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Community support sees more Geelong kids learn personal safety with Bravehearts

November 2, 2016

NATIONAL child protection organisation Bravehearts will educate, empower and protect a record number of Geelong kids this term following a generous donation by Give Where You Live Foundation.

This week the Geelong Bravehearts education team, with mascot Ditto in tow, has visited schools and kindergartens throughout the region, teaching children aged 3-8 how to stay safe in a range of situations, from sexual assault to bullying.

The latest donation of $14,950 will enable Bravehearts to continue its outstanding work in Geelong to help create child-safe communities with its acclaimed Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure show.

Bravehearts has educated 2382 children and delivered 30 parent information sessions across 21 kindergartens and 13 schools as a result of the latest funding.

Bravehearts Founder Hetty Johnston AM, said protecting children is everyone’s business and kids were never too young to learn skills on how to stay safe.

“Preventing child sexual assault starts with educating and empowering children with vital knowledge and skills to keep safe and encouraging teachers, carers, parents and other members of the community to play their part in creating child-safe environments,” said Mrs Johnston.

“Since Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure was introduced it has really been embraced by schools and early learning centres which has given us a significant boost towards our commitment to reaching every Australian child with our child safety message.”

Geelong Bravehearts Education facilitator Mandy Berry, said local schools had embraced the program with more than 9000 kids educated annually in the region.

“The Give Where You Live local funding grant subsidises Bravehearts in primary schools and kindergartens in the Geelong and surrounding districts and makes up the shortfall between the fee charged and the actual cost of delivering the program,” she said.

“There is no State Government funding for Bravehearts in Geelong so we rely heavily on grants such as this. Without this ongoing community support, Geelong children would miss out on learning these skills and strategies to keep them safe from sexual harm.

“This week Ditto visited Bellevue Preschool in Highton, where he takes on rock star status and the kids love his character and the fun way he delivers the messages.

“This kindergarten has always been successful in encouraging parents to attend the show and during the parent information sessions, they see how simple the language is that we use and have felt more confident to reinforce the important personal safety messages at home.”

The program has now reached more than 600,000 kids across the nation.

Ditto’s 5 Principles:

Based on Bravehearts’ Ditto Keep Safe Adventure program, the 5 basic principles we need to teach our children (remember: it’s never too early to sow the seeds of personal safety) are:

1)  To trust their feelings and to distinguish between ‘yes’ and ‘no’ feelings

2)  To say ‘no’ to adults if they feel unsafe and unsure

3)  That they own their own bodies

4)  That nothing is so yucky that they can’t tell someone about it

5)  That if they feel unsafe or unsure to run and tell someone they trust.

Would you like to talk to someone? Call Bravehearts information and support line on 1800 272 831.

FIND OUT MORE  about the Ditto Keep Safe Adventure Show.

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