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Queensland Child Protection Week is In the Spotlight

by PeakCare Qld on 17th March 2016

Home -> Articles -> 2016 -> March -> Queensland Child Protection Week is In the Spotlight

32 Years Ago a small group of professionals stood up.

30 Years ago they founded Queensland Child Protection Week (QCPW).

This week, this collective and QCPW is In the Spotlight.

32 years ago a young television reporter was building her career covering police and court matters in Brisbane. That same year, a doe-eyed 4 year old child fell prey to a family ‘friend’ who sexually abused her. Neither had any idea how their stories would entwine.

Shattered and outraged by what had happened to their little girl, the child’s parents reached out to police, the news reporter and other concerned members of the community to form a PACT – to protect and support vulnerable children and never stay silent about abuse against children either in society or by the systems meant to protect them.

Through that simple but powerful declaration, the organisation Protect All Children Today (PACT) was born.

Two years later, the same group of individuals dedicated to child protection launched Queensland Child Protection Week (QCPW). A chance to educate all Queenslanders about child abuse and neglect with the hope to ensure that professionals, family and community members and all associated with children learned what children needed to be safe and experience wellbeing.

The court reporter was Channel Seven newsreader Kay McGrath. Not only is she now arguably Queensland’s most known and respected newsreader, she’s spent the last 30 years as the Ambassador for Child Protection Week in Queensland and is a staunch advocate for child protection: “When I was approached to head up PACT, I didn’t hesitate. How could I? Even before having my own two beautiful sons, I could see the need to protect vulnerable children with no voice of their own. Becoming a parent has deepened my understanding and commitment. It’s been a privilege to be involved in this work.”

30 years on QCPW is celebrating this milestone and sharing key child protection messages with the same intent. Due to the dedication of Kay and her PACT colleagues many others have joined her along the journey and these messages have gained momentum. The beginning of QCPW is a poignant reminder of why we have this week. It is most significantly a reminder that one person speaking up and joining with a few can make a lasting and significant difference when they use their personal and professional resources for change. The doe-eyed 4 year old has grown into a strong, talented and resilient young woman who works to assist other victims of abuse.

QCPW is now an annual campaign culminating in the official week beginning on the 1st Sunday of September. It is launched in conjunction with the Awards Ceremony, an opportunity to recognise professional excellence in child protection practice. The awards receive significant media and community attention due to the high calibre of recipients.

QCPW Project Manager, Caitlin King highlights the importance of the awards and opening ceremony: “There are so many individuals and organisations working tirelessly to support children, young people and their families. We will never be able to acknowledge or thank them all. Through the awards we can say thank you to a few who go that extra distance in the complex work they undertake. Each year we make really difficult decisions about award recipients because so many are worthy. This is a heartening reflection of the commitment to child protection by professionals and organisations dedicated to the protection of children and the wellbeing of children, young people and families.”

The Queensland Child Protection Week Committee (QCPWC) is made up of representatives of organisations from the government and non-government sectors within Queensland and works throughout the year to share key messages through social media and posters outlining pertinent issues that impact children and young people such as: domestic and family violence, the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, young people and families in the child protection system, the importance of listening to and hearing children and young people and the need to respond to the changing needs of young people as they grow from children to young adults.

These messages throughout each year culminate in the messages shared extensively during Child Protection Week (CPW). These include specific CPW posters, social media and the Community Services Announcement produced and aired by Channel 7. Further promotions occur through organisational e-news and websites. The mainstream media through radio, television and print promote CPW across Queensland. Media monitors in 2015 outlined that the wide ranging messages about child protection reached approximately 5.5 million Queenslanders.

The Remembrance Day ceremonies for Forgotten Australians are undoubtedly the most moving of the official CPW events. “These ceremonies remind us of past abuse and injustice. This is one reason we need to be so mindful of child protection in every place across Queensland where children and young people are” states Ms King.

Over a hundred events are held throughout Queensland each year to further promote child protection to communities across the state. The calendar of events is posted on the QCPW website and is shared by many organisations and media outlets. QCPWC Chairperson, Elisabeth Kobierski is aware of the powerful impact the many events across Queensland have in educating communities: “The events held during Queensland Child Protection Week give the community a chance to get involved and lend their support to the important issues that we promote. It is so important that all Queenslanders listen to children and young people and play their part in protecting them. The 100 or so events all share this vital message amongst others.”

The QCPWC also supports the CREATE Foundation event that assists children and young people in care to celebrate CPW with an adult with whom they feel connected. “This is another positive opportunity to ensure recognition for young people and those who walk alongside them” said Ms Kobierski.

Auspiced by Act for Kids, funded by Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services and sponsored by Channel 7, KFC and the Courier Mail, the week has as its theme: Child Protection is Everyone’s Business. Ms Kobierski is enthusiastic about this anniversary year: “Given this is our 30th year celebration I’m really excited about the many possibilities that Queensland Child Protection Week 2016 offers”.

To participate in Queensland Child Protection Week, a number of Grants and Award nomination options are available. Read about the Grants and Awards here.

Should you require any further information please go to www.childprotectionweek.com.au or contact Caitlin King

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