Act now for Aussie kids


For those who don’t receive the emails from Bravehearts, here’s the one that went out today. I’m excited to be an Ambassador for Bravehearts and taking part in this years campaign for White Balloon Day.

Dear Sarah Monahan 
We are in the middle of one of the most significant historical moments in child protection this country has ever seen.
Survivors of childhood sexual assault are finally breaking the silence and telling their stories – many for the first time.
The silence, secrecy and shame that are the offender’s best friend are now being challenged like never before. The victims who for too long have been invisible, without recognition, void of an effective response are finally being seen and heard.
Get involved with one or all of the events listed in this newsletter and on behalf of the tens of thousands of children and their families that your support reaches – thank you. 
Hetty Johnston
Bravehearts Founder and CEO
#whoRUprotecting is a national campaign encouraging Australians to act for the protection of the children in their lives.  It might be your son, daughter, niece or nephew, grandchildren, students, a friend’s child or like Hetty – all Aussie kids.
Get involved: 
  • Host an event – hold a ‘white’ morning tea, organise a ‘wear white’ day at your child’s school or at your workplace or encourage your community to take part in a ‘white walk’ while raising funds for Aussie kids.
  • Social media selfie – snap a #whoRUprotecting selfie: the selfie requires you to answer the question ‘who are you protecting’ and display the answer in a photograph.
  • Social media – positively promote Bravehearts and White Balloon Day on your social media accounts using the hashtags #whoRUprotecing and #whiteballoonday.
There are many more ways you can get involved, just visit  
Blind man contests Coast corporates in Bravehearts Time Trial
Damien Williams will fly blind, relying on his wingman to navigate the undulating 43km course when he competes in the annual Bravehearts Time Trial on a specially designed tandem bike in November.
The father-of-two is one of the first competitors to sign up for the annual event and will race against ORICA-GreenEDGE representatives and a chain of Gold Coast corporates – including Von Bibra Auto Village and Onyx Property Group.
The Bravehearts Time Trial will take place in the picturesque Samford Valley, just west of Brisbane and will feature many of the elements of a professional cycling event including ramp start, motorcycle cameras and timing gates.  
To join Damien in this exciting adventure, visit
Marathon Melina set to tackle grueling Bravehearts 777
Melina Blanco is accustomed to triumphing over adversity and will muster all of that determination when she tackles the gruelling Bravehearts 777 – 7 Marathons across 7 states in 7 days.
The 20-year-old counselling student will take on the 300km run for the second time to raise funds for Australian children affected by sexual assault.
Herself a survivor of this devastating crime which affects one in five Australian children before the age of 18, Melina will run marathons in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Hobart, Canberra, Northern New South Wales and the Gold Coast and aims to raise $7,770, bringing her total amount raised for Bravehearts to almost $20,000.  To join Melina, visit
Ready, Set, Mow! Claude’s
on track to raise $700,000
Australia’s favourite mowerman, Claude Harvey is again pushing his customised cutter for child safety– this time from Caboolture to Bundaberg, hoping to bring his total fundraising efforts for Bravehearts to $700,000.
The 68-year-old grandfather will visit 30 towns throughout Queensland during his mowerthon which commenced in Caboolture on 27 May.
During his 53 day journey he plans to visit such towns as Kilcoy, Kingaroy, Biloela, Gladstone and Gin Gin before concluding his trip on July 18 in Bundaberg and aims to raise $50,000 for Australian children affected by sexual assault.
Ditto! NSW schools get safety savvy with Bravehearts education
A personal safety initiative developed by Bravehearts was rolled out to every NSW Government primary school to keep kids safe in a range of situations from bullying to sexual assault.
Set to educate around 195,000 NSW students from kindergarten to Year 2, the acclaimedDitto in a Box education pack teaches personal safety skills and underpins children’s instinctive understandings and feelings in a way that is non-confronting, safe and highly effective. 
The NSW State Government allocated $268,051 to support the initiative and the implementation of child protection education within the NSW Personal Development, Health and Physical Education curriculum. 
It follows an evaluation commissioned by the NSW Department of Education and Communities in November 2013 of Bravehearts acclaimed personal safety program, Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure (DKSA) show. The Government piloted DKSA in 21 NSW primary schools and commissioned Urbis to undertake an evaluation of the pilot.
Students at Laguna St Public School were the first to receive Bravehearts education resource

Bravehearts Training Workshops

Bravehearts Inc.
Bravehearts launches new training workshops

Bravehearts has launched three new workshops to meet every level of demand in helping the community to understand and respond to Child Sexual Assault. The five tiers of workshops now available are listed below and will cover everyone from general members of the community to Child Care Workers, Primary Teachers, Support Workers and Psychologists.
  1. Supporting Hands: Introduction to Child Sexual Assault (2 hours)
  2. Responding to Disclosures (3 hours)
  3. Teachers and Educators: Responding to Child Sexual Assault (6 hours)
  4. Support Workers and Foster Carers: Responding to Child Sexual Assault (7 hours)
  5. Practitioner Workshop: Working with Child Sexual Assault (2 days)
Bravehearts now offer great incentives to organisations to implement specialist training into their staff induction and continuing staff professional development programs. Our workshops are delivered nationally.
Click here to download the latest workshop brochure or contact for more information.

