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Not All Heroes Wear Capes

Not all heroes wear capes: Why Child Protection is everyone’s business

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By the time it takes you to read this, there will be at least 2 reports of child abuse received by Australian Child Protection Authorities.

Every year, a total of 300,000 reports are made with 10,000 children being placed into out-of-home care.

Over 50% of these children not even 5 years old yet.

A child under the age of 12 months old is more likely to suffer abuse or neglect.

1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys fall victim to sexual abuse before they reach their 18th birthday.

When you read statistics like this, I can imagine you would be feeling things like shock, sadness and anger. Possible thoughts running through your mind are likely:

‘What on earth is being done about this?’;

‘How can this continue to happen?’ and the one we all dread,

‘What if this was my child?’

At YMCA Brisbane, we treat matters of Child Protection and our role in Safeguarding Children with the highest importance. YMCA Brisbane has been accredited with the Australian Childhood Foundation (ACF) through their Safeguarding Children Program since 2014. Prior to this, we held accreditation with ACCYO(Australian Council for Children and Youth Organisations) from 2008 until they merged with the ACF and the Safeguarding Children program commenced. Our defining factors and mission for The Safeguarding Children Program reads as below:

A unique voluntary accreditation scheme for organisations who have a duty of care to children and young people, whilst delivering a service or activity to them and/or their families. It systematically builds the capacity of organisations to keep children and young people safe from abuse and exploitation by staff, volunteers or other relevant related individuals’.

Our accreditation requires renewal every 3 years and is contingent upon our success in passing stringent auditing of our Policy, Procedures and Practices which is undertaken prior to the end of the 3 year term.  

All employees of the YMCA Brisbane complete ACF induction training dedicated to educating our staff on pressing matters related to the Child Protection cause. These include:

  • Child Abuse
  • Perpetrators of Sexual Abuse
  • Creating Safer Organisations
  • Recruitment and Screening Practices
  • Child Abuse Reports and Allegations

We also complete refresher training annually to ensure our knowledge of these areas remains concrete, including the task of keeping our reporting obligations and specific YMCA processes remain at the forefront of our minds.

In January 2018 a dedicated Child Protection Advisor was appointed and commenced with YMCA Brisbane. This was organised to ensure that as an organisation we are consistently using best practice, and to support staff in their responsibilities of safety toward keeping children and young people affiliated with the YMCA. At YMCA we believe it is our responsibility to keep children and young people safe and ensure that child safe practices are embedded throughout our policies, procedures and practices, including our staff code of conduct.

For further information about what you as a parent (or your children) can expect from us as well as our commitment to you, please find available on our website our Safeguarding Children Policies.

At this point, we hope that you find peace of mind and comfort in our accreditation, as well as our policy, processes and practices. However, we want you to know that it doesn’t stop here. It is your job as parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, god parents and citizens of the world to keep questioning, stay vigilant and to uphold our critical value:

See something, Say something’.

 It doesn’t take a cape and a mask to be a hero when it comes to Child Protection. It doesn’t take a degree in Social Work, 20 years working with families or even being a parent. It is everyone’s responsibility to understand the signs, to stay vigilant and to know who to talk to, even if something ‘just doesn’t feel right’. There are children out there relying on us to notice, to hear and to talk about matters of child protection.

Below are some links to fantastic resources to help you educate yourself on the signs of child abuse, who to go to for further information or advice, and the contact information for our Child Protection Advisor, Courtney Rohan.

If this post has raised any issues for you, please contact Lifelineon 13 11 14.

Contact Information

Courtney Rohan: Child Protection Advisor, YMCA Brisbane
(07) 3253 1700
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Helpful links

https://familychildconnect.org.au/
https://www.communities.qld.gov.au/childsafety/protecting-children
https://bravehearts.org.au/
https://www.childhood.org.au/
https://www.oneplace.org.au/
https://napcan.org.au/

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The Y OSHC Day Trip to Aussie World

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On December 20th, the YMCA Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) organised a super fun day at Aussie World on the Sunshine Coast, making happy memories for 1535 kids. This event brought together 32 OSHC services and showed how committed YMCA is to giving children enjoyable and educational vacation experiences.

Sharon, who manages one of the YMCA OSHC centres, shared her excitement, saying, "We love giving kids a great vacation care experience. This special day at Aussie World shows how dedicated we are to creating lasting memories for the kids we take care of." The day not only made a big impact on the kids but also received heartfelt thanks from parents. Naomi, one of the parents, praised Sharon, saying, "You've made a safe and welcoming space for all kids and families. The service feels like an extended family."

Lachie, Naomi's son, echoed the sentiment, expressing his gratitude with a simple yet heartfelt, "Thank you for a fun day. I had a great time. My favorite part of the day was all the rides and, of course, the slurpee."

Naomi's message resonated with the broader sentiment shared by many parents who appreciate the inclusive and organised approach of YMCA OSHC.

Sharon, reflecting on the success of the day, said, "It's not just about the activities; it's about creating a sense of comfort, belonging, and community for the children. We want them to take responsibility for their experiences at OSHC and grow in body, mind, and spirit."

The YMCA OSHC program, offered in 58 state and private schools in South East Queensland, is known for its commitment to providing care for primary school children. The program offers a variety of activities, including cooking, sports, music, art, dance, and more.

