Sharing safeguarding messages so children spot signs of abuse

1st October, 2021 2:22 pm

THIS week, our NSPCC columnist Debra Radford, assistant director for Yorkshire, Humber and the North East, talks about children learning to spot abuse.

“We’re now well into the new school year, and I hope your young ones are all enjoying and engaging with their classes after more than a year of disruption and worry.

“As children return to schools across Yorkshire and the rest of the UK, we have also been looking at how we can continue to share essential safeguarding messages to primary school classes across the region.

“We used to deliver Speak Out Stay Safe assemblies face-to-face in classrooms and assembly halls, and reached more than 90 per cent of schools across the UK – in 2019/20, our staff and volunteers visited almost 7,000 schools and delivered workshops to almost 1.6 million children.

“The assemblies use age-appropriate language to help primary school-age children recognise different types of abuse, and give them the confidence to speak out whenever they need to.

“During the pandemic, we created a virtual Speak Out Stay Safe assembly that could be viewed in class to share vital information to help keep young people safe, with a little help from Ant & Dec who host the video.

“So far, more than 330 primary schools in the north have signed up to the online assembly, and that’s a reassuring number – but we’d love to see every school in Yorkshire and the rest of the country take part in the Speak Out Stay Safe campaign.

“Schools which sign up are also provided with teacher resources which include lots of engaging activities for children, while the assembly and accompanying materials are also available in British Sign Language (BSL) and there is a version available for children with special educational needs, so it’s incredibly accessible.

“Covid-19 turned many children’s lives upside down with some having spent months at home in an unsafe environment, so as we move out of the pandemic we all need to be there to support children.

It’s time for us to all work together – to rebuild our society so it’s better for our children, to continue to adapt how we work on the frontline of child protection, and to go further.

One vital way we can help ensure their safety is to equip children with the tools they need to speak out if they have any concerns, and Speak Out Stay Safe also helps young people understand that Childline is a safe and helpful way to seek support.

With the impact of the pandemic continuing to affect many children’s lives it remains vital that young people know what to do and who to speak to if something is happening in their life which is making them feel scared or anxious, and that’s why Speak Out Stay Safe and Childline are so important.

“Our website – – also has a lot of resources children might find useful, including moderated message boards where they can speak to other young people about what’s on their mind, and see how others their own age cope with similar situations.”

There’s also an Art Box, where children can draw pictures or write poems about how they’re feeling, then either share it with other young people or Childline counsellors, save it, or delete it – whatever helps them feel good.

Children can contact Childline whenever they need to on 0800 1111, and more information is available to parents and schools at

The NSPCC is encouraging all primary schools across the UK to sign up to access the assembly and accompanying resources by visiting NSPCC Learning, so if you are a member of your child’s Parent & Teacher Association, or want to find out whether their school has signed up, please feel free to ask or suggest it.


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