Bravehearts calls for Royal Commission into Sexual Assault

Bravehearts renews calls for
Royal Commission of Inquiry into child sexual assault

Bravehearts has received the full support of the National Child Protection Alliance in its reignited calls for Prime Minister Julia Gillard to hold a National Royal Commission into the sexual assault of Australian children.

A Royal Commission should examine all clandestine, cultural, illegal and systemic activities, policies, laws and practices which compound the actual and potential sexual assault of Australian children within all environments including churches, institutions, courts of law, government and non-government organisations.

Bravehearts Founder and Executive Director Hetty Johnston, said sweeping powers are needed to comprehensively investigate all allegations of child sexual assault and the wilful cover-up by people and practices that betray the duty of all adults to place the best interests and protection of children first.

“Our children deserve protection; they deserve decisive and immediate action from those with the power to protect them,” she said.

“Our politicians must step up to the plate. The evidence around the level of danger our children face is indisputable. The impetus to do this properly is with a Royal Commission that closely examines the issue, so that we can stop child sexual assault in our society. We are not content to continue to simply mop up the carnage, we need this to happen and it needs to happen now.”

Ms Johnston said an earlier call for a National Royal Commission in 2003 in the wake of the Peter Hollingworth Anglican Church debate almost succeeded. The Labor Party, then in Opposition and led by Simon Crean and Jenny Macklin supported the calls, as did The Greens. Since that time the threats against our children have expanded and the need for an Inquiry crucial.

It follows allegations this week by a senior New South Wales police officer who claimed the Catholic Church not only impeded inquiries into child sex offences but competent police officers were removed from investigations.

“Child sexual assault and the issues surrounding it are endemic, they are national and they demand a national response,” said Ms Johnston.

“The Catholic Church has a great deal to answer for but it would be wrong to suggest that it is the only institution with serious matters to explain and equally, it would be wrong to believe that these issues stop at the NSW border.

“There is no question a Federal Royal Commission is needed immediately. Child sexual assault is the largest crisis facing our children, not just in the Catholic Church, and not just in NSW or Victoria.”

Research shows that 1 in 5 Australian children will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18. They are boys and girls, black and white, rich and poor and they live in every nook and cranny of our nation. This heinous attack is happening in various degrees of complicity in churches, in institutions and in all communities.

The outcomes for children and families in terms of mental health are catastrophic while the economic outcomes can be measured in the billions every year.

In October, Bravehearts launched its breakthrough 3 Piers to Prevention strategy – Educate, Empower, Protect – solid foundations to making Australia the safest place in the world to raise a child by 2020.

It will cost an average of $8 million per year for Bravehearts to deliver on its strategy to initially prevent 28,000 children (pa) from being sexually assaulted by 2020. Australian governments will need to support these initiatives for the targets to be achieved.

These actions will save an estimated $5.2 billion in costs associated with the ramifications of child sexual assault on survivors, their families and the community.


ICE arrests convicted sex offenders

ICE teams throughout Texas arrest 50 convicted sex offenders and other criminal aliens

This is awesome! Every day at work I read reports of aliens caught on the Border who have some kind of criminal conviction, usually pretty terrible ones. The USBP Agents and the other law enforcement Agents do their best, but so many just keep on slipping through. The US Marshals do round ups, and sometimes we just get them by chance, while they’re doing something else stupid, like Drinking and Driving. It seems like ICE has had their hands tied for a while, but after they came out against the Administration a month or so ago, complaining they were being prevented from doing their jobs, they’ve been going into overtime, making up for lost time. It’s super busy right now. Since Obama announced the Dream Act, it’s a non stop flow of people trying to make it over….

So here’s this press release from ICE. Of course, since they were targeting sex offenders, you know I’m a super happy camper. Kinda awesome it came out the same day as Bravehearts put out a statement on their views on convicted sex offenders having passports.

Here’s a snippet of the ICE press release:

Following a five-day Texas-wide U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operation, 50 convicted alien sex offenders and other criminal aliens were arrested by officers with ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).  ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) also assisted with this operation.

