Children's charity launches week to promote safety and wellbeing –

A children’s charity is launching a week dedicated to the protection of New Zealand’s tamariki.
Safeguarding Children has planned Child Protection Week from September 5-11 to coincide with its 10th birthday.
The week’s purpose is to raise awareness of the part organisations and adults play in protecting children and young people from abuse and neglect.
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Safeguarding Children CEO Willow Duffy said she would be calling on supporters of the charity to go onto its website next week and look at activities they could do to promote children’s wellbeing.
Options included surveys, a competition for 10 free webinar sessions, and social media banners promoting child safety.
The Nelson-based charity wanted to break down barriers around the protection of children.
“We’re making sure we have systems and processes and the skills to recognise and respond to child abuse.”
Lockdown was often a stressful time for children, Duffy said, as some children were even more vulnerable at home.
“For children in a home environment where there is abuse, they’re unable to get away, there’s no school, no out and about.
“Don’t just ignore it. The risk to children increases during lockdown.”
Police and social services should be alerted if people were concerned about a child’s welfare during lockdown.
Duffy is a registered nurse who moved to Nelson from Britain. Safeguarding Children started when Duffy, two of her colleagues, and a detective in Nelson recognised gaps in knowledge and training for people working with children in New Zealand.
“We’ve trained over 23,500 members of the workforce. We’re one of the leading providers of child protection in the country. It’s a real success story for Nelson.
“We want to ensure the standards people expect for their own children are now in place to protect every child in Aotearoa.”
A goal of Safeguarding Children was to have the government make changes to the Children’s Act (2014). Duffy said the act did not include police vetting of volunteers, which could provide a loophole that people wanting to harm children could slip through.
She listed Sport NZ as an organisation that had made a real commitment to police vetting volunteers.
“Parents, they trust these organisations and groups, and they trust safety measures are in place. Organisations are doing the best they can, but sadly the legislation is letting parents down.
“What we’re calling for is a whole review of the Children’s Act and how it applies to volunteers.”
Nelson MP Rachel Boyack said that before she became a member of Parliament, she worked closely with Safeguarding Children in her role with the Anglican Diocese of Nelson.
Boyack thought Child Protection Week was an exciting initiative, as it helped spread awareness of the role all adults played in keeping children and young people safe from harm, including how to report information to the authorities.
“It’s a really important message, that you may be the person who has a critical piece of info to keep a child safe.”
Child Protection Week will run from September 5-11. You can take part on the charity’s website.
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