AROUND 70 Geelong primary school teachers will get free access to Bravehearts acclaimed online safety program ‘Supporting Hands’, following a community grant from Shell’s Geelong Refinery.
The Shell Employee Community Grants Committee donated $2103.00 to sponsor the training – a two-hour information seminar for adults who want to learn more about child sexual assault and how to respond appropriately when a child discloses.
It will provide general information on child sexual assault, address risk factors and indicators to be aware of in children and aims to address the myths that surround child sexual assault and misperceptions that are commonly held in relation to offenders.
The funding is in addition to Shell’s sponsorship of Bravehearts Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure Show and a Ditto lion cub costume which resulted in 500 children being educated by the personal safety program earlier this year.
Bravehearts Founder and Executive Director Hetty Johnston thanked Shell and commended the dedication of the Geelong education team and the schools and communities that are proactive in educating and protecting kids.
“Keeping children safe is one of the most important things we do as parents, educators, carers and community members and this program has been well supported by Shell and endorsed by schools throughout Geelong,” she said.
In October the program reached its 11,000th Geelong child at St Roberts Newtown Catholic School. The show was first launched in Geelong in October 2011 and has since educated kids in more than 100 schools and kindergartens in the region.
The 40-minute live production is tailored for children aged three to eight that effectively teaches strategies and skills to stay safe in a range of situations from sexual assault to bullying.
The Geelong education team is looking to expand in 2014 following an increase in enquiry from regional areas including Ballarat, Colac and Werribee.
“Bravehearts is equipping children with the knowledge and skills they need to avoid risky situations and the fact that the program has reached more than 11,000 children in two years is testimony to how the Geelong community cares about child safety,” said Ms Johnston.
Shell Geelong Refinery Employee Community Grants Committee chairman, Debbie Williams, said the grants program was aimed at supporting local organisations.
“Bravehearts does excellent work in the community and we are proud to support its education and training programs and share its vision for a safer Australia for generations to come,” said Debbie.
Refinery General Manager, Mark Schubert, said the refinery has funded more than $300,000 worth of projects through this committee since it began in 2006.
“I am proud of the employees’ decision making which results in great community support – including causes such as Bravehearts whose safety focus is very close to our hearts.”
More than 330,000 Australian children have now been educated by Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure Show.
Statistics show one in five Australian children will be sexually assaulted in some way before their 18th birthday – a number Bravehearts aims to halve by 2020 with its vision to make Australia the safest place in the world to raise a child.