Preventing child abuse in Sunderland

CHILDREN at a Sunderland primary are among the first in the region to benefit from a new campaign which aims to prevent abuse.

The NSPCC has launched its Now I Know campaign which aims to put ChildLine in every primary school in the North East.

It also plans to have trained volunteers visit every school at least every two years to talk to children about abuse, how to protect themselves and where they can get help if they need it.

Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Robert Heron and Mayoress Juliana Heron, went along to Eppleton Primary School in Houghton to see one of the ChildLine Schools Service in action for five and six-year-olds.

Using assemblies and workshops, the project is designed to encourage children to recognise situations where they may need help, and to let them know where they can get support.

The pioneering service is a shift towards preventative work designed to equip pupils with the knowledge they need to act with confidence if they fear abuse, before it does lasting harm.

The new chief executive officer of the NSPCC, Peter Wanless, said: “People in this country do not want to tolerate child abuse.

“We no longer need to convince them of the suffering it leads to, or the costs to future lives.

“Protection after the event, vital as it is, can’t attack the root causes of the problem.

“We want children to be able to say ‘Now I Know’ not, ‘I wish I had known’.”

NSPCC research shows that, on average, at least two children in every primary classroom will have suffered some form of abuse or neglect.