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It’s one refereeing decision every Rugby League fan should be proud to support – NRL Match Officials will this week wear special jerseys in support of Bravehearts and the campaign to prevent child sexual assault.

The ongoing partnership between Bravehearts – Australia’s largest child protection advocacy group – and NRL Match Officials aims to encourage support for those harmed by child sexual assault, to actively protect children through education and awareness and to have the courage and integrity to stand up for children no matter how hard the call.

The Bravehearts jerseys have been made possible thanks to the support of NRL match officials sponsor AAMI, which has donated its branding space on the jerseys.

With statistics revealing that one in three girls and one in six boys will be sexually assaulted by the time they reach 18, NRL Match Officials are urging all Rugby League fans to support Bravehearts’ White Balloon Day campaign on Friday, September 7.

“This is the one time of the year when we want everyone to notice the Match Officials,” NRL Referees Co-Coach Stuart Raper said today.

“This is such an important cause and it would be great to see all Rugby League fans join with the game’s Match Officials and show their support for the vital work that Bravehearts do in our community.”

The White Balloon Day campaign will be launched at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on Friday, August 31, ahead of the final round match between the Broncos and Panthers.

The Broncos and Gold Coast Titans will support Bravehearts as their match-day charity partner with Bravehearts’ mascot Ditto and volunteers handing out white balloons and seeking support from NRL fans.

Bravehearts founder and Executive Director, Mrs Hetty Johnston, has applauded Rugby League for being in the front row of child protection advocacy.

“We are so thankful and so pleased to be again working with the NRL Referees and AAMI who have donated their sponsorship branding to help promote White Balloon Day,” Mrs Johnston said.

“We are very grateful to both these fantastic organisations that have provided a national platform for us to raise awareness for White Balloon Day and deliver the important message of child safety to families across Australia.

“This nationwide initiative is growing each year and I encourage everyone to get on board and help Bravehearts raise $500,000 to help make our country the safest in the world to raise a child.

“The great thing about White Balloon Day is that everyone can do their bit to help as it is about educating, empowering and protecting our children and their futures.”

Executive Manager Sponsorship - AAMI, Mr John Bennetts, said: “AAMI are very proud to once again partner with Bravehearts for Round 26 of the NRL season.

“We hope that by helping to raise awareness of the White Balloon Day Campaign we can assist in some small measure in the imperative work that Bravehearts do in the area of child safety and protection in our communities.”


About Bravehearts and White Balloon Day:

- Australians can get involved with fundraising events at home, in the workplace or in schools;

- Bravehearts’ research shows that one in five children will be sexually assaulted before their 18th birthday. Equally as alarming is the fact that in 85 per cent of cases, the offender is known to the child and is a relative or a trusted friend;

- The money raised on Bravehearts’ White Balloon Day goes into supporting education, prevention and counselling programs for children across Australia.

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