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WHO WE ARE

ABOUT US

Bravehearts is Australia’s leading child protection organisation.

Bravehearts was founded in 1997 by Hetty Johnston following her young daughter’s disclosure of sexual assault. Finding there was no organisation to turn to for help, Hetty established Bravehearts to provide advice and support to those affected by child sexual assault.

Following the public demonstration in Belgium in 1996 where 300,000 people gathered with white balloons in solidarity for the parents of children who experienced sexual assault at the hands of a paedophile who had previously been convicted and released, the white balloon was adopted by Bravehearts as a symbol of hope for survivors of this horrific crime and our signature event White Balloon Day was born.

Bravehearts now employs over 65 people across Australia providing world-class child protection training and education initiatives; specialist child sexual assault counselling and support services; as well as research and reform campaigns to work holistically to prevent child sexual assault in our society.

Bravehearts is governed in accordance with:

 

Australian Charity and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) Charity Tick

Bravehearts is proud to display the ACNC Charity Tick. The Charity Tick is a symbol that reassures donors and the broader public that the organisation displaying it is transparent, accountable, quality-focused and regulated by the ACNC.

 

 

Human Services Quality Framework (HSQF)

The Human Services Quality Framework (HSQF) is a system for assessing and improving the quality of human services. Bravehearts achieved HSQF compliance in 2017. HSQF compliance supports the accessibility of Bravehearts’ service to the community.

 

 

Bravehearts has been breaking the silence for over 20 years.

