Program to identifying next ‘Cowan’ kicks off
The Morcombes' have launched their latest educational initiative, a national early intervention program, in an effort to change the futures of possible child sex offenders and their potential victims.
Changing Futures aims to provide educators and frontline, community-based professionals who work face-to-face with children and young people with the tools necessary to help them prevent, identify, and respond to harmful sexual behaviours in pre-teens.
Co-founder of the Daniel Morcombe Foundation Bruce Morcombe said the program was groundbreaking.
"It is the Foundation's genuine hope that Changing Futures will help change the trajectory of children and young people displaying concerning harmful sexual behaviour," he said.
"(By) providing awareness, support, and education, we can help to ensure future children and young people are not impacted by sexual abuse."
As part of the program, the foundation has partnered with a number of key academic and leading therapeutic professionals within the fields of harmful sexual behaviour and child protection, who will help build professional confidence, knowledge, and skill through a series of educational webinars, state and territory specific workshops, forums and practical resources.
Mr Morcombe told the Daily in a previous interview the program was focused on prevention.
"It's a process of not supplying an ambulance at the bottom of a cliff, but supplying the fence at the top," he said.
"Cowan was offending against children when he was 10 and you can't help but wonder if someone had grabbed him and said, 'sit there, we are going to get some help for you,' what would have happened.
"We would like a program that will identify the next Brett Cowan … so we have stopped the offending before it started."
The project seeks to:
- Reduce child sexual abuse in Australia by building the knowledge base of key adults regarding children's healthy, problematic, and abusive sexual behaviours.
- Increase confidence and competence of professionals, educators and pre-service teachers who work with children to prevent, identify, and respond to harmful sexual behaviours.
- Significantly contribute to implementing recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse Final Report.
- Engage in research to contribute to the national landscape of service frameworks for responding to harmful sexual behaviours of children and young people.
The first webinar takes place on Wednesday, August 5 and will focus on Identifying and responding to harmful sexual behaviours.
To register click here.