Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

{ZERO TOLERANCE} {Child Sex Abuse Reports Rising, DoCS Figures Show }; White Balloon Day Has Been Launched in a New Bid to Unite Our Communities and to Stamp out Child Sexual Abuse Once and for All

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

{ZERO TOLERANCE} {Child Sex Abuse Reports Rising, DoCS Figures Show }; White Balloon Day Has Been Launched in a New Bid to Unite Our Communities and to Stamp out Child Sexual Abuse Once and for All

Article excerpt

Byline: Digby Hildreth news@northernstar.com.au

A FLURRY of white balloons in businesses across the North Coast today signals the beginning of a new era in the fight against child sexual abuse - an era of zero tolerance, says Vicki Hamilton.

White Balloon Day is a Braveheart initiative and part of National Child Protection Week, and Ms Hamilton believes it will send a strong message to abusers.

"We need to show perpetrators that their behaviour will not be tolerated, and events such as White Balloon Day today will help to spread that message," she said.

The day's theme is 'Break the Silence on Child Sexual Assault-It's ALL WHITE to Say No', and is aimed at encouraging communities to take a stand against child sexual assault and help survivors speak up.

Ms Hamilton is the head of Heartfelt House in Alstonville, which runs programs to help adult survivors of abuse.

She says she is determined to see White Balloon Day and similar events become much bigger as time goes on, serving to put an end to the shame that prevents young people from reporting abuse.

"We need to spread the message that the North Coast is a safe place for children, but it is not a safe place for perpetrators of sexual abuse," she says. …

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