START CONVERSATIONS: Survivor, author and Bravehearts ambassador Kel Humphries said it is important to raise awareness and have discussions about child protection this White Balloon Day.
START CONVERSATIONS: Survivor, author and Bravehearts ambassador Kel Humphries said it is important to raise awareness and have discussions about child protection this White Balloon Day. Contributed

'Why we need uncomfortable conversations': Abuse survivor

"IT'S everybody's business to get involved with child protection," survivor, author and Bravehearts ambassador Kel Humphries says.

Today is Bravehearts' 23rd annual White Balloon Day, which each year raises funds and awareness for the prevention of child sexual assault.

The day falls within National Child Protection Week.

The Miriam Vale Police Station senior constable wants everyone to know how important it is to have early conversations with children about what behaviour is not right.

She said "early intervention" and having the important conversations were necessary.

"It's tough to have an uncomfortable conversation with your kid to raise awareness about child protection and their body," she said.

"But if we can have an age-appropriate conversation with our young ones, in the event that something does happen, they will be able to disclose what has happened properly.

"Having those conversations makes them aware, it lets them know that you as the parent are safe to speak to.

"If you're so afraid to speak about that and it's all hush-hush about those issues, your kids are also going to feel like they have to be hush-hush and silent about those issues."

Kel said White Balloon Day was also important to raise funds for Bravehearts, which provided support services.

"Being a victim of child abuse myself, I know how it changes the way that you think as a child so without those interventions and that education, you've got a child who's going to grow up to be an adult who's going to struggle," she said.

"It's important to help those kids to get the right support at the right time but also to prevent it occurring all together.

"The earlier we intervene, the less chance that re-victimisation is going to occur."

Kel said this week was an opportunity to start those conversations.

"Our kids are our future and I think that we really must do all that we can to make sure that our next generation has the ability to be brave enough to speak up about what's happening," she said.

"We've got to spend that time teaching our kids ... that they can speak up."

Bravehearts is encouraging people to take The Pledge to formally declare they will help protect kids.

Go to www.whiteballoonday.com.au/pledge.