Eileen Wilton from the Lennox Head Rural Fire Service shows Sarah Mallam, 5, of Ballina the fire hose used by RFS crews.
Eileen Wilton from the Lennox Head Rural Fire Service shows Sarah Mallam, 5, of Ballina the fire hose used by RFS crews.

Picnic helps to our kids

WITH face painting, a best-dressed teddy bear competition and demonstrations from the Rural Fire Service, last week’s Teddy Bears’ Picnic at Missingham Park at Ballina was all about having fun.

But it also had an important message.

The event was held in the lead-up to National Child Protection Week, which officially started yesterday.

Hosted by local child and family services, the picnic was a hit with youngsters from right across the region.

There were plenty of free activities, including storytelling, art and craft and free fruit.

The East Ballina Lions Club also put on a sausage sizzle for the occasion.

Staff from the Ballina-Byron Family Centre said the day was about having fun, but that it also aimed to raise awareness that child abuse must be stopped.

The Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies said child protection was a significant national issue.

Chief executive Andrew McCallum said child abuse and neglect were the ‘devastating results of underlying social problems that need to be tackled’.

“Child Protection Week reminds us that keeping children safe is everybody’s business and that child protection is an issue that all Australians should be concerned about,” he said.

But a new report has found that only one-third of Australians would call police if a child told them they were being sexually abused.

The National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect surveyed 22,000 people, and found that 48 per cent of those would not take action in clear-cut examples of child abuse for fear they might be wrong.

NAPCAN chief executive, Rosanna Martinello, said she was shocked by the findings.

“We all have a role to play, whether we are a parent, a relative, a neighbour, a policy-maker, a journalist or an employer,” she said.



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