We show due regard for the rights, feelings, needs, opinions and contributions of others, and treat them with consideration, care and concern.
We hold ourselves to consistently high standards, and act in accordance with the values we promote.
We unreservedly apply ourselves using all efforts, power and abilities, in everything we do.
We consider, care about and understand the points of view and feelings of others.
Message from our Founder and Executive Chair
Hetty Johnston AM
It is at this time every year that I reflect on the incredible work of Bravehearts and the achievements we have realised – for the individual children who we have empowered, for the laws and systems we have helped change, and for the nation’s children at large.
I am always so proud and, like our Board and entire team, always eager to do more. This year we have focussed on pushing for the wide-scale implementation of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse recommendations. I was privileged to be appointed as a member of the Royal Commission Reference Group by former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. We travelled the nation listening to and documenting the wishes of survivors in relation to the National Apology and other recommendations.
The historic National Apology was delivered on the 22nd October 2018 and I was privileged to be offered a seat on the floor of parliament next to former Prime Minister Julia Gillard to hear the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Leader of Opposition Bill Shorten deliver their speeches. It was a memorable day and one none of us will ever forget.
Of course, we continue to push for changes to the family law system. My work around the crisis facing our kids in the family courts is close to my heart with stories so shocking and seemingly unbelievable they often threaten to ‘break me’. I am definitely feeling more challenged with the realities of the plight of children and protective parents in our current child protection and family law systems than ever before. It is truly horrendous. Fortunately, we are now talking with the Federal Government and hopefully the future will see us collectively delivering some enduring and powerful solutions.
This year has seen Bravehearts take a quantum leap forward operationally with our new CEO, Alison Geale. For the first time since leaving the role of CEO, I can see Bravehearts thriving and soaring into its very bright future.
As always, I am so very proud of my own family who, collectively have founded this organisation and who still, after 22 years, remain 100% committed. It is with great pride that my husband Ian and daughter Kayleen took on the 777 Challenge for Bravehearts, 7 Marathons across 7 States over 7 consecutive days. It was tough – real tough, but they were determined to raise much needed awareness and donations to help protect the children of Australia. Both spoke publicly for the first time and Kayleen will now continue to ‘break the silence’ with her own voice. I couldn’t be prouder.
Thank you to all of our amazing team and to all those whose help, support and donations have delivered another amazing and life changing year to so many children and families.
Message from our CEO
I’m honoured as CEO to write my first message for Bravehearts’ Annual Report. The past 12 months have many highlights across our unique and important organisation.
Every one of those achievements is centred firmly within the framework of our values. Bravehearts as an organisation places great importance on these values and over the last 12 months the internal focus on Integrity, Respect, Energy, and Empathy have translated to significant outward facing successes.
Ensuring that our people deliver the best practice standard in all we do has meant Bravehearts continues to be operationally fearless as Australia’s leading Child Advocate.
Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure Show’s consistent important message of personal safety is being seen and heard by more children annually than ever before. Come October 2019, our Education Team will be celebrating delivering the Ditto Show to its 1 Millionth child in Australia.
Support from the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women enabled us to establish a Multi-Agency Service Response (MASR) trial housed within our Gold Coast office. The MASR Trial was implemented at Bravehearts to provide wrap around support services for children who have been affected by child sexual assault and their non-offending family members. Feedback from families and the Qld Police Service has further demonstrated this trial has been greatly beneficial for all concerned, and we have been excited about the possibities this brings for families moving forward.
All of us at Bravehearts express our deepest gratitude to all of our supporters, partners, funders, National Board members, Research Advisory Panel, Ambassadors and Volunteers. We couldn’t do any of what we do without you.
Thank you to all those who support Bravehearts and for helping us make Australia the safest place in the world to raise a child.
How we are preventing child sexual assault in our society
The 3 Piers to Prevention - Educate, Empower, Protect - are Bravehearts’ benchmarks for achieving our Mission and Vision. These benchmarks are the culmination of over two decades of intensive research into child sexual assault prevention. The 3 Piers to Prevention guide the work of Bravehearts towards preventing child sexual assault, as well as help us to assess systemic gaps and identify key priorities for lobbying and reform, which are key to our Vision of making Australia the safest place in the world to raise a child.
