Safer for all children

Bruce and Denise Morcombe and Isaac Cross and Cayley Cribb from St Josephs Priimary School.
Bruce and Denise Morcombe and Isaac Cross and Cayley Cribb from St Josephs Priimary School.

IT'S been 10 years since Queensland teenager Daniel Morcombe tragically disappeared from a bus stop near his house and 10 years since Bruce and Denise Morcombe's lives changed forever.

Although it would be years before the Morcombes would know what happened to their son, the inspirational duo have spent eight of those years working to bring about child safety awareness and education so that other families might be spared a similar fate.

This week Bruce and Denise brought their campaign to the Manning and spent Monday with students at St Josephs Primary School, Taree.

Continuing in their quest to make all Australia a safer place for children, Denise and Bruce Morcombe left Parliament House in Brisbane on August 29 to drive Child Safety initiatives around the country.

The launch of their tour came hot on the heels of The Daniel Morcombe Foundation being recognised by the Queensland Child Protection Week committee with an award for the 'Day for Daniel Campaign' that will see a national day of action on October 25.

You could have heard a pin drop in St Joseph's hall as the staff and students listened intently to the Morcombes deliver their message and give simple but effective strategies and plans to the students to use to ensure their continued safety.

Three key words form the crux of their strategy - Recognise, React and Report - three words they both agreed they would have spoken about with Daniel if they had had the chance.

"One message I would give to Daniel to keep him safe, it's pretty simple really," said Bruce.

"Run away, don't talk to strangers, always travel with a friend, use the three key words, maybe that would have helped."

The Morcombes are passionate about making the best of an horrific situation and turning their story into a positive one to help others.

"A teacher or a doctor could deliver the same messages but when we deliver them you can feel the attention of the kids - we bring something to the table that's a little unique," said Bruce.

Monday's presentation covered recognising when a situation might be unsafe, reacting to it and the importance of reporting what has happened. Bruce spoke about creating a safety list of five people a child could go to, who would listen and want to help them, while the dangers of the internet were also recognised.

Denise asked the children to go home and delete all the "friends" from their Facebook accounts that they didn't really know.

"Remember, most people out in the community are good and would never hurt us, so do not think every car driver in the street is an abductor," she said.

"Having said that, it is important to always be observant and trust your instincts. If you think it is wrong, it probably is."


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