VICTIMS and affected families of child sex abuse hope to see a sea of white balloons across town on Friday.
White Balloon Day is a Bravehearts event held during Child Protection Week to raise awareness of child sexual assault and empower survivors to break their silence.
One in five children will be sexually assaulted, according to Bravehearts.
One local dad, Andrew, emailed a heartfelt plea to every primary school from Penrith to Mount Druitt, urging them to pledge their support for the day.
His daughter, now 12, suffered six counts of sexual abuse from a relative in 2006. It took five years of hell before he was found guilty by a jury and jailed for six years last September after other family victims came forward.
"It's affected the whole family," Andrew said. "For the last six years, we've had to look over our shoulders constantly and we became prisoners in our own home. It tears families apart."
But he admits his family is one of the fortunate ones, despite the nightmare.
His daughter has changed from an average student to one getting As since starting high school.
"Many cases don't make it to court which is why we need to raise awareness," he said. "Cases are being lost in the system before they make it to court. I'm shocked about the stories I've heard when adults haven't believed what children have been telling them. If a child is acting differently it should raise an alarm. A child doesn't lie."
Bennett Road Public School will mark White Balloon Day with a launch and mufti-day to raise money for Bravehearts towards its goal of $500,000. School leaders from St Marys South, St Marys, Colyton and Oxley Park public schools, Colyton and St Marys Senior high schools will attend the launch.