“Know When to Say No” is AdSafe’s slogan as part of National Child Protection Week (NCPW) this year, a prevention-focused message aimed at empowering children and vulnerable adults to protect their own bodies.
AdSafe are distributing posters and resources to local Seventh-day Adventist churches across Australia and New Zealand in order to make their services more accessible and publicly known—particularly among children. They are also running a “Creative Skills Competition” for primary and high school students.
“Many children are unaware of the difference between good and bad touch,” says AdSafe Safeguarding Services manager Dahlene Bennett. “Child protection week allows all our church entities to unite with the single message to empower children and teach when to say no.”
Intentionally established as an independent body of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, AdSafe is responsible for creating safer environments for children and vulnerable adults in the Church by developing appropriate guidelines and policies, providing redress to victims, and increasing public awareness about the realities of institutional abuse.
“It is believed that five out of six incidents go unreported. As a church, let’s unite and take up the challenge to ensure that our church is not part of this statistic,” says Mrs Bennett.
Following the National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse by Australian prime minister Scott Morrison in October last year, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is working harder than ever to acknowledge and provide redress to victims of institutional abuse.
“As a Church we must all work together to ensure zero tolerance for any form of physical, emotional or sexual abuse. We commit to taking all steps necessary to prevent [this] happening in our churches, schools, institutions, social environments or in our homes,” said South Pacific Division president Pastor Glenn Townend and Australian Union Conference president Pastor Jorge Munoz in a joint statement.
“We as a Church need to let our children know that we see them as precious gifts from God, and to encourage them to speak up and know when to say no . . . and most importantly to know that they will be believed,” says Mrs Bennett.
NCPW was established by the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) and falls on September 1-7 in Australia this year.
AdSafe’s Creative Skills Competition is open to primary and high school students, with great prizes up for grabs. Entries close September 30. Please visit their website for more details.
If you would like to make contact with a member of the AdSAFE team for support, advice or to make a report, please call: 1800 220 468 (Australia) or 0800 442 458 (New Zealand). For more information go to: adsafe.org.au.