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Funny guy Jeremy Corbett supports Buddy Day’s important message

Kiwi comedian Jeremy Corbett says since having children, he finds it increasingly hard to read about child abuse cases.

“I can’t bear the thought of innocent children suffering,” he says.

But he also says this instinctive gut reaction is one of the main reasons he chose to take part in New Zealand’s only child abuse awareness event, Buddy Day. The event is being held for the fourth consecutive year on 14 November, and takes place in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga and Wellington.
  
Buddy Day revolves around life-sized cardboard cutouts of children - ‘Buddies’ - that are adopted by adults, taken into communities and workplaces, and used as a tool to generate conversations about the wellbeing of our children – and spread the message that it’s up to all adults to keep kids safe.
  
“I support the Buddy Day concept wholeheartedly because child abuse is something that we do need to talk about in this country and not brush under the carpet. It’s a huge issue and it shouldn’t be an issue at all,” said Corbett.

“I have a brand new awareness for just how important the job of keeping children safe is for adults, since my girls were born.”
  
Corbett has two daughters: three-year-old Charlie and 18-month-old Billie.
  
He has embraced Buddy Day by adopting a Buddy by the name of Professor Unit, who is shadowing him in his day-to-day life from today through to Buddy Day in the effort to generate conversation around child abuse prevention.
  
So far Professor Unit’s most exciting visit has been to the Seven Days set where he tried to take over the host’s chair.
  
“He has also become quite the ‘buddy’ to my children, who say good morning to him every day,” tells Corbett.
  
“Charlie has included him in our dinner time routine where we talk about the highlights of our day. She wanted to know how Professor Unit’s day was.”
  
Child Matters chief executive Anthea Simcock said child abuse has been described as New Zealand’s single most important public health challenge costing the country around $2billion annually in health, prison and other related costs. There are close to one million New Zealanders currently living with the immediate and long-term effects of childhood trauma.

 “New Zealand has one of the highest rates of death by child abuse out of 31 OECD countries. For every child death in our community, there are thousands more children being neglected and abused physically, sexually and emotionally,” said Mrs Simcock.
  
According to Mrs Simcock, putting children at the centre of Buddy creation is an important part of the campaign.
  
Around 100 schools take part in decorating and dressing the Buddies before they are adopted by ‘carers’ for the day on 14 November in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga and Wellington.
  
“Creating the Buddies is a lot of fun for children who get to learn about what a child needs to be safe, happy and healthy. The message for kids during Buddy creation is that adults are here to care for them and love them,” she said.
  
“Most people think child abuse is something that happens to ‘other people’, and there’s nothing they can do to stop it. But there is something every adult can do. We can speak up for children; children can’t prevent child abuse, adults can.

“Educating the adult population about what they can do in their everyday lives to create safe environments for children is part of the solution to preventing child abuse. Raising awareness is also very important. That’s what Buddy Day is all about.”
  
“The great thing about Buddy Day is that it is a true community participation event – anyone can be involved, there’s no cost and it is not a fundraising event.
We are simply asking adults to step up and show children that we do care and will do whatever we can to prevent child abuse in our communities.”
  
To register as a carer on Buddy Day or for more information visit www.buddyday.org.nz .
Buddy Day can be followed on Facebook at www.facebook.com/buddydaynz and Twitter and Instagram at #buddyday_nz.
  
Child Matters runs Buddy Day - New Zealand’s only public event which brings awareness to the issue of child abuse into the wider community and the role every adult has in keeping children safe. Sovereign Insurance is the principle sponsor for Buddy Day.