UOW academics polish up to end violence against children

UOW Pro Vice Chancellor Paul Chandler.

UOW Pro Vice Chancellor Paul Chandler.

A group of male University of Wollongong academics have needed a little polish to highlight a big issue.

The men have joined the likes of AFL player Chris Judd, comedian Anthony Lehmann and actor Gyton Grantley in taking part in the national Polished Man campaign to end violence against children.

Men across Australia are being encouraged to wear nail polish on one fingernail between September 1 and 15 to promote awareness of the issue and raise funds to counter it.

UOW Pro Vice Chancellor (Inclusion and Outreach) Paul Chandler has gone one better, and painted all 10 nails in baby blue and pale pink.

‘‘I’ve been an advocate for young people my whole life - both in my career and as a foster carer and father of two biological children,’’ Professor Chandler said.

‘‘This campaign is a fun way to tackle the very serious issue of child abuse worldwide - how staggeringly high the incidence is and the devastating effect it has on a person’s entire life.’’

The Polished Man campaign is the brainchild of Elliot Costello - son of World Vision Australio CEO Tim Costello - who runs the charity YGAP (Y-Generation Against Poverty).

The initiative caught the attention of UOW student Caitlin Roodenrys who decided to get the men in her life to take a stand. That included her father Steven Roodenrys, head of the School of Psychology, who in turn called in his fellow academics.

‘‘Globally one in 5 children will be physically or sexually abused before the age of 18, and in Australia there are estimates that 33 per cent of children will be sexually abused,’’ Ms Roodenrys said.

Associate Professor Steven Roodenrys added: ‘‘Working in the field of psychology I’m aware of the damage that abuse - physical or sexual - does to a child.

‘‘Unfortunately most of the abuse against children is perpetrated by men so it’s important to target men in this campaign.’’

Funds raised through the initiative will go towards YGAP’s Parent Wise project, which teaches parents how to communicate with their children and respond to concerns about abuse.

Proceeds will also go to Hagar, a specialist agency that works with children who have survived human rights abuse overseas.

Visit www.polishedman.com.au or the Polished Man Wollongong Facebook page to support the cause.

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