1. Educate: All children and young people receive evidence-based, age-appropriate personal safety education.
Bravehearts is working towards reaching this benchmark through the provision of;
- Personal safety education programs and resources for children and young people.
- Cyber-safety, sexual safety and respectful relationships programs and resources for children and young people.
Empower: All adults are trained, aware and motivated to protect children, and adequate specialist counselling and support is available to all child and adult survivors of child sexual assault and those who support them.
Bravehearts is working towards reaching this benchmark through the provision of;
- Counselling and support for children and adults who have been affected by child sexual assault, and their family members.
- Early intervention programs for young people engaging in, or at risk of engaging in, harmful sexual behaviours.
- Case management for survivors of child sexual assault.
- Child protection training for those working with and caring for children and young people.
- Risk management for organisations working with children.
Protect: All systems of community and government engage effectively and respond at all times in the best interests of the child.
Bravehearts is working towards reaching this benchmark through the provision of;
- Policy development
- Lobbying and legislative reform
- Reporting schemes
Snapshot of our achievements in 2018/19
116,861 children saw Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure Show nationally in the past financial year.
1,478 Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure live shows were performed this year by Bravehearts’ education teams.
10,700 contact hours were dedicated to counselling children and families affected by child sexual assault in the past financial year.
2,981 specialist counselling sessions were provided to survivors of child sexual assault and their families.
7,968 phone calls were received nationally through Bravehearts’ Information and Support Line.
3,668 contacts were made with adult survivors needing support, including phone, email and face to face.
1,539 hours were dedicated to advocating on behalf of adult survivors.
5,250 people attended one of Bravehearts’ child protection facilitated workshops.
6,237 online training courses in child protection were completed.
1,770 high school students attended Bravehearts' respectful relationships program, ProjectYou!
Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure Show
Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure show is Bravehearts’ personal safety program aimed at children aged three to eight. This interactive, live show, featuring Bravehearts’ mascot ‘Ditto’, teaches children essential personal safety skills and body ownership using age-appropriate language, song and dance.
Ditto and our education facilitators have travelled extensively to educate children about personal safety since 2006, with seven teams servicing Far North, Central and South East Queensland, Northern NSW, Sydney, Victoria and Tasmania.
Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure Show is based on Ditto’s three rules: We all have the right to feel safe with people; It’s ok to say no if you feel unsafe or unsure; and, Nothing is so yucky that you can’t tell someone about it. Children are educated and empowered with strategies to keep safe by listening to their body’s warning signs, learning about bodily autonomy and knowing what to do and who to tell if they feel unsafe or unsure.
Bravehearts’ education teams also empower teachers, parents and carers by providing a common language and useful resources to address this sensitive topic. Historically, education has focussed heavily on stranger-danger. Statistics show however, that the perpetrator is most often known to the child (Bagley, 2000), therefore children need to be taught safety skills beyond stranger-danger.
The education teams are located in Cairns, Ormeau, Arundel, Launceston, Geelong and Shepparton, with the newest addition being the Melbourne team, established with thanks to the generous support of Mazzei Foundation, Celebrate Health and Mitsubishi Australia Ltd.
The local community continues to get behind our team in Geelong and we have been grateful to receive funding from the Geelong Community Foundation, Give Where You Live and Percy Baxter Charitable Trust. These grants have allowed the Geelong Education team to see over 15,000 children this year.
The Shepparton team has continued to expand its reach in partnership with the Goulburn Valley Centre Against Sexual Assault (GVCASA) seeing 7,614 children across five shires.
This year the Tasmanian Government committed to funding Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure Shows until 2022 for all primary school students in the state.
The Cairns team continue to service Far North Queensland, including rural and remote areas. This team is funded by the Department of Social Services. The number of children seen by this team is maximised with the help of supporters including Regional Express Airlines, The Royal Flying Doctor Service, Queensland Police, AFL CapeYork, and Education Queensland.
The Ormeau and Arundel teams currently service SEQ and NSW. These two teams have delivered Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure to 41,286 children including regional trips to Byron Bay, Port Macquarie, Gladstone, Biloela, Chinchilla
Sharing our Knowledge and Expertise
As well as counselling, Bravehearts’ therapeutic services team offer training to other clinicians and assist in the professional development of students.
A three day Masterclass Series was held in June 2019, designed to enhance clinical under-standing of how to support children and their families affected by child sexual assault.
