ORANGE hospital was dotted with white balloons yesterday to remind visitors, staff and patients about the importance of protecting children from abuse and neglect.
White Balloon Day is designed to promote awareness and conversations in the community that will help guard the wellbeing of children, according to Orange Community and Allied Health Counsellor for Child Protection Lisa Ryan.
“It is a time for parents to start talking to their kids about the issues surrounding their protection, but it is also important everyone in the community plays a part,” she said.
White Balloon Day was established by the Bravehearts organisation, specifically targeting child sexual assault.
Ms Ryan said while mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse is in place in many professions, there is an important role for everyone else in the community.
Anyone who suspects a child is being neglected or abused should call the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, the Bravehearts helpline on 1800 272 831 or community health at Orange hospital on 6369-3300, which provides support services.
White Balloon Day is incorporated into Child Protection Week, which has been running for 20 years.
Child Protection Week focuses on increasing awareness and understanding of the importance of prevention in dealing with child abuse and neglect in Australia.
* This week, as an example of the vulnerability of children in our society, two cases involving child sexual assault came before Orange Local Court on Thursday.
Several other cases are pending in the local court involving abuse and neglect of children in our community,
In the majority of cases the court places suppression orders on the reporting of such cases with the primary aim of protecting the privacy of child victims.