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Now in its 18th year, the 2022 Day for Daniel theme is Brave Conversations, reinforcing the responsibility of adults to keep kids safe by talking to them about personal safety.
More than 6,100 schools and early learning centres, plus hundreds more businesses and individuals across Australia, will take part in the national day of action.
Bruce and Denise Morcombe say this year, they want adults to be brave and bold when talking to kids about personal safety.
Schools and early learning centres across the country will take part in Australia’s Biggest Child Safety Lesson which focuses on ‘boundaries and body parts’, removing secrecy and stigma and teaching children about body ownership.
“At the start of the year, we challenged ourselves to be braver and bolder in our approach to child safety education. I am proud to say we have been,” Bruce says.
“We created resources that used the correct anatomical names of all our body parts, including private body parts.
“We thought it was no longer acceptable for us to tip-toe around what needs to be taught.
“And guess what – Australia showed it was ready and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.”
Denise says Day for Daniel continues to reinforce that child abuse is never a child’s fault.
“If you do come forward, you will be believed and you will be protected,” she says.
The Foundation’s surveys indicate about six per cent of schools and early learning centres that participate in Day for Daniel see a student come forward to report child abuse.
When the Foundation live-streamed Australia’s Biggest Child Safety Lesson during September’s Child Protection Week, that figure jumped to eight per cent.
“If this eight per cent trend is repeated today, this will see 500 children come forward almost at the same time and report some form of abuse,” Bruce says.
“That number is difficult for any of us to process.
“But that is the very point of what Day for Daniel stands for.”
The Foundation wants to change this culture of silence by educating kids on their rights, helping them identify unsafe situations, teaching them how to react and empowering them to report to an adult.
In addition to sharing child safety messages, Day for Daniel is an opportunity to remember Daniel Morcombe who was abducted and murdered on the Sunshine Coast in 2003.
Day for Daniel begins on Friday morning with the annual Walk for Daniel when the Morcombes lead participants from Suncoast Christian College in Woombye to Briggs Park in Palmwoods, symbolising the trip home Daniel was not able to complete.
Australians are urged to Wear Red, a symbol of the distinctive t-shirt Daniel was wearing when he went missing.
Parents and educators are also invited to play Challenges and Choices with kids, a fun, engaging and interactive game focused on recognising and reporting online grooming.
Hundreds of individuals, community groups and businesses will host FunRaisers to help the Foundation produce and distribute free educational and safety resources.
The Daniel Morcombe Foundation’s belief and vision is for a future where all children are provided with protection, education and support in their lives.