Tens of thousands of children have been learning how to keep safe from abuse thanks to the NSPCC’s Speak Out Stay Safe programme (video link) that it runs in primary schools across the South West of England and the Channel Islands.
In 2017/18 the charity’s Schools Service team visited more than 8,000 schools and spoke with around 1.8 million children in the UK and the Channel Islands about the different kinds of abuse.
The last academic year saw 615 schools across the South West of England and the Channel Islands welcome NSPCC staff and volunteers to deliver Speak Out Stay Safe assemblies with the help of the charity’s mascot Buddy.
120,207 primary school children took part in the assemblies that teach them about how to recognise types of abuse and what they are.
The children learn about physical, sexual and emotional abuse as well as neglect and bullying. The assemblies are tailored to different year groups to ensure the content is age-appropriate.
Volunteers and staff help the children identify a trusted adult they can speak to if they have worries about themselves or a friend.
This week sees the return of Speak Out Stay Safe for the new academic year. The NSPCC will be delivering 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.
Candia Crosfield, Schools Service Manager for the South West and Wales says: “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.”
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.
NSPCC research shows one in 20 children have been sexually abused. It can be a difficult subject for adults to broach with children and these assemblies help teachers to continue those conversations with their students and empower children to know how to keep themselves safe from abuse and who they can speak with if they’re concerned.
If you’d like to find out more how you can volunteer with the NSPCC’s Schools Service or fundraise for the charity please contact 02920 108133 or firstname.lastname@example.org.