The Mayor of Carlisle went back to school to hear the NSPCC talk to children about staying safe from abuse and neglect.
Councillor Jessica Riddle, who has chosen the NSPCC as one of her charities for the mayoral year, attended St Cuthbert’s Catholic Primary School for two Speak Out Stay Safe assemblies, run by the children’s charity’s schools service.
The assemblies, which the NSPCC delivers throughout the country, help children understand about abuse and neglect, and to recognise the signs. They also help children identify a trusted adult they can speak to if they are ever worried about themselves or a friend, and they are given information about Childline.
Last year, police in Cumbria recorded 547 sexual offences against children under the age of 16. In March this year, 281 children in Cumbria were subject to a child protection plan because of neglect1.
Sally O’Donnell, the NSPCC Schools Service coordinator for Cumbria, said: “The assemblies we deliver are invaluable in letting children know they have the right to speak out and be safe from abuse and neglect.
“The NSPCC’s Christmas Appeal this year is raising awareness about neglect. Too often it goes unseen and unnoticed, leaving children feeling unloved, invisible and alone.
“The assemblies are designed to be age-appropriate and we find the children are extremely receptive and engaging. We have had children who have made disclosures following a Speak Out Stay Safe assembly, which is evidence that these sessions have an impact.”
Following the assemblies on Wednesday (November 13), Councillor Riddle said: “It was very good to watch the NSPCC at work. I didn’t know how they would get the message across to the children without being frightening or threatening but they managed to do so, in a very straight forward and simple way.
”There was a very good response from the children – they seemed very happy to speak out and make their comments.”
Chris Wilkins, the school’s head teacher, said: “Part of our service is to provide the children with an understanding of how to stay safe throughout their lives, and it’s fantastic to work with the NSPCC, as we do on a regular basis.
“It’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure that we enable the children to live fulfilled and safe lives and the presentations have been a fantastic step towards that aim.”
Pupil Chanel Johnston, 10, said: “I learnt a lot of new stuff. I think it’s important because if you don’t let your feelings out nobody is ever going to be able to help, and you’re going to get hurt.”
Jack Davison, 10, said: “I think it’s good advice for children to know, so that you don’t get bullied. And now I know the Childline number.”
Anyone who would like information on how to volunteer should visit www.nspcc.org.uk/what-you-can-do/volunteering-nspcc-childline/volunteer-childline-schools-service/ or contact sally at [email protected]