National Child Protection Week

National Child Protection Week runs from 3 – 9 September this year and has the aim of promoting a safe and supported life for every child, now and into the future. In 2023, the National Child Protection Week message that 'Every child in every community needs a fair go' will be complemented with the theme 'Where we start matters'.

The term 'Where we start matters' refers to where we live, the resources available to us, and the opportunities presented to us that make a significant difference to our life outcomes.

"All children should have the opportunity to feel safe and loved, regardless of their personal situation, location or home situation." CatholicCare's Children & Youth Services Executive Manager, Michelle Ferrara said.

"Listening to the voices of children and taking action to keep children safe is of the utmost importance to us as a service." she continued.

To elevate children's voices on how they feel safe, protected and loved, we spoke to some students who attend CatholicCare's Out of School Hours Care at St Brigid's. Check out the videos below to hear their responses.

From these videos, it is evident that the people who make a child feel safe isn't just their immediate family and close friends, but rather their whole community.

"Everyone works together in the community in raising children and watching out for children is a community effort," Michelle said.

"It takes a village to raise a child and we always go back to that message." Michelle said.

There is a Community Jigsaw analogy that is used during National Child Protection Week to graphically represent and explain the elements that children identify as central to a positive community. The Community Jigsaw is based on research conducted by Dr Sharon Bessell, where during the research, a 9-year-old girl pointed out that "A community is like a puzzle, you need to have all the bits to make it work".

"When all the pieces are in place, a community is strong and supportive of children. The more pieces that are removed, the less supportive the community is for children. In some cases, so many pieces are missing that the jigsaw falls apart." NAPCAN discusses.

CatholicCare aims to support to families and their children by providing the missing pieces in their Community Jigsaw through our services. This includes through parenting groups, Early Learning Centre & Out of School Hour Care, Foster Care and Children's Contact Services.

"Every child should have the opportunity to grow up in a safe and supporting community where they are loved and cared for. This week is an opportunity for everyone to get behind that message of 'every child'," Michelle said.

Download a National Child Protection Week Activity Booklet here