White Balloon Day


Tuesday September 9th is White Balloon Day

Bravehearts, Australia's largest child protection advocacy group, The Nine Network and Google Australia are proud to announce that they are working together to encourage all Australians to support 'White Balloon Day' by buying special white balloons for September 9.

Now in its eleventh year, White Balloon Day is the signature calendar event for Bravehearts and the most popular event in National Child Protection Week. White Balloon Day's overarching message is to 'Break the Silence on Child Sexual Assault' by raising awareness and by show of balloons, demonstrating community desire for Australian children to be safe.

With the help of supporters including The Nine Network and Google Australia, White Balloon Day is to be celebrated nationally throughout Australia and aided by a national television and online awareness campaign.

With strong focus on education and awareness, the aim is to empower parents with tools to keep their children safe both in everyday situations and online.

Google Australia is a strong supporter of the event and will be helping to raise awareness by providing Google Grants, so that when Internet users search for relevant terms on Google, "Sponsored Links" for White Balloon Day will appear alongside search results. White Balloon Day's website will also make use of a special Google Maps initiative. Google Australia and Bravehearts are committed to deepening their ties for the celebration in subsequent years, by using new media and technologies to educate families about how to stay safe online and raise awareness of the tools that empower families to control their activity online. The Nine partnership includes three Community Service Announcements (CSA), the national one featuring Lisa Wilkinson (Today show).

Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnson says, "We all have a responsibility to do our utmost to protect children. This includes parents, families, the corporate community, government, law enforcement, the church and online organisations. We need to inform and educate via the communication channels children understand and frequent. Today that means vigilant online education, information and protection so our children know how to protect themselves from potential harm. I am delighted both the Nine Network and Google Australia have chosen to work together with

Bravehearts to ensure the White Balloon Day message can reach as many Australians as possible".

Google Australia's Head of Public Policy and Government Affairs, Carolyn Dalton, says, "National initiatives like White Balloon Day are a vital way of raising awareness of child safety issues. We share Bravehearts' belief that new technologies and new media are an important means of educating children and parents. We hope to work together to help parents and kids take advantage of tools that help put them in control of their online experiences and make Web surfing safer."

Continuing on his landmark month long journey, Claude Harvey, 'The Lawnmower Man', continues to mow his way 850 kms from the Gold Coast to Sydney to raise funds and awareness for victims of sexual assault for White Balloon Day. Having left the Gold Coast August 9, Mr Harvey is visiting schools and community clubs down the east coast arriving in Sydney on Bravehearts White Balloon Day. Mr Harvey has raised over $350,000 in the past for Bravehearts and over this month long 'Mowerthon' aims to raise one million dollars. A Google Maps overview of the Lawnmower Man's journey is here.

White Balloons can be purchased at Blockbuster Stores, Coffee Club Stores and from Nutrimetics consultants nationally. Full details can be found at the White Balloon Day website http://www.whiteballoonday.com.au

Child sexual assault is one of the most horrifying and insidious crimes in Australian society. One in five children will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18 - which equates to 50,000 Australian children every year. Most will never tell anyone. Speaking out about this insidious crime will help stop offenders destroying the lives of more innocent children. Bravehearts believes that education and awareness can lead to prevention.

Throughout the Mowerthon local councils, service groups, businesses, pre-schools, day care centres and schools around the country will be coming out to show support and donate to White Balloon Day in an effort to break the silence.

Major White Balloon Day Events

Month long 'Mowerthon' - 63 year old Bravehearts supporter Claude Harvey pushes his lawnmower through towns and cities from the Gold Coast to Sydney. Travelling with the 'Ditto' character, Claude will visit schools, local businesses and talk to the community. Departing the Gold Coast August 9th, Mr Harvey arrives in Sydney on the 9th September 2008 (White Balloon Day). Full details of his itinerary can be found here - come along and support Claude on this extraordinary journey.

White Balloon Day Lunch - Royal on the Park Hotel, QLD - Hosted by Heather Foord taking place Tuesday 9th September 2008. For all details or to get involved click here.

Education Program 'Ditto's Keep Safe Adventure' in action.- Tuesday 9th September - Performance at Joseph's Primary School, Watkin St, Rockdale 10:00am to 10:30am, followed by School Picnic. Bravehearts supporters the NRL Referees will attend.

Highway Thunder - Sunday 14th September - over 500 vehicles travel in convoy down the M1 from Yatala to the Gold Coast with white balloons in support of White Balloon Day.

For further information or to find an event near you, please visit
www.whiteballoonday.com.au / www.bravehearts.org.au