Australia’s leading child protection advocates have teamed up to respond to an expected surge in child abuse cases following coronavirus lockdowns.
Act for Kids, the Daniel Morcombe Foundation, Kay McGrath and Detective Inspector Jon Rouse have joined forces to reach more children and young people through the Walk Tall program.
The program, which provides counselling to child victims, will be delivered at the Act for Kids therapy centre in Ipswich and Daniel House in Palmwoods on the Sunshine Coast.
“Other countries impacted by COVID-19 are seeing a 300 per cent increase in child abuse and neglect disclosures when they come out the other end of isolation,” Daniel’s father Bruce Morcombe said.
“That’s why we’re teaming up with Act for Kids to deliver, in partnership, the Walk Tall program, so more kids and young people benefit from this life-changing therapy.”
Detective Inspector Jon Rouse, who heads the state’s anti-child exploitation unit Taskforce Argos, has been appointed the new National Ambassador for Act for Kids.
“I’ve spent more than 30 years investigating people who harm kids, so to be supporting such a dedicated team helping child victims overcome their trauma was a no brainer for me,” Detective Inspector Rouse said.
The team plans to get together regularly to share knowledge and resources, and map out advocacy strategies to improve child safety across the country.
“We are using our collective fire power to help more kids recover from the inevitable explosion of child abuse cases associated with COVID-19,” Act for Kids CEO Dr Neil Carrington said.
Act for Kids Lifetime Ambassador and patron of the Daniel Morcombe Foundation, Kay McGrath, said the group could achieve more by working together.
“We are stronger together. We can reach more vulnerable children together, and together we can help them heal from physical, emotional and sexual harm.”