Welcome to the inaugural edition of Safe Start, Children's Safety Australia Inc's quarterly enewsletter. This free publication provides an update on Children's Safety Australia Inc. (CSA Inc.) activities together with articles to maximise the safety and enhance the wellbeing of children and young people and encourage them to reach their full potential.
Please contact us if you have a children's safety question or topic of interest you would like featured in a future edition.
Children's Safety Australia Inc. has recently provided a series of free workshops around Brisbane to address children's safety concerns of parents. The workshops were held in response to the widespread community outrage over the release of convicted child sex offender, Dennis Ferguson.
The workshops, held at Graceville, Boondall and Logan, aimed to equip concerned adults with vital information to protect their children and to empower them with practical strategies to deal with safety threats when trusted adults are not around.
While there is little doubt Ferguson poses a threat to the children he may encounter, parents need to be aware of safety threats and potential offenders far closer to home. All children are at risk of sexual abuse. It is estimated as many as one in three boys and girls will experience some form of sexual abuse before they leave school. Most children are abused by people they know and trust and about one third of abuse is perpetrated by other children or young people.
The one hour free workshops aimed to assist concerned adults to:
- identify ‘people safety’ risks faced by children and young people;
- recognise, and appropriately respond to, indicators of inappropriate behaviour;
- gain an awareness of dangerous safety messages and practices to avoid;
- relay and reinforce key safety concepts and strategies to children and young people;and
- create a supportive environment to promote children and young people’s safety and wellbeing and to build positive relationships with them.
Children's Safety Australia Inc. would like to acknowledge the following supporters in making these workshops possible: Personal Safety Australia; 96five FM; Queensland Police Credit Union; Councillor Nicole Johnson, Tennyson Ward; Graceville State School; Nudgee College; and the Logan Police-Citizens Youth Club.
Children's Safety Australia Inc. may be in its infancy, however we look forward to making a significant positive impact in the lives of children and young people. Over the past two months we have recruited a tremendous Advisory Committee to assist us in this quest. We take great pleasure in introducing our Advisory Committee Members:
Freda Briggs AO
Professor Freda Briggs is Australia's best-known expert on child protection. In her roles as educator, author, scholar and ambassador, Freda has ceaselessly and passionately worked towards her vision to provide a safer and more caring world for children and continues to make a significant contribution to the welfare of our nation.
Freda is Emeritus Professor of Child Development at the University of South Australia and has been conducting pioneering research in dealing with victims and perpetrators of child abuse for decades. She has taken many approaches to further her cause to protect children including research, education and publications. Since the age of 60, Freda has published more than a book a year and continues to publish extensively in international journals.
Freda has been awarded 'Officer in the Order of Australia (AO)' and in 2000 Freda was voted Senior Australian of the Year. She is the recipient of the Inaugural Australian Humanitarian Award, the ANZAC Fellowship Award, the Jean Denton Memorial Fellowship and the Carsick Fellowship Award for her work with disadvantaged children.
Trisha Kendall is a psychologist and manages her own business, Changecorp. She specialises in providing organisational consulting services that enhance performance while maintaining satisfaction and well-being in the workplace. Trisha also facilitates the personal and professional development and is passionate about assisting individuals and teams to achieve their goals and reach their potential. She loves inspiring people to feel great about themselves, their worth and their work.
Bev Patterson is a social worker who has a strong commitment to preventative services for the safety and well being of children and families and support of those persons who tirelessly contribute to the care of children and young people.
Over the past 20 years Bev has worked within the Catholic Education system to prevent harm to children and young people. She was the first person in Catholic Education to develop and implement the role of Child Protection Officer. In the past 10 years Bev has worked for the Christian Brothers in Edmund Rice Education schools and with victims of historical abuse. Through her work with people who have experienced historical abuse she has become even more committed to strive for education and programs that assist in providing safe practices to limit the risk of harm to children and young people.
In 2003 Bev was awarded the Queensland Child Protection Week State Award in recognition of an outstanding contribution to the prevention of child harm in the Curriculum in Schools Category for Child Protection Policy in Edmund Rice schools in Queensland. In 2006 she was deputy chair of the Queensland Child Protection Week Committee and in 2007 she was chair of that committee.
As an author, former police officer, wife and mother of two children, Amanda is strongly committed to children’s safety. After working as a police officer in the Child Sexual Abuse Unit, Amanda developed a deep empathy and compassion for the victims of abuse and an in-depth understanding of the dynamics involved in child sexual abuse including the physical, emotional and spiritual wounds that are inflicted upon its young victims. Amanda has written ‘The Silent Crisis’, a book aimed at those responsible for raising and educating children, detailing simple ways to protect children from sexual abuse.
Amanda volunteers within the community providing support to families to develop and strengthen their parenting skills. She also has experience as a Commercial Charter Pilot and Flying Instructor and currently lives in Perth, Western Australia.
A former signals operator with the RAAF and marketing professional within multinational organisations, Maria now manages her own business MSM. MSM provides marketing advice and planning to a number of small to medium enterprises and selected charities. Since starting a family Maria has developed an interest in children and the promotion of children’s safety, health and wellbeing.
National Child Protection Week 2008 is being celebrated from 7 - 13 September. The theme for this year's Child Protection Week is Children See, Children Do...Make your influence positive, challenging every adult to commit themselves to ensuring their personal behaviour will have a positive influence on children. There is no question children mimic the behaviour of adults. This can be quite concerning when you consider the following Australian facts:
- 25% of drivers are 'reckless and aggressive' at the wheel;
- 2.86 million people smoke each day;
- 2 million adults drink at levels of high risk; and
- 450,000 women are abused by their partner.
The National Association for Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) have launched a community service campaign featuring a DVD providing a powerful message to adults.
Schools, childcare centres and other children's organisations are encouraged to organise an event to celebrate Child Protection Week 2008. A resource pack, including the Children See Children Do DVD, can be ordered from NAPCAN via www.napcan.org.au.
One of the most highly recommended books for young children (aged 3-8 years) is 'Everyone's got a bottom'. Presented in a fun, positive and protective style, Everyone's got a bottom is about siblings Ben, Jack and Emma learning and talking together about bodies. It is a tool for parents and carers to gently start a conversation about self protection. "From our heads to our toes, we can say what goes".
Everyone's got a bottom is a collaboration between Family Planning Queensland, writer Tess Rowley, illustrator Jodi Edwards and experts from the early childhood and child protection sectors. CSA Advisory Committee Member, Professor Freda Briggs comments, 'This little book is badly needed for helping parents, carers, teachers and child care personnel to keep children safe.'
Everyone's got a bottom was the winner of 2007 Child Protection Week Award for an education initiative in conjunction with the Queensland Police internet safety program. It can be purchased from Family Planning Queensland (www.fpq.com.au) for $16 plus $5 postage.