2016
  • Achieved the rescindment of statute of limitation laws in relation to civil claims and recommendations of the Royal Commission into Instutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in New South Wales and Victoria following years of lobbying by Braveheats. Bravehearts continues to lobby other jurisdictions to follow suit.
  • Successfully called on the government to conduct an inquiry into missing children in Queebnsland following the disappearance and death of 12 year old Tiahleigh Palmer in Logan, south of Brisbane.
  • Evidence-based recommendations on the practices, policies and procedures in the Family Law Court is launched through ‘Abbey’s Project’.
  • Bravehearts’ Director of Research, Carol Ronken, participated in the Crimes Against Children conference in Dallas, Texas, thanks to support from our partner Google.
  • Turning Corners – an innovative program providing a comprehensive and integrated response to working with young people (12yrs to under 18yrs of age) who have or are at risk of engaging in harmful sexual behaviour is launched.
2015
  • Bravehearts Founder, Hetty Johnston AM, named Queensland Australian of the Year.
  • Founder, Hetty Johnston AM, invited speaker at the Victoria Police Sex Offender Registry Conference in Melbourne.
  • Bravehearts’ Director of Research, Carol Ronken, invited as keynote speaker at the New South Wales Ombudsman’s Reportable Conduct Forum.
  • Through the support of our partner Google, Bravehearts Founder & CEO Hetty Johnston AM and Director of Operations, Dr Deirdre Thomson participated in the Crimes Against Children conference in Dallas, Texas.
2014
  • Established ChildPlace Health and Safety initiative in collaboration with Ernst & Young.
  • Bravehearts launches its 777 Marathon fundraising event.
  • Tasmanian government commits to provide four years of funding for Bravehearts’ Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure program.
  • Bravehearts’ child protection training packages delivered online.
  • Bravehearts opens an office in Strathpine, north of Brisbane.
  • Google facilitates Bravehearts’ Director of Research, Carol Ronke to participate in the Crimes Against Children conference in Dallas, Texas.
  • Carol Ronken, Bravehearts’ Director of Research invited to speak at the 20th ISPCAN International Congress on Child Abuse and Neglect in Nagoya, Japan.
  • Bravehearts joins The Community Engagement and Partnership Working with Sexual Offenders Network (international network funded by the Leverhulme Trust).
  • With the support of our partner Google, Bravehearts Founder, Hetty Johnston AM, participates in the Family Online Safety Institute 8th Annual Conference  “Redefining Online Safety” in Washington, DC.
2013
  • Counselling Service opened in Strathpine (north Brisbane) .
  • Partnership with the Daniel Morcombe Foundation to commence Bravehearts Counselling at Nambour.
  • 400,000 children educated through Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure Show.
  • Ditto in a Box was rolled out to all NSW state primary schools.
  • Delivered tailored Supporting Hands child protection training packages across seven states to Little Athletics Australia.
  • Google supports Bravehearts Founder, Hetty Johnston AM and Director of Research, Carol Ronken to participate in the Crimes Against Children conference in Dallas, Texas.
  • Bravehearts’ Director of Research invited to speak at the Inaugural Australian Child Protection Forum in Sydney.
  • Founder, Hetty Johnston AM, guest speaker at the Victoria Police Sex Offender Registry Conference in Melbourne.
  • Bravehearts receives funding over three years to provide community support services related to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
  • Bravehearts establishes its Information and Support Line.
  • Sydney office opened to assist in supporting Royal Commission clients.
2012
  • Australian Federal Government announces the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse following 16 years of lobbying by Bravehearts. Bravehearts works closely with the government to shape the Terms of Reference and consults with the government to ensure the Royal Commission achieves its goals.
  • Generous funding from FaHCSIA facilitates the launch of Bravehearts’ Online Practitioner Workshop: Working with Child Sexual Assault.
  • Bravehearts launches The Bravehearts Toolbox for practitioners working with child sexual assault published by Australian Academic Press.
  • Hetty Johnston AM and Director of Research Carol Ronken invited to attend the Australian Federal Police Child Sex Trafficking Symposium in Bangkok.
  • Bravehearts launches their Court Support program for survivors of child sexual assault.
  • Therapeutic Services Manager presents at the 9th Annual Hawaii Conference on Preventing, Assessing and Treating Child, Adolescent and Adult Trauma.
  • Bravehearts’ Two Strikes policy for child sex offenders adopted by the Queensland State Government.
  • Bravehearts provided with Federal Government funding to develop and deliver online training for therapists.
  • Bravehearts releases The 3 Piers to Prevention: Educate, Empower, Protect research audit on policy, program and legislative responses to child sexual assault across Australia.
  • Bravehearts launches Ditto in a Box education resources for schools and child care centres.
  • Bravehearts’ Sexual Assault Disclosure Scheme launches online.
2011
  • Hetty Johnston AM and Director of Research Carol Ronken present at the International Conference on Violence, Abuse and Trauma in San Diego.
  • Queensland Police Service Child Protection and Investigation Units present Hetty Johnston AM and Director of Research Carol Ronken with individual awards for their contribution to protecting children in Queensland.
  • Bravehearts invited to join the National Child and Youth Mental Health Forum.
  • Sexual Assault Disclosure Scheme (SADS) adopted by Tasmania Police in partnership with Bravehearts.
  • Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure Show education initiative launched in Tasmania.
  • Bravehearts wins inaugural Westpac award for Best not-for-profit business (Brisbane South East Region).
  • Bravehearts supports The Courier Mail’s successful push for GPS tracking of sex offenders.
  • NSW Parliamentary Action Committee works towards achieving funding in NSW.
  • Bravehearts joins the Federal Government’s Working Party on Cyber-Safety.
2010
  • NSW Parliamentary Action Committee formed to extend the Ditto Education Program to every school-aged child in the State and to ensure that each family in the NSW receives a special edition of Bravehearts’ Break The Silence magazine.
  • Bravehearts’ Research Manager, Carol Ronken invited as keynote speaker at the Early Years Forum, Cairns, Queensland.
  • Hetty Johnston AM invited to submit a book chapter for Crime on My Mind a true crime book edited by Paul Wilson and Robyn Lincoln.
  • Bravehearts’ Founder and Executive Chair Hetty Johnston AM invited to be guest speaker at the Management of Serious Crime Program training day for senior police from across Australia.
