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WATCH: Cornish children taught to speak out against abuse

WATCH: Cornish children taught to speak out against abuse

Published by Emma Carton at 6:34am 7th September 2018.

This figure might shock you, but 1 in 20 children in the UK has suffered sexual abuse and now the NSPCC is going into Cornish primary schools to teach children how to stay safe.

Its workshops and assemblies cover a whole range of safeguarding issues, from abuse and neglect to bullying.

The last round of sessions reached over 12,000 pupils across the Duchy.

Peter Frost from Liskeard works for the charity and tells Pirate FM mobile phones can be a minefield.

“We can’t hand-hold them all the time, either in a physical sense or an online sense, but we want to make sure that they know there are always people to return to that they can feel safe with, to talk to and to trust.

“Things pop up, things happen. Mums and dads’ phones have places and things that pop up that they didn’t ask for or request.

“We can’t give them a sort of definitive answer of ‘you can’t do this all the time’ because sometimes it’s perfectly safe to use your phone and other times it might be a bit more challenging”.

How does the 'Speak Out Stay Safe' scheme work?

Volunteers and staff help the children identify a trusted adult they can speak to if they have worries about themselves or a friend.

The NSPCC delivers the sessions to many new faces at schools across the region as well as children who may remember Buddy from visits earlier on in their education.

The assemblies are for children aged 5-11 and teach them about safeguarding and abuse in a lively, interactive and memorable way.

They learn about Childline and how the service can support them at any time of day or night and many of them go home singing the Childline number, which they are taught to remember through actions.

The sessions are delivered by trained NSPCC volunteers and staff members and are specially designed so that those important conversations can be had at an early age in an appropriate way.

Older students in year 5 and 6 take part in additional workshops that go into more details – looking at different scenarios and deciding whether they are OK or not OK.

Teachers are present throughout the assemblies and workshops, which are free for all primary schools.

“We aim to visit every primary school across the UK every three years to deliver our Speak Out Stay Safe programme.

"Our research shows that one in three children who have been sexually abused by an adult did not tell someone at the time.

"We’re empowering a generation of children to know about the different kinds of abuse there are and how they can talk to a trusted adult if they are concerned about themselves or a friend.

"On average two children in every classroom have suffered abuse or neglect and so it’s really important that children know who they can talk to if they’re upset or worried".

Candia Crosfield, Schools Service Manager for the South West

How would I know if a child is being abused?

The NSPCC says the warning signs include:

  • Being overly-affectionate towards strangers or people they haven't known for very long
  • Lacking confidence or become wary or anxious
  • Being aggressive or nasty towards other children and/or animals
  • Struggling to control strong emotions or have extreme outbursts
  • Lacking social skills or have few, if any, friends

Childline provides a safe, confidential place for children with no one else to turn to, whatever their worry, whenever they need help. Children can contact Childline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 0800 1111 or by visiting www.childline.org.uk

The free helpline provides adults with a place they can get advice and support, share their concerns about a child or get general information about child protection. Adults can contact the helpline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 0808 800 5000, by texting 88858 or visiting www.nspcc.org.uk 

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