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Nailing it: How Aussie Businesses Are Raising Awareness of Child Abuse

This October, you may have noticed swarms of men exhibiting one brightly coloured fingernail. The latest man-i-cure is not merely a passing fashion trend, but something much more significant: it’s a fundraising campaign that goes by the name of ‘Polished Man’, aimed at raising awareness for children under the age of 18 facing physical and/or sexual violence.

Plenty of male celebrities have already climbed aboard the campaign bandwagon, with the likes of Chris Hemsworth, Michael Klim and Zac Efron posting snaps of their polished nails on their social media platforms accompanied with the trending hashtag #PolishedMan and tagged nominations of their mates.

But away from the spotlight, many businesses have also recognised the need to insert themselves into this all-important conversation. WME’s Managing Director Nick Bell has signed up for the cause, pledging to match every dollar he raises. In regards to the campaign, Nick says: “Having a little one myself, the thought of any harm coming to her makes me extremely distressed. No child deserves any form of abuse.”


WME’s Nick Bell is partaking in Polished Man.

Other businesses that have taken part in Polished Man include prominent Australian law firm Hall & Wilcox, where four male lawyers led an internal campaign in which one lawyer auctioned off his nails to raise funds. In 2014, hordes of manly mechanics from Heritage Motors in Maitland took to tinting their talons in a highly successful bid to raise awareness and funds for the cause.

From white-collar executives to tradesmen, the campaign continues to gain traction in the business world – and the benefits are wide-encompassing.

Businesses harness enormous influence in the modern economy, so why not use it for good?

While individually donating to a charity is definitely noteworthy, participatory fundraising efforts often have more long-term benefits. They harbour a chain effect: businesses have the untapped opportunity to reach out to stakeholders and customers as well as their public relations and social media platforms, thus effectively channelling a broad scope of different audiences. This leads to raised awareness about a critical topic, and increased donations towards preventative and support measures.

In the case of Polished Man, the topic being shared is paramount to today’s social fabric. With one in five children around the world experiencing violence before the age of 18 and more than 50,000 children living in out-of-home care in Australia, the need to start taking action against child abuse is simply imperative.


What is the basis of Polished Man?

YGAP, an international development not-for-profit, launched the Polished Man campaign in 2014 after founder Elliot Costello encountered a chance meeting with a young girl during a trip to Cambodia. Costello formed a unique friendship with the girl, Thea, after learning that she had been admitted to an orphanage at the age of eight. Her father had just passed away, and with no family income, her mother hoped the orphanage would be able to provide Thea a safe and nurturing environment. Tragically, however, Thea was physically and sexually assaulted by her carers, resulting in lifelong effects on her mental and physical health.

As the unlikely pair chatted, Thea drew a heart on Costello’s palm and painted his fingernails blue.

Costello’s embellished nails became a catalyst for conversation, paving the way for what would swiftly become a global campaign. By raising awareness around an issue wherein men predominantly lie at the core, Polished Man hopes to encourage donations towards trauma recovery and trauma prevention programs for children who have suffered physical or sexual abuse.

And it can all start with one neon pink fingernail.

If you would like to donate to Nick Bell’s Polished Man fundraising campaign for the prevention and protection of children against abuse, please visit www.polishedman.com/nicholasbell.

By Trish O'Loughlin

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