Young children are innocent, honest and easily influenced. That’s why it’s so important to protect our future leaders from harm, abuse and neglect.
Next week, from September 6 to 12, IMPACT Community Services will light up their windows to raise awareness for Child Protection Week.
One of IMPACT’s valued programs, Cooee, started as an arts and crafts class for NDIS participants and people with mental health concerns. The groups now tend to focus on specific causes to raise public awareness.
For the past week the Cooee groups have been creating lanterns as a visual sign of support for children within our community. Wendy Lindeman is a long-time IMPACT Community Services' support worker and, with the help of the Cooee ladies, is helping to highlight the importance of child protection.
“I think it’s just wonderful that we're getting the message out there,” she said.
Wendy has worked at IMPACT for nine years as an NDIS support worker and an NPST case worker, which is the National Psycho-social Support Transitioning program for people with mental health issues. She, like countless others around the nation, knows how important it is to highlight Child Protection Week, and fully embraces the motto, 'It's everybody's business'.
“We've all got a role to play,” she said. “The ladies do enjoy this group and they participate on any community activity that's around, but especially this one that's close to their heart.”
The Child Protection Week website details key messages in the fight against child abuse, such as listening to children, hearing what they say and believing their statements instead of approaching a conversation with disbelief.
Another important suggestion was understanding why people harm children and young people.
“The majority of people who harm children are parents or care givers and do so emotionally, physically or by neglect,” the website reads. “The intent is not necessarily to harm children as often stress factors mean that person takes out their stress on children through either neglect or through verbal or physical means.
“With assistance these forms of abuse can be eradicated, parents and care providers taught new skills and children can be supported to live safely with their families or care givers.”
Child Protection is everybody’s business. If you see or hear anything of concern, contact Child Safety on 1300 703 762, or if urgent phone the Queensland Police Service on 000. If this story has triggered emotional trauma for you, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.
If you are a struggling parent looking for support, phone Family and Child Connect on 13 32 64.
Child Protection Week in Queensland is coordinated by the Child Protection Week Committee under the auspicing body of Act for Kids. To find out more go to https://childprotectionweek.org.au/about/