National Child Protection Week, now in its 27th year, has a strong focus on raising community awareness through inviting all to ‘play their part’ to support and encourage the safety and wellbeing of children and young people.
“Protecting children is everyone’s business,” said Teresa Lynch, director of the Adelaide Archdiocese’s Child Protection Unit (CPU).
“Current research into prevention informs us that strong cohesion in a community has a protective effect for children as we are more likely to identify and respond to the signs and indicators of child abuse and neglect.”
Over the past four years, the CPU has continued to grow and develop its resources to build upon the theme ‘Stronger Communities, Safer Children’. This year the national Child Protection Sunday theme of ‘See Me, Hear Me’ was promoted through the CPU and embraced by many parishes.
“The voice and presence of children and young people is a key focus of the Safe Environments for All program and this year we saw some wonderful examples of children and young people,” Ms Lynch said.
She cited examples such as the Adelaide Hills parish which ran an art competition through St Catherine’s School with the artwork displayed at Mass and winners presented with certificates by Fr Fred Farrugia. The school students also created a special altar cover and balloons were distributed.
At Blackwood parish, the Mass included child friendly music, the lighting of a child protection candle and participation of children in the entrance procession and prayers of the faithful.
Albert Park parish handed out 40 goodie bags comprising a prayer card of the guardian angel, St Christopher medal, colouring-in image, pencil, fancy rubber and white balloon.
“Communities where children are seen and heard, where their participation is valued, and where their families can get the support they need, are stronger communities that help to keep children safe and well,” Ms Lynch said.
“Child Protection Sunday is a time to remind families that it’s okay to ask for help; we all need to support each other if we are to create a brighter future for children.”
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