Kids, parents learn about big issues for White Balloon Day

Kate Kilby, Charlotte Camm, Isaac Camm, Alisha Agland, Amy Cross, Jena Glover, Nethaya Wadithenna, Wino Wadithenna, Chase Andrew, Leo Wells, Erin Wells, Ethan Wells and Jess Phelps. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE
Kate Kilby, Charlotte Camm, Isaac Camm, Alisha Agland, Amy Cross, Jena Glover, Nethaya Wadithenna, Wino Wadithenna, Chase Andrew, Leo Wells, Erin Wells, Ethan Wells and Jess Phelps. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Educating young children and their parents was the goal of a morning tea held by Mission Australia on Friday.

The event was held in honour of White Balloon Day, an initiative by Bravehearts. The child protection charity works to prevent child sexual assault.

Mission Australia joined forces with the Buninyong School As Community Centre, West Dubbo School As Community Centre and Live Better to hold a community morning tea and story time.

Mission Australia’s Jess Phelps said she wanted to help educate the families about the important day.

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“White Balloon Day is quite a big event across Australia but I think it’s important every day of the year. We wanted to do something as a grassroots level,” she said.

“We’re having story time, reading Andy’s Underpants Rule, and singing a song about my body. It’s a serious issue but we wanted to do something a bit softer.”

The children and their families also had the opportunity to create some balloon art, decorate cup cakes and have their faces painted.

Every 90 minutes a child in Australia is found to have been sexually assaulted in Australia - that’s 1 in 5 children who are sexually harmed in some way before their 18th birthday.

It’s a serious issue but we wanted to do something a bit softer.

Jess Phelps

Bravehearts has created a guide to help parents and carers give insight into the myths and facts about child sexual assault.

Bravehearts executive Hetty Johnston said it would ensure every parent and carer was better informed on the steps they needed to take to better protect their children.

“All Australians need to understand that child sexual assault is a crime that can potentially affect any family regardless of race, religion, gender and economic status – it doesn’t discriminate,” Ms Johnston said.

“One of the most important things we can do is to empower our children to identify when something doesn’t feel right, and to tell a trusted adult without fear of consequences.”

Dubbo Regional mayor Ben Shields said it was ridiculous to think so many children were still being denied their right to a safe and healthy upbringing.

“Everyone has an obligation to help and council staff are doing their part by supporting Bravehearts. I would encourage everyone to visit the Bravehearts website and find out more about this amazing organisation and the work they do,” he said.

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