What role can Neighbours play?

NEIGHBOURS PLAY THEIR PART TO PROTECT AND CARE FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE IN OUR COMMUNITY BY SUPPORTING AND HELPING EACH OTHER AND WORKING TOWARDS A SAFE AND INCLUSIVE NEIGHBOURHOOD.
Be a positive role model. Be aware of your behaviour, what you say, how you say it and the way you act Children and young people learn from the people they spend time with, so make your influence positive!

Build positive relationships with the children and their families in your neighbourhood. Smile, say hello, remember their names and listen to them when needed. This shows young people that they are important in their community, and that you care.

Talk to your neighbours and take the time to build relationships among parents in your street, apartment building or in your community. Know where your children and young people are and get to know the families that they enjoy visiting.

Offer to care for your neighbour’s children or practical help – like shopping – to new parents. Offering a helping hand provides an opportunity for parents to rest or spend some time together.

If everyone in the neighbourhood works together to make protecting children everyone’s business this will increase the circle of people your child knows and can learn from which increases their safety.

Welcome newcomers, make up a “Welcome Pack” with information on local schools, playgroups, child health centres, kids sporting clubs, music lessons, the closest all night chemist, etc.

If you’re worried about someone, offer help or recommend where they can access help to strengthen their family’s resilience and resources.

Care for your neighbourhood. By offering to hold a ‘clean up your street’ day you recognise and share the impact of a clean environment on young people’s wellbeing.

Get the kids in your street to map your neighbourhood. Talk to them about safety and ask them to identify the places where they don’t feel safe. Let them know that it is the adults’ responsibility to do something about it!

Include your neighbours in an emergency plan. When something unexpected happens, neighbours are often the people to get assistance from. Involving children and young people in your planning ensures that they feel included and are informed.

Think about safe and respectful ways to be an active bystander if you see an adult being inappropriate towards a child or young person.

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TRAVIS GRACE : PHOTOGRAPHER, SYDNEY

WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO “PLAY YOUR PART” TO KEEP CHILDREN SAFE AND CARED FOR IN YOUR COMMUNITY:

As a neighbour in my community, I try to be an active role model for local children. I coach oz-tag at local schools, so children can find friends and it’s also about actively communicating with them.

I also work actively with Aboriginal Youth over the past two years, as I am a professional photographer. I teach them about photography and help them discover their own feeling for the art of photography. We held an exhibition together at the Casula Powerhouse.

Coming from a dysfunctional background myself, I find it important to listen to children and help them make decisions in their own life, without judgment. Kids should be kids and be able to enjoy their childhood and be surrounded by positive people.

JOHANNA BELL : NEIGHBOUR, DARWIN

WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO “PLAY YOUR PART” TO KEEP CHILDREN SAFE AND CARED FOR IN YOUR COMMUNITY:

Lots of my friends and neighbours have young families. I try to help out wherever I can: babysitting; playing with their kids; going on excursions, reading kids books and just generally hanging out. I talk to my friends about their parenting experiences – the good bits and the hard bits. It’s not easy being a new parent and sometimes, the best way to support friends is just by listening. “My mates and I” also try to plan social activities so that people with kids can join in. When people have young children it’s easy for them to feel isolated from their social networks.