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Major Push From NSPCC To Stop Abuse In York Before It Starts


8:34am 16th September 2013

The NSPCC's visited almost two-thousand-five-hundred York school children to warn of the dangers of child abuse.

The charity says on average across the country two children in every primary class have been abused or neglected.

The new CEO of the NSPCC, Peter Wanless, says that we can achieve a massive reduction in child abuse if more is done to prevent it before it starts.

The claim comes as the children’s charity today launches its ‘Now I Know’ campaign, asking people in York to help them put ChildLine in every primary school in York with visits once every two years to talk to children about abuse, how to protect themselves and where to get help if they need it.

The pioneering ChildLine Schools Service is a major shift towards preventative work designed to equip children with the knowledge they need to act with confidence if they fear abuse, before it does terrible and lasting harm. This builds on the charity’s other services which now increasingly focus on preventative work with adults, so the risks of abuse are removed or acted upon more quickly.

NSPCC Chief Executive, Peter Wanless, said: “People in this country do not want to tolerate child abuse. We no longer need to convince them of the suffering it leads to, or the costs to future lives – Jimmy Savile’s crimes are one shocking illustration of the consequences when people do not speak up and are not heard, for whatever reason. But we must now inspire everyone to believe that such horrors can be prevented and that they can help.

“Protection after the event, vital as it is, can’t attack the root causes of the problem. Like us, many professionals and organisations are developing new thinking on prevention and the future tide of child abuse cannot be turned without this. By helping children understand and identify abuse in an age appropriate way, we can encourage them to speak out earlier and protect themselves and others from the devastating effects of abuse.

“We want children to be able to say ‘Now I Know’ – and not, ‘I wish I had known’. And we want everyone to play their part by looking out for children and reinforcing the messages about speaking up.”

NSPCC research shows that, on average, at least two children in every primary classroom will have suffered some form of abuse or neglect1. But ChildLine, a service provided by the NSPCC, says the majority of children who contact its helpline are aged over 11 and often talk about abuse that happened months or even years earlier. 

The ChildLine Schools Service, which is delivered by trained volunteers and provided for free to all primary schools across the UK, aims to help children aged 9-11 understand abuse. They will give them the confidence to talk about it, the knowledge to prevent it and the courage to find help if they ever need it.

The need for a preventative service of this kind is underlined by a new study conducted for the charity by YouGov2, which shows that 41% of adults in Yorkshire and the Humber taking part in the survey think they would have been able to recognise abuse if it was happening to them at primary school and 37% claim that they would have known who to ask for help if they were being abused when they were aged 9-113.  83% of adults in the Yorkshire and the Humber thought that educating children aged 9 -11 in an age appropriate way about what abuse is and where to get help in a school environment could be a powerful weapon against child abuse.

The Service has already visited 2,491 children in 17 schools in York, and has proved incredibly popular with parents and teachers.4 99 per cent of schools across the UK who provided feedback in 2012/13 5 claimed that their pupils’ knowledge of child abuse and bullying was enhanced as a result, whilst 91 per cent stated that their pupils were now more aware of who to talk to if they felt unsafe.

Peter Wanless added: “Child abuse costs the UK billions of pounds every year, and that’s without taking into account the human costs 6. As we know, the National Audit Office estimates that only six per cent of public expenditure is focused on stopping problems from emerging in the first place.

“Through Now I Know we are responding to the vital shift ‘upstream’ to prevention with a unique UK-wide service that we know works and will enable us to empower younger children to prevent abuse from happening.”

To support the campaign, visit www.nowiknow.org.uk

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