As part of the YMCA Queensland, a trusted not-for-profit organisation with over 159 years of experience, YMCA OSHC focuses on quality care programs that align with YMCA's mission of fostering growth in body, mind, and spirit.

Learn more about our OSHC services and programs, and find the nearest YMCA OSHC near you here - YMCA OSHC

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The Y’s Response to the Australian Human Rights Commission

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Yesterday, 3rd May 2021, the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) released a report publishing its key findings and presenting 12 recommendations for an extensive culture change for gymnastics in Australia. The Y fully supports these 12 recommendations and the adoption of the recommendations to ensure that gymnastics in Australia is a safe and inclusive sport for all children and young people.

Along with Gymnastics Australia, we also thank the athletes and other community members who engaged in the review process and acknowledge their bravery in doing so.

You can view Gymnastics Australia’s statement on the published report here.

The YMCA in Australia is committed to ensuring that all children and young people can feel safe and be safe at the Y, in their families and in their communities. To achieve this vision, we have implemented a safeguarding framework that holds the Y to the highest possible standards in keeping children and young people safe. Our Framework has children and young people at the forefront and incorporates the 10 National Child Safe Principles, child safety legislative requirements and international best practice.

National Office Contacts
(Communications)
Di McDonald – 0412 858 556
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(Safeguarding)
Phil Doorgachurn – 0401 515 850
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Y Springfield Lakes Community Centre Hosts Carnival Fun Day

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In a vibrant celebration of community spirit, the YMCA Springfield Lakes Community Centre organised a Carnival Fun Day on January 18th as part of their ongoing January School Holiday Program. The event, held between 10 am and 12 pm, offered a range of lively and engaging carnival-themed activities for families to enjoy.

The festivities included a Balloon Dome powered by Elevated Excitement, Balloon Twisting creations by Lisa Luvs Pink n Sparkles, Carnival Mask Crafts, Hula Hooping, Skipping & Juggling, Bubbles & Parachute, and the simple joy of Popcorn!

Parents and kids had a great time together, building a strong sense of community and togetherness at the event.

Reflecting on the success of the Carnival Fun Day, Jennifer Cutting, YMCA Springfield Lakes Program Officer and Event Coordinator, expressed, “Carnival Fun Day was a huge success for our January School Holiday Program. Bringing together our community and building partnerships with local vendors was the highlight of this success. With bright colors and carnival-themed activities, the day was full of joy and excitement for everyone involved.”

The event wouldn't have been possible without the support of Elevated Excitement for the amazing Balloon Dome, Lisa Luvs Pink n Sparkles for their unique Balloon Twisting creations, and the backing of Springfield Rise & Springfield Lakes.

The YMCA Springfield Lakes Community Centre serves as a hub for the Greater Springfield community to meet, celebrate, learn, and connect. The center hosts various activities and events, and visitors can stay updated by checking their programs and events.

Additionally, the center offers a Free Internet Café, open Monday to Friday during office hours, providing desktops, WiFi, and printing for just 10 cents per sheet. The Community Café, run by dedicated volunteers, is another highlight of the center. It's a thriving space available for venue hire, catering to child care events, meetings, consultations, and community groups, with the added benefit of supporting social impact initiatives.

For more information on upcoming activities and events, visit the YMCA Springfield Lakes Community Centre's Facebook page. The center provides a range of activities for mothers, mothers with babies, young children, and the wider community throughout the week, Monday to Sunday.

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YMCA Campaign Aims to Get Every Child Swimming In Safety

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On 1st November 2012, a new national TV campaign from the YMCA, in partnership with the SBS Foundation, called for all Australians to learn to swim as annual drowning rates continue at alarming levels.

The 30-second campaign launched on SBS in an attempt to raise awareness about the importance of learning to swim to save lives among our nation’s most “at risk” communities, namely our Indigenous population and new migrants, many of whom have not grown up around open water. These communities are also more likely to be faced with financial and geographic barriers to learning to swim, barriers that need to be broken, according to the YMCA.

The YMCA’s plea – that it’s never too early or too late to learn, swimming is a skill for all ages, genders and ethnicities – echoes that of Royal Life Saving Society Australia which is currently calling for swimming lessons to be compulsory for all school children. However, the YMCA believes the need for swimming lessons extends a lot further than among children, with 205 of the 284 drowning deaths in Australia in the year to June 2012 aged 25 and over.

What’s more, Indigenous Australians are over three times more likely to drown than other Australians.

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YMCA Mobilises Millions to Break Basketball World Record

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Millions of people were mobilised on Saturday 13th October, for the YMCA World Challenge 2012 Hoop Springs Eternal - a coordinated celebration of the YMCA and the work it does to build strong communities and empower young people.

YMCA events took place in thousands of local communities across five continents and included a global basketball shoot-out. Invented in a YMCA in 1890, basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world and has been used as a tool to empower people and promote a healthy life style.

To celebrate, local YMCAs hosted free events for the whole family. The YMCA at Bowen Hills and Redlands hosted free family fun days from 8am.

Local residents were invited to visit the two centres – for free group fitness classes, free gym workouts, and for the kids – a free gymnastics class.

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