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NAPCAN challenges all Australians to ‘value, respect, and believe children’…

In light of the release of the final report by the Royal Commission into Institutional Sexual Abuse, NAPCAN challenges all Australians to be part of a movement to value, respect and believe children.

Having removed the blindfold from the horrors of childhood sexual abuse in trusted organisations, we are presented with opportunity for change and healing.

There is reason for optimism when we hear people talking about prevention, about change, and about how everyone in the community has a part to play in protecting children.

The real power of the Royal Commission into Institutional Sexual Abuse is the voice it has given to thousands of people who have been abused.

Australia finally listened. The sheer number, and weight of evidence, gave us no choice.

By listening – and believing – we learned a lot; a lot about what happened, how it happened, the impacts on real lives, and – importantly – how to prevent it from happening again.

Research carried out on behalf of the royal commission also highlighted the importance of involving children in decisions about their own safety. Interviews with children showed that they experience safety differently to adults, that they want to be involved, and that we need to take their concerns seriously.


As one of the surveyed children highlighted, “Lots of adults don’t care enough about kids and this stuff is going to keep happening. Until they see us as having good ideas and believe us, nothing will change.”

The most important lesson of all is; ‘We need to believe children’.

The consequences of not believing a child are simply just too great.

We also need to ask ourselves why it is that we so easily dismiss the voices of children and young people in our community.

If you take a moment to reflect on who you do believe, most of us will realise that the people we listen to – and believe – are the people we value and respect.

So let’s ask ourselves, does Australia really value and respect children? Or are we stuck in a culture of ‘seen and not heard’? Or worse still ‘not seen and not heard’?

When a child speaks to us, are we really present, are we really listening?

Rather than simply slotting children into our adult world, do we really understand their wants and needs?

Do we have the wisdom to understand that a community free from abuse is a better community for everyone? Just as air pollution affects everyone, abuse spreads its toxic effects throughout the community, now and into the future.

It is time for all Australians to be kind to children and families, to value them, to respect them, and to BELIEVE them.

Smile, listen, be present, be kind; because the little things you do today make a difference.

It is time for children to be seen, heard, and believed.

National Child Protection Week survey – You made a difference

Thank you to all of you who participated in our National Child Protection Week Survey in March 2017.

You helped to shape the 2017 campaign, with your views influencing our messages and the look and feel of our resources. So, thank you for taking the time to share your ideas with us.

In particular, through our survey we found out that 87% of you think that the National Child Protection Week campaign is valuable to your community. We’re delighted that, of the 566 respondents, 70% find it be very valuable to their community.

We were also delighted to hear that National Child Protection Week is having a real impact in your communities. 91% believe it raises awareness and 58% believe it influences behaviour change.

Of the various activities NAPCAN undertakes as part of National Child Protection Week, you told us that you found the following the most valuable to your communities:

  • 82% said ‘educational resources on NAPCAN’s website’
  • 80% said campaign posters
  • 78% said local community events
  • 65% said NAPCAN state and territory events
  • 50% said the Play Your Part Awards

2016 Posters

You told us that you like the campaign posters as they help start conversations with parents and caregivers, as well as the general community.

Most people liked that the posters reflected Australia’s diverse population and that grandparents were depicted on our 2016 posters. With comments such as ‘very good, showing cultural diversity and tolerance’, ‘I thought they were a great way of promoting the importance of children to all, and encouraging parents and grandparents too’, ‘Looks great – good to see it from every angle that people can help’, ‘I really like the diversity of culture, people and situations included’ ‘I liked that the posters had a positive focus’.

Some people thought the design was too cluttered, with messages that are too soft, or that while the message is good there are too many words. With comments such as, “I think they need to be more eye catching to grab attention of the person walking by’, ‘Too wordy doesn’t have a big impact’, ‘too soft, targeting the nice fluffy people out there’, ‘need strong messages…not much writing’.

Many supporters were drawn to the poster with a child’s drawing over the poster with photos of real people. We had comments such as, ‘I particularly like the poster with the child’s drawing, is more child friendly’, ‘Informative and colourful. Great use of child’s contribution’, ‘loved the kids drawing poster’ ‘the child’s design one has more impact’.

A few people also commented that the posters are ‘good for adult engagement but not so good for child engagement’ while others said ‘both children and adults commented on them whilst in my office’.

We tried to take the diversity of opinion on board for the design of the 2017 posters, which continued to encourage participation from children through a drawing competition. Furthermore, we adapted the message on the second poster to make it much clearer and more succinct.


Ideas for new resources

We also asked for ideas for resources that you would like to see as part of National Child Protection Week. There were many ideas and surprisingly the most frequent request from those who responded was for more types of posters.

The second most popular request was for a short educational video, “short video that could be shared on social media”, “a video campaign on social media” “a video that can be shared across our social media networks. We have a fair reach within our community”.

We listened to this request in 2017 and developed two educational videos that were widely shared and distributed:

  • The Continuum of Wellbeing film: this 3-minute film outlines the importance of prevention and reminds us that child abuse and neglect is not inevitable, that there are many opportunities for everyone in the community to help protect children.
  • The Talk to Your Baby clip: this short clip is a tool for promoting the message that the small things we do matter to a child’s future by demonstrating the simple and practical ways we can all boost a child’s brain development in the early years.

NAPCAN received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback on these films which were shared widely on social media and are being used by many services as community education resources.


About You!

We learnt that of those responding to our survey:

  • 67% of you are representatives working for an organisation related to NAPCAN’s work
  • 33% of you are individuals unrelated to organisations who are interested in CAN prevention

The top 5 sectors you work in are:

  • Early Childhood Education – 25%
  • Family Support – 14%
  • Health – 12%
  • Education – 11%
  • Child Protection – 11%

Thank you to all those who participated in our annual survey. We look forward to hearing from even more stakeholders each year. Together we can keep making National Child Protection Week bigger and better to help keep more children safe and well.


NAPCAN board member Shanti Raman helps launch Violence Against Children of the World report

NAPCAN is excited to share the work of our esteemed board member Shanti Raman who has just helped launch the collaborative report: Violence against children of the world, discussing the issue of violence against children and recommendations for action.

The report, by the International Society for Social Pediatrics and Child Health, International Pediatric Association, International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse & Neglect, Know Violence in Childhood, Global Partnership to End Violence in Childhood, was launched at the inaugural 1st South Asia Regional Conference on Child Rights from Nov 15 – 17.

Download the full report.

Download a summary of the report.