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VIDEO: New scheme to help prevent child sexual abuse

VIDEO: New scheme to help prevent child sexual abuse

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 6:02pm 26th October 2018.

A new project has launched in Plymouth to help keep children safe from sexual abuse.

The NSPCC says its Together for Childhood scheme will make a difference to children and their families.

The charity, Plymouth City Council and Plymouth Safeguarding Children's Board are all joining forces with other organisations in the city and wider community for the programme.

Devon and Cornwall Police, public health, youth offending service and the education sector are all involved in the partnership that aims to build a better future for children by tackling child sexual abuse together.

A launch event was held in Ernesettle, which is the chosen pilot site for the scheme that will eventually be rolled out across the whole of Plymouth.

The neighbourhood was chosen, after putting itself forward, because of the existing network of community groups already carrying out important work for children and families in the area.

mental health/abuse
A new scheme has launched in Plymouth to help prevent child sexual abuse

"Together for Childhood offers Barefoot, as a small youth work charity, a unique chance to play a bigger role in preventing harm coming to young people.

"To be able to do this in the community where we are based and, through it, form even closer links with local residents and local partners, as well as a national organisation such as the NSPCC, is a fantastic opportunity.

"Today's launch has been a mixture of family fun and serious opportunities to discuss and learn about how we can better keep children safe.

"Ernesettle has a tradition of family events and local people have welcomed the chance to find out more about Together for Childhood whilst younger children enjoy a half-term treat.

"We've had a great response from the young people we work with in Ernesettle, many who have been involved in the launch. They know how important the issue of child abuse is and how it blights young lives.

"The launch has given them a chance to have a voice and pass on their experience and learning to the rest of their community."

Director of Barefoot, which runs SPACE Shot Youth Project in Ernesettle

Together for Childhood will focus around talking to youngsters more openly and in an age-appropriate way

The project will include talking more openly to children and young people about sexual abuse in an age-appropriate way, consent and empowering them to speak out earlier to someone they know will act to keep them safe.

With sexual abuse often committed by someone known to the victim or within their family, the project will also look at ways to encourage adults to take action when they're worried about a child and giving advice to those who are concerned about their own behaviour.

Key areas will be engaging with the community about healthy relationships, harmful sexual behaviour and the trauma, or root cause, behind a child's behaviour.

"We are delighted that the local launch of Together for Childhood was a success as it's important that we get as many people in the local community to support the scheme.

"The prevention of child sexual abuse is one of our top priorities in Plymouth and we are pleased to be able to work with the NSPCC, Plymouth City Council and other partners on this important programme. We want to build a movement across Plymouth to encourage our communities to come together and help keep our children safe.

"The key thing here is that child abuse is preventable and we know that certain things make abuse more likely, so we need to do all that we can to deal with the root causes and prevent abuse from happening in the first place."

Chair of Plymouth Safeguarding Board Andy Bickley

Plymouth is one of just two sites in the UK to be delivering the project and was chosen because of the strong foundations between child protection organisations in the city.

The prevention of child sexual abuse is one of the top priorities in Plymouth and Together for Childhood will work with the community over the next five to ten years in order to achieve this.

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