A mother whose son was sexually abused by a family friend has praised an NSPCC programme that helped him talk about the abuse.

Speak out Stay safe, which the NSPCC has been running in primary schools across the UK since 2011, helps children understand abuse in all its forms and how to ask for help.

As the charity rolls out a refreshed version of the programme and encourages more schools to sign up, an NSPCC supporter talks about how a visit to her son’s school helped him speak about the abuse he was suffering.

Caroline* said: “When my son was younger, his behaviour suddenly began to deteriorate. He became aggressive and had really low self-esteem and we couldn’t understand what was wrong.

“After being involved in a Speak out Stay safe assembly, he came home and disclosed to me that he had been sexually abused by a 13-year-old family friend when he was staying away from home.

“If it hadn’t been for that assembly, I honestly think the abuse would still be happening. He was able to see clearly what was right and wrong and then use the appropriate words to tell me that he wanted the abuse to stop. It’s so important the assemblies continue and help to keep children safe from abuse.”

The programme, which was delivered to more than 1.2 million children across 5,332 schools last year, uses age-appropriate language, simple exercises and videos. It includes a virtual assembly, lesson plans and face-to-face workshops delivered by NSPCC volunteers.  

Janet Hinton, the NSPCC’s Strategic Service Manager for Schools, said: “For many children, we know they might not be aware they are experiencing abuse, and some might be scared about speaking out in fear of repercussions.

“Through Speak out Stay safe we aim to let children know that abuse is never a child’s fault and that there are people who can help them.”

The programme is available in English and Welsh and there are versions that incorporate British Sign Language and for children with additional needs and disabilities.

To find out more, search online for ‘NSPCC Speak out Stay safe’.

Calling on businesses

News Shopper: The NSPCC's work across the UK relies on donations. (NSPCC)The NSPCC's work across the UK relies on donations. (NSPCC) (Image: NSPCC)

The NSPCC is calling on small and medium-sized businesses to support children across the UK.

Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), entrepreneurs and microbusinesses can support the charity’s work with donations, one-off fundraising events or up to a year of raising funds by becoming an NSPCC Partner in Business.

Businesses that sign up receive support from the charity, ensuring fundraising activities are fun and successful, along with updates about local campaigns and services.

Nathan Shrubb, NSPCC Partners in Business manager, said: “Our work across the UK relies on donations, so partnerships with businesses like this are vital for helping to ensure we can continue to be there for children.

“Every business can make a difference. Every £500 raised could fund a Helpline practitioner give 22 hours of support to adults concerned about a child, while £4,800 could recruit and train three new Childline volunteers.”

For more information, search NSPCC Partners in Business.

A little knowledge can make a big difference

News Shopper: The NSPCC’s Listen up, Speak up campaign offers face-to-face and online training . ( NSPCC)The NSPCC’s Listen up, Speak up campaign offers face-to-face and online training . ( NSPCC) (Image: NSPCC)

Community groups are being encouraged to sign up to the NSPCC’s new free workshops to help everyone play their part in keeping children safe.

A recent NSPCC survey revealed that one reason people did not act on concerns about children being at risk was that they did not know who to tell or how to tell them.

You can find out more at www.nspcc.org.uk/speakup or book a workshop by emailing localcampaigns@nspcc.org.uk

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The NSPCC’s Listen up, Speak up campaign offers face-to-face and online training to help people recognise when something might be wrong, and how they can help.

Gail Sayles, NSPCC Local Campaigns Manager, said: “We are delivering workshops to all kinds of groups, businesses and organisations.

“We all encounter children in our daily lives, so everyone can play a part in keeping them safe. These workshops arm us with the knowledge of what to do when concerned a child is at risk.”

*This is not her real name.