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“Champion for Children” Awarded Honorary Fellowship

“Champion for Children” Awarded Honorary Fellowship


Child Matters founder and chief executive Anthea Simcock was awarded an honorary degree from Wintec today in recognition of a lifetime dedicated to preventing child abuse in New Zealand.

Mrs. Simcock was honoured to have been selected as this year’s recipient of an honorary of Applied Science (Social Work), presented during Wintec’s Centre for Health and Social Practice and School of Education graduation ceremony today. She joins an alumni of Honorary Fellows and degree recipients including Sir William Gallagher, Sir Edmund Hillary, Sir Henry van der Heyden and Daniel Vettori.

For a full list of Wintec honorary recipients click here.

Mrs. Simcock co-founded the Hamilton-based organisation Child Matters in 1994, responding to the lack of knowledge around recognising and responding to child abuse, and a clear need for a ‘top of the cliff’ approach to protecting vulnerable children. Since then Child Matters has led the way in advocating for the rights of children and educating adults to prevent child abuse.

In her address to the new graduates, Mrs Simcock spoke of the need for all children to grow up in safe stable nurturing environments, and reminded the audience of the outcomes for those children who were not so lucky.

She asked them to think of the difference each of them could make to the life of a child, telling them, “You will have opportunities to make that difference, to help be the circuit-breaker that might give a child the chance he or she needs. Take those opportunities. You might be one child’s only chance.”

Child Matters’ work over the last 20 years has involved establishing and running child protection training programmes, advising governments, organisations and business on child protection policies and protocols, inspiring change in society’s attitudes towards child abuse, and engaging communities to prioritise the wellbeing of children.

Child Matters has also lobbied for changes in legislation for two decades, making recommendations for a multi-agency approach to child abuse prevention and mandatory child protection training for anyone who works with children. The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 and Children’s Action Plan brings some of these suggestions to fruition.

Wintec's Chair of Council, Mary Cave-Palmer says Mrs. Simcock's achievements over the years have been remarkable.

“Thanks to her passion and drive, she has made significant steps towards raising awareness of child protection issues while building a culture where prevention of child abuse is seen as everyone’s responsibility.

“She truly is a champion for children.”

On accepting the honour, Mrs Simcock was delighted not only to be honoured by Wintec, but that the subject of child protection was given prominence.

“It gives recognition to the work I’ve spent a lifetime doing.

“Child Matters and Wintec already have a close working relationship through our strategic alliance. Receiving this honorary degree from Wintec has another level of meaning that is special to our respective organisations.”

-ENDS-


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