Neighbourhood Watch Australasia (NHWA) is midway through a powerful campaign to protect children from online sexual exploitation. The increase in young people (including children and infants) accessing the internet has seen a corresponding upward trend in cases of online child sexual exploitation.
In collaboration with the ACCCE, ‘Keeping Kids Safe Online’ is a series of televised Community Service Announcements (CSAs) with a strong message; having open and honest conversations about online safety to protect young people from potential online sexual exploitation.
NHWA Chief Executive Officer Maria Bennett said, “Our goal is to encourage parents, carers and children to navigate an increasingly online life together by being informed and reporting suspected incidences of online child sexual exploitation.”
The campaign focuses on three key areas: awareness of the extent of the problem, red flags to watch out for, and supporting children to speak up and report.
“If parents/carers can stay informed of online dangers, build trust and keep an open dialogue with young people in their care, they have the power to protect them from experiencing online harm,” Ms Bennett said.
The campaign is being rolled out nationally through TV commercials, directing viewers to helpful resources on the ACCCE website that offer further advice and support. The CSA commercials can also be viewed on the NHWA website.
“As we continue to meet people and socialise more and more through online communities, the safety of young people in these environments is a top priority,” Ms Bennett said.
ACCCE and Human Exploitation, Detective Superintendent Jayne Crossling said education and prevention played a critical role in the fight against child exploitation in Australia.
“Law enforcement can’t be everywhere at once, and the Neighbourhood Watch Australasia program, working together with the ACCCE, represents a holistic approach to fighting this crime and keeping our children safe.
“By working closely with our partners across Australia, we aim to help parents and carers, and children, understand what to look out for, in the hope that we can reduce offending against children,” Superintendent Crossling said.
NHWA is confident the clear messages in the Keeping Kids Safe Online campaign will resonate with young people and their caregivers to keep open conversations going to look after each other on and offline.
In partnering with the ACCCE in the fight against online child sexual exploitation, NHWA continues its effort to engage, inform, and advocate for the safety and wellbeing of all children, their families, and communities.