Protecting children from harm: How WSLHD’s IVPRS is empowering the western Sydney community during National Child Protection Week

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National Child Protection Week (September 3 – 9) aims to raise awareness of child abuse and the role the community can play to keep children and young people safe.

Western Sydney Integrated Violence Prevention and Response Service (IVPRS) continues to highlight the overarching message that ‘Every child, in every community, needs a fair go’ as well as focus on this year’s theme ‘Where we start matters.

The provision of early intervention to children and families, with access to resources and opportunities, can make a significant difference towards their life trajectory.

We can reduce the number of children who come into contact with the child protection system by working together and we all have a part to play. For example:

  • We can support parents to access services
  • We can support services to be child-focused
  • We can support communities to access resources needed to support their community so every child has the opportunity to have a great start in life

The Western Sydney Integrated Violence Prevention and Response Service (IVPRS) offers clinical services to help children who have experienced abuse or neglect. IVPRS also offers support, consultation and education to health staff and local communities.

This year IVPRS will continue to run the “Me and My Body” – an emotional literacy and body safety program for pre-schoolers in local council childcare centres (for educators, parents and children).  

Body safety programs are part of a prevention strategy that help develop safety skills that aim to keep children safe and work towards reducing violence and abuse in the community.

“Protecting children from harm is the shared responsibility for family, general community and professionals who work with children. It is also important to teach kids about emotional literacy and their bodies and give them practical strategies to get help when needed,” Rebeca Nassif,  IVPRS Community Development Counsellor said.

The Protective Behaviours program helps children to:

  • Name their feelings
  • Use the correct names for their body parts
  • Learn the difference between private and public body parts
  • Recognise when they feel unsafe
  • Identify safe adults

Child abuse is never the child’s fault, it is always the responsibility of adults to protect children and ensure they are kept safe from harm”.

Ly Johnson, IVPRS Coordinator

If health staff identify child protection concerns or have questions about reporting concerns they can contact IVPRS for assistance or access the IVPRS intranet page. For inpatients, please contact your Social Work Department.

If you or anyone you know needs support, you can contact the following services:

  • Child Protection Helpline: 13 21 11 (24hrs)
  • 1800RESPECT: 1800 737 732 (24hrs)
  • Lifeline: 13 11 14 (24hrs)

In an emergency or if you are in immediate danger call 000.