A group of northern dads have used their children’s initials to send a strong message about keeping families safe.

Thirty dads and the 78 children they hold in their hearts are represented on the banner, made to mark National Child Protection Week, which begins today.

The banner was crafted at Dad’s Business HQ at Elizabeth Rise Shopping Centre.

Social Worker Darren Clarke says the dads chose simple hearts to symbolise their love for their children, and the need to nurture them and keep them safe – at home, at school, and in the community.

The banner is tied to the balcony of Centacare’s city office to remind everyone that children do well when parents are supported but that parents, too, need support to navigate life’s challenges.

The first space of its kind in the north, Dad’s Business HQ provides dads with a safe space to seek parenting and other supports.

Activities come from a place of hope and focus on building self-esteem and addressing shame through honesty and acceptance so that the dads recognise the value of fathers in family and children’s lives.

“These men face many challenges alone, as they connect with their children, and through the support they receive at Dad’s Business, fully engage in being a dad from the bottom of their hearts,’’ says Pauline Connelly, Deputy Director.

Centacare will celebrate National Child Protection Week tomorrow at a special event where important new research will be launched.

Commissioned by Centacare and undertaken by The Australian Alliance for Social Enterprise, the study Understanding Vicarious Trauma, reveals the strength and resilience social workers draw from their roles, and explores the cumulative effect of vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue and burnout.