September 21, 2020
Senior Constable Samantha Giles has done something no other police officer has done before in the South Burnett . . . been nominated for the prestigious Joy Kite Award.
And, more importantly, she won!
Every year, child safety and allied workers in the South Burnett mark Child Protection Week with a dinner and awards ceremony.
But like just about everything else planned for 2020, the dinner didn’t go ahead because of COVID-19. However, that didn’t stop the annual awards.
The Joy Kite Award for Exceptional Practice with Families has been awarded every year since 2012.
It acknowledges the contribution of someone who has displayed excellence in the quality of their work with children, young people and families.
The award recipient must focus on the needs of their clients, work with exceptional technique and achieve outcomes which enrich the lives of the people they work with.
It honours Joy Kite who worked with victims of domestic violence in the South Burnett for many years until she died from cancer in 2012.
She was much-respected by her peers and colleagues for the caring and compassionate way she worked with clients.
Snr Const Giles was presented with the Joy Kite Award on Monday by Kingaroy Officer-In-Charge Dave Tierney and congratulated by Acting Inspector Scott Stahlhut.
The award recognised her work during a police investigation with a vulnerable family, citing her great understanding of the emotional needs of the children and taking steps to minimise their trauma.
Snr Sgt Tierney said Snr Const Giles was very respected in the community.
“When everyone rings up they they want to talk to Sammy,” he said.
He said working to keep children safe was very demanding work.
“Sam does it not because she has to but because she wants to,” he said.
Snr Sgt Tierney also congratulated Detective Senior Constable Lisa O’Leary, from Kingaroy CIB, who received a certificate to recognise her nomination for the same award.
Also announced on Monday was the Child Protection Week Collaboration Award which was presented to the Kingaroy Child Protection Investigation Unit (CPIU) and recognised five Kingaroy police officers.
This was accepted by Det Snr Const O’Leary on behalf of her colleagues Detective Sergeant Scott Prendergast, Detective Senior Constable Craig Hampton, Senior Constable Giles and Senior Constable Joshua Rolfe.
Snr Sgt Tierney said the police had united across departments to provide a joint response in some very difficult circumstances with tricky cases.
“This has involved some high-level negotiation skills with families, time and space to plan, strong information sharing to keep children safe, emotional support in extremely emotive situations, and strong care and consideration of parents and children’s feelings,” he said.
“The individual members have worked as cohesive units when teaming up despite being from different work units which has facilitated better and safer outcomes for children.”
This year was the 30th year Child Protection Week has been celebrated in Australia.
It aims to raise awareness about the safety of children in the community and families.
Other South Burnett Child Protection Week Awards and nomination certificates were presented earlier in the month during small ceremonies at various workplaces around the South Burnett.
The Leadership Award was presented to Melissa Venn, from Child Safety.
The Rookie Awards were presented to Amal and Faith, also from Child Safety.