TAKE CARE: Whitsunday Counselling and Support's Keely O'Hara and Charlotte Jones are wearing red to raise awareness for child safety for this year's Day for Daniel.
TAKE CARE: Whitsunday Counselling and Support's Keely O'Hara and Charlotte Jones are wearing red to raise awareness for child safety for this year's Day for Daniel. Shannen McDonald

SEEING RED: Paradise not immune to child safety risks

THE fight against complacency remains at the forefront of children's safety, as parents are reminded to be aware but not alarmed.

In a place that is often described as paradise, Whitsunday Counselling and Support chief executive officer Wayne Horwood said the region's transient population could increase the risk to child safety.

Mr Horwood said as the Whitsundays remained free of serious child abductions and serious assaults known to the public, a false sense of security could be created in the area.

"These events have not occurred as such but just because it hasn't happened before doesn't mean there isn't the possibility of it happening in the future, and that there is the risk,” he said.

"The level of vulnerability in the area can appear as low but even in this place of sunshine and paradise there are people who potentially live among us who have the propensity to take the opportunity and offend.”

This Friday is the annual Day for Daniel which is an initiative of the Daniel Morcombe Foundation.

The foundation was established in honour of Daniel Morcombe to make Australia a safer place for children and was founded by parents Bruce and Denise after their son was abducted and murdered in December 2003.

Day for Daniel, trumpeted by the colour red, turns society's attention to child safety and teaches parents, care givers and children alike, about how to remain safe and aware.

"The reason for wearing red for Daniel is just to highlight the need for awareness again and thinking of where we are teaching our kids to be safe and what are we teaching children on what to do when they don't feel safe,” Mr Horwood said.

"We don't want to alarm kids, because they all need to be kids, but we want them to be educated and as a community we can make a difference.”

As far as beating the root of the cause, Mr Horwood said people who pray on children were likely to always be living within our communities because the capabilities of such behaviour lie within everyone.

"Every person's brain has the capacity to go somewhere dark but a majority of us have a moral compass that tells us no,” he said.

"For some though, that moral compass becomes distorted and it allows them to say 'yes' and justify acting out the actions.

"It really is a matter of being able to see a trusted GP which they can they can then be referred onto a psychiatrist, and this needs to happen before they start to bend their moral compass because once that starts happening it's too late.”


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