Participants travelled from Canberra, Ipswich, Brisbane City, Victoria Point and the Gold Coast from various forward facing organisations.
Professional disciplines included social workers, counsellors, psychologists, residential workers and guidance counsellors.
Positive aspects highlighted by participants included the sharing of specialist knowledge and expertise of Bravehearts facilitators, and the provision of helpful take-home resources.
Over the past year, Therapeutic Services have supported students who require short term placements as an opportunity to practise the skills required to work effectively in a specialist area such as child sexual assault. These students stem from; The Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors completing Masters in Counselling Degree; Queensland University of Technology completing Masters in Clinical Psychology; and The School of Human Services & Social Work at Griffith University completing the Bachelor of Social Work.
National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse
On 22 October 2018, the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, delivered the National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse at Parliament House in Canberra. The National Apology was a historic acknowledgement of the many wrongs that were inflicted on innocent and vulnerable children by the very people who were supposed to care for them, leaving immeasurable and lasting damage.
Bravehearts was privileged to attend and also host a morning tea at our Gold Coast Head Office to commemorate this historic event. Our Case Management team supported 33 adult survivors from around Australia on the day.
The National Redress Scheme
The National Redress Scheme provides support to people who experienced institutional child sexual abuse. It was created in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which estimated that 60,000 people experienced institutional child sexual abuse in Australia. Redress may be an alternative to seeking compensation through the courts.
The National Redress Scheme started on 1 July 2018 and will run for 10 years. Bravehearts has been funded as a Redress Service provider and our Case Management team continue to support survivors engaging with the scheme.
- acknowledges that many children were sexually abused in Australian institutions;
- holds institutions accountable for this abuse; and
- helps people who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse gain access to counselling and psychological services, a direct personal response, and monetary compensation.
Bravehearts’ Case Management team provides support to survivors and affected family members engaging in the Scheme via face-to-face, telephone, and online e-health sessions.
- providing information about the Scheme;
- assisting clients to complete the Scheme’s application;
- supporting clients through the application and outcomes process;
- assisting clients who receive an offer of redress with warm referrals to the Scheme’s legal support services;
- assisting clients who accept an offer of redress with engaging with the relevant institution for a direct personal response;
- supporting people to access other appropriate services such as legal and financial counselling or other community services;
- counselling support for survivors and affected family members engaging with the scheme; and
- information and referrals with established collaborative referral pathways.
This financial year Bravehearts’ Case Management team:
- spent 1,539 hours advocating on behalf of adult survivors;
- made 3,668 total contacts with adult survivors (including phone, email, web, off-site, letter and in-person contacts);
- supported 210 institutional survivors;
- assisted over 100 clients to complete Redress Applications.
Multi-Agency Service Response Trial
The Bravehearts Multi-Agency Service Response trial began in November 2018 and is funded by Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women until 31st December 2019.
The trial program provides a wraparound support service for children and their families who have been affected by child sexual assault. Our child and family advocates act as an anchor for the clients and helps navigate them through the support options to help meet their individual and family needs. The advocate’s role includes supporting children and families when reporting to Police, liaising with Police about case status and providing families with a warm referral option into other support such as counselling, housing, Domestic Violence services and Centrelink.
Our advocates understand the psychological, emotional and social impacts this crime has on children and their families, so we walk beside them until they have built strength and resilience to transition through this experience.
From November 2018 to July 2019, our Multi-Agency Service Response trial has seen:
- 93 clients referred;
- 48 referrals made from Queensland Police;
- 25 families supported;
- 55 individuals supported;
- 8 indigenous clients supported;
- 3 CALD clients supported;
- 4 Forensic Interviews conducted in the Bravehearts forensic interviewing room; and
- 2 children and their families supported at police stations at Logan and Coomera.
The trial will run until 31 December 2019.
Turning Corners Program
Turning Corners is Bravehearts early intervention program developed in 2016 specifically for young people aged 12 to 17 who have engaged in, or are at risk of engaging in, harmful sexual behaviours.
Turning Corners is built on the understanding that young people engage in harmful sexual behaviours for a wide variety of reasons and as a result of many different influences on their lives. Treatment involves drawing on the strengths of the client and has a strong focus on improved outcomes for the client, their family and the community.
