NSPCC launch virtual assembly with guest hosts Ant & Dec
Since school has re-started, one of our partner charities, NSPCC Cymru, has seen an increase in referrals to its helpline resulting from adults worried about the safety or wellbeing of a child in Wales. So, to make sure children know what to do and who to speak to if something is worrying or upsetting them, the children’s charity has teamed up with Ant & Dec to help get the message across that there is always someone available to listen to them and to help.
The celebrity duo is hosting a new virtual version of the NSPCC’s Speak Out. Stay Safe assembly, which – before lockdown – the charity had delivered to almost 50,000 primary school children across Wales during the last academic year.
NSPCC experts reported that the risk of abuse and neglect increased during lockdown and the charity today releases new data which shows that since children have gone back to school in September, the NSPCC helpline has made 188 referrals – more than six a day - to agencies in Wales from contacts it has received from adults worried about the wellbeing of a child.
This is an almost 70% increase when compared to the pre-lockdown 30-day average of 111 referrals to agencies in Wales, including police and local authorities.
Each month since the national lockdown, which left many children trapped indoors with their abusers for months on end, the number of referrals has been significantly higher than the 30-day average preceding the lockdown.
The main issues the helpline heard about were parental behaviour, physical and emotional abuse and neglect, which is why it is vital that children know what to do and who to speak to if something is happening in their life which is making them feel scared or anxious.
Before the pandemic the NSPCC delivered its assembly face-to-face in more than 90% of all primary schools across the UK, and in 2019/20 the charity visited more than 270 schools across Wales, and delivered workshops to almost 50,000 children before lockdown was imposed.
At this current time, NSPCC school volunteers can no longer deliver the assembly in person, so instead, for now, the organisation has made a 30-minute online Speak Out. Stay Safe assembly available to all primary schools in the UK.
In an accessible and age appropriate way, the assembly helps children understand how to recognise different forms of abuse, and how to speak out if they need to.
The NSPCC is also offering supporting teaching materials with plenty of engaging activities which can be found on Twinkl. The assembly and resources are also available bilingually and in British Sign Language (BSL).
As well as this, it also focuses on some of the additional worries that children are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hosts Ant & Dec, who’ve been supporting the NSPCC for many years, said:
Ant said: “We’re thrilled to be involved with the online version of the NSPCC’s Speak Out. Stay Safe assembly and we’ve had great fun filming with Buddy, the NSPCC mascot.
“We know that the lockdown will have been a difficult time for some children and others may be struggling with being back at school.”
Dec added: “This is why the NSPCC’s Speak Out. Stay Safe assembly is so important as it reminds children that no matter what may be worrying them, there is always someone who can help.
“It is a real privilege to be supporting the NSPCC with this online assembly and we want all children to remember that difficult times never have to be dealt with alone.”
In all Speak Out. Stay Safe assemblies, children are taught to speak out if they are worried, either to a trusted adult or Childline.
Karen Squillino, Head of School Service, said: “Children have been stuck indoors for many months and at the NSPCC we know for some children home isn’t always a safe place. Many during lockdown will have faced heightened risks.
“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 encourage 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 visit nspcc.org.uk/speakout.
Adults concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC helpline seven days a week on 0808 800 5000, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Adult victims of non-recent sexual abuse can also get in touch for support.
Children can call Childline on 0800 11 11 from 7.30am to midnight from Monday to Friday or 9am to midnight on weekends. Or they can get in touch via www.childline.org.uk