The shocking statistics on domestic violence are well documented; on average, one woman dies a week at the hand of their partner or husband.
But it doesn’t take much to extrapolate that to violence against children, whether sexual or not.
Advocacy group Bravehearts says that since the announcement of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse last November, the organisation alone has experienced a 350 per cent spike – or almost 400 calls per week – to their crisis line.
To highlight the profoundly disturbing statistics and help protect and educate kids from violence and sexual assault, a ‘mowerthon’ is currently underway across the country.
Known as the mower-man, Claude Harvey is on a 10-week journey from the Gold Coast to Sydney to raise funds on behalf of Bravehearts.
With a donation box and iPod dock adorning his trusty Victa, the 70-year-old grandfather will be in Byron Shire this week.
Claude says, ‘Late last year, I saw the direct benefit of my fundraising efforts when Bravehearts’ Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure school education show visited my grandson’s school. But I’d like to see every Australian child in every school in every town given the opportunity to see this program.
‘Survivors of child sexual assault and their families also need important support services and it’s these people who give me the motivation and strength to continue my mowerthons around Australia.
‘I look forward to meeting different communities on my trip, promoting Bravehearts services and ensuring children in these regional areas know that Bravehearts is there to support them and their families.’
His schedule consists of Mullumbimby – January 22, 23, Brunswick Heads – January 24, 25, Byron Bay – January 26, Bangalow – January 27 and Lennox Head – January 28, 29. From there he will make his way to Lennox Head, Alstonville, Lismore, Nimbin, Kyogle and finally down to Newcastle.
You can follow Claude’s journey at www.bravehearts.org.au, www.facebook.com/ClaudeTheMowerMan or www.1in5.org.au.