The Police and Crime Commissioner visited an Eastbourne school for an important assembly on keeping children safe from abuse.
Katy Bourne joined the NSPCC at Roedean Moira House as part of the charity’s ‘Speak out Stay safe’ service which is delivered for free to pupils across the county.
Through an interactive assembly, the pupils aged seven to 11 were taught the different forms of abuse and who they can turn to for help, such as a trusted adult or the NSPCC’s Childline service. After, there was a one hour classroom workshop for children in Years 5 and 6.
Mrs Bourne said, “I was interested to see how the NSPCC were proposing to get the message across. These are really serious topics and I know the NSPCC say when children contact them they often see the abuse has started much sooner.
“Arming children from a young age is important. The whole emphasis was on empowering children to speak out. It’s not the old fashioned way from when I grew up that children are seen but not heard. It was also about telling children who they can speak to.”
The PCC provided £5,000 for the service as part of a Safer in Sussex initiative. Mrs Bourne added, “This is about prevention, getting in early. There are some nasty things happening, we want to make sure children are safe.”
The Herald also spoke to year 6 pupils Indi, 11, and Ffion, 10. Indi said, “If there’s people being unkind to you there’s always Childline because they listen to you. Don’t be worried.”
And Ffion, 10, said, “I’d heard of the NSPCC before but the assembly really let me know what it was. Don’t be afraid to speak up, and don’t keep it to yourself.”
The NSPCC says it has reached out to around 75-90 per cent of schools in the area with Speak out Stay safe –but it wants to help every child.
Amanda Rocca, who oversees Sussex for the charity, said, “It’s really important we talk about all the types of abuse. We don’t shy away from these important messages.
“Our specially trained volunteers visit schools across the country delivering the Speak out Stay safe service so we can protect a generation of children against abuse one primary school at a time.
“It’s completely free and also links directly to the curriculum, helping schools meet their statutory requirements.
“So the service can continue to run we rely on donations. This can come from grants like the one we received from Mrs Bourne’s office or from schools taking part in sponsored events.
“However, Sussex residents can also do their bit by either becoming a volunteer or by going online and donating £3 so the NSPCC can reach one more child through the service.”
She said there is also a new service which is available for special schools.
The NSPCC is also looking for volunteers in Eastbourne to help this vital service. If you are interested, or your school would like to request a free visit, go to www.nspcc.org.uk