Following its national launch at the end of last year, ChildLine is now rolling out a new programme in Sussex, to help younger children’s understanding of abuse and how they can stay safe.
Using assemblies and workshops delivered by volunteers, ChildLine will help children recognise situations where they may need help and tell them how to access support. Sessions are sensitively tailored to ensure topics are covered in a way which children understand.
All children have the right to be happy and safe, but many suffer abuse in silence, unable to speak out. The ChildLine Schools Service is aimed at primary age children, particularly focusing on nine to 11 year olds, and aims to help them understand what abuse is, including bullying, how to protect themselves and where to get help and support if needed.
The ChildLine Schools Service needs volunteers to deliver assemblies at local schools followed by an interactive workshop a week later.
The presentations and messages delivered at schools have been developed alongside children, parents, carers and teachers. They are sensitive, age appropriate and engaging.
The Service is provided free of charge and focuses on primary school children, aged nine to 11 years old. By 2016, the ChildLine Schools Service aims to visit every primary school in the UK at least every two years.
Full volunteer training and support is provided by ChildLine, alongside the opportunity to make a real difference to local children as part of a committed team. Interviews will take place in Brighton on 17 and 18 April and training will start for successful applicants on 22 May.
Amanda Rocca, ChildLine area co-ordinator for Sussex, said: “Research undertaken by the NSPCC shows that the majority of children who contact ChildLine for advice, information and support are over 11 years old. However we know that the majority of children who are subject to a child protection plan are under the age of 11.
“These younger children are not connected so much with the outside world. In fact, their world is quite small. So if abuse is happening to them at that age, then it’s very difficult for children to speak up. That’s why we want to educate children earlier and ensure they know how to keep themselves safe or seek help if they need it.”
In keeping with ChildLine’s long history of volunteering, the schools service will be led by volunteers. They will be trained to deliver safeguarding assemblies and interactive workshops. All materials will be provided and volunteers will be given regular training and support.
Amanda Rocca added: “What’s key about our Schools Service is that we need a great team of volunteers. It is very much about mobilising the community and to make child protection everyone’s responsibility.”
First piloted in 2010, there are two phases to the new service. The first is a school assembly that provides definitions of abuse, places to go for help and an introduction to ChildLine. The second phase takes place one to two weeks later and is an interactive classroom-based workshop where the messages are reinforced.
For more information visit: www.nspcc.org.uk/schoolsservice