Annual Report BRAVEHEARTS 2018/19

Bravehearts acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land and waters on which we work and recognise their continuing connection to land, water and community. We pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging and extend respect to other Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders, and express gratitude that we can all share this land today. We share the sorrow for the costs of that sharing, and hope and believe that we can move together to a place of equity, justice and partnership.

Who we are

Bravehearts is Australia’s leading child protection advocate, working holistically to prevent child sexual assault and exploitation through the provision of personal safety education, therapeutic services, support for survivors, child protection training, lobbying, and research.

Our Vision is to prevent child sexual assault in our society.

Our Mission is to make Australia the safest place in the world to raise a child.

Our Values


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

Alison Geale

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;

  • Research
  • 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!

How we are educating children and young people about personal safety

Empowering children and young people with personal safety skills is essential to preventing the crime of child sexual assault and keeping our kids safe. Bravehearts’ personal safety education programs, spanning pre-school through to secondary, are acclaimed by teachers, parents and children nationwide.

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

Ditto's Keep Safe Adventure Show in action.

Ditto in a Box

To complement Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure Show, Bravehearts has Ditto in a Box - a comprehensive package of teaching resources for the teaching of personal safety to three to eight year-olds. The package includes a detailed teacher’s guide, designed to support and equip educators with the knowledge, tools and capacity to create safe and nurturing environments, particularly in the areas of health, well-being, communication and safety.

This year an Early Years specific Ditto in a Box was developed to cater for three to five year-olds, with over 500 of these resource kits having been sold already.


Accredited by the Office of the eSafety Commissioner, and developed in partnership with Google Australia and the Australian Federal Police, CyberEcho is Bravehearts’ education program for teaching cyber-safety.

Students in the middle to upper primary school years are navigating new and exciting challenges in terms of interpersonal relationships, social responsibility and emerging independence. A very real issue for this age group is online safety.

CyberEcho teaches children aged 8 to 12 about communicating safely and positively online and addresses online bullying, social media, online grooming, privacy, and how to create a positive digital footprint, with ‘What you share will always be there’ as the tag line and central message.

The program incorporates lessons both offline and online in a learning management system that allows for teacher directed, interactive activities and online assessment that is individually managed by the classroom teacher.


The issues of sexual and relationship violence, bullying and resilience are an increasing concern for high school aged young people, making it more important than ever for high schools to incorporate personal safety messages into students’ learning.

Delivered by Bravehearts’ specialist training team in small group workshops, ProjectYou! addresses these issues and more. The program covers topics such as respectful relationships, personal boundaries, consent and confidentiality, cyber-safety (including ‘sexting’ and the law), bullying, and stress management.

This past financial year Bravehearts’ training team delivered ProjectYou! to 1,770 high school students.

“Bullying exists everywhere, it’s a real problem and people suffer from it. You helped me learn how to be safe in our technology-driven world.” - Feedback from a student engaged in projectyou!

How we are supporting survivors and families affected by child sexual assault

Bravehearts’ therapeutic services team helps survivors heal from psychological and emotional trauma caused by child sexual assault. Our holistic approach means we provide counselling to not only survivors, but also their supporting family members, as well as counselling and early intervention for young people engaging in problematic sexual behaviour.

Specialist Counselling

Bravehearts’ specialist counselling is tailored to meet the needs of the individual and their supporting family members. Our services include:

  • Individual counselling for children and non-offending family members.
  • Psychological assessments.

Our face-to-face counselling services are currently only available in South East Queensland, with offices in Springwood, Gold Coast, and Strathpine (also covering Morayfield and Caboolture areas), however our online counselling service is available to eligible clients nationally.

Bravehearts’ clinicians are highly trained and experienced and come from a variety of disciplines including psychology, social work and counselling. They understand the importance of working within a trauma informed framework and utilise a Family Systems and Strengths approach to help all clients and their families heal from their trauma experience.

Our clients include:

  • Children and young people who have experienced or are at risk of experiencing sexual assault.
  • Non-offending family members including parents, partners, siblings and others.
  • Children under 12 engaging in problem sexual behaviour (young people aged 12-17 with harmful sexual behaviour are referred to Bravehearts’ Turning Corners program).
Not only is my child supported, but myself and our family are too. Our counsellor has built a trusting relationship for our child. He loves it. He is strong and happy now.

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.

“I am a client of Bravehearts - they are just a wonderful and caring group of people. I couldn’t have disclosed to the Police if it wasn’t for their support and encouragement.

