Free call 1800 272 831

Who We Are

Bravehearts Chronology

Bravehearts was founded by Hetty Johnston AM in 1996 when the concept of White Balloon Day was created.

In just three short years the first therapeutic office was opened in Springwood, Queensland.

Bravehearts now employs over 65 people across the country and has successfully moved this once taboo subject out of the shadows and into the light.

As a result of its persistence, this distinction was acknowledged and supported by the Commonwealth Government and its COAG partners via the National Framework for the Protection of Australia’s Children (2009-2020).

 

Take a look back at our rich history.
We’re proud of how far we’ve come.

2016
  • After years of lobbying by Bravehearts for States and Territories to rescind statute of limitation laws in relation to civil claims and recommendations by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, both New South Wales and Victoria have removed limitation periods. Bravehearts continues to lobby other jurisdictions to follow suit.
  • Following the disappearance and death of 12 year old Tiahleigh Palmer in Logan, south of Brisbane, Bravehearts successfully called for the government to conduct an inquiry into missing children in Queensland.
  • Evidence-based recommendations on the practices, policies and procedures in the Family Law Court is launched through ‘Abbey’s Project’.
  • With the support of our partnership with Google, Bravehearts Research Manager, Carol Ronken, participated in the Crimes Against Children conference in Dallas, Texas.
  • A 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 – Turning Corners – 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 keynote speaker at the New South Wale Ombudsman Reportable Conduct Forum.
  • With the support of our partnership with Google, Bravehearts Founder & CEO and Director of Operations, participated in the Crimes Against Children conference in Dallas, Texas.
2014
  • Collaboration with Ernst & Young to establish ChildPlace Health and Safety initiative.
  • Bravehearts launches its 777 fundraising event.
  • Tasmanian government commits to four years funding for Bravehearts Ditto Keep Safe Adventure program.
  • Bravehearts training packages delivered online.
  • Bravehearts opens an office in Strathpine, north of Brisbane.
  • With the support of our partnership with Google, Bravehearts Research Manager, Carol Ronken, participated in the Crimes Against Children conference in Dallas, Texas.
  • Bravehearts Research Manager, Carol Ronken, invited to speak at the 20th ISPCAN International Congress on Child Abuse and Neglect in Nagoya, Japan.
  • Bravehearts to join The Community Engagement and Partnership Working with Sexual Offenders Network (international network funded by the Leverhulme Trust).
  • With the support of our partnership with Google, Bravehearts Founder, Hetty Johnston, participated in the Family Online Safety Institute 8th Annual Conference  “Redefining Online Safety” in Washington, DC.
2013
  • Strathpine (North Brisbane) Counselling Service opened.
  • Partnership with the Daniel Morcombe Foundation to commence Bravehearts Counselling at Nambour.
  • Saw 400,000th child as part of the Ditto Keep Safe Adventure program.
  • Ditto in a Box was rolled out to every NW state primary school.
  • Delivered tailored Supporting Hands across seven states to Little Athletics Australia.
  • With the support of our partnership with Google, Bravehearts Founder, Hetty Johnston, and Research Manager, Carol Ronken, participated in the Crimes Against Children conference in Dallas, Texas.
  • Bravehearts Research Manager invited to speak at the Inaugural Australian Child Protection Forum in Sydney.
  • Founder, Hetty Johnston, invited speaker at the Victoria Police Sex Offender Registry Conference in Melbourne.
  • Bravehearts received 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
  • Following 16 years of calling for a Royal Commission into child abuse, Bravehearts had a monumental win in November 2012 when the Federal Government announced it would hold an inquiry. Bravehearts was instrumental in helping to shape the Terms of Reference and is now consulting with the Government to ensure the Commission achieves its goals.
  • With generous funding from FaHCSIA Bravehearts Online Practitioner Workshop: Working with Child Sexual Assault was launched.
  • Bravehearts launched the ‘The Bravehearts Toolbox: for practitioners working with child sexual assault’ published by Australian Academic Press.
  • Hetty Johnston and Research Manager Carol Ronken invited to attend the Australian Federal Police ‘Child Sex Trafficking Symposium’ in Bangkok.
  • Bravehearts launched their Court Support program for survivors of child sexual assault.
  • Therapeutic Services Manager presented at the ‘9th Annual Hawaii conference on Preventing, Assessing and treating Child, Adolescent and Adult Trauma’.
  • Bravehearts Two Strikes policy for child sex offenders was adopted by the Queensland State Government.
  • Bravehearts was provided with Federal Government funding to develop and deliver online training to 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 goes online.
2011
  • Hetty Johnston and Research Manager 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 and Research Manager Carol Ronken with individual awards for their contribution to protecting children in Queensland.
  • Bravehearts was invited on to the National Child and Youth Mental Health Forum.
  • Sexual Assault Disclosure Scheme (SADS) program adopted by Tasmania Police in partnership with Bravehearts.
  • Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure education program launched in Tasmania.
