E-mail: contact@napcan.org.au    |    Phone: 02 8073 3300   
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Media Kit

National Child Protection Week 4-10 September 2022

See below for information that can be used by those looking to generate media around National Child Protection Week (3-9 September 2023). 

For additional information please contact NAPCAN on contact@napcan.org.au.

NAPCAN spokespeople available for interview

NAPCAN has a number of senior staff, experts, and board members who are available for interviews or comment on most topics relating to child wellbeing. Please contact Helen Fogarty on 0410 541997 or helen.fogarty@napcan.org.au to coordinate.

MEDIA RELEASE – Sunday 3 September 2023

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

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 www.napcan.org.au/final-official-program-webinars-events-2023/ 

Go to our website to learn more about NAPCAN’s work and how you can get involved in Child Protection Week: www.napcan.org.au/get-involved-2023/

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. 


Media contact: Helen Fogarty, NAPCAN, helen.fogarty@napcan.org.au 0410 541 997 


The following experts are speaking on webinars throughout the week and may be available for media via Helen Fogarty 0410 541997 or helen.fogarty@napcan.org.au

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

MEDIA RELEASE – Monday 4 September 2023

NAPCAN Calls for a National Summit to Prevent Child Maltreatment

At the official launch of Child Protection Week today, the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) and other child experts are calling for a National Summit to Prevent Child Maltreatment. 

NAPCAN CEO, Leesa Waters says keeping kids safe is the best investment we can make for a healthier, fairer Australia, now and into the future. 

“It’s not fair that 3 out of 5 – that’s 60% – of Australians experience at least one form of  maltreatment in childhood – either physical, emotional, sexual, domestic violence or neglect.”

Ms Waters said the key message from the recently released Australian Child Maltreatment Study (ACMS) is: ‘we can’t afford NOT to act’. 

“This world-first study is an incredible opportunity for all Australians. It gives us the evidence we need – about rates of abuse, about potential impacts, and about protective factors – to show that child abuse can be prevented. Critically, it tells us loud and clear that child abuse is a community issue that requires an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach.”

A letter has been sent to the Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, urging the government to make children a national priority and to initiate the National Summit.

Professor Daryl Higgins, the Director of ACU’s Institute of Child Protection Studies who worked on the ACMS, says the time has come for action: 

“We need national political will and action to better support families, and enhance safeguarding in our schools, childcare centres, and other child-facing institutions. A National Summit is a chance to bring all stakeholders together in one room, at one time, to create a consensus around what needs to be done – urgently – to prevent harm to children.”

“A National Summit to address and implement effective and targeted primary prevention strategies is better than another Royal Commission or inquiry into the failures of child protection systems,” Professor Higgins says.

NAPCAN CEO Leesa Waters says the National Summit will link people together in a new way: 

“The Summit will bring together decision-makers, community leaders, industry experts – and most importantly those with lived experiences – to talk openly and honestly about what is working and not working.”

“I believe passionately that we need to involve the voices of children and young people and their parents, every single step of the way.”

“This call recognises decades of important work across the child welfare sector, and the many organisations, researchers, practitioners and government agencies who have long been advocating for greater investment in primary prevention,” NAPCAN CEO, Leesa Waters.

Outcomes from the Summit will influence a PREVENTION strategy that has shared accountability across all levels of government – Federal, State, Territory and Local.

“By joining together we are amplifying our voices and our actions to ensure that every child in every community has the opportunity to grow up loved and safe,” said Ms Waters.

“We know that what happens to us in childhood – both positive and negative – shapes how our brains grow – and our future health and wellbeing. We need to work together to get this right.” 

