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Buddies make a splash for child abuse awareness

Media Release
10 September 2011

Buddies make a splash for child abuse awareness at Gallagher Great Race

Hamilton, New Zealand – National child advocacy organisation, Child Matters, has announced New Zealand’s second annual child abuse awareness day, Buddy Day, is confirmed for 16 November 2012 in Hamilton.

Gallagher Group was confirmed as the primary sponsor for Buddy Day 2012 with an announcement made at the Gallagher Great Race on Sunday [note: 9 September].

Buddy Day is a public participation event aimed at raising awareness of child abuse and the role that every adult has in keeping children safe. The first annual Buddy Day took place in Hamilton on 18 November 2011 and was hugely successful.

Buddy Day is focused around life-size cardboard children – ‘Buddies’ – who are decorated by children from schools in the Waikato area prior to the event and then adopted by adults who look after the Buddies for the day.

The main centre for this year’s event will be Hamilton. However, Child Matters is also providing ‘Buddy Day kits’ available for purchase online by individuals throughout New Zealand who wish to participate in the event.

360 cardboard ‘Buddies’ will be decorated and adopted in Hamilton this year. The number represents 20% of the child abuse cases substantiated in the Waikato last year (1800). 180 Buddies were decorated and adopted during Buddy Day 2011.

Child Matters CEO, Anthea Simcock, says the day is an opportunity to show that New Zealand adults care for the children in our community.

“Buddy Day provides the chance to focus on child abuse, and what every adult can do to prevent it, without having to wait for another case to be reported.

“New Zealand has one of the highest rates of death by child abuse out of 31 OECD countries. And for every child death in our community, there are thousands more children being neglected and abused physically, sexually and emotionally.

“Child abuse is estimated to affect a quarter of our population – that’s one million people. The purpose of the event is to draw attention to the issue of child abuse in the Waikato and throughout New Zealand, and to highlight positive and practical steps people can take to play their part in reducing its effects,” explained Mrs Simcock.

As a creative way to announce the date of Buddy Day 2012, Buddies lined the river during Sunday’s Great Race and made appearances with Waikato University, Sydney University and Queensland University team members throughout the day.

Gallagher Group Corporate Services Executive, Margaret Comer, said the company was proud to support Buddy Day as its principle financial sponsor.

“Gallagher Group believes Buddy Day provides an important opportunity to increase community awareness about child abuse, how it affects us all and how we can help. We’re involved because we want to help the community understand the role we all play in caring for our children and we're encouraging others to speak up if they are worried about a child in their community,” she said.

In addition to Gallagher Group confirming itself as the primary sponsor of Buddy Day 2012, other sponsors confirmed for the event include Longveld Engineering, PSP Ltd, Verdict Communications, Montana Catering and Convex Plastics.

Hamilton-based people interested in participating in Buddy Day 2012 can now sign up online at www.buddyday.org.nz .

Buddy Day kits will be available for purchase online by 1 October for people throughout New Zealand interested in participating in the event.

Buddy Day can be followed on Facebook at www.facebook.com/buddydaynz .


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