The goal of this operation, dubbed “SOAR” (Sex Offender Alien Removal), was to identify, locate and arrest aliens who have convictions for sex crimes, especially sex crimes against children.  This is the first statewide operation that specifically targeted this criminal element. This operation was coordinated with ERO’s 16 Fugitive Operations Teams throughout Texas, and Texas DPS.  Four Fugitive Operations Teams operated from Dallas and north Texas.

Of the 24 men arrested in north Texas, 15 had prior convictions for sex crimes such as:  indecency with a child, sexual conduct; unlawful sexual intercourse with a child, aggravated sexual assault of a child; sex offense against a child, fondling; and sexual battery of a minor. Seven of those arrested in north Texas had been previously removed from the country and illegally re-entered the United States, which is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.

Bravehearts Position Statement on Child Sex Offenders and International Travel:

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 143,000 offenders registered on the Australian National Child Offender Register (ANCOR) travelled internationally, with many offenders travelling to known, vulnerable countries.Australian Federal Police statistics show that over a quarter of these offenders travel to Denpasar, with Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Nadi, Hong Kong and Manilla among the ‘top ten’ destinations.

While the Australian Federal Police Child Protection Operations Intelligence Unit assists in monitoring individuals who are recorded on the Australian National Child Offender Register travelling overseas, tracking offenders in many countries remains exceedingly difficult.

The Australian Federal Police work closely with local authorities, alerting them when a registered offender is travelling to their country and deploying liaison officers to many international jurisdictions. However, in some cases local authorities do not have the resources, support or experience to appropriately respond.

Bravehearts position on child sex offenders and international travel is that:

On release, and until such time as the offender is no longer under supervision orders, all child sex offenders must forfeit their passport.

Where the offender is no longer under a supervision order, as long as they remain a registered person on the Australian National Child Offender Register, the offender must inform police within at least 7 days advance if they intend to travel outside of Australia.

So ICE wants sex offenders to go home, and Bravehearts wants them to stay home. If only I could get the two to team up together…

Oh, and I just noticed my face on the Bravehearts page! Cool. Hope everyone had a great White Balloon Day. I hope when the case is over, I can come back and attend some events at the next one.


White Balloon Day – Sept 7th

It’s All White To Say No.

Hey everyone, don’t forget that September 7th, 2012 is White Balloon Day. Go to the Bravehearts White Balloon Day website to find out how to get involved.

There’s events happening in every State, so there’s bound to be something near you. If not, why not go ahead and plan an event? You can buy a white balloon, or dress in white for the day. Encourage your friends to get involved. Raise some money, raise some awareness.


Bravehearts Applauds LNP Child Protection Policies

Just wanted to share an email I got from Bravehearts this week.
BRAVEHEARTS have applauded LNP leader Campbell Newman for his new election promises regarding child protection across Queensland.
The new commitments include $4m to trial a Fostering Families program to help at-risk families and children; $2.5 million for child counselling, telephone support and school education about sexual assault and a two-strike policy for people who commit sexual offences against a child.
Bravehearts Founder and Executive Director Hetty Johnston commended LNP leader Campbell Newman for his strong focus on the safety of children throughout Queensland families.
“We have been an advocate for the ‘two strikes and they’re out’ mandatory sentencing policy for repeat child sex offenders for years and commend the LNP for their new election promises,” said Ms Johnston.
“It is our position that child sex offences need to be considered with the upmost gravity. The reality is that child sex offending is a compulsive, addictive behaviour that impacts on victims throughout their lives, sometimes with devastating consequences.
“Bravehearts has advocated for a specific, targeted two strike legislation as a response to habitual and persistent child sex offenders and we applaud the LNP for their focus on this issue and ensuring this is a priority in the top five election policy promises.”
“On their first conviction offenders should receive support and programs aimed at reducing their likelihood of reoffending. However, if they reoffend, we believe there should be a mandatory life sentence for any second contact child sexual offence,” said Ms Johnston.
“Such legislative reform should include consideration of non-contact offences, which can be as harmful and as serious”.
In addition, Bravehearts applauds the LNP’s commitment to increase funding to both counselling services for children and young people and education programs.
“The proposed additional funding to counselling services and school-based prevention programs is welcomed. Services are currently stretched to their limit trying to respond to the need for specialist, therapeutic support for victims. Our waiting list for counselling has been unacceptably high for too long”, Mrs Johnston said.
“The need to support schools in providing effective personal safety education programs is vital in our battle to combat the sexual assault of our children. To have any impact on this crime that effects one in five of our children, we have to get serious about investing in prevention programs.

“We applaud the LNP for moving forward to protect our children to the best of our ability.” Mrs Johnston said.


it’s all White to Say NO!

White Balloon Day is almost here

White Balloon Day is September 7th. What do you have planned? Check out the White Balloon Day website to see events have already been planned that you can attend, or register your own event.

a dollar sign is the cheesiest, but Bravehearts could really use your cash. It’s the biggest fundraising event of the year. All of your donations are tax deductible.