We also provide an outreach and support model and have successfully delivered services to young people within their school, Out of Home Care, and Youth Justice facilities.
As an early intervention program, referrals to Turning Corners can be made by a parent, caregiver, health provider, school counsellor, or self-referal, Not for Profit organisations, Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women, and Youth Justice.
The Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women funded an evaluation study of the program, which was completed by Dr Nadine McKillop (University of the Sunshine Coast). Dr McKillop’s findings were very positive and highlighted the positive cost benefits of this program.
Due to the specialist knowledge and skills of the staff involved in this program, we have seen a growth in requests for training. During the 2018/19 financial year we have delivered a range of training sessions to Government and non-governmemnt organisations, and to a wide variety of professions, including school counsellors, Out of Home Care providers, and health professionals.
- Presented at Taskforce Argos Youth and Technology Conference 2018 (Gold Coast).
- Presented at Child Protection Week 2018 for Qld Health on the Gold Coast.
- Participated in 2018 ANZATSA Youth Roundtable in Sydney.
- Presented at Peakcare Child Protection Conference 2019.
The program is currently supported by philanthropic donations and grants.
Research in Action: Community Notification Laws
At the end of 2018, the Federal Government released a discussion paper seeking comments and feedback on a proposed national, publicly available, child sex offender register.
On the face of it, this would seem a viable proposal and surely something Bravehearts would support. We know so often, offenders are released despite concerns about their ongoing risk to children, young people, and the community more broadly. Why wouldn’t Bravehearts support a publicly available list that shared information and the location of sex offenders?
Bravehearts had been looking into the issue of community notification laws for many years. We understand the frustrations and fears felt by communities when our courts release sex offenders. However the evidence, from around 25 years of international experience with these laws, is that these laws are the least best option in terms of effectively protecting our children.
There are many reasons why such laws do not work, for Bravehearts the three top concerns are that (1) these laws provide a false sense of security (most sex offenders are already known to the child and family, and will never appear on a register); (2) evidence from overseas has shown that where offenders details and location are made public, offenders are less likely to register and more likely to disappear and go underground; and (3) there is no evidence that these laws deter offenders from reoffending.
The goal must be to protect against offenders committing offences against children and young people, and our research shows that we require a holistic approach that encompasses:
- The strengthening of continued detention legislation to ensure that offenders who are assessed as an unacceptable risk of reoffending remain incarcerated until such time as the risk is considered able to be managed.
- Strengthening of existing inter-jurisdictional and ‘multi-agency’ relationships for the monitoring of sex offenders post release.
- Increased public awareness of safety and protective skills, specifically programs that build resiliency and empower children with the knowledge on how to keep safe.
- Improved access to rehabilitation programs, both within and outside of custodial settings.
- A focus on providing support to address factors associated with the risk of reoffending.
- Identifying and providing prevention and early intervention programs with sex offenders.
- The need to address harmful sexualised behaviours in children and young people.
Bravehearts’ 777 is an epic physical and fundraising feat. Comprised of seven, 42.2 kilometre marathons run in seven states over seven consecutive days, 777 is a unique event in both the running and charity worlds. Two categories of participants join in the event each year - national participants and state participants.
National participants travel together over the seven days and run in all seven marathons. They are also required to fundraise $10,000 each for Bravehearts. This year we had 22 national participants (more than double the previous year) join in the event and raise funds for child sexual assault prevention.
State participants join in only one of the seven marathons (usually the one in their home state) and fundraise on a smaller scale. This year we had 543 state participants join in the event. Again, this is double the number of participation from the previous year.
777 Marathon 2019 raised $389,053 for the prevention of child sexual assault and generated an invaluable amount of awareness through media coverage.
Our sincerest thanks to our national runners whose resilience and dedication was an inspiration to the entire Bravehearts team.