Bravehearts’ Information and Support Line

Bravehearts’ Information and Support team is often the first point of contact that people have with Bravehearts. The team consists of specially trained staff who play an important role in guiding survivors and their family members, as well as parents and others in crisis who are seeking information or support relating to child sexual assault.

In addition, our team provides information and advice on the National Redress Scheme, provide referrals, complete intake appointments for face-to-face counselling, and make child protection notifications.

In the past financial year, Bravehearts’ Information and Support Line team:

  • answered 7,968 incoming phone calls through our National Information and Support Line;
  • made 7,019 outging contacts (including phone and email contacts);
  • received 963 inquiries about Therapeutic Support; and
  • received 823 inquiries about Case Management (including Redress).

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.

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.

This includes:

  • 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.

Conference Presentations:

  • 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.

I have learnt about people’s safety and personal space also I have learnt different ways to feel confident about myself.

- Excerpt from a letter from a male Turning Corners client, 17 years.

Online Reporting Schemes

Reporting sexual assault to police can be a daunting process for survivors. To help adult survivors of child sexual assault break their silence and aid prevention, Bravehearts offers the Sexual Assault Disclosure Scheme (SADS) - an online reporting tool designed to remove the barriers to reporting historic cases of child sexual assault (paper copies of the forms are available for those who would rather complete a hard copy).

SADS allows survivors to report cases of child sexual assault to the police through Bravehearts, who act as a conduit, allowing the survivor to stay anonymous if they wish. We are then able to offer support in the form of counselling and provide information to police.

Every SADS report is followed up by qualified, specially trained Case Managers. Many reports lead to criminal investigations and some directly lead to the prosecution of the perpetrators.

In the past financial year a total of 126 people participating in SADS submitted information on 66 alleged offenders.

Bravehearts also offers the online reporting tool Join The Dots, designed to empower young people to keep their online space safe. Developed in close consultation with Task Force Argos at the Queensland Police Service and developed with the assistance of the Queensland Family and Child Commission, Join the Dots allows young people to easily report suspicious online behaviour or ‘cyber creeps’.

While there are reporting tools that allow young people to report behaviours such as bullying and the reporting of inappropriate images/child exploitation material, prior to Join the Dots, no specific options existed for young people to anonymously report online behaviours relating to grooming and attempted procurement. Police were therefore missing vital intelligence that may lead to investigations or proactive targeting.

How we are improving Australia’s culture of child protection

Bravehearts’ child protection training courses and risk management service support and nurture a culture of child protection within organisations working with children and young people. By implementing our child safety risk management service, childPROTECT, and working with Ernst & Young on ChildPlace, organisations are empowered to recognise and holistically treat organisational risks associated with child harm. Whilst childPROTECT and ChildPlace tackle child safety at an organisational level, our training courses (delivered via workshops and online) are designed to empower individuals to recognise and respond to issues of child protection.

Child Protection Training

This past financial year, Bravehearts launched a national scale program with Gymnastics Australia - an Australian first initiative that impacted families across the country.

Every coach, judge and club administrator completed mandatory training designed specifically for Gymnastics Australia. The training covered how to recognise the signs of harm and how to respond in circumstances where a child or young person is at risk.

Bravehearts’ personal safety education messages are now embedded in all Gymnastics Australia education programs for coaches and judges, so all officials will be empowered to protect children.

A tailored parent and families guide has also been provided for every family involved in Gymnastics in Australia. The guide provides supportive information for parents to empower their children with vital personal safety messages.

Across every state and territory, the results of this partnership were:

  • 230,000 parent and families guides distributed;
  • 5,500 coaches and officials trained; and
  • 1,675 club administrators trained.

In addition, this past year our holistic child protection training for schools expanded into New Zealand, providing professional development e-learning and webinars for 200 teachers, information sessions for parents and families across 16 locations, and the delivery of ProjectYou! to 1,100 high school students.

Risk Management

We have seen rapid growth in our risk management and advisory services across Australia. This year we launched our partnership with PCYC NSW, beginning with a ChildProtect Organisational Review of their operations across the State. We also commenced our work to provide National Recognised Training for Early Years educators and OOSH (Out of School Hours) care providers.

Alongside this, we continued our ChildPlace program of work with our partners Ernst & Young providing education resources and online learning to G8 education, Australia’s largest provider of Early Years learning with over 500 centres nationally. This partnership will train 11,000 staff and reach 55,000 children each month.

