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.

(See: http://www.acu.edu.au/…/…/safety_of_children_in_institutions)

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.

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 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.

    

Children’s Week is a great time to remind ourselves about the importance of putting the safety and wellbeing of children at the centre of our decision making.

NAPCAN’s new PLAY YOUR PART Commitment Statement is designed to be printed out, signed, and displayed to send a clear message about how we treat and interact with children.

The wording is suitable for anyone who interacts with children in any way – as a member of a family or community, as a volunteer, or in the workplace. Ideally it can also be included as part of an organisation’s induction materials in order to develop a whole-of-organisation commitment to put children’s wellbeing at their centre of their work.

Download by clicking here and sign the Commitment Statement today!

Did you know that you can help a baby’s brain develop just by talking?

In fact, research suggests that the more words and concepts a baby is exposed to (even when they are just a newborn!), the better their brain will develop, and the better they will do in reading and cognitive tests as they grow up.

The key messages of the Talk to Your Baby campaign are:

  • A baby’s brain triples in size during the first three years of life. So every little thing we do during that time plays an important part in that child’s development.
  • Look for every opportunity to talk, read and sing with your baby. Be expressive, be loving, and talk about everything around you so that your child is exposed to as many different conversations as possible.
  • Talking to babies does not come naturally to everyone, and most people will need some encouragement and ideas. Families and carers may never have been told how important it is to talk with very young children, they may not have been raised that way, or they may have other things on their minds.
  • We can all play our part by talking to babies and young children, and by reminding parents how important this is, and giving them ideas and tips to get them into the habit.
  • Lots of talk from loving adults also builds healthy relationships, social skills, and attachment and we know that that can help build resilience in a child.

View the clip on YouTube.

Download the Media Release (PDF)

THEME:
Based on Article 29 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child:

“Your education should help you use and develop your talents and abilities. It should also help you learn to live peacefully, protect the environment and respect other people.”

Parent ‘Child Safety and Wellbeing Survey’

We would like to know how we can better support families and communities in raising happy, healthy and safe children. And we want to hear from YOU. Please answer this short survey so we can learn about what matters most to families in supporting them to raise their children. Your responses will be confidential and no identifying information will be used.

DARWIN EVENTS 2017

NT Launch of Children’s Week 2017
Friday 20 October 3:15 -5.15pm
Details to come
Wulagi Primary School
24 Brolga Street, Wulagi
RSVP/Contact: Meron Looney on meron.looney@napcan.org.au or 0411 737 630

City of Darwin Children’s Art Exhibition
Official Opening:  21 October 9:30 – 11:30am

On display Monday 23 October – Friday 24 November 2016 weekdays 8:30am – 5:00pm
The exhibition provides an opportunity for local children to showcase their artistic abilities and creative pursuits.
Council Community Art Space, Civic Centre, Harry Chan Ave Darwin
Contact: 89300561 or t.sellars@darwin.nt.gov.au

A week of free activities for children and their mums 
Monday 23 October – Friday 26 October
Learn how to make playdoh, spice up old clothes and pillow cases by tie-dyeing, beat the heat with water play and more!
Closed sessions for mums and children at Darwin Aboriginal and Islander Women’s Shelter.
For more information: 8945-2284 or natalie-cw@daiws.org.au
See the poster for this event

Darwin Free Family Fun Morning for children birth to five years and their families
Wednesday 25 October 9:00 – 12:00 noon
Art & craft activities, Fun Bus, jumping castle, petting zoo, story-time, magic show with Hyper the clown, disco with Kevin, free give away and morning tea.
Jingili Water Gardens
Freshwater Road, Jingili
For more information: 89300561 or t.sellars@darwin.nt.gov.au
See the poster for this event

Darwin Free Family Fun Afternoon and evening for children one to twelve years and their families
Saturday 28 October
3:00 – 6:00pm
Darwin Waterfront activities with waterslide, Float and Play in the Lagoon, art and craft activities, Archery Attack and lots more.

6.00 – 7.00pm
Express Studios Darwin: demonstration and workshop on breakdancing and hiphop.

