Heads back new steps on child abuse

News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian, spaldingtoday.co.uk, @LincsFreePress on Twitter
News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian, spaldingtoday.co.uk, @LincsFreePress on Twitter
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Headteachers are welcoming a new campaign to teach children as young as nine about abuse in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

ChildLine volunteers will visit every UK primary school at least once every two years to help nine to 11-year-olds learn how to protect themselves and get help.

The children’s charity, the NSPCC, says on average two children in every primary class have suffered some kind of abuse or neglect.

NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said: “We want children to be able to say ‘now I know’ – and not ‘I wish I had known’.

“Jimmy Savile’s crimes are one shocking illustration of the consequences when people do not speak up and are not heard, for whatever reason.”

Headteacher Christine Wright, of Fleet Wood Lane and Holbeach Bank primary schools, said: “I think anything that safeguards children is a good thing.”

Mrs Wright said the Fleet school was visited by ChildLine two or three years ago and spoke to ten and 11-year-olds and “it went very well”.

Her schools will give parents the right to withdraw children from the talks if they feel they are not age-appropriate.

St Paul’s Community Primary in Spalding already has three mentors working with children but headteacher Kira Nicholls welcomes the NSPCC “Now I Know” campaign.

Miss Nicholls said: “I think anything that can protect children from abuse has to be of merit, but obviously it has to be done in the right way in order not to scare children while making sure they are as protected as they can be.”

The majority of children who contact ChildLine are aged 11-plus, but many speak of abuse that happened months or years earlier.

Abuse can be physical, sexual or emotional and the charity wants to prevent it – and deal with the root causes rather than the aftermath.