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New grants to help children and young people stay safe and protected in Australia

A Sing&Grow group program organised by Playgroup Queensland - a 2020 Impact Grant recipient.

17 May 2021

In 2021, we will be offering a range of new grants to continue helping children, young people and their families stay safe and protected in Australia. Our funding will support a mix of individual programs, research initiatives and strategic partnerships that address systems-level change across three categories:

  • Impact Grants to support one-off or multi-year initiatives
  • Research Grants to support quality research that bridges critical gaps in knowledge and evidence to assist in the protection of children, young people, and their families
  • Strategic Partnerships to support cross-sector collaboration to address system-level challenges focused on child protection and safeguarding

“The pandemic has been a challenging time for all, but particularly amplifying the risks of abuse and exploitation to vulnerable children and young people” said Kavitha Suthanthiraraj, Head of Safer Children, Safer Communities at Westpac Group. “By offering a mix of grants this year, we want to support new and better ways to tackle child protection challenges across Australia.”

Applications for the 2021 Safer Children, Safer Communities Grants are open from 17 May to 15 June 2021, 5:00pm AEST.

More information is available on the Safer Children, Safer Communities webpage.

Please note that the selection of an organisation is at Westpac's sole discretion.

Six months on – progress for good

Last year, through our Safer Children, Safer Communities program we committed $9.2million in funding over three years to 27 organisations helping to protect and create safer communities for children in Australia. Six months on and despite the challenges of COVID-19, some organisations are making progress. Here are some examples:

Leisure Networks Child Abuse Prevention Service (CAPS) Playgroup Queensland
One-year $50,000 Seed grant Two-year $100,000 per year Strengthen grant Three-year $300,000 per year Scale grant

Leisure Networks is developing a framework of core principles and  practical strategies to provide guidance to all levels of sporting clubs on the best ways to educate children and young people about their rights to be safe in sport, and their rights to speak up and be taken seriously.

Since receiving funding, the organisation has engaged a safeguarding specialist and is part-way through co-design in consultation with a number of children. The young people’s contribution to the design process has been invaluable, especially around sharing their own experiences and reflections of what abuse looks like in sport, and effective ways to be educated and empowered around their safety.

Testing and reviewing the framework will occur over the next six months.  

CAPS (in partnership with Healthy Australia and HubHello)  is expanding ‘SAFE’ – a national child protection platform that uses machine learning and language processing technology to identify children potentially at risk of abuse or neglect.

Through the grant funding, CAPS has recruited a child protection specialist who has now reviewed over 200 cases on the SAFE platform and made direct contact with childcare service providers to help ensure that vulnerable children are getting the support they need in a timely and compassionate manner.

Additional work to promote the platform and build early intervention referral pathways will occur over the year.  

Playgroup Queensland is expanding Sing&Grow – their national, evidence-based music therapy program that enhances the protective factor of a secure relationship between children (aged 0 – 5 years) and a safe parent/carer in families who have experienced trauma.

To date, 10 group programs have been delivered across five metro and two regional locations with over 50 group programs expected to be delivered by the end of the year.   

Related information: