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"I could talk  underwater with a mouth full of marbles" Hetty confessed...  Well, that may be so, but a lot of people who do that would well be advised to study the art of abridgment. Not Hetty! There would be few people who have never heard of Bravehearts [no Henrietta, I'm not referring to Mel Gibson's Brave Heart Movie.]  What I didn't realize is how long this organization has already been in existence.  Back in 1996, Hetty and her husband found themselves in the horrendous situation of their daughter having been sexually assaulted - - by a close relative. As Hetty later on pointed out, relatives are very commonly found to be the perpetrators. A dreadfully difficult decision had to be made: whom do we protect?, Ultimately, the choice was made to report him.  But then, Hetty found that there wasn't very much going relating to support services. "What are we doing as a society?" she asked. At the time, Hetty was the Queensland State Leader of the Australian Democrats party (then led by Cheryl Kernot). "I dropped everything", she informed us, "and we decided to found an organization where not only parents of abused children (or suspected of having been abused) could turn to, but much further reaching, to educate the children. She opened a counselling centre, she mobilized politicians from all sides, she got into the Education Department and ultimately all the schools, she got the corporate heavy lifters organized to not just sponsor her movement, but to arrange training events. "Children's safety is right up there with Workplace Health & Safety" she stated. And what about the "official" channels? Well... "Currently, the system itself is the most dangerous" she says, "do anything to avoid it!"  Huh?? Yes, children who get placed in 'institutional care' are, in essence, forced to live with known sex offenders. The recent case of a foster father being accused of the murder of a school girl and and his son being charged with incest indeed highlights Hetty's concern. 

"Children's Sexual Assault is preventable" Hetty stated. Not just by providing
 
safe places for endangered children, but primarily by education.  Huge progress has already been made, the most prominent being the extensive Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. But a lot of stuff happens also out of the lime light: for example, we now have forensic interviewers, trained to interview a child in a 'private' environment, with police etc watching via video link. There is an International Crime Against Children Conference.  Yet, still only about 1% of offenders go to jail...
 
Meanwhile, Bravehearts has grown into the most recognized Child Safety organization in Australia, with patronage by the Chief Justice of Queensland, Paul de Jersey, involvement of major organizations such as Ernest & Young, partnerships with major corporate people such as Google and sponsors such as Hutchison Builders who sponsored a $1.4 Million extension to their building. So, one wonders: what would (NOT) have happened, had Hetty Johnston remained in politics?