After dedicating their lives to helping to protect children on the Sunshine Coast and beyond, Bruce and Denise Morcombe have now launched a vital new project.
The Daniel Morcombe Foundation’s innovative program Bright Futures addresses the growing prevalence of harmful sexual behaviour and technology-assisted harmful sexual behaviour in Australia.
A 2023 Australian Child Maltreatment Study showed one-in-three girls and one-in-five boys have experienced child sexual abuse in our country.
The main aim of the program is to prevent child sexual abuse in Australia and it will be delivered in a series of educational webinars, podcasts, state and territory-specific workshops and forums.
It will provide educators and professionals who work with children with the necessary tools to help them identify, respond and prevent harmful sexual behaviours.
Mr Morcombe says the foundation believes child exploitation and neglect is a national threat.
“It is the foundation’s genuine hope that Bright Futures can change the course of history through early intervention,” he says.
“Providing awareness, support and education, we can help to ensure future children and young people are not impacted by sexual abuse.”
Mrs Morcombe says that by addressing these behaviours early, people can protect youngsters from harm and potentially divert someone from a pathway that leads to life-course offending.
“Our motivations are not embedded in anger,” she says.
“We cannot undo the past, but we are driven to make sure we learn from it and do all we can to make sure it never happens again.
“Every day that Bruce and I go to work at the Daniel Morcombe Foundation is another day that we can make a real difference to the lives of children and young people.”
The foundation has partnered with a number of key academic and leading educational and therapeutic professionals as part of the project.
This includes international experts in the field of child maltreatment and sexual harm: Professor Simon Hackett, from Durham University, and former Queensland police commissioner Bob Atkinson, who assisted with the launch.
A Bright Futures Queensland Forum took place after the launch, with experts discussing preventing, identifying and responding to harmful sexual behaviours.
It concluded with a panel discussion.
A series of Keeping Kids Safe podcasts was also released as part of the Bright Futures program.
Each episode will feature practical insights on how people can teach their child safety in the world today.
The first of this series will feature the Morcombes.
“Our podcast is directed at mums and dads,” Mr Morcombe says.
“We deliver no-fuss, simple messaging to help identify and respond to harmful sexual behaviour.”
For more information on the Bright Futures Program, visit danielmorcombe.com.au