PART: Brave­hearts founder and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Hetty John­stone and Brave­hearts mas­cot Ditto are urg­ing all Whit­sun­day res­i­dents to help raise funds and aware­ness for vic­tims of sex­ual as­sault.

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