Child protection at heart of the Queen of Hearts

Heartfelt cause: Queen of Hearts, aka Michele Ellery, is opening up about a taboo topic that has affected her personally. Picture: Gary Warrick

Heartfelt cause: Queen of Hearts, aka Michele Ellery, is opening up about a taboo topic that has affected her personally. Picture: Gary Warrick

MEET the woman who hopes her heart of gold can break the silence about child sex abuse.

Michele Ellery formed charity We Have The Time! Do U Have The $$$ to hold Queen of Hearts family fun days to raise awareness about children's causes.

After raising $7000 for Redkite at her inaugural fund-raiser last year, the Werrington resident raised $4000 for Bravehearts at a fun day in Ropes Crossing last month.

She will continue raising awareness about child abuse prevention with monthly markets in Coachmans Park, St Marys, from which 10 per cent of profits will be donated to a local support service for child abuse prevention.

The Penrith local government area is one of the biggest hot spots for child sex offenders in NSW, Mrs Ellery says.

"The aim is to break down the shame associated with child sexual assault," she said. "It shouldn't be something that's talked about behind closed doors. People need to find the time to talk about it openly."

It's a cause close to Mrs Ellery's heart.

Her children were sexually abused by a family friend, who was recently convicted and jailed.

"It was a huge shock and I never imagined it would affect my family," she said. "There's a lot of people out there who are too frightened to come forward.

"Children feel they won't be believed. We need to educate them that they need to speak up and it isn't their fault."

Mrs Ellery hopes a monthly presence in St Marys will open up a conversation in the community while supporting businesses.

■The first Queen of Hearts market will be held in Coachmans Park, corner of Queen Street and Charles Hackett Drive, St Marys, on June 28, 10am-3pm.

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