Child protection advocates team-up for vulnerable kids

25 May 2020





Australia’s best-known child protection advocates are teaming up in response to an expected tsunami of new child safety disclosures as COVID-19 isolation eases.

Act for Kids, the Daniel Morcombe Foundation, Kay McGrath and Detective Inspector Jon Rouse have joined forces to help more children and young people.

Act for Kids CEO Dr Neil Carrington said “we are using our collective fire power to help more kids recover from the inevitable explosion of child abuse cases associated with COVID-19.”

The Daniel Morcombe Foundation said “other countries impacted by COVID-19 are seeing a 300% increase in child abuse and neglect disclosures when they come out the other end of isolation.”

“That’s why we’re teaming up with Act for Kids to deliver, in partnership, the Walk Tall program, so more kids and young people benefit from this life-changing therapy,” Bruce Morcombe said.

The Daniel Morcombe Foundation provides funding for Act for Kids to deliver 1,400 counselling sessions to child victims of crime.

Dual Daniel Morcombe Foundation Patron and Act for Kids Lifetime Ambassador, Kay McGrath, said “we are stronger together. We can reach more vulnerable children together, and together we can help them heal from physical, emotional and sexual harm.”

Detective Inspector Jon Rouse said he ‘jumped at the opportunity’ to join Act for Kids as a new National Ambassador, and supports ‘whole heartedly’ the partnership with the Daniel Morcombe Foundation.

“I’ve spent more than 30 years investigating people who harm kids, so to be supporting such a dedicated team helping child victims overcome their trauma was a no brainer for me.”

The team plans to get together regularly to share knowledge and resources, and map out advocacy strategies to improve child safety across the country.

“As I look at the team we’ve gathered, there is a lot of experience in fighting to keep kids safe, and we are united by this purpose” Dr Carrington said. Bruce, Denise, Jon and Kay are proud National Ambassadors for Act for Kids.

The Walk Tall program, funded by the Daniel Morcombe Foundation and delivered by Act for Kids will be offered at Daniel House in Palmwoods (Sunshine Coast), and at Act for Kids therapy centre in Ipswich. The Daniel Morcombe Foundation has funded thousands of free therapy hours for traumatised children who are victims of crime.

Registered psychologists will work with children and young people to overcome their experiences and challenges through intensive therapy, helping them to reach their full potential.


Act for Kids

A national not-for-profit organisation, proving free therapy and support services to children and families who have experienced, or are at risk of, child abuse and neglect. Last financial year 46,084 kids, parents and carers received help from one of Act for Kids’ 28 centres.

Daniel Morcombe Foundation

Established in honour of Daniel Morcombe, the foundation aims to educate children and young people about how to stay safe in physical and online environments and to support young victims of crime. Now in its 15th year the foundation successfully hosts Australia’s largest child safety day – Day for Daniel held on the last Friday in October and Australia’s Biggest Child Safety Lesson. It also produces the award winning Keeping Kids Safe suite of child safety educational resources which are available online and are free.

Kay McGrath OAM

An award winning journalist, and Queensland news icon, having served at the 7 Network for more than 40 years. Kay has been recognised as a ‘Queensland Great’ and is a well-known campaigner against child abuse and neglect. Kay is Patron of the Daniel Morcombe Foundation, Protect All Children Today (PACT), and a Lifetime Ambassador for Act for Kids. Kay has also chaired the committee that organises Child Protection Week activities in Queensland, and currently serves as Co-Chair of the Queensland Government’s Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Council.

Detective Inspector Jon Rouse APM

Operations Manager at the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation. Jon’s extensive achievements includes establishing Australia’s first undercover operation targeting internet child sex offenders whilst at Task Force Argos, which has now led multiple national and international investigations targeting child exploitation criminal networks. Currently Sub Group Chair of the INTERPOL Covert Internet Investigators Group and a Director with The Society for the Policing of Cyberspace (POLCYB), Jon is the recipient of four Commissioners Certificates for operational leadership, two Excellence awards for Child Protection Prevention, the Australian Police Medal, the Queensland Police Medal, the National Service Medal, the Exemplary Conduct medal, the National Police Medal and in May 2018 the ‘Champion for Children Award’ in New York from the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children. Jon was the 2019 Queensland Australian of the Year.