Keeping Children Safe is Everyone’s Responsibility
This week is National Child Protection Week and Caring 4 Kids will be participating in activities related to the campaign. We’re asking the children to dress in white this Friday and we will be releasing white helium balloons to help raise awareness of the issues children face.
Child Protection Week is an annual event run by National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPAN) and the theme this year is “Stronger Communities, Safer Children”. The aim is to remind us that we all have to work towards maintaining children’s safety.
It’s depressing to think that such a program is necessary, but in 2013-14, 2013-14, there were 198,966 Australian children suspected of being harmed or at risk of harm from abuse and/or neglect, according to Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
While we need to tackle this issue head on, it’s also important that we don’t underestimate the role that community plays in making our children feel safe and loved. A 2014 study by the Australian National University and the University of Western Sydney, in partnership with The Benevolent Society and NAPCAN, interviewed children aged between 8 and 12. It found that the children thought people and caring, along with supportive relationships are the most important parts of a community.
The study also found that many children did not feel safe in their community, especially those from disadvantaged areas. Fear of unfamiliar people, car-related aggression, and the effects of alcohol on adults’ behaviour were put forward as factors that made children feel vulnerable.
The idea behind this year’s Protection Week is to encourage everyone in the community to work towards building one that’s a safe place for children to thrive.
It’s casting their aim beyond just keeping children out of harm’s way and challenges us to build a community where they can feel protected and loved. Here are some of the suggestions about how the wider community can do that:
Employers are encouraged to explore ways to help their employees build a better work-life-balance. If a parent is able to spend more time with their child, it’s better for both of them. There’s plenty of evidence that happier staff are more productive and take less sick leave, so it’s also a win for the employer.
If grandparents play with their grandchildren, they can help shape how they think, learn and behave in the future. It’s also important for building strong family bonds and may also be good for grandparents. A recent study finding that women who looked after their grandchildren one day a week performed better in cognitive tests, which is important in the fight against dementia. (Side note: making them do it 5 days a week worsened test results so give grandma a break!)
Help your child build connections. Not only is it more fun to have good friends, more connections makes your child safer. Don’t forget about yourself either. Make time for yourself and if you need support, ask family, friends or professionals for help.
Teachers and Coaches
Besides their parents, teachers and coaches can be central figures in a child’s life. Teachers and coaches should praise children when they show integrity, persistence, and kindness.
It might be a cliche, but the saying that it takes a village to raise a child is also true. When we work to create a community that children feel safe and valued in, it makes life better for them… and ourselves.
Learn more about NAPAN National Child Protection Week here.
For additional information and guidance for protecting children visit Bravehearts.
All senior staff at Caring 4 Kids have completed accredited child protection training. Contact us to learn more.