How we are building an evidence-based approach to the prevention of child sexual assault

Bravehearts’ Research Team is focussed on ensuring that responses to the horrific crime of child sexual assault and exploitation are situated within the context of understanding why child sexual assault occurs, what the impacts are and what the evidence-base is when considering best practice as it relates to prevention, intervention programs, policies, practice, and legislation.

The Role of Research

The research team:

  • Supports Bravehearts’ service provision teams (therapeutic, case management, support, education, and training) to ensure the positive impact of our programs, as well as help with their development and growth in line with what evidence tells us works. This past year, our research team has undertaken a major evaluation of our therapeutic services, with the preliminary report due out before the end of 2019.
  • Ensures that Bravehearts’ lobbying is informed by the latest research. As Bravehearts lobbies government across a range of policies, legislation and programs, our research team supports this work through ensuring that we do a systematic review of what is known about a particular issue, how it has been approached elsewhere historically, and what the evidence shows does and doesn’t work.
  • Conducts research and disseminates those findings. This past year the research team has undertaken a number of projects, both independently and with our research partners. Bravehearts was a research partner with the Queensland University of Technology and the University of the West of England on an ANROWS funded evaluation. Our team presented on the findings of the interviews conducted with victims of sexual assault at the Reintegration Puzzle conference and the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abuse conference. Our research team is also undertaking an evaluation of the National Redress Scheme.
  • Ensures that the messaging and the information we share is accurate. For example, working alongside our Community Engagement and Fundraising team, the research team provides current research and statistics to support various campaigns, such as White Balloon Day, and to provide for accuracy and currency in our media and social media commentary.
  • Ensures that the voices of survivors are present in discussions and debate around legislation development and how we as a nation respond to child sexual assault and exploitation. This past year, Bravehearts provided 29 submissions to State, Territory and Federal Inquiries and Reviews. An important aspect of our work, this allows for us to ensure that survivors’ voices, views and experiences are included when government is considering new legislation or policies.
  • Connects with experts in the sector. Our Executive Research Advisory Panel continues to grow with colleagues from across the country and overseas. These connections are critical for us, allowing us to tap into individuals’ expertise and knowledge, and encouraging collaborations that are so important to ensure the currency of our research.

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.

Read Bravehearts' full position paper on Community Notification of Sex Offenders.

How we are raising awareness and funds to prevent child sexual assault

Bravehearts’ awareness and fundraising campaigns help to fund our education and counselling services and research and lobbying work, and contributes towards our Mission of Preventing Child Sexual Assault in our Society by helping to educate the public about issues related to this crime and how it can be prevented.

Million Dollar Mowerman

Bravehearts wishes to thank and celebrate Mr Claude Harvey, known to many as ‘The Mowerman’. Claude has been pushing his lawnmower all over Australia to raise funds and awareness for Bravehearts, and this year has been awarded the Order of Australia Medal for his efforts. Renowned throughout Australia and with a following of admiring fans, Claude draws a crowd in each of the towns he visits as locals pour out onto the streets to see the man himself and his trusty mower.

To date Claude has raised over $1 million dollars for Bravehearts, and in September 2019, will complete his 20th walk.

777 Marathon

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

White Balloon Day

White Balloon Day is Bravehearts’ key awareness and fundraising campaign. Held annually on the first Friday in September during Child Protection Week, White Balloon Day is Australia’s largest campaign dedicated to preventing child sexual assault. 2018’s White Balloon Day marked the campaign’s 22nd year.

Bravehearts was fortunate to be the recipient of a $200,000 grant from the Federal Government’s Department of Social Services, National Initiatives to hold White Balloon Day. This grant was vital in assisting Bravehearts to cover the costs of implementing the campaign on a national level.

The central theme of 2018 White Balloon Day was ‘Help kids find their voice’. The theme stemmed from the messages children wrote into the chalk art murals from 2017’s White Balloon Day - messages such as, “I have a right to feel safe”, “I deserve a childhood”, and “I can say NO!”.

2018’s White Balloon Day campaign focussed on driving community engagement through awareness and fundraising activities such as the Chalk-Art Project and third-party fundraising events.

A major element of this year’s campaign was to increase engagement from parents with our key messages through the resource, Bravehearts’ Personal Safety Parents Guide. The launch of this resource was announced at the start of Child Protection Week and was heavily promoted throughout the program.

