CHILD SAFETY: One in five children are subject to sexual abuse in Australia before their 18th birthday.
CHILD SAFETY: One in five children are subject to sexual abuse in Australia before their 18th birthday. fiorigianluigi

Care centre tackles child sexual abuse threat

ONE in five children are subject to sexual abuse in Australia before their 18th birthday - a chilling statistic Bravehearts' White Balloon day aims to reduce.

Bundaberg Early Learning Centre last week pushed for education and awareness of child sexual abuse by showcasing protective techniques used to give kids the tools to take charge of their bodies.

Early childhood educator Daphne Longford said the statistics were a grim reality, but teaching protective measures at a young age may help.

"It is incredibly heartbreaking, one in five is the number (of cases of abuse), and generally the average age is eight or nine,” Ms Longford said.

"This week we have been focusing more on specific aspects of protective behaviours, including the accurate naming of body parts, consent, safe versus unsafe, feelings and identifying trusted adults.

"All we can do is educate them and empower them.”

The early learning centre focused on teaching kids protective techniques to learn what is and isn't appropriate behaviour from people.

Ms Longford said the lessons can be a difficult topic, but the children were grasping topics well and showing awareness.

"It is often a discussion some people may be uncomfortable with, but it is always done at a very developmentally appropriate level,” she said.

"We always employ protective behaviours with the children every day but child protection week has given us the opportunity to learn a bit more about those protective behaviours.”

Ms Longford stressed that children could sometimes be at risk of abuse even from people they know and trust.

"Unfortunately, it is very rarely strangers that abuse our children, it is often someone the children know, so emphasising that even if its someone they know or care about, certain touches are just not okay,”

"We give them permission to yell, kick and scream and do whatever it is they need to do when they feel unsafe, and go to someone they trust.

"It's about educating them, empowering them and knowing that they're in charge of their own bodies and they can protect themselves as well.”



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