Primary schools across Northern Ireland yet to receive a visit from the NSPCC’s free ‘Speak out. Stay safe.’ Programme are being urged to sign-up as soon as possible.
In 2018/19 the charity visited nearly 8,000 schools across the UK, from the Cornish coast to the North Antrim coast, and delivered workshops to almost 1.8 million children, helping them understand how to recognise and report abuse in an accessible and age appropriate way.
In the last academic year (2018/19) the NSPCC’s Schools Service reached almost 53,000 primary school children in more than 250 primary schools across Northern Ireland.
In the average primary school class, at least two children have suffered abuse or neglect, making it vitally important that all primary schools help to equip their children with the knowledge and skills to speak up if something is wrong.
The ‘Speak out. Stay safe.’ assemblies and workshops will also help to reinforce key lessons about abuse and neglect that will be compulsory for all primary schools in 2020, as part of the Relationships Education curriculum.
This will require all schools to ensure that children know how to report concerns or abuse and have the vocabulary and confidence to do this by the time they go to secondary school. Mum Caroline’s seven year old son Luke* was sexually abused by a 13-year-old friend of the family when staying at his dad’s house. She said:
“If it hadn’t been for the Speak out. Stay safe. assembly, I honestly think the abuse would still be happening. The Schools Service needs to keep happening so that children understand what is right and wrong.
“It gave my son the words to articulate what had happened to him and to be able to say it was not ok.”
Karen Walker, Schools Service manager for Northern Ireland, said:
“It can be difficult for teachers and parents to know how to tackle this sensitive but incredibly important subject. Through our Speak out. Stay safe. programme we talk to children about the different types of abuse and let them know there are people out there who can help them.
“This new school term we want to encourage any schools that have not received a visit from us to sign up, so that we can empower as many children as possible to recognise and report any worries they have.”
‘Speak out. Stay safe.’ is delivered by NSPCC staff and trained volunteers to pupils aged between five and 11 years old, with tailored workshops available for Special Schools.
A friendly NSPCC mascot Buddy helps children to understand they can speak to a trusted adult or contact Childline if they’re worried for themselves or a friend.
Schools can request an NSPCC school visit via the NSPCC Learning website at nspcc.org.uk/speakout