Charities join forces with the Home Office to protect victims of child abuse
A new joint campaign from the Home Office, NSPCC, Barnardo’s and The Children’s Society to protect children launched as tougher restrictions come into effect.
The month-long “Something’s not right” campaign will see animated adverts aimed at secondary school pupils aged 13+, running across Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. Young people will be directed to a dedicated page on the NSPCC service Childline where they can access information and seek support.
The campaign follows evidence suggesting that young people faced a greater risk of sexual abuse, criminal exploitation and domestic abuse due to the impact of coronavirus. The monthly average number of Childline counselling sessions about domestic abuse and abuse increased by 20% and 22% respectively in April to July 2020, compared to pre-lockdown levels.
The Internet Watch Foundation also revealed that there were almost 9 million blocked attempts to access child sexual abuse material during the first month of restrictions alone. This trend has continued, with the charity revealing that in September, they received a 45% increase in calls reporting child abuse material online.
Mark Russell, Chief Executive at The Children’s Society, said: “Sadly, the first lockdown increased risks for some children, but these dangers were often hidden from the view of professionals like teachers and social workers.
“As we enter lockdown again, it’s vital that children are helped to recognise grooming, abuse and exploitation and empowered to speak out if something happening to them or someone close to them doesn’t feel right.”
The campaign will help victims understand what may be happening to them and provide advice on how to report concerns to a trusted adult such as a teacher.
This latest communications effort will build on campaigns that ran during the Spring by the National Crime Agency and the Department for Education which were aimed and giving parents and carers advice on how to protect their children from online harms such as grooming.
Alongside signposting young people to additional support, secondary school teachers will also receive lesson plans to guide classroom discussions around different forms of hidden abuse, but also receive extra reassurance on what to do if a pupil discloses abuse to them.
Children and Families Minister Vicky Ford said: “This new campaign builds on the steps we have taken throughout the pandemic to support the most vulnerable children, including increasing the capacity of the NSPCC’s helpline and placing more social workers into schools to support teachers spot the signs of abuse and neglect.”
The Home Office developed the “Something’s not right” campaign with children’s charities, including the NSPCC, Children’s Society, Barnardo’s, Internet Watch Foundation and the Marie Collins Foundation.