To learn more about NAPCAN’s call for a National Summit, and to read more about the events happening across the country during Child Protection Week, visit www.napcan.org.au

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

Media contact: Helen Fogarty, NAPCAN, helen.fogarty@napcan.org.au 0410 541 997 



According the 2023 Australian Child Maltreatment Study, of 16-24 years olds in Australia:

  • 43.8% were exposed to domestic violence
  • 34.6% experienced emotional abuse
  • 28.2% experienced physical abuse
  • 25.7% experienced sexual abuse

SOURCE: Findings – The Australian Child Maltreatment Study (ACMS)


NAPCAN & other leaders calling for the Summit

  • Leesa Waters, CEO, National Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect
  • Professor Daryl Higgins PhD MAPS, Director, Institute for Child Protection Studies, Australian Catholic University
  • Dr Brian Babington AM, Visiting Fellow, National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, College of Health and Medicine, The Australian National University
  • Dr Tessa Boyd-Caine, CEO, Health Justice Australia
  • Karen Flanagan AM, Principal Advisor Child Protection, Save the Children Australia
  • Andrew McCallum AM, Former CEO, Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies and ACOSS President
  • Simon Schrapel AM, Chief Executive, UnitingCommunities SA and former ACOSS President
  • Professor Lyndall Strazdins, PhD, MAPS, FCCLP Director Engaged ANU Pilot, Director, ANU Mental Health and Wellbeing Project, Professor, National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, College of Health and Medicine, The Australian National University

Background NAPCAN & National Child Protection Week

About NAPCAN & primary prevention

The National Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) advocates for the rights of children and young people. We know that the only way to keep children and young people safe from harm is to stop abuse before it occurs and prevent them from entering the statutory child protection system. We know that ‘primary prevention’ is the best option for children, for families, for communities, and for government budgets.

Primary prevention of child abuse is defined as any intervention that prevents child abuse from occurring, including strategies such as:

  • building strong communities where everyone understands their role in protecting children
  • valuing children and advocating for their rights, and for their voices to be heard
  • expanding and improving coordination of social services
  • supporting families
  • educating families about child behavior, discipline, safety and development
  • creating organisations that are child safe and child friendly
  • addressing risk factors for abuse such as poverty, domestic violence and housing instability.

NAPCAN makes a significant contribution to the wellbeing of Australia’s children and young people by raising awareness of child abuse and neglect in Australia, and promoting and implementing effective prevention strategies and programs, including professional development and respectful relationships education.

National Child Protection Week 2023

  • National Child Protection Week 2023 runs from Sunday 3 – Saturday 9 September this year.
  • National Child Protection Week has been running since 1990 starting on Fathers’ Day each September.
  • The aim of the week is to engage all members of the community to ‘Play a Part’ in improving child wellbeing and keep children safe in Australia.
  • NAPCAN coordinates National Child Protection Week with support from the federal government and a range of public, private and community partners.
  • National Child Protection Week provides a platform to enhance the safety and wellbeing of children and young people, by informing, empowering and resourcing organisations and communities to play their part in responding to local needs.

Key Messages

  • Every child, in every community, needs a fair go. To treat all of Australia’s children fairly, we need to make sure every family and community has what kids need to thrive and be healthy. 
  • Children can thrive and be healthy when they have what they need to develop well. But not every family has these resources.
  • This is why we need to support every child, family and community according to their needs. This will create a healthier, fairer Australia for all children.
  • Let’s make sure our neighbourhoods have strong foundations for families and children – jobs, safe places, libraries, parks, playgrounds, schools, child care, affordable housing, health services, social activities, clubs, friendly neighbours, businesses and more.
  • To raise thriving children, Australian parents need support.
  • Children thrive when parents have the support they need.
  • For healthy development, children need life to be on an even keel. But for families experience poverty and stress, raising children is like sailing in rough waters. Helping parents with counselling, quality child care and financial support makes sure that they have the lighthouses and safe harbours that they need to navigate these rough waters.
  • To develop in healthy and positive ways, children need life to be stable, even when families face rough times. Just as a strong skipper learns to be adaptable and to seek help when they need it, we can help parents to navigate life’s storms.
  • Raising thriving healthy children is all-important and building young brains takes work. Parents need support to help children develop the skills they need.
  • Raising thriving children is like building a house from the foundations up. When they interact with their children, parents are building brains. We need better policies to support parents to help children to learn and grow from the earliest days onwards.
  • Australia’s children thrive when our policies and programs support parents. We need to help all children develop healthily, especially when families experience tough times.