  • Bravehearts wins Inaugural Westpac award for best not-for-profit business (Brisbane South East Region).
  • Bravehearts supports The Courier Mail newspaper’s successful lobby for GPS tracking of sex offenders.
  • NSW Parliamentary Action Committee continues to work towards achieving funding in NSW.
  • Bravehearts sits on the Federal Government’s Working Party on Cyber-Safety.
2010
  • NSW Parliamentary Action Committee formed with the aim of extending the Ditto Education Program to every school-aged child in the State and ensuring that every family in the State received a special edition of Bravehearts’ Break The Silence magazine.
  • Bravehearts’ Research Manager, Carol Ronken, invited to be keynote speaker at the Early Years Forum, Cairns, Queensland.
  • Hetty Johnston invited to submit book chapter for Wilson, P. & Lincoln R. (2010). Crime on My Mind. Chatswood [NSW]: New Holland.
  • Bravehearts’ Founder and Executive Director Hetty Johnston invited to be guest speaker at the Management of Serious Crime Program training day for senior police from across Australia.
  • Bravehearts provided with a funding grant through the Launceston City Council to provide free professional development training to psychologists, counsellors and other mental health practitioners in Tasmania, and training and information workshop to child protection workers and those working with children generally.
  • Bravehearts’ Founder and Executive Director Hetty Johnston appointed an Ambassador for the 2011 Australian of the Year Awards.
  • Bravehearts’ Founder and Executive Director Hetty Johnston invited participant in ‘Hypothetical’ panel’ for the Virtual Global Taskforce conferences in Sydney, New South Wales.
  • Bravehearts sits on 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 and Executive Director Hetty Johnston named as the recipient of the International Toastmasters Award for Communication and Leadership.
  • Bravehearts participation in the development of the National Child Protection Framework, endorsed by COAG on 30 April 2009, ensured that that child sexual assault is understood and dealt with separately to other forms of child abuse and neglect.
  • In June 2009 Bravehearts was provided with 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 the country.
  • 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
  • Invited to present 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 and Executive Director Hetty Johnston is named as a finalist in the 2008 Suncorp Queenslander of the Year Awards.
  • Invited participant 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 member of 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 is appointed an ambassador for the 2009 Australian of the Year Awards.
  • Bravehearts sits on the Federal Government’s Working Party on Cyber-Safety.
2007
  • Officially opens office in Sydney, New South Wales.
  • Bravehearts is invited to sit on the Federal Government’s Working Party on Cyber-Safety.
  • Launches the Respect MySpace partnership project with MySpace, promoting awareness and Internet Safety for young people.
  • Bravehearts invited to present workshop 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 and Executive Director Hetty Johnston 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 and Executive Director Hetty Johnston is appointed as an Ambassador for the 2007 Australian of the Year Awards.
2005
  • Participates in the Queensland Police Service Working Party for Sexual Offences Training.
  • Bravehearts’ Founder and Executive Director Hetty Johnston is appointed Chair of the Queensland Endeavour Foundation’s ‘Abuse Prevention & Response Advisory Committee’.
  • Bravehearts received an Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Award from the Australian Institute of Criminology.
  • Bravehearts invited to submit 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).
  • Launches the Ditto Keep Safe Adventure school-based personal safety program in South East Queensland.
  • Western Australia introduces ‘Continuing Detention’ legislation mirroring the Queensland Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) ACT 2003.
  • Bravehearts’ Founder and Executive Director Hetty Johnston is named one of four Queensland finalists in the 2006 Australian of the Year Awards.
2004
  • Successfully lobbies for the introduction of Amber Alerts in Queensland.
  • Successfully lobbies 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 our attention. This results in a complete restructure of the Queensland child protection system and a major increase in funding to this sector.
  • Bravehearts invited 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’.
  • Officially opens branch in Margaret River, Western Australia.
2000 - 2003
  • Bravehearts lobbied for the resignation of former Governor-General Peter Hollingworth.
  • Successfully lobbies 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 the Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure child protection CD-Rom.
  • Successfully lobbies for children’s right 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 service in Springwood, Queensland.
  • Bravehearts’ Founder and Executive Director Hetty Johnston 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 and Executive Director Hetty Johnston appointed as Queensland Director of Advocates for Survivors of Child Abuse.
  • White Balloon Day is launched as a national event at Parliament House, Canberra.  Queensland Police report 514% increase in disclosures as a result.
  • Bravehearts’ Founder and Executive Director Hetty Johnston serves as Chair of Queensland Child Protection Week Committee.
  • Bravehearts launches the annual White Balloon Day in Queensland.