  • Bravehearts receives a funding grant through the Launceston City Council to provide free professional development training to psychologists, counsellors and other mental health practitioners in Tasmania, as well as training and information workshops to child protection workers and those working with children.
  • Bravehearts’ Founder Hetty Johnston AM appointed an Ambassador for the 2011 Australian of the Year Awards.
  • Bravehearts’ Founder Hetty Johnston invited to participate in a hypothetical panel for the Virtual Global Taskforce Conference in Sydney, New South Wales.
  • Bravehearts joins the Federal Government’s Working Party on Cyber-Safety.
2009
  • Bravehearts invited to provide training workshop to staff from the Sex Offender Program Unit at Wolston Correctional Centre (Qld).
  • Bravehearts invited to present to the Federal Attorney-General’s Family Violence Prevention Legal Services’ Community Legal Education Workshop.
  • Bravehearts’ Founder Hetty Johnston named as the recipient of the International Toastmasters Award for Communication and Leadership.
  • Bravehearts participats in the development of the National Child Protection Framework, endorsed by COAG on 30 April 2009, ensuring that child sexual assault is understood and dealt with independently of other forms of child abuse and neglect.
  • In June Bravehearts receives a funding grant through the Federal Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs to provide free professional development training to psychologist, counsellors and other mental health practitioners across Australia.
  • Successfully lobbied for the amendment of state and federal legislation and protocols relating to the legal defences of Artistic Merit and Artistic Freedoms, to strengthen the protection of children against sexual harm and exploitation.
2008
  • Bravehearts invited to present a paper on continued detention legislation at the National Judicial College’s Sentencing 2008 Conference, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.
  • Bravehearts receives funding through the Family Violence Prevention Legal Services, Indigenous Law and Justice Branch, Federal Attorney-General’s Department, to establish an education branch in Cairns, Queensland.
  • Bravehearts’ Founder Hetty Johnston AM is named as a finalist in the 2008 Suncorp Queenslander of the Year Awards.
  • Invited to participate in the Protective Behaviours Focus Group for the Community Safety and Crime Prevention Branch of the Queensland Police Service.
  • Bravehearts invited to participate in the Federal Criminal Law and Procedure Roundtable.
  • Bravehearts participates in the Federal Criminal Justice Forum.
  • Invited to join the Coalition of Organisations Committed to the Safety and Wellbeing of Australia’s Children.
  • Member of the External Community Reference Group for the revision and restructure of the Criminal Offence Victims Act 1995 (Qld).
  • Bravehearts’ Founder Hetty Johnston AM is appointed an ambassador for the 2009 Australian of the Year Awards.
  • Bravehearts joins the Federal Government’s Working Party on Cyber-Safety.
2007
  • Sydney office officially opens.
  • Bravehearts is invited to join the Federal Government’s Working Party on Cyber-Safety.
  • Bravehearts launches the Respect MySpace partnership project with MySpace, promoting awareness and internet safety for young people.
  • Bravehearts invited to present workshops to Allied Health Professionals conference in Toowoomba, Queensland.
2006
  • New South Wales introduces Continuing Detention legislation mirroring the Queensland Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) ACT 2003.
  • Bravehearts’ Founder Hetty Johnston AM is nominated in the 2006 Queensland Greats Awards and the 2006 Suncorp Queenslander of the Year Awards.
  • Bravehearts launches Supporting Hands workshops for people working with children.
  • Bravehearts’ Founder Hetty Johnston AM is appointed as an Ambassador for the 2007 Australian of the Year Awards.
2005
  • Bravehearts participates in the Queensland Police Service’s Working Party for Sexual Offences Training.
  • Bravehearts’ Founder Hetty Johnston AM is appointed Chair of the Queensland Endeavour Foundation’s Abuse Prevention & Response Advisory Committee.
  • Bravehearts receives an Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Award from the Australian Institute of Criminology.
  • Bravehearts invited to submit a report to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Co-authors paper, The Holy See and the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Australia, with Catholics for a Free Choice (US) and Broken Rites (Victoria).
  • Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure Show personal safety program for children aged 3 to 8 years launches in South East Queensland.
  • Western Australia introduces Continuing Detention legislation mirroring the Queensland Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) ACT 2003.
  • Bravehearts’ Founder Hetty Johnston AM is named one of four Queensland finalists in the 2006 Australian of the Year Awards.
2004
  • Successfully lobbied for the introduction of Amber Alerts in Queensland.
  • Successfully lobbied for Protecting Children: An inquiry into abuse of children in foster care (Crime and Misconduct Commission, 2004) after the systemic abuse of children in care was brought to national attention. This results in a complete restructure of the Queensland child protection system and a major increase in funding to the child protection sector.
  • Bravehearts invited to become a member of working groups set up to facilitate the implementation of the Queensland Government’s Blueprint for implementing the recommendations of the 2004 Crime and Misconduct Report.
  • Margaret River, Western Australia branch opens.
2000 - 2003
  • Bravehearts lobbied for the resignation of former Governor-General Peter Hollingworth.
  • Successfully lobbied for Continuing Detention legislation for sex offenders in Queensland resulting in the Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003 enabling the continuing detention of dangerous child sex offenders past their release dates.
  • Launches Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure Show DVD.
  • Successfully lobbied for children’s rights to civil compensation in Queensland.
  • Bravehearts produces Loud and Clear with support from the Queensland Police Service and Law Society.
  • Bravehearts launches the Sexual Assault Disclosure Scheme (SADS) in Queensland.
  • Bravehearts opens its therapeutic services office in Springwood, Queensland.
  • Bravehearts Founder Hetty Johnston AM joins the board of the National Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.
  • Bravehearts advocates for survivors’ rights to speak publicly, resulting in inclusion of Section 189 in Queensland’s Child Protection Act 1999.
1997 - 1999
  • Bravehearts’ Founder Hetty Johnston AM appointed as Queensland Director of Advocates for Survivors of Child Abuse.
  • White Balloon Day launched as a national event at Parliament House, Canberra.  Queensland Police report 514% increase in disclosures as a result.
  • Bravehearts’ Founder Hetty Johnston AM serves as Chair of Queensland Child Protection Week Committee.
  • Bravehearts launches the annual White Balloon Day campaign in Queensland.