White Balloon Day activities saw children, teachers and parents from a variety of school communities mark the day in creative and meaningful ways. School communities also assisted us with promoting the Parent Guide resource to parents. These activities generated important conversations and learning around child protection, and helped the children involved understand their right to feel safe and be protected.

Engagement from government (local, state and federal) increased this year due to our focussed efforts on this target group. Through the use of direct mail, email, and phone calls we saw local councils hold special community events, and Mayors and state and federal MPs promote the campaign messages on their social media platforms, and in parliament by wearing White Balloon Day pins.

As part of White Balloon Day’s fundraising activities, hundreds of participants held events on or around the day, which included Bravehearts’ official White Balloon Day event - a formal Gala held in Brisbane City. The total amount raised for White Balloon Day, including funds raised through events and donations was $140,754.

The total number of registered participants was 1,787, which included those who registered to host a fundraising event, registered to engage in an awareness activity, or downloaded our free Personal Safety Parent resource.

How we are building an inclusive and supportive workplace culture for the benefit of Australian kids

At the heart of Bravehearts are our 75 employees, countless volunteers and students who work tirelessly across multiple sites in South East Queensland, North Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania. We value their contribution and are grateful that our workforce works with integrity, respect, empathy and energy every day to deliver our Vision and Mission. To ensure that we can continue to do our great work we look for ways in which we can support and evolve our organisation and workforce.

Listening to our people

Every year our staff are invited to participate in our annual staff engagement survey. Like previous years, the May 2019 staff survey highlighted the commitment of our staff to Bravehearts’ Mission and how highly connected they are to their roles and to their teams.

This year strong improvements were seen in key drivers of Bravehearts’ staff engagement including leadership, staff communication, cross-unit cooperation, staff involvement in decision making and staff recognition. The improvements are a direct reflection of three cross-functional action groups formed in October 2018, to enhance staff communication, staff involvement and fun and recognition.

The Bravehearts staff conference 2019

A values-based work culture

In 2018/19 we started the journey of more mindfully incorporating Bravehearts’ values into everything that we do; how we recognise staff, how we behave, and how we attract and recruit talent.

Following on from the values work session conducted at the staff conference in February 2019 and heading into the next 12 months we will continue to work on bringing our values to life.

Diversity and inclusion

Bravehearts strives to provide services and support for all Australians. In November 2018, a volunteer Reconcilliation Action Plan (RAP) committee was established with the commitment to expand and improve our services to be more culturally aware and accessible to our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

How we are funding our work

The following provides an overview of Bravehearts’ revenue and expenditure for the financial year ending 30 June 2019. Detailed financial results are available in Bravehearts’ Audited Annual Financial Report, available on our website.

Financial Overview

Bravehearts had an operating deficit of $121,496 for the fiscal year ended 30 June 2019 following the previous year’s deficit of $219,390.

Operating income for the financial year ended 2019 was $6,896,158.

Revenue from services such as counselling, training courses and education programs was constant, year on year, at 21%. Income from community and government grants, fundraising, and donations is where the majority of our funding comes from at a combined 78%.

Expenditure for the year ended 30 June 2019 totalled $7,052,482 of which 18% was spent on operational and administrative costs.

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)

Fundraising Champions

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.

  1. Claude Harvey - $80,657
  2. Department of Human Services - $52,950
  3. Matthew Moore/Telstra Sunnybank - $19,100
  4. Change Angels - $16,000
  5. Belinda Messer (Hats for High Tea) - $15,840
  6. Dan Murphy’s Ballina - $10,117
  7. Frenzel Rhomb - $7,937
  8. Sinead Lynch - $6,509
  9. Grasshopper Soccer - $1,420
  10. World Gym Northlakes - $1,080

How we are championed: Our Patrons and Ambassadors

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.

Our Ambassadors

  • Duncan Armstrong - Olympic Gold Medal Swimmer
  • Amelia Ayris - Actor
  • Robin Bailey - Radio Host/Celebrity
  • Simone Buchanan - Actor
  • Georgie Burg & Burg Family - Survivor/Public Speaker
  • Paul Constable Calcott - Indigenous Artist
  • Kristina Costalos - Channel 10 Journalist
  • Amy Cure - Olympic Cyclist
  • Damian DeMarco - Lobbyist
  • Lisa Gormley - Actor
  • Natalie Gruzlewski - TV Presenter
  • Kelly Humphries - Survivor/Author/Police Officer
  • Jimmy Maher - Ex Cricketer
  • Heidi Middleton - Co creator Sass & Bide
  • Larissa Miller - Olympic Gymnast
  • Margaux Parker - Radio Host/Celebrity
  • Meg Poulter - Managing Director DPG Legal
  • Carla Rodan - Celebrity
  • Edwina Royce - Actor
  • Peta Searle - St Kilda AFLW Senior Coach
  • Nichola Turner - Womens 30’s Surfing Champion

