31st January 2014
Jamie Reed MP joined ChildLine volunteers in Mirehouse, Whitehaven today to see how a ground-breaking service is helping school children understand abuse and how to stay safe.
Jamie Reed MP, with the ChildLine Schools Service’s mascot ‘buddy’, ChildLine Schools Service volunteers and pupils from Valley Primary School.
Jamie Reed, Labour MP for Copeland and Shadow Health Minister, joined ChildLine volunteers at Valley Primary School to see them deliver a special assembly to Year five and six pupils as part of an ambitious service that will visit every primary school in Cumbria once every two years.
With stories of child abuse, exploitation and systematic child protection failures continuing to lead the news agenda, ChildLine aims to speak to every primary school child, in every classroom of every community, to help them recognise abuse and where to seek help if they need it.
Delivered by local volunteers, the service aims to give children the knowledge they need, in clear, reassuring and age-appropriate language. The sessions, which are delivered through assemblies and workshops, are sensitively tailored to ensure topics are covered in a way that children can understand and have been approved as suitable for nine to 11-year-olds by child protection specialists.
Mr Reed said:
“This is the first time I’ve seen ChildLine Schools Service assembly and I was absolutely blown away by it. The children engaged really well with the ChildLine Schools Service team and their response to the important messages that were being delivered was remarkable.
“The ChildLine volunteers were particularly gifted in getting across some complex messages in an age-appropriate way that made it easy for the children to understand. I would encourage all primary schools to take the opportunity to have a visit from the ChildLine Schools Service if they haven’t already done so – it was really impressive.”
Sue Schofield, ChildLine Schools Service Manager for the North East and Cumbria, said:
“NSPCC research shows that an average of two children in every primary school classroom are suffering from abuse or neglect – and the majority of cases go undetected. These young children often feel alone and desperate and many have nobody to turn to. Most children who contact ChildLine are over 11 years of age, however many of these children suffered in silence for months or even years before eventually finding the courage to contact ChildLine. If we are really serious about stopping child abuse, we need to reach these children when they are younger.”
As part of the service, children are shown how to talk to trusted adults about problems that may be troubling them, and also told about ChildLine and how to contact the helpline if they should ever need to. Across the UK, 67 per cent of children involved in the initial pilot for the service said that they were “much more likely to talk to someone” after the ChildLine Schools Service had visited their school.
In addition to this, 81 per cent said they found the programme helpful. Since its launch in November 2012, 11 schools and over 568 children in the Copeland constituency have benefited from the service. In Cumbria, the ChildLine Schools Service has visited 107 schools and 4,397 pupils have benefited from the assemblies and workshops. By 2016, trained volunteers from the ChildLine Schools Service aim to have reached 1.7 million children through 25,000 school visits in the UK.
For more information about the Schools Service in Cumbria, please contact Bridget Fenton, ChildLine Schools Service area coordinator, by emailing BFENTON@NSPCC.org.uk.
For further information about the Schools Service visit http://www.nspcc.org.uk/schoolsservice