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Bravehearts’ Position Statements (brief position summaries) concern specific issues relating to the prevention, intervention or response to child sexual assault.

These statements represent the values and principles of the organisation and reflect current research and literature relating to the relevant issue. Below is a list of our current position summaries, with the full statements linked within.

Bravehearts' Position Statements

the seal of the confessional (august 2019)

An indisputable fact around the prevalence of child sexual assault and exploitation in our communities is the silence and secrecy that permeates how we respond to sexual harm against our children. One of the greatest challenges for organisations seeking to address concerns of child sexual assault is the need to understand and overcome the silence, secrecy and shame that surrounds this crime.

The sacrosanct position of the confession within the Catholic Church has historically, and continues to, ensure that sexual crimes against children that are confessed continue to be covered up by the Church. If we are to successfully confront the issue of child sexual assault, challenging the culturally and historically entrenched response of secrecy and silence to child sexual assault is imperative. READ THE FULL POSITION STATEMENT HERE.

silencing victims (august 2019)

The silence, secrecy and shame that surrounds victims and survivors of child sexual assault are the offender’s best friend and our children’s worst enemy. Silence and secrecy are always the facilitator, rarely the solution. Criminalising a victim/survivor’s right to speak out and break their silence, to identify themselves as a victim of sexual harm not only perpetuates the harm, disempowerment and fear experienced by survivors but it is a breach of the their human rights. This response can cause just as much harm as the offending itself. Victims of sexual assault have had so much taken from them by the offender, to then have a system further strip them of their rights to have a voice, to share their story without shame, to regain control of their lives, can have serious unintended adverse impacts. READ THE FULL POSITION STATEMENT HERE.

Data Retention and Child Protection

Bravehearts has backed the implementation of a data retention scheme that supports the investigation of child exploitation and other serious offences against children. Read the Data Retention & Child Protection statement here.

Bail Presumptions for Child Sex Offenders (November 2017)

Over recent months a number of concerns have been raised in the media on the release of alleged child sex offenders on bail. Cases have highlighted issues around the provision of bail for child sex offenders, the risk this poses to children and the community and the impact on victims.  Read the Bail Presumptions statement here.

Working with Children Checks (2 October 2013)

Bravehearts notes that currently there are diverse approaches to mandatory requirements for Working with Children Checks across jurisdictions. We believe that there should be, for the sake of consistency and best practice, a national Working with Children Check.  Read the Working with children checks statement here.

Towards Healing (4 October 2013)

There is a great cynicism about the Catholic Church’s internal processes and policies used to deal with allegations of child sexual assault, and there is certainly a reluctance to trust the internal procedures of the Church.  Read the Towards Healing statement here.

Keeping Safe Online (19 September 2013)

Safety for children and young people on the Internet is front-page news and Bravehearts is committed to doing all we can to ensure that young people and their parents or carers are informed on how to ensure the Internet is a safe experience. Read the Keeping Safe Online statement here.

Statute of Limitations in Child Sexual Assault Matters (November 2017)

It is Bravehearts’ stance that in cases involving the sexual assault of children, the application of any limitation provisions to deny adult survivors of abuse access to redress is theoretically, practically and morally unjustifiable. It is Bravehearts position that limitations to redress for survivors of child sexual assault should be abolished. Read the Statute of Limitations statement here.

Billboard Advertising and Sexualised Images (November 2017)

The sexualised images of young girls and women are used extensively in mass media, advertising and entertainment mediums.  The hyper-sexualisation and objectification of young girls as well as the hyper-masculinisation of boys perpetuate and reinforce each other as unrealistic ideals and can have devastating consequences on their psycho-sexual development. Read the Billboard Advertising statement here.

Safety and Internet Dating Sites (November 2017)

The recent arrest of a 55 year old man charged with using the internet to procure a child under 16 after grooming a mother he met through a dating site, is a timely reminder that offenders do not just groom children but also parents. Read the Safety & Internet Dating statement here.


A major trend on social networking sites, such as Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook, is young people uploading ‘selfies’ – photographs taken of themselves, by themselves.

The trend more often than not sees young women posing seductively, pouting at the camera or dressed in swimwear or lingerie. Bravehearts strongly advocates for both greater education and awareness for young people around safe internet use and for industry to promote corporate responsibility in advertising and marketing. Read the full position statement here.

Young People and Sexting (November 2017)

Bravehearts defines ‘sexting’ as the transmission of sexual images or words via mobile phone but also via all other technology including Skype, social networking, MSM and chat rooms. In most instances of sexting, young people are merely acting impulsively.  Read the Young people & Sexting statement here.

Child Sex Offenders and International Travel (November 2017)

Recent media reports have highlighted the issue of hundreds of convicted child sex offenders travelling overseas. In just the first two months of 2012, Australian Federal Police (AFP) statistics reported that 195 of the 14,300 offenders registered on the Australian National Child Offender Register (ANCOR) travelled internationally, with many offenders travelling to known, vulnerable countries. Read the Child Sex Offenders and Travel statement here.