NSPCC & NWVC safety partnership

Staff and guests of the NSPCC and NWVC at the launch. Photo: Stephen Latimer

Staff and guests of the NSPCC and NWVC at the launch. Photo: Stephen Latimer

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The North West Volunteer Centre and children’s charity, NSPCC Northern Ireland, have launched a joint campaign promoting online safety for organisations which involve.

The event, held in Holywell Trust in Foyle, highlights the key role that volunteer-involving organisations have in promoting online safety use for children and young people and is the first in a number of sites across Northern Ireland to host the online safety campaign.

NSPCC campaigns manager, Margaret Gallagher, said: “We know that in Northern Ireland we have a strong and vibrant network of volunteer-involving organisations that reach into local communities, groups and local families.

“They are well placed to help promote knowledge and information on how best to manage the challenges that the internet and the digital age can bring for children and young people.

“At NSPCC Northern Ireland we have partnered with five independent volunteer centres to develop a series of activities to promote this knowledge on online safety.

“The launch event today kick-starts the campaign, which will be followed up with presentations on online safety delivered to local communities via the voluntary sector network.

“We are also promoting a range of publicity and information material for anyone who wishes to enhance their knowledge of online safety and where to get information and support.”

Speaking on behalf of North West Volunteer Centre, Manager Jacqui Garnon welcomed the partnership with NSPCC, saying: “The North West Volunteer Centre is delighted to have formed this partnership with NSPCC along with a number of our sister organisations across Northern Ireland.”

As a support organisation for a wide variety of volunteer-involving organisations that rely on using online media and networks, we know how critical it is that we all increase our awareness on this issue. Our members interface with thousands of children, young people and adults in our communities. Taking part in this campaign and providing information and support on the issue of online safety will contribute to increasing the knowledge of the voluntary sector. We have sourced training for our own staff and will be offering support to our members to enable them to respond to challenges, signposting to those best placed to respond as well as promoting online safety policies and best practice.”

Speakers at the event included the lead of the PSNI’s Child Internet Protection Team (CIPT), Temporary Detective Superintendent Rachel Shields.

Commenting at the event she said: “As lead of the PSNI’s Child Internet Protection Team, and indeed as Chair of the SBNI e-safety forum, I am delighted to support this initiative.

“We need everyone, young people and adults alike, to take stock of how they behave online and offline. It is important we encourage parents and guardians to maintain an active and interested role in all aspects of their children’s lives both on and offline.

“As a community, we need to engage in and encourage open conversations. We need to reinforce the importance of having healthy relationships and maintaining control over choices, whether that is in the virtual or the real world.

“The preventative approach to online safety being taken by voluntary groups through this campaign sits alongside the police and statutory services response to incidents when they do happen online. By increasing awareness of these issues, we can make it harder for abusers to gain access and exploit our young people.’.”

Margaret Gallagher continued: “North West Volunteer Centre is the first of a number of independent volunteer centres that are taking this issue on and leading with best practice and information for their member groups. We will be cascading the campaign across Northern Ireland with four other independent volunteer groups in the coming weeks.”

The NSPCC helpline is a telephone and online service for adults who are concerned about the protection and welfare of a child or young person and can provide adults with advice, guidance and support. Contact the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 (free from a landline), help@nspcc.org.uk, visit www.nspcc.org.uk/helpline or text 88858.

O2 and NSPCC have set up a free Online Safety helpline to help keep children safe online. Call the online safety helpline on 0808 800 5002. You can get advice from our experts on anything you’re not sure about, including, setting up parental controls on your computer or other devices, help adjusting privacy settings, understanding social networks, concerns about online gaming or any online issue you think we can help with.