The $6 million in funding will effectively double the size of the SafeKidsPH program, a child protection initiative delivered in The Philippines by Save the Children in partnership with UNICEF and The Asia Foundation.
Save the Children Australia CEO Paul Ronalds welcomed the announcement as an important initial response to Westpac’s failure to meet its legal and moral obligation to the safety of children.
“This is a significant step in the right direction,” said Mr Ronalds.
“Protecting children is a shared responsibility of which no one can or should be absolved. All organisations are legally and morally obligated to ensure their systems and processes do not contribute to the harm of children.
“The news which emerged in the past week has highlighted the need for us all to remain vigilant and to continue working tirelessly toward a world where every child, regardless of location or circumstance is safe from exploitation.
“The Royal Commission showed us that every institution must be vigilant when it comes to child safeguarding. The consequences of failure can be catastrophic for children.
“As with all organisations, banks must do better, and today’s announcement is a clear, tangible statement by Westpac of its intention to do so. Importantly, it is an acknowledgement of companies’ impact on the communities in which they operate, in Australia and overseas.”
“This commitment from Westpac will provide critical support to agencies on the frontline in the fight against child exploitation.”
At present, SafeKidsPH is primarily funded through Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The program works closely with community, government and families to increase awareness, build critical knowledge and data for understanding and influencing behaviour to keep children safe.
The Westpac Banking Corporation has been a corporate supporter of Save the Children for three years, contributing to our important work.