Over 9,000 children in the west have been given advice on how to get help if they are living with the threat of abuse or neglect.
NSPCC Northern Ireland is now appealing for more local volunteers to help them to reach more children with their ‘Speak Out Stay Safe message’ this year.
Over the past year 9,395 primary school pupils in the western area took part in special assemblies.
The NSPCC said the “groundbreaking” assemblies teach children how to keep themselves safe from abuse and neglect.
NSPCC staff and volunteers use resources specially devised for children aged five to eight years old, and a different set of resources for older children, up to age 11.
Linking directly to the curriculum, and with the help of ‘Buddy’ the mascot, Speak Out Stay Safe helps children to understand abuse in all its forms and recognise the signs that it’s happening, learn how to protect themselves from all forms of abuse, and recognise both how to get help and the sources of help available to them, including Childline.
Karen Walker, Schools Manager of Northern Ireland Schools Service, said: “It’s so important for children to have a voice, to know who to speak to, and that they shouldn’t stop speaking out until action is taken.
“As the new term starts we’re looking forward to reaching even more children in schools across the area, but we can’t do that without the help of volunteers.”
The service aims to visit every primary school every three years. In the last academic year, 59 schools within the former Western Education and Library Board area were visited.
Karen added: “Without the support of our volunteers, our programme simply couldn’t exist. We are always looking for committed volunteers to join our team.
“It’s a great way to meet new people and learn a new skill, while giving something back. The NSPCC give you all the training and support you need to feel confident in your role.
“We ask for a minimum commitment of three morning or afternoon visits a month, so you can give as much or as little time as you like.”
For further information visit www.nspcc.org.uk/services-and-resources/working-with-schools/speak-out-stay-safe-service/ and click the ‘Become a Volunteer’ button.
*Children can contact Childline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 0800 1111 or by visiting www.childline.org.uk.
The free NSPCC Helpline provides adults with a place they can get advice and support, share their concerns about a child or get general information about child protection. Adults can contact the Helpline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 0808 800 5000, or visiting www.nspcc.org.uk.