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National Child Protection Week kicks off today with the clear message that ‘where we start matters’

NAPCAN 3 mins read
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National Child Protection Week starts today, 3 September, and this year’s theme is 

‘Where we start matters’. 


Organised by the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN), Child Protection Week is a time to bring into focus the significant harms experienced by children around the country - including regional and rural Australia. 


In light of findings from the recent ground-breaking Australian Child Maltreatment Study, NAPCAN’s focus is on what all of us can do to STOP child abuse before it occurs.  


NAPCAN Patron, Governor-General David Hurley, says supporting children and families creates safer, healthier communities:


“National Child Protection Week is an opportunity for all Australians to work together to ensure the safety and wellbeing of every child in every community.”


“I am proud to serve as Patron of NAPCAN and thank the many people and organisations around Australia contributing. I encourage all Australians to join in and learn from National Child Protection Week.”


NAPCAN CEO, Leesa Waters says the focus needs to be on prevention:  


“We all want the best for Australia’s children. However, the recent Child Maltreatment Study shows that in Australia our policies and communities are not yet giving families the support they need to protect children from abuse and its potential impacts.” 


“The study shows that 6 out of ten Australians have experienced abuse as a child, and that approximately half of these are currently living with serious mental health consequences.” 


“This year our focus is ‘where we start matters’ and a great place to start is by listening to children and their families about what they need.”


“Together we can start to build a shared understanding that this is an issue that impacts the whole community and that together we can (and must) prevent child abuse.”



National Child Protection Week runs from 3 - 9 September and invites ALL Australians to join together to ensure the safety and wellbeing of every child in every community. 


The Governor-General will officially launch National Child Protection Week at a public live-streamed event at 10am on Monday 4 September. Register for the launch and free online webinars at


Go to our website to learn more about NAPCAN’s work and how you can get involved in Child Protection Week:


NAPCAN is the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect and coordinates National Child Protection Week annually with support from the Department of Social Services and many organisations and individuals across Australia. 



Key Facts:

National Child Protection Week runs Sunday September 3 - 9.

The Governor-General will officially launch NCPW at a public live-streamed event at 10am Monday, September 4.

The 2023 Week theme is "Where we start matters"



About us:



The following experts are speaking on webinars throughout the week and may be available for media via Helen Fogarty 0410 541997 or


Australian Child Maltreatment Study: This world-class study provides strong evidence that approximately 6 in 10 Australians have experienced abuse and that it is strongly linked to our mental health crisis. However, the study also shows that prevention is possible. 

      Professor Ben Mathews, QUT 

      Professor Daryl Higgins, ACU 


Learning from First Nations culture about raising children. Truth-telling, stories, deep listening, and connection to culture are powerful. 

      Emeritus Professor Judy Atkinson, Jiman & Bundjalung woman, Founder We Al-li

      Kylie Captain, Gamilaroi woman, Director Dream Big Education 


Exposure to domestic violence is a form of child abuse. The Australian Child Maltreatment Study found that in young people aged 16-24 years, about 35% had previously experienced emotional abuse.

      Jess Hill, Journalist, Author and Advocate

      Biljana Milosevic, Centre Director, Jannawi Family Centre

      Moo Baulch, Women’s & Girls’​ Emergency Centre (WAGEC) and Chair, OurWatch


Emotional abuse and how we can support parents to avoid harm. The Australian Child Maltreatment Study found that in young people aged 16-24 years, about 35% had experienced emotional abuse in childhood. 

      Dr Divna Haslam, Senior Research Fellow and Clinical Psychologist, QUT

      Associate Professor Alina Morawska, University of Queensland


Hear from young people: What’s missing from education on relationships, consent and sex? And how can this help to prevent sexual assault and domestic violence. The Australian Child Maltreatment Study shows that approximately 1 in 5 young people aged 16-24 years have experienced sexual abuse from a peer. 

      Chanel Contos, ​​Founder, Teach Us Consent

      Libby Payne, Love Bites facilitator and youth advocate

      Oliver White, Chairperson of NAPCAN Youth Speak Out (NYSO)


Economic impacts of child abuse. The Productivity Commission found that Australia spends $200 billion on mental health (much of which is a result of childhood harm)

      Natalie Siegel-Brown, Commissioner, Productivity Commission 

      Dr Robyn Mildon, Founding CEO, Centre for Evidence and Implementation

      Professor Sharon Bessell, Australian National University


Framing our messages. How do we tell important stories about child abuse without triggering unhelpful narratives. 

      Annette Michaux, Parenting Research Centre & FrameWorks Institute


Run Against Violence. 1000s of runners are taking part in this challenge during Child Protection Week across Australia to raise funds and awareness to prevent family violence. 

      Kirrily Dear, Founder 


Contact details:

Helen Fogarty, NAPCAN, 

P: 0410 541 997 


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