Right now there’s a lot of events planned in QLD, but NSW could really use some superstars to organize some events. Let’s make this year HUGE!

I really wish I could be there this year, unfortunately, it looks like I won’t be able to attend any events while my investigation is still underway.


White Balloon Day 2011

September 7th is White Balloon Day

This year’s event marks the 15th annual White Balloon Day, a national awareness and fundraising campaign staged on September 7 during Child Protection Week (September 4 –11). Since 1997 when White Balloon Day resulted in an unprecedented 514 per cent increase in disclosures of sexual assault to Queensland Police, the humble white balloon has become synonymous with child protection and this special day has evolved into Bravehearts’ signature national event. White Balloon Day is not only a day of recognition, awareness and support for the victims of child sexual assault but is also the principle fundraising initiative which enables Bravehearts to educate, empower and protect all Aussie kids.

Check out the Events page to go to a pre-organised event, or create your own event and get other people involved.

Get Involved – Do the White Thing!

Being involved in White Balloon day is simple, fun and best of all, you are guaranteed to make a difference in the lives of Aussie kids.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how you can join us.

Step 1: Think white

  • Check out our Ideas page to help you decide how you want to get involved in White Balloon Day.
  • Get your school involved.
  • Get you church involved
  • Become an Everyday Hero

Step 2: Register online

Once you register your event, you will be sent our exclusive White Balloon Day Kit, which includes official White Balloon Day posters and brochures, a letter of consent to fundraise, promotional ideas and more.  Registering your event also helps us create an accurate events calendar and allows us to promote your event on our website and encourage our supporters to support you.

Step 3: Take flight!

Let the fundraising begin…

Start to plan your event a few weeks in advance and be sure to invite your friends, family and co-workers to get involved.  Your White Balloon Day Kit will contain more info on how to write a press release and get the media involved in your event.  The more support and awareness created, the more funds we can raise to educate, empower and protect Aussie kids.


Stand up for victims of child abuse

National Child Protection Week

A study has just been released in Australia that says that just one third of Australians would call police if a child told them they were being sexually abused.

The results, released on Wednesday, showed that 48 per cent of people would not take action in clear-cut examples of child abuse for fear they might be wrong, while 42 per cent said they did not think it was their business. But most of the 22,000 people surveyed by the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) believed child abuse was a serious issue.

Since March, when I went public with my own history of abuse, there has been literally thousand of blogs, forums and tweets discussing my case. So many people couldn’t believe that it had been allowed to happen. People are outraged. People all claim that they would have done something. However, if you were really put in that spot, would you have? This study shows, maybe not.

People have judged me for going public. A lot of people are upset by the “Trial by Media”. However, I wouldn’t have done it any differently if I had to do it over again. By going public, it has forced people to talk about it. It’s forced people to think about what they would do if confronted by the same situation. It made witnesses come forward and talk to the police about it. People who otherwise may have been too scared to speak, in case they heard the infamous, “You’ll never work in this country again” line. Unfortunately, TV in Australia is a tiny community. People are terrified of speaking out of school. It’s very easy to be blacklisted and never work again. I have no doubt that if this was not public that many people would still be denying knowledge of the situation because they’d be scared to talk about it.

I really hope that by speaking out, that parents are thinking very hard about whether to put their kids into acting or modeling. I hope that if they are in the biz, they’re watching their kids like hawks.

I hope that people will get the courage to speak up if they see abuse. If a kid tells you something is not right, go investigate it for yourself if you don’t believe them. Then go to the police. Then get your kid some help. Call Bravehearts or any other child advocacy group.

Don’t let happen to your kids what happened to me. Don’t be the 2/3rds of Australia that would just look the other way. Even if it’s not your kid. It’s your job to protect them. They came to you, they asked for your help. Do the right thing and get them the help they need.

Go to the Bravehearts website to learn more about Breaking the Silence on Child Sexual Assault.


White Balloon Day

White Balloon Day Events

It’s only a few days now till White Balloon Day. Do you have anything planned?

I really wanted to be able to come home to attend some events, but the police asked me to hold off till next year, since they’re still investigating. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get out there and have some fun while raising money for a fantastic cause.

There are events all over Australia. Check out the Event Page on the White Balloon Day website to find something near you. If you can’t find one, you can organize your own event.

There are other ways to Get Involved. Buy a White Balloon, wear white, or just listen to a child who has something to tell you…

There are also Highway Thunder events, and if you’re into something a little more glitzy, there’s a big event for Bravehearts on the 10th, which I really wish I could make it to; The Shine the Light Gala at the Sydney Opera House Marquee.

So go ahead, get involved and make Australia the safest place to raise a child.