After success in Aylesbury Vale Schools, NSPCC lecture goes online to help kids stay safe
With calls to the NSPCC about sexual abuse increasing since schools started back, the children’s charity has teamed up with Ant & Dec to make sure children know what to do and who to speak to if something is worrying or upsetting them.
The celebrity duo is hosting a new virtual version of the NSPCC’s Speak Out, Stay Safe assembly, which – before lockdown – the charity had delivered to millions of pupils.
In 2019/2020 the NSPCC delivered Speak Out Stay Safe assemblies to 38 primary schools in the Buckinghamshire area and reached 8,423 children.
NSPCC experts reported that the risk of abuse and neglect increased during lockdown and the charity today releases new data which shows that since children have gone back to school in September, the NSPCC helpline has dealt with 827 contacts about sexual abuse.
This was a 10% increase when compared to the four-month period since lockdown (April to August), when the monthly average for this issue was 754 contacts.
The national lockdown left many children trapped indoors with their abusers for months on end, and the main issues the helpline heard about were physical and emotional abuse and neglect.
It is vital that children know what to do and who to speak to if something is happening in their life which is making them feel scared or anxious.
Before the pandemic the NSPCC delivered its assembly face-to-face, in more than 90% of all primary schools across the UK, and in 2019/20 the charity visited nearly 7,000 schools, and
delivered workshops to almost 1.6million children before lockdown was imposed.
At this current time, NSPCC school volunteers can no longer deliver the assembly in person, so instead the organisation has made a 30-minute online Speak Out. Stay Safe assembly available to all primary schools in the UK.
In an accessible and age appropriate way, the assembly helps children understand how to recognise different forms of abuse, and how to speak out if they need to.
The NSPCC is also offering supporting teaching materials with plenty of engaging activities.
The assembly and resources are also available in British Sign Language (BSL) and Welsh.
As well as this, it also focuses on some of the additional worries that children are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hosts Ant & Dec, who’ve been supporting the NSPCC for many years spoke to the NSPCC about the initiative.
Ant said: “We’re thrilled to be involved with the online version of the NSPCC’s Speak Out. Stay Safe assembly and we’ve had great fun filming with Buddy, the NSPCC mascot.
“We know that the lockdown will have been a difficult time for some children and others may be struggling with being back at school.
Dec added: “This is why the NSPCC’s Speak Out. Stay Safe assembly is so important as it reminds children that no matter what may be worrying them, there is always someone who can help.
“It is a real privilege to be supporting the NSPCC with this online assembly and we want all children to remember that difficult times never have to be dealt with alone.”
Minister for Children and Families Vicky Ford said: “Protecting children from harm has always been a priority for this Government which is why throughout the pandemic we asked schools,
nurseries and colleges to remain open for those who are most vulnerable.
“The NSPCC’s Speak Out. Stay Safe assembly will encourage children to speak to a trusted adult about their worries and for many that is likely to be a teacher. That’s one of the reasons why getting children back into the classroom in September was so important and why we are placing social workers in some schools to help teachers spot and report the signs of abuse and neglect more quickly.
“We have contributed towards funding Childline, so I’m pleased to support this extra resource for children to get help and advice.”
In all Speak Out. Stay Safe assemblies children are taught to speak out if they are worried, either to a trusted adult or Childline. The assemblies help to reinforce key lessons about abuse and neglect that are compulsory for all primary schools.
Karen Squillino, NSPCC Head of School Service said: “Children have been stuck indoors for many months and at the NSPCC we know for some children home isn’t always a safe place. Many during lockdown will have faced heightened risks. As the pandemic continues we all need to be there to support children, and by equipping them with the knowledge and understanding they need to speak out is one vital way we can help ensure their safety.
“I encourage all primary schools to sign up, so that we can help as many children as possible to recognise and report any worries they have.”
Children can call Childline on 0800 11 11 from 7.30am to midnight from Monday to Friday or 9am to midnight on weekends. Or they can get in touch via www.childline.org.ukENDS
For further information please contact Kim Hughes in the NSPCC East of England press office on
01733 667236 or email [email protected]