From 6 to 12 September Queenslanders marked Child Protection Week, which promotes the voices of children and raises awareness about child abuse, neglect and the importance of prevention activities.
Now in its 29th year, the week aims to inspire community groups, schools, businesses and government organisations to show their support and shine a light on the theme ‘protecting children is everyone’s business’.
Numerous events and activities were held around the state to coincide with the week and promote important messages surrounding child protection and safety.
As well as having two representatives on the Child Protection Week Organising Committee, Queensland Family and Child Commission staff attended the Child Protection Week Gala Dinner, the Remembrance Day ceremony, the ecumenical service, the ‘Keeping Kids Safe’ school launches, the Bravehearts fundraiser and the NAPCAN breakfast networking event alongside sector organisations, peak bodies and other government departments.
To kick off the week, winners of the 2015 Child Protection Week Awards were announced at Parliament House, recognising the tireless work of child protection advocates, individuals and organisations across Queensland.
Award recipients included well-known child safety advocates Bruce and Denise Morcombe for their ‘Keeping Kids Safe Resource Kit’ which supports the Daniel Morcombe Child Safety Curriculum, educating primary-school aged children on how to stay safe.
During the week, the Morcombes also attended launch events at the Murri School and Claremont Special School to help spread their safety message, re-designed to target children with special needs and children with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage.
Students from the Murri School were particularly excited to see themselves featured in the DVDs that form part of the kits.
Child Protection Week also provided an opportunity for The Daniel Morcombe Foundation to launch the free ‘Help Me’ mobile phone app and the Amego app, giving children and parents extra peace of mind.
The ‘Help Me’ app can sound a warning in personal emergency situations and sends off SMS text notifications to two nominated safety numbers, as well as GPS coordinates.
The Amego app gives parents insight when their children are by themselves, for example while walking home from school, attending after school activities or playing in the neighbourhood.
By setting regular trips or zones through the app, parents can be notified if their child is delayed or strays from the normal path.
To close out Child Protection Week, representatives from the QFCC also attended Bravehearts’ White Balloon Day luncheon.
The event doubles as a fundraiser and awards ceremony recognising corporate sponsors and children’s champions who have shown a commitment to child protection in Australian.
The imaginative ‘Thankshoe’ Awards which were given to recipients contained two purple shoes symbolising the extra step they had taken for Australian children.