How we are supported: Our National Board

Bravehearts’ National Board is made up of individuals with a vast range of skills and experience. The diverse membership of the Board represents a wide variety of views; however, all Board members share the common goal of sharing their expertise to support the achievement of Bravehearts’ Vision to Make Australia the Safest Place in the World to Raise a Child.

  • Vanessa Garrard - Chair
  • Andrew Hay - Deputy Chair
  • Gemma Cook - Treasurer
  • Jemima Harris BA LLB - Company Secretary
  • Hetty Johnston AM GAICD - Founder and Director
  • Rob Molhoek - Director
  • Scott Chapman - Director

Who we have to thank

Bravehearts is fortunate to have many government partners, as well as dedicated supporters who donate to our appeals, donate their time, and offer us services and products in kind. Without these supporters we simply could not do what we do. Bravehearts and the children and families we help are eternally grateful to these individuals and businesses for sharing our Vision of Making Australia the Safest Place in the World to Raise a Child.


Geelong Education Office Volunteers: Gary Work --- Peter Donald --- Lee Crawford --- Lily Morris --- Bridget Morris --- Brian Schultz --- South East Qld Education Office Volunteers: Moya Hicks --- National Head Office Volunteers: Ann Brealey --- Heather Marny --- Lee Rose --- Gabrielle Radcliff --- Joy Hugh --- Far North Qld Education Office Volunteers: Liana Broccardo --- Doreen Miller --- Jenny Gretch --- Tasmania Education Office Volunteers: Donna Brown --- Case Management Volunteer: Esther Dyer.

Our Government Partners

  • Australian Federal Police
  • Department of Education - Tas
  • Department of Premier and Cabinet Qld
  • Department of Social Services
  • Goulburn Valley Centre Against Sexual Assault (GV CASA)
  • Queensland Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women
  • Queensland Family and Child Commission
  • Queensland Police Service

'ThankShoe' Awards

Bravehearts presents valued supporters each year with a ‘ThankShoe Award’ to acknowledge their contribution to child protection in Australia. Our sincerest thanks to the following businesses, organisations and individuals who have supported Bravehearts in a variety of ways this year.

Platinum Supporters - For the donation of funds and/or goods and services to the value of $100,000 and over: Clayton Utz --- Erica Foundation --- Lachlan & Jocelyn McGillivray --- oOh! Media --- Ord Minnett --- Pharmacy Guild.

Gold Supporters - For the donation of funds and/or goods and services to the value of $50,000 and over: ALH Group Pty Ltd --- Celebrate Health --- Claude Harvey Fundraising Events --- Thyne Reid Foundation --- von Bibra Auto Village.

Silver Supporters - For the donation of funds and/or goods and services to the value of $25,000 and over: Ainsworth4Foundation --- Department of Human Services - ACT --- Department of Justice and Attorney-General - Qld --- Ernst & Young --- G8 Education --- Gambling Community Benefit Fund --- Good 2 Give Community Fund --- Levien Foundation Pty Ltd --- Mazzei Foundation --- Moreton Bay Regional Council --- Myer Stores Community Fund --- Percy Baxter Charitable Trust --- Ruby Communications --- Spell Designs Pty Ltd --- The Advertising Works --- Toll NQX --- Turbo Studio.

Bronze Supporters - For the donation of funds and/or goods and services to the value of $10,000 and over: AFL Cape York --- Belinda Messer --- CC Pines --- Change Angels ---Commonwealth Bank Staff Community Fund - Sydney --- Dan Murphy’s - Ballina --- Department of Human Services --- Esther Dyer --- Social Link --- Give Where You Live --- Geelong Community Fund --- Google Australia Pty Ltd --- Heather Marny --- Insigniature Signs --- Jaylene Stevenson --- Joy Merfield --- Lendlease Indoroopilly --- Lifefitness --- Matthew Moore --- Nova Press --- Queensland Police Service --- Rex Regional Express --- Savannah Trust --- St Matthew’s Care Centre Inc --- Tom Tate --- WPIAS Pty Ltd.

Created By
Zoe Hermans