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$15,000 sponsorship prioritises children’s personal safety

The Lottery Office is sponsoring Braveheart’s “Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure Program” in Victoria, which aims to prevent sexual assault by educating young children on personal safety.

The sponsorship will see 800-1200 children educated in personal safety, equipping children and their guardians with skills in identifying inappropriate behaviour and reporting it.

The $15,000 sponsorship includes a parent information session for each school, a live incursion program for prep to year 3 students, and an activity book for each student.

The program stars Bravehearts’ loveable lion cub, “Ditto”, alongside a specially trained presenter, who deliver a fun, interactive live show educating children on personal safety skills with age-appropriate language, song, and dance.

Bravehearts’ mission is to prevent child sexual assault and exploitation, aiming to make Australia the safest place in the world to raise a child. Their Ditto program has been delivered to children since 2006 and was one of the first programs in Australia to focus on educating children in a safe and appropriate way about sexual assault.

The Lottery Office CEO Jaclyn Wood said COVID-19 lockdowns have made it more important than ever to teach families about identifying inappropriate behaviour.

“It is devastating to hear that research tells us approximately 1 in 5 children will experience child sexual assault or exploitation (Mills, Kisely, Alati, Strathearn, & Najman, 2016), and with lockdown children are more vulnerable”. (E.g. potentially being isolated from safe people in their lives, or being more vulnerable to online grooming).”Ms Wood said.

“By empowering children with personal safety skills and training adults in child safety, Bravehearts is nurturing a child-safe culture.”

An independent evaluation of the Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure Program suggested the principles of personal safety it promotes through the program can increase resilience, reduce the risk of child sexual assault, and reduce other forms of abuse such as family violence and bullying.

For more information on the program and other initiatives, The Lottery Office suggests visiting Braveheart’s website at https://bravehearts.org.au.