Primary schools urged to help their pupils stay safe from abuse

The NSPCC has delivered hundreds of workshops in Scottish schools.
The NSPCC has delivered hundreds of workshops in Scottish schools.

Primary schools yet to receive a visit from the NSPCC’s free ‘Speak out. Stay safe.’ programme are being urged to sign-up as soon as possible.

In 2018/19 the charity visited 872 schools in Scotland and delivered workshops to 150,000 children, helping them understand how to recognise and report abuse in an accessible and age appropriate way.

Across the UK, 87 per cent of primary schools have welcomed the NSPCC’s free programme, but the charity wants the 3500 schools that are yet to receive the programme to get in touch with them.

In the average primary school class, at least two children have suffered abuse or neglect, making it vitally important that all primary schools help equip their children with the knowledge and skills to speak up if something is wrong.

The ‘Speak out. Stay safe.’ assemblies and workshops will help to reinforce key lessons about abuse and neglect.

And it will help children know how to report concerns or abuse and have the vocabulary and confidence to do this.

Caroline’s seven-year-old son Luke was sexually abused by a 13-year-old friend of the family when staying at his dad’s house.

She said: “If it hadn’t been for the ‘Speak out. Stay safe.’ assembly, I honestly think the abuse would still be happening. The schools service needs to keep happening so that children understand what is right and wrong.

“It gave my son the words to articulate what had happened to him and to be able to say it was not ok.”

Karen Squillino, head of NSPCC schools service, said: “It can be difficult for teachers and parents to know how to tackle this sensitive but incredibly important subject.

“Through our ‘Speak out. Stay safe.’ programme we talk to children about the different types of abuse and let them know there are people out there who can help them.

“We want to encourage any schools that have not received a visit from us to sign up, so that we can empower as many children as possible to recognise and report any worries they have.”

‘Speak out. Stay safe.’ is delivered by NSPCC staff and trained volunteers to pupils aged between five and 11 years.

A friendly NSPCC mascot Buddy helps children to understand they can speak to a trusted adult or contact Childline if they’re worried for themselves or a friend.

Schools can request a visit at nspcc.org.uk/speakout.