Guest post from Bravehearts: Protecting Australia’s children from harm

Editor’s note: Today’s post comes from Hetty Johnston, Founder and CEO of Bravehearts

Keeping our children safe from sexual assault is a challenge that requires everyone in a community to work together -- law enforcement, Internet companies and civil society groups alike. While we may never be able to entirely prevent the kind of crimes that we hear coming to light via the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, we must all pull together to do everything we can to protect children from harm.

Bravehearts has been using Google’s technology to help promote the services we provide in this area. Right now, through Google Grants (a service available to any Australian non-profit), Bravehearts is receiving more than 1,000 hits a week to the Bravehearts Royal Commission Support Services website to help victims of child sexual assault. When people search for terms like ‘Royal Commission’ or ‘Child Abuse Prevention Services’, Google puts up a free ad directing people to our site.

Technology can help in other ways too. We’re pleased to see the warnings Google is now showing at the top of search results for queries associated with explicit child sexual abuse terms. The warnings make it clear that child sexual abuse is illegal, provide information on how to report abuse, and offer advice on where to get expert help. People can click through to find the right information about reporting illegal material to the appropriate authorities.
We also applaud Google’s ongoing work to combat child sexual exploitation, working with and seeking advice from organisations like Bravehearts to better understand the ever-changing landscape of offender behaviour and language.

We are optimistic that measures and technologies developed by civil society groups in partnership with the technology industry will help make a real difference in the fight against these terrible crimes.

Posted by Hetty Johnston, Founder and CEO of Bravehearts