Swell bunch: Heartfelt House executive director Vicki Hamilton (front) gets a helping hand on White Balloon Day yesterday from (rear, from left) board member Julia Adlington, program development co-ordinator Heidi Tornow, group facilitator Mandy Waring, and chairman Larry Rawstorne.
Swell bunch: Heartfelt House executive director Vicki Hamilton (front) gets a helping hand on White Balloon Day yesterday from (rear, from left) board member Julia Adlington, program development co-ordinator Heidi Tornow, group facilitator Mandy Waring, and chairman Larry Rawstorne. Cathy Adams

Balloons help air issue of abuse

AN Alstonville-based organisation is helping to make the Northern Rivers one of the country’s safest communities for children.

Yesterday, Heartfelt House distributed white balloons and held a barbecue in Alstonville’s Main Street to raise awareness of child sexual abuse and of the need to support adult survivors.

White Balloon Day is an initiative of Bravehearts, Australia’s leading child protection advocacy group.

Heartfelt House executive director, Vicki Hamilton, said the white balloons symbolised the innocence and purity of children.

She also said White Balloon Day encouraged everyone to take a stand against child sex abuse.

“We want to make the North Coast the safest place in Australia to raise your children,” she said.

“We want to send the message that we will not tolerate our children being hurt.

“The first step in this is education

“We need to make parents and grandparents aware of the tactics perpetrators use.

“Many in society are still under the misassumption that perpetrators will be strangers.”

Ms Hamilton said the figures were confronting, but that more than 80 per cent of sexual assaults were perpetrated by close family members in a familiar setting, such as the family home.



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