AFP children’s book about online safety wins at Queensland Child Protection Week Awards
AUSTRALIA –Jack Changes the Game has won the Education Initiative Award, acknowledging its outstanding contribution to child protection, during this year’s Queensland Child Protection Week Awards at Brisbane Parliament House yesterday (30 August, 2023).
A first-of-its-kind for law enforcement, the book was developed by the AFP’s ThinkUKnow program and the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE). It was funded by the AFP Commissioner’s Innovation Fund, which promotes inventive and pioneering thinking to help the AFP stay a step ahead of crime and maximise our impact on the criminal environment.
Written by notable children’s author Tess Rowley and illustrated by Shannon Horsfall, the book is based on a real report to the ACCCE, and provides adults with useful tips on how to talk to children about online safety.
The book is designed for parents, carers or teachers to read with children aged 5 to 8 years and gives age-appropriate advice on how to recognise online child sexual exploitation, including online grooming, how to take action, and make a report to police.
The creation of the book was informed by a reference group who provided subject matter expertise and guidance to the author and illustrator, ensuring the book was age appropriate. Reference group members included Dr Andrea Baldwin, Professor Susan Edwards, Kelly Humphries and Professor Kerryann Walsh who were instrumental to the success of the book.
The 38th annual award ceremony publicly acknowledged the efforts and commitment of individuals who contribute to our community to prevent child harm and neglect, and promote the protection of children and young people.
ACCCE and Human Exploitation Commander Helen Schneider accepted the award on behalf of the AFP.
“This book is a powerful resource to help families around Australia begin important conversations about online safety,” Commander Schneider said.
“By starting these conversations early, we can destigmatise this crime type and work together as a community to help protect children online.
“Early intervention, education and empowering children are key tools to prevent harm. We know these conversations can be uncomfortable and challenging, which is why Jack Changes the Game is a great icebreaker for parents and carers.
“The ACCCE is built on partnerships, and I would like to acknowledge our dedicated AFP project team who worked with the Queensland Writers Centre including our author Tess Rowley and illustrator Shannon Horsfall, and our wonderful reference group members who helped develop this important resource.
“We are proud to say that every primary school in Australia has received a printed copy of Jack Changes the Game to share within their school community.”
An eBook of Jack Changes the Game and learning resources are available at thinkuknow.org.au.
The AFP and its partners are committed to stopping child exploitation and abuse and the ACCCE is driving a collaborative national approach to combatting child abuse.
The ACCCE brings together specialist expertise and skills in a central hub, supporting investigations into online child sexual exploitation and developing prevention strategies focused on creating a safer online environment.
Members of the public who have information about people involved in child abuse are urged to contact the ACCCE at www.accce.gov.au/report. If you know abuse is happening right now or a child is at risk, call police immediately on 000.
If you or someone you know is impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation, support services are available at www.accce.gov.au/support.
Research conducted by the ACCCE in 2020 revealed only about half of parents talked to their children about online safety. Advice and support for parents and carers about how they can help protect children online can be found at www.thinkuknow.org.au, an AFP-led education program designed to prevent online child sexual exploitation.
For more information on the role of the ACCCE, what is online child sexual exploitation and how to report it visit www.accce.gov.au.