Bravehearts Day in Australia Date in the current year: September 6, 2024

Bravehearts Day in Australia Bravehearts Day, formerly known as White Balloon Day, is an annual nationwide awareness campaign held in Australia. It was launched to raise awareness of child sexual abuse and help children affected by sexual assault.

White balloons became associated with child sexual abuse awareness after the White March, a public demonstration that took place in Brussels, Belgium in October 1996. About 300,000 people gathered, holding white balloons, flowers, etc., to show support for the families of the victims of the serial rapist, child molester and killer Marc Dutroux and demand better protection for children.

In 1989, Dutroux was sentenced to 13.5 years in prison for the abduction and rape of five young girls. However, he was released on parole after serving just three years and continued to kidnap, imprison, and rape young girls. He abducted at least six victims after his release, and four of them didn’t survive.

After Dutroux was arrested in August 1996, his last two victims were freed, and the bodies of the first four victims were discovered, there was a public outcry due to law enforcement mishandling the case. At first, the public’s anger was directed at Dutroux himself, but it quickly became directed at the police and justice system, whose incompetence, sloppiness, and corruption allowed Dutroux to commit new crimes upon release.

On October 20, 1996, about 300,000 people marched through Brussels to demand that Dutroux’s crimes be properly investigated. This demonstration was called the White March because everyone was carrying or wearing something white, and some people even painted their face white. The color white was chosen as a symbol of hope for justice for the victims and their families.

After the march, white balloons became a symbol of sympathy and support for victims of child sexual assault and their families. In 1997, Australian non-profit organization Bravehearts started White Balloon Day to raise awareness of child sexual assault. Founded in 1996, Bravehearts focuses on educating, empowering, and protecting Australian children from sexual assault. Its mission is to stop child sexual assault in society and make Australia the safest place in the world to raise a child.

In 2022, White Balloon Day was renamed Bravehearts Day, due to concerns about the environmental harm caused by balloons. Though the name of the campaign may have changed, its goal is still the same: Bravehearts Day is about encouraging survivors of child sexual assault to break the silence and speak out, providing them with support, and raising awareness of how parents and the general public can take a more active role in protecting children from sexual abuse and preventing this crime.

On Bravehearts Day, thousands of Australians unite to raise awareness of child sexual abuse. One of the ways to support the campaign is to add your own or a loved one’s name to the Wall of Hope by gifting a Brave Heart, i.e. donating to Bravehearts and its cause. The Wall of Hope symbolizes hope for a future where children no longer become victims of sexual assault. Another way to get involved with Bravehearts Day is to spread awareness on social media with the hashtags #BraveheartsDay and #ShowYourHeat.

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