LOCAL schools are being urged to sign up to a virtual assembly with guest hosts Ant and Dec to remind young people that they can still seek help and report abuse to NSPCC.
The important children’s welfare charity has today (Monday, 12 October) launched an online version of its Speak Out, Stay Safe assemblies with the guest hosts.
New data from NSPCC highlights that since children have gone back to school in September, the charities helpline has dealt with 827 contacts across the UK about sexual abuse.
The national lockdown left many children trapped indoors with their abusers for months suffering physical and emotional abuse as well as neglect.
This was a 10 per cent increase across the UK compared to the four-month period since lockdown (April to August), when the monthly average for this issue was 754 contacts.
The NSPCC helpline made 75 referrals in September, on a range of issues including sexual abuse, to agencies including police and local authorities in Northern Ireland in September.
This was an increase from the monthly average since lockdown of 54.
The monthly average of referrals pre-lockdown was 53.
Prior to the pandemic, NSPCC delivered their assemblies face-to-face in more than 93 per cent of all primary schools across Northern Ireland.
NSPCC school volunteers can no longer deliver the assemblies in person, so instead the organisation has made a 30-minute online Speak Out, Stay Safe assembly.
In an accessible and age approachable way, the assembly helps children understand how to recognise forms of abuse, and how to speak out of they need to.
Supporting teaching materials with plenty of engaging activities are available as well as the assembly and resources being available in British Sign Language (BSL).
In addition, the assembly focuses on some of the additional worry’s children are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Karen Walker, School Service Manager for NI said: “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 am encouraging all primary schools to sign up, so that we can help as many children as possible to recognise and report any worries they have.”
To sign up to the virtual assembly visit : https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/services/speak-out-stay-safe
Adults concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC helpline seven days a week on 0808 800 5000, or email:
Children can call Childline on 0800 11 11 from 7.30am to midnight Monday to Friday or 9am to midnight on weekends.
They can also get in touch via: