Send out the message

STANDING TOGETHER: Participants in Thursday’s Fly A White Balloon activities prepare to release balloons to raise awareness of child abuse. Picture: MARK JESSERWHITE balloons rose above Albury’s skyline on Thursday as a sign that child abuse is simply not OK.
Nanjing Night Net

Health and community agencies joined Albury Council, police, school students and members of the publicfor Fly A White Balloon activities in front of the LibraryMuseum and throughout Dean Street.

About 700 balloons were handed out to businesses, which displayed them as part of the awareness day, with other balloons released in a lunchtime ceremony.

Albury Mayor Kevin Mack said the event aimed to push the message that child safety was everyone’s responsibility.

“As a society we need to stand up and be counted and make people accountable,” he said.

“Families need to take ownership of this because it’s not the hidden crime anymore, it’s out there.”

Cr Mack said the old beliefs andstigmas attached to these issues needed to change.

“If someone comes to you with a problem and it’s to do with any level of abuse, you need to report it because you’re the point of first response,” he said.

“If you do nothing, you’re complicit.”

“Unfortunatelynot enough people get involved.

“Bystanders are abundant, doers are nothing.

“If we stand by, we become part of the problem.”

RAISING AWARENESS: Albury High School year 10 students Zoe Butterworth, 16, Joe Cass, 16, and Hannah O’Donnell, 15, take part in Albury’s Fly A White Balloon activities. Picture: MARK JESSER

Albury Council youth development officer Mandy Wilson said Fly A White Balloonhad been marked locally for six years, with more and more businesses taking part.

She said the day provided information about support services for those who might need immediate help.

Secondary school students helpeddeliverballoons to Albury businesses and then joined in the release.

Albury High School year 10 studentHannah O’Donnell, 15,believedawareness of child abuse was growing.

“We’re slowly getting there, more people are speaking up about it,” she said.

GET THE MESSAGE: Albury Mayor Kevin Mack leads the release of balloons in front of Albury Library Museum as part of Fly A White Balloon. Picture: MARK JESSER

Cr Mack said the present royal commission into child abuse had brought to light crimesfrom decades earlier.

“I think it’s a salient reminder to everyone that you can’t get away with it,” he said.

Exposing these crimes could also help those still struggling with the impactof past abuse.

“It sends a message to other people in a similar predicament that you can come forward, you can report it,” Cr Mack said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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