With the start of a new school year, a child protection charity is offering its services to educate the children in Oxfordshire about abuse.
The National Society For the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) helps to protect children from abuse nationwide.
The charity is seeking volunteers for a new programme beginning this September which aims to keep the children in Oxfordshire safe.
The Speak Out Stay Safe (SOSS) programme will focus on children aged five to 11, and will be made available to all primary schools across the county.
With the help of their green mascot Buddy, SOSS uses child-friendly language to cover the scary topics of bullying, neglect and abuse.
The programme also teaches children how to recognise the signs of abuse, that abuse is never their fault, and where to get help should they need it.
This includes helping the children to identify a safe adult they can talk to if worried about themselves or a friend, and connecting them to the charity’s Childline service.
Last year and across 90 different schools, the NSPCC delivered online SOSS programmes to more than 18,000 children in Oxfordshire.
The charity hopes to continue teaching children about these important topics when restarting in September, though is seeking more volunteers to train to deliver these sessions.
Sarah Smith, a SOSS volunteer from Thames Valley, said: “I would say that my main enjoyment comes from the interaction with the children.
“I love their earnest responses and fresh ways of looking at the issues we present.”
Jenny Mills, NSPCC schools area coordinator for Oxfordshire, said: “With the help of the SOSS programme many children may speak out sooner.
“SOSS is an effective way to support a school’s safeguarding duties and link directly to the curriculum as well as helping reinforce key messages about abuse and neglect as part of a school’s teaching on relationships.”