Press Releases

 

Monday 15 October 2018: Rural Innovation: Mallee Track Health & Community Service Partnership 

Rural Innovation: Mallee Track Health & Community Service Partnership 

For Immediate Release

Press Contact: Deanne Carson | e: deanne@bodysafetyaustralia.com.au | m: 0410 613 040

  • Trial of Body Safety Superstars to implement Child Safe Standards in preschools and kindergartens 

  • Mallee Track Health & Community Service partners with Body Safety Australia in response to Victoria’s Child Safe Standards

  • Support for rural regions to keep children and young people safe from childhood sexual abuse achieved by private sponsorship from President of the Rationalist Society, Dr. Meredith Doig

Mallee Track Health & Community (MTHCS) continues to deliver outstanding health services by trialling a whole-community approach to body safety and protective behaviours education in response to the Victoria’s Child Safe Standards. 

 In partnership with Body Safety Australia, three family sessions, two professional development workshops and six children’s empowerment programs will be delivered over October to build capacity in the region’s childcare and preschool sector. 

Director of Community Services, Lyndal Munro, said that the Betrayal of Trust Enquiry found that raising awareness in the general community and empowering children was best-practice in abuse prevention yet ‘often people find the issue too confronting to acknowledge, respond to or address’.  

“Ouyen, Manangatang, Sea Lake, Underbool and Murrayville will be rolling out Body Safety Superstars to their families and educators. The Superstars program uses songs, games and story-telling across ten core body safety messages to empower children and young people, while working with families, professionals and other adults on strategies to encourage bodily autonomy, consent and assertive communication.  

Resoundingly, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse also echoes the same sentiment and advocates for ‘prevention education delivered through daycare, preschool, school, sport and recreational settings and other intuitional settings’.

“We are very excited to be able to pilot our Superstars program in MTHCS’s catchment areas. Rural and regional areas are often overlooked due to under-resourcing and geographical constraints, yet often the most forward-thinking and action-orientated areas. We thank our sponsor, Dr. Meredith Doig for enabling this opportunity.” says Deanne Carson, co-founder and CEO of Body Safety Australia. 

MTHCS was established in 1997 as a Multi Purpose Service (MPS) following the merger of Ouyen District Hospital & Murrayville BNC. Service Centres were established in Patchewollock and Underbool. In 2011 Sea Lake & District Hospital Service merged with MTHCS expanding our boundaries to include Nandaly, Culgoa, Berriwillock, Woomelang & Ultima. 

Body Safety Australia is committed to working with professionals and families to support children in enjoying safe, positive and respectful relationships. Established in 2015, co-founders, Deanne Carson and Whitney Yip have grown the team from two to eight, and have reached over 8500 students, families, teaching staff and other professionals working with children in Victoria and New South Wales. 

For more information, please contact Deanne Carson at 0410 613 040, email deanne@bodysafetyaustralia.com.au or visit Body Safety Australia at www.bodysafetyaustralia.com.au 

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Wednesday 20 December: Royal Commission Recommendations

Body Safety Australia welcomes the Final Report Recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The Royal Commission heard evidence from over 8,000 survivors of childhood sexual abuse over five years and now comprehensively outlines how we can best work to prevent childhood sexual abuse and support those children and young people who have been victimised. 

Resoundingly, the Commission advocates for ‘prevention education delivered through daycare, preschool, school, sport and recreational settings and other intuitional settings aims to increase children’s knowledge of sexual abuse and build practical skills to assist in strengthening self protective skills and strategies.’ They go on to say that this education should be delivered to children and young people, parents and professionals. A whole-community approach has been proven to be best practice in prevention education and one that Body Safety Australia adopts in the delivery of our Superstars program. 

Body Safety Australia uses best-practice research and ongoing evaluation to guide the development and refinement of our programs. Our evaluations have shown that working alongside early childhood and school educators has been invaluable. This collaborative approach has allowed teachers and leadership teams to build confidence and capacity in prevention education, while supporting parents in adopting child safe practices in the home. This approach also allows for classes to be tailored to meet the cultural and accessibility needs of students and their families. 

Survivors of childhood sexual abuse speak frequently of feeling disempowered and not having had an awareness that what was being done to them was wrong or that they could seek assistance from protective adults. The Commission has recommended that ‘children participate in decisions affecting them and [be] taken seriously.’ Having children actively participate in classes is positive, not only for individual children, but also as it continues to inform educators of the concerns held by this generation of children. 

We also appreciate the Report’s focus on the role of online safety education for children, parents and professionals. Historically, cybersafety has failed to discuss grooming and non-consensual sexual behaviours either by adults or other young people that put children and young people at risk. We are increasingly seeing childhood sexual abuse being perpetrated online, with Detective Inspector Rouse of Taskforce Argos saying that there has been a ‘proliferation of sexual abuse images self-produced by young children’. It is essential that online education commences for parents and professionals in early childhood settings and for children from primary school. Our online safety program has benefited by being informed by youth consultation and our work in sexual abuse prevention, respectful relationships and sexuality education. 

The team at Body Safety Australia would like to offer thanks to the many hundreds of people involved in the Royal Commission both professionally and those brave enough to give evidence. We urge the State and Federal Governments to adopt all the recommendations and look forward to creating a culture where grooming behaviour is called to account and where children’s voices are heard and acted upon. 

Media Contact: Deanne Carson | 0410 613 040 | deanne@bodysafetyaustralia.com.au