During the 2019/20 academic year our volunteers and staff delivered Speak Out Stay Safe in 14 schools and spoke to 3,887 children in Brighton and Hove teaching them how to recognise abuse and neglect and empowering them to speak out if they are worried about anything.
But the onset of Covid-19 has meant we've had to re-think how we deliver this service. Which is why we have now teamed up with Ant and Dec to take our service virtual.
The popular celebrity duo is hosting our new online assembly which in addition to covering issues such as domestic abuse, bullying and neglect, now also covers worries children might be experiencing as a result of Covid-19.
Since children have been back at school contacts and referrals to the NSPCC helpline have increased.
The NSPCC Helpline made 632 referrals to agencies including police and local authorities in the south east in September – on a range of issues including sexual abuse, up from the monthly average since lockdown of 548.
The monthly average of referrals pre-lockdown was 325.
The national lockdown left many children trapped indoors with their abusers for months on end, and the main issues the helpline heard about were physical and emotional abuse and neglect.
As the pandemic continues we all need to be there to support children. Equipping them with the knowledge and understanding they need to speak out is one vital way we can help ensure their safety. It is important 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.
The service is completely free and is backed by the Department for Education. The assemblies help to reinforce key lessons about abuse and neglect that are compulsory for all primary schools. There are also supporting teaching materials available with plenty of engaging activities.