With over 1,000 children sexually assaulted in Australia every week, leading child protection advocacy group Braveheartsis calling on Australians to wear white and donate on September 7, White Balloon Day to help protect children and break the silence surrounding child sexual harm.
This year’s event marks the 14th annual national awareness and fundraising campaign, for ‘White Balloon Day.’ Staged during Child Protection Week (Sep 5th – 11th), the humble white balloon has become synonymous with child protection and this special day has evolved into Braveheart’s signature national event.
Queensland Police called White Balloon Day a ‘phenomenon’ after they recorded a staggering 514% increase in disclosures about child sexual assault during the White Balloon Day campaign period in 1999 – not long after the initiative was established. This significant increase demonstrates that awareness and support are fundamental to help ‘break the silence’ about child sexual assault and to help prevent other cases from occurring.
Bravehearts Founder and Executive Director, Mrs Hetty Johnston is encouraging Australians to rally behind the cause to help more Australian children and their carers get the support they need.
“Show Australia’s kids that you care; help us teach children that child sexual assault is never their fault, that it’s all right to say no and we will believe and support them. By supporting White Balloon Day you are demonstrating that our nation has zero tolerance toward those who would harm our children,” said Mrs Johntson.
White Balloon Day is a day of recognition, awareness and support for the victims of child sexual assault and the principle fundraising initiative which enables Bravehearts to educate, empower and protect all Aussie kids.
White Balloon Day is supported by the ‘Celebrities that Say No’ campaign. Bravehearts celebrity ambassadors include Anthony Mundine, Angry Anderson, Phil Gould, Craig Lowndes, Mick Doohan, Rachael Birmingham, Laura Vesquez (Home & Away), Rebekah Elmaloglou (Home & Away), Shane Webcke (former Brisbane Bronco) and Carla Bonner (Neighbours) – all of whom who have come together to show support for the need to protect all Australian children.
“You don’t need to be wealthy to be a part of this historic movement in child protection,” says Mrs Johnston. “Support the children you know and love. No matter how big or small; every contribution counts. From simply showing your support by wearing white on Sept 7th, or getting your school or workplace involved and making donations; we can all do our bit to make Australia the safest place in the world to raise a child.”
“We all have a choice. We can do something or we can do nothing. Australia’s children are relying on us to do something,” she said.
How Australians can participate in White Balloon Day
It’s simple: Wearwhite,Buy a balloon, Donate
Other fun ways people can take part in White Balloon Day include:
• PURCHASE WHITE BALLOON DAY PRODUCTS through any MYER or Salvos store. Bravehearts encourages all Australians to purchase an official white balloon from any MYER or SALVO’s storearound the country and to wear white to show support for victims, to help shift attitudes around an historically taboo subject, and to break down the stigma and silence associated with child sexual assault.
• FLY A WHITE BALLOON on 7th September from your home, letterbox, business or community organization.
• ORGANISE AN EVENT such as a morning/afternoon tea at your home, school or workplace.
• GET YOUR SCHOOL INVOLVED by entering the ‘White Gate’ schools competition and go in the draw to win $2500 cash for your school. Visit whiteballoonday.com.au <http://www.whiteballoonday.com.au/> for entry details.
• GET OTHERS INVOLVED by encouraging your schools, community groups, workplace or church to hold a ‘Wear White day’ for a gold coin donation, symbolising the innocence and purity of a child. Let your imagination run wild to think of fun ways to help us educate, empower and protect our children. Remember to email Bravehearts your photos from White Balloon Day so that they can be included on the Bravehearts website.
For more information and details on where to purchase official white balloons: