The humble white balloon has become a symbol of hope for survivors and those whose lives have been impacted by the crime of child sexual assault through Bravehearts’ annual White Balloon Day campaign.
The now iconic white balloon was adopted by Bravehearts following a public demonstration in Belgium in 1996. Over 300,000 people turned out in a public demonstration of solidarity with the parents and children whose lives had been affected by a convicted paedophile. Bravehearts continued this tradition and has done so every year to provide hope to survivors and to help break the silence that surrounds this terrible crime.
Over the past 21 years, White Balloon Day has become the largest and longest running campaign dedicated to the prevention of child sexual assault. In its first three years, Senior Police labelled White Balloon Day a ‘phenomenon’ revealing the campaign had resulted in a 514% increase in disclosures of child sexual assault to Queensland Police.
Funds raised by White Balloon Day support Bravehearts’ education program ‘Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure Show’. Since its inception, this program has educated more than 720,000 children about personal safety.
White Balloon Day and the Environment
Bravehearts is cognisant of the fact that balloons, when released outside and not disposed of accordingly, are damaging to the environment. It is for this reason that Bravehearts does not endorse the release or use of balloons outdoors in any way and has taken steps towards the eventual phasing out of using physical balloons in our annual White Balloon Day campaign.
This year’s White Balloon Day campaign will feature innovative and fun activities for all ages including the Bravehearts National Chalk Art Project. The Chalk Art Project will see schools and budding artists of all ages ‘ChalkItUp’ for Aussie kids by creating a chalk mural or drawing of their own design and sharing images of their work on social media using the hashtag #ChalkItUp. Each piece of art must include a white balloon as a symbol of hope, with the most creative pieces receiving prizes for their efforts.
“Child sexual assault is a tough topic but we are encouraging the community to ‘chalk’ about it through art and sharing the message of hope and prevention,” says Hetty Johnston AM, Founder and Executive Chair of Bravehearts.
There are three categories for entry including Schools and Childcare Centres, Individuals as well as Businesses, Organisations and Community Groups. A special ‘people’s choice award will also be chosen. The two winners in each category together with the ‘people’s choice’ winner will receive some fantastic prizes with their winning entries featured across Bravehearts’ social media channels.
Entries close 1 September with winners announced on White Balloon Day – September 8.