Bud­dies bring home mes­sage

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

Kiwi co­me­dian Jeremy Cor­bett says since hav­ing chil­dren he finds it in­creas­ingly hard to read about child abuse cases.

It’s one of the main rea­sons he chose to take part in New Zealand’s child abuse aware­ness event Buddy Day.

The event is be­ing held for the fourth year on Novem­ber 14, in Auck­land, Hamil­ton, Tau­ranga and Wellington.

Buddy Day re­volves around life­sized card­board cutouts of chil­dren – ‘Bud­dies’ – which are adopted by adults and taken into com­mu­ni­ties and work­places.

They are used as a tool to gen­er­ate con­ver­sa­tions about the well­be­ing of our chil­dren and spread the mes­sage that it’s up to all adults to keep kids safe.

‘‘Child abuse is some­thing that we need to talk about in this coun­try and not brush un­der the car­pet. It’s a huge is­sue and it shouldn’t be an is­sue at all.’’

Cor­bett has two daugh­ters, 3-year-old Charlie and 18-mon­thold Bil­lie.

He has em­braced the con­cept by adopt­ing a buddy by the name of Pro­fes­sor Unit, who is shad­ow­ing him in his day-to-day life un­til Buddy Day.

‘‘He has be­come quite the ‘buddy’ to my chil­dren, who say good morn­ing to him ev­ery day.

‘‘Charlie has in­cluded him in our din­ner time rou­tine where we talk about the high­lights of our day.’’

Child Mat­ters chief ex­ec­u­tive Anthea Sim­cock says child abuse has been de­scribed as New Zealand’s sin­gle most im­por­tant pub­lic health chal­lenge cost­ing the coun­try around $2 bil­lion an­nu­ally in health, prison and other re­lated costs. There are close to one mil­lion New Zealan­ders liv­ing with the im­me­di­ate and long-term ef­fects of child­hood trauma.

Rais­ing aware­ness: This year 1500 Bud­dies, like Jeremy Cor­bett’s, will be dec­o­rated by school­child­ren and adopted by car­ers on Buddy Day.

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