Newcastle will join other locations throughout Australia, from Brisbane to Tasmania, this week to shine a light on a serious subject.
Leading kids’ protection organisation Bravehearts is scheduled to light up the former steel city to raise much-needed awareness for its key fundraising event, Bravehearts Day, on Friday 9 September.
Landmarks across Newcastle, including the City Hall Clock Tower, will be lit purple as the sun sets to signify the one-in-five children experiencing child sexual abuse or exploitation.
Conducted during National Child Protection Week (4-10 September), Bravehearts Day builds on the legacy of White Balloon Day and is one of the nation’s largest and longest-running campaigns.
CEO Alison Geale said she was on a mission to educate more youngsters about personal safety and consent.
Police data reveals the majority of child sexual abuse allegations occur within an institutional location involving a minor as the person of interest.
“We need communities across Australia to band together and donate to help protect children from sexual abuse – an atrocious crime no child should suffer,” Ms Geale said.
“We’re calling on everyone to ’Show Your Heart’ and help Bravehearts deliver its education programs to more children, which teach kids about personal safety, respectful relationships and consent.
“These skills are vital in protecting our kids and safeguarding their futures.
“Over the past few years, COVID-19 lockdowns have also exposed children to more risk than ever – particularly as they isolated with predators who are either family members or known to the family, which is the case in up to 90% of child sexual abuse cases.
“With the support of Australians across the nation, we can create a world where people, communities and systems all work together to protect children from sexual abuse.
“Bravehearts is relying on the generosity of the community this Bravehearts Day to help educate, empower and protect our kids in order to make this a reality.”
Over the past 25 years, the funds raised through White Balloon Day have taught more than 1.5 million children across Australia about personal safety via Bravehearts Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure Program and ProjectYou! as well as helped to fund counselling and support services for children and families impacted by child sexual abuse.
With the aim to amass in excess of $250,000 in 2022, Novocastrians can back Bravehearts Day by wearing a purple heart, showing their support on social media by using hashtags #ShowYourHeart #BraveheartsDay2022 and #ProtectKids, and donating.
All donations, big or small, will go towards the prevention and treatment of child sexual abuse and will be matched by Bravehearts generous sponsors.
To donate to Bravehearts Day, visit www.braveheartsday.com.au or phone 1800 272 831.
Meanwhile, Newcastle’s City Hall Clock Tower will next turn “yellow” for the Perpetual Day of Remembrance on Friday 15 September.