7.00pm
Movie Inside Out: Bring along blankets or chairs and relax on the Waterfront lawns under the stars with family and friends.
Darwin Waterfront, Kitchener Drive
For more information: 89300561 or t.sellars@darwin.nt.gov.au
See the poster for these events


PALMERSTON EVENTS 2017

Palmerston Children’s Week Party for children birth to five years and their families
Tuesday 24 October 9:00 – 11:00am
ALL FAMILIES WELCOME to enjoy join in the fun for all ages. Coffee available for purchase.
Palmerston Recreation Centre, The Boulevard, Palmerston
Contact: 8932 1700 or kylie.grainger@ntschools.net
See the poster for this event


BATCHELOR EVENTS 2017

Batchelor Oval National Children’s Week Celebration
Tuesday 25th October 9:30 – 12:00noon
Free fun activities for children and families – EVERYONE WELCOME
Batchelor Oval
Contact: Batchelor Area School 8976 0077


HUMPTY DOO EVENTS 2017

Smile-A-Mile Humpty Doo Children’s Week Celebration
Thursday 26th October
Lots of fun activities for children and families.
Humpty Doo Village Green.
85 Challoner Circuit, Humpty Doo
Contact: Jacinta on 8983 2009 or toys@smileamile.org.au
See the poster for this event


ALICE SPRINGS EVENTS 2017

Wet and Wild in Alice Springs
Saturday 21st October 9.00am – 2.00pm
Come ready to get wet and colourful. There will be plenty of fun activities for the whole family, including a Family Colour Run, the NT Fire & Rescue Slip’n’Slide, Face Painting, Arts and crafts, Kites, Reading Circle with Booka the Library Dog and a Free BBQ!
Snow Kenna Park (next to ANZAC Oval)
EVERYONE WELCOME
Contact: Communities for Children on 8951 8000
See the poster for this event

2017 Children and Youth Art Exhibition
Monday, 23rd October 5.00 pm
The young people of Alice Springs  have been engaged in creating diverse works in response to some questions:
What makes you HAPPY?
What makes you feel SAFE?
What would make Alice a BETTER PLACE?
Their creative works will be displayed at Alice Springs Public Library.
Mayor Damien Ryan will open the Exhibition on the 23rd at 5.00 pm and it will run until November 17th
EVERYONE WELCOME
Contact: Communities for Children on 8951 8000
See the poster for this event

Craft and Activities at Yeperenye Shopping Centre
Friday 27th October 10.00am – 1.00pm
Come along and have some good fun with the kids during your shopping time.
Some Activities from the Toy Library and craft from Early Childhood Australia Inclusion Agency will be available in the open area near the Food Court. Give yourself some extra time and join in with your kids making something or just having FUN.
EVERYONE WELCOME
Contact: Communities for Children on 8951 8000

See the poster for these Alice Springs events


Feel free to download the National Children’s Week Poster and use it to promote your event.

 

Read the Children’s Week message from the Governor General, Sir Peter Cosgrove

Read the Children’s Week message from the National Children’s Commissioner, Megan Mitchell

 

With the launch of the annual National Child Protection Week 2017, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, invites all Australians to join together as a team to keep our children safe and nurtured.

National Child Protection Week will run from Fathers’ Day Sunday 3 September to 9 September with a range of campaigns, events, and announcements to support the prevention of child abuse and neglect, and remind us that protecting children is everyone’s business.

Sir Peter explains, “This means being part of strong and caring communities.  It means listening to children, giving them a voice and speaking up for them. It means never walking by or turning a blind eye when something isn’t right.”

Sir Peter also reminds us that the little things we do today, matter to a child’s life tomorrow.

“This National Child Protection Week I urge everyone to remember back to your own childhood, think about the things that mattered to you, and resolve to make a difference to a child’s life for today and the future.”

NAPCAN Deputy CEO, Leesa Waters, urges Australians to start thinking about child abuse as a problem that can be prevented rather than a problem to be fixed after the fact.

“Australians are familiar with the concept of prevention in relation to public health and safety issues such as car accidents, but may never have considered child abuse in the same way.”

“But if we can reduce road fatalities with changes to legislation and community campaigns, we can do the same with child abuse and neglect.”

“Most people are surprised to learn that approximately 1 in 33 children (more than 45,000) are the victims of substantiated child abuse each year in Australia.”

“And these are just the ones that are severe enough to reach the high threshold required to be picked up by the statutory child protection system. Hundreds of thousands more children have less than optimal lives but are not counted in these alarming statistics.”

“However, we know that these rates of abuse are not inevitable. There is clear evidence that much of this abuse is preventable.”

“Our aim is to encourage governments, service providers, and the broader community to direct resources and efforts into prevention, so that all children are
 valued, nurtured and able to live free from violence, abuse and neglect.”

According to NAPCAN, proven strategies for preventing child abuse and neglect include:

  • Building strong communities where everyone understands their role in protecting children
  • Valuing children and advocating for their rights, and for their voices to be heard
  • Expanding and improving coordination of social services
  • Educating families about child behaviour, discipline, safety and development
  • Creating organisations that are child safe and child friendly.

National Child Protection Week will include the presentation of NAPCAN’s Play Your Part Awards which honour individuals, communities and organisations that carry out inspiring and effective actions promoting child safety and wellbeing across the country, from rural communities to inner cities, from our suburbs to the outback.

The National Awards will be presented by Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove at Government House, Canberra on Thursday 31 August from 12:00pm to 1:00pm at the launch of National Child Protection Week 2017.

State Awards will be presented at events throughout the country.

For information about National Child Protection Week events, or to get involved with the campaign, visit www.napcan.org.au.

 

Media Contact:
Helen Fogarty 0410 541997
helen.fogarty@napcan.org.au

Interviews available with:
Lesley Taylor, National Manager Prevention Strategies, NAPCAN
Leesa Waters, Deputy CEO, NAPCAN

If you would like to view the audio for the campaign, please click here.

NAPCAN (National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect) is Australia’s only peak body dedicated to the prevention of child abuse and neglect. For more information about NAPCAN’s work, and National Child Protection Week, visit www.napcan.org.au.

 

Related resources and announcements:

NAPCAN will also be launching the following resources as part of National Child Protection Week:

The Continuum of Wellbeing Film: 3-minute film by NAPCAN outlining the concept of the continuum of wellbeing. This concept is important to our work because it underpins the importance of prevention and reminds us that child abuse and neglect is not inevitable. The film highlights the many opportunities for community, families and services to play their part in protecting children, before it’s too late. The film will be distributed widely on social media and website, and played at NCPW events. You can view the film on YouTube here.

Prevention Summary Paper: This National Child Protection Week NAPCAN and AIFS have joined together to further explore and promote the concept of prevention. This joint paper provides the foundation for ongoing discussion and research about prevention – what it is, the different types, how it works, and how to communicate these important messages to encourage investment, shift public thinking, and engage the whole community as a team in keeping children safe from harm. Available at www.napcan.org.au from 3 September.

To download a copy of this media release as a PDF, please click here

This National Child Protection Week, NAPCAN and AIFS have joined together to further explore and promote the concept of prevention. This joint paper provides the foundation for ongoing discussion and research about prevention – what it is, the different types, how it works, and how to communicate these important messages to encourage investment, shift public thinking, and engage the whole community as a team in keeping children safe from harm.


Download your copy of the paper

This National Child Protection Week, NAPCAN is proud to be launching a short 3-minute film outlining the concept of the continuum of wellbeing. This concept is important to our work because it underpins the importance of prevention and reminds us that child abuse and neglect is not inevitable, and that there are many opportunities for everyone in the community to help protect children.

Overview of Continuum of Wellbeing Film

  • We all have a role to play in the protection of children, and this can best be described with, what we call, the Continuum of Wellbeing.  
  • On one end of the continuum we have CHILD SAFE FAMILIES happy/healthy families where children are loved, nurtured and protected.
  • On the other end of the continuum we the tragic stories of child abuse and neglect. We often read about these as newspaper headlines and wonder ‘how did it get to that point; where were all the people could have helped before it was too late?’.
  • Child abuse can be a one off incident but it tends to be a series of events that get more and more serious over time – an ever increasing, more serious sequence of events that may get steadily worse over time to reach the threshold of abuse or neglect.
  • That threshold is defined by laws in every State and Territory and defines the point at which child protection services have the right to intervene and make decisions about a child’s safety with or without the parents’ permission. Child protection services cannot take action unless the circumstances are so serious that a child is no longer safe with their family.
  • This means that everything that happens before that threshold becomes an opportunity for you and I to take action.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Click the buttons below to access the National Child Protection Week Communications Kit and the Dropbox folder which contains banners, videos, logos and social media tools including top tips.