Acting Inspector Scott Stahlhut and Senior Constable Sam Giles. Photo: Holly Cormack.
Acting Inspector Scott Stahlhut and Senior Constable Sam Giles. Photo: Holly Cormack.

Child protection award presented to Kingaroy police officer

EACH year, those at the forefront of protecting vulnerable children in the South Burnett region are recognised for their efforts through an annual awards presentation.

This year, the 30th year Child Protection Week was celebrated in Australia, and while the network dinner was cancelled due to COVID-19, the awards were still presented to commemorate the incredible work done by our police officers, childcare workers, early intervention workers, staff from Child Safety, health care nurses, and other services our children depend on.

According to Manager for child safety Melissa Venn, the Joy Kite Award for Exceptional Practices with Families, has never been presented to a police officer before. The award acknowledges the contribution of someone in direct practise, who has displayed excellence in the quality of their work with children, young people, and families.

Ms Venn was recently presented with the Child Protection Week Leadership Award.

This year, Kingaroy police officers received two nominations, with senior constable Sam Giles and Acting Sergeant Lisa O’Leary being commended for their incredible efforts in dealing with vulnerable families in difficult circumstances.

For her selfless commitment to assisting in delicate family matters, and going above and beyond what is expected of her, Constable Giles was presented with the coveted award.

Presenting Constable Giles with the her honorary plaque, Kingaroy Senior Sergeant David Tierney said “Family and Child Connect (FaCC) received a referral from QPS in which Sam Giles had been investigating. The children had felt able to speak with Sam as she was the visiting officer at the school. She had already put in place a number of supports as this family was very vulnerable. She kept up to date throughout the investigation, showed great understanding of the emotional needs of the children, and took steps to minimise the trauma at the time.”

“It’s very demanding work and Sam choose to do it not because she has to, but because she wants to,” Sgt Tierney said.

“She actually cares about the kids in the town. She wants to be not just a Detective, but a Detective in CPIU, and she’s that’s what her calling is - to help kids.”

“She does everything she can to get them back on the straight and narrow, sometimes even the detriment of her own personal life.

The 2020 South Burnett Child Protection Week Collaboration Award went to Kingaroy Child Protection Investigation Unit (CPIU). This award ‘recognises groups and individuals or organisations that work together to deliver services and provide innovative practice which gives positive outcomes for clients and their families.’

This award recognised officers Scott Pendergast, Craig Hampton, Samantha Giles, Lisa O’Leary and Joshua Rolph, who under some very difficult circumstances, united to provide a joint response to some extremely tricky cases.


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