Our 2019 777 national participants were:
- Abbey Gordon
- Chris Glacken
- Conor Quinn
- Dani McLaren
- David Nguyen
- Emilie Chiller
- Fenix Versace Maiorana
- Fiona Hilder
- Greta Duke
- Ian Johnston
- Jenny Beveridge
- Jess Peil
- Katherine Odgers
- Kayleen Johnston
- Kerry Fitzgibbon
- Oliver Page
- Paul Wright
- Peter Mahoney
- Ranjit (RJ) Singh-Dosanjh
- Stephanie Hopkinson
- Steven Rice
- Trent Hardcastle
Grants, Philanthropy and Government Funding
Bravehearts acknowledges the funding received this financial year from the following grants and philanthropists:
- ALH Group Pty Ltd - $50,000 Abbey’s Project
- Cairns Regional Council - $3,750 Computer Upgrade (Cairns)
- Mazzei Employment Services Pty Ltd - $40,000 Ditto program (Melbourne)
- Department of Child Safety, Youth & Women - $365,000 Multi Agency Service Response Trial
- Department of Child Safety, Youth & Women - $962,802 South East Queensland Therapeutic Services
- Department of Child Safety, Youth & Women - $249,264 Strathpine Therapeutic Services
- Department of Education Tasmania - $200,000 Ditto program (Tasmania)
- Department of Social Services - $264,171 Ditto program (Cairns)
- Department of Social Services - $429,005 Redress Services
- Department of Social Services - $429,005 Royal Commission
- Department of Social Services - $200,000 White Balloon Day
- Erica Foundation - (Undisclosed amount) Turning Corners program
- FAGG Family - $5,000 Geelong services
- Flavour Makers - $40,000 Ditto program (Melbourne)
- Gambling Community Benefit Fund - $35,000 Purchase of motor vehicle
- Geelong Community Foundation - $5,000 Ditto program (Geelong)
- Give Where You Live - $10,000 Ditto program (Geelong)
- Google Australia Pty Ltd - $12,000 Travel Funds
- Harcourts International Ltd - $5,396 Solar instillation (Arundel)
- Launceston City Council - $3,750 Ditto program (Tasmania)
- Mitsubishi - $3,000 Ditto program (Melbourne)
- Myer Stores Community Fund - $25,000 Turning Corners program
- Percy Baxter Charitable Trust - $45,000 Ditto program (Geelong)
- Pharmacy Guild - $100,000 to support the provision of Therapeutic and Support Services
- Savannah Trust - $10,000 Special Projects
- Thyne Reid Foundation (Undisclosed amount) Turning Corners program
- Victims Assist – Brisbane - $30,470 Allied Health Professional Training (Toowoomba, Mackay and Rockhampton)
Third-party fundraising events are held throughout the year by individuals, businesses and organisations committed to protecting Australian kids.
Below is a list of our top 10 fundraising champions from the past financial year.
- Claude Harvey - $80,657
- Department of Human Services - $52,950
- Matthew Moore/Telstra Sunnybank - $19,100
- Change Angels - $16,000
- Belinda Messer (Hats for High Tea) - $15,840
- Dan Murphy’s Ballina - $10,117
- Frenzel Rhomb - $7,937
- Sinead Lynch - $6,509
- Grasshopper Soccer - $1,420
- World Gym Northlakes - $1,080
Paul de Jersey AC - Patron in Chief
His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, Governor of Queensland, was appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1985 and was the Commercial Causes Judge from 1986 to 1989.
He was the judge constituting the Mental Health Tribunal between 1994 and 1996, President of the Queensland Industrial Court between 1996 and 1997 and was also the chairman of the Law Reform Commission of Queensland during the same period.
He was appointed Chief Justice of Queensland on 17 February 1998.
Karl Morris AO - National Vice Patron
Karl Morris is Executive Chairman of Ord Minnett Ltd whose career spans over 30 years in financial services and wealth management.
Karl is Chairman of QSuper, the Brisbane Broncos, and the Mary MacKillop Brisbane Catholic School Access Fund, Director of RACQ, and Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation, Board Member of JP Morgan Australia Advisory Council, the Financial Sector Advisory Council, and the Archdiocese of Brisbane Catholic Foundation, and Governor of the University of Notre Dame.
Bob Atkinson AO APM - Ambassador in Chief
Commissioner Atkinson is the Former Commissioner for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, former Commissioner of Queensland Police Service for 12 years and served in the Queensland Police Service for 44 years, including as a detective for 20 years.
Commissioner Atkinson acted as the police prosecutor in various Magistrates Courts during this period. He oversaw reforms after the Fitzgerald inquiry from 1990 as well as the Public Sector Management Commission Review and Report Recommendations of the Queensland Police Service in 1993.