Google is getting on board to support child protection advocacy group Bravehearts, which is hosting White Balloon Day next Tuesday September 9.
Co-sponsored by Google Australia and the Nine Network, White Balloon Day is an attempt to raise awareness of child sexual abuse issues in Australia. The overarching message of the day is to "break the silence on child sexual assault".
The event is being supported by Google Grants, whereby Internet users searching for relevant terms on Google's search page will be presented with "sponsored links" for White Balloon Day alongside normal search results.
Google will allow free use of its Adwords service, returning information on the event via the service when contextual searches are made. The White Balloon Day Web site will also take advantage of a special Google Maps initiative.
To help raise further awareness as well as funds, white balloons will be on sale nationally at Blockbuster and Coffee Club stores, and from Nutrimetics consultants.
63 year old Claude Harvey, dubbed the 'Lawnmower Man,' will conclude his month-long quest to mow from the Gold Coast to Sydney in promotion of the event.
He will have travelled 850 kilometres upon arriving arriving in Manly, and will have visited a number of schools and local businesses en route to raise awareness for the cause.
It is estimated that one in five Australian children – including one in three girls – will be sexually abused before reaching the age of 18.
More than 185,000 child sexual abuse cases were reported in New South Wales in 2003 alone.
Yet these crimes often go unpunished – Bravehearts predicts that more than 90 percent of paedophiles escape the notice of authorities.
This will be the eleventh annual White Balloon Day. More information can be found on the event Web site.