Search

Meet volunteers visiting schools to help keep our children safe from abuse

PUBLISHED: 07:00 21 June 2018

NSPCC volunteer Vanessa Bradford Picture: NSPCC

NSPCC volunteer Vanessa Bradford Picture: NSPCC

NSPCC

Would your child know what to do if they were being abused?

NSPCC volunteer Daniel Omara Picture: NSPCCNSPCC volunteer Daniel Omara Picture: NSPCC

During the past year alone, more than 42,000 youngsters in east London have learnt about how to protect themselves and where they can get help should they ever need it thanks to a scheme from the NSPCC.

The Speak Out, Stay Safe project is staffed by volunteers who go into primary schools to deliver age-appropriate assemblies highlighting the different forms of abuse.

In the 2016/17 academic year, the most recent for which figures are available, 14 schools in Redbridge were visited, along with 15 in Newham and 13 in Tower Hamlets.

Eleven Barking and Dagenham schools also received visits, along with six in Havering.

Pupuls with NSPCC mascot Buddy Picture: Tom HullPupuls with NSPCC mascot Buddy Picture: Tom Hull

Children can suffer abuse in many ways – from physical and sexual abuse to neglect and emotional abuse.

And in an age when children are often more competent at using the internet than their parents, there is the new threat of online abuse as well.

NSPCC schools service manager Janet Hinton said that the ultimate aim was to visit every primary school in the country every three years.

She said: “It is vital that children feel able to come forward to disclose abuse but some children don’t speak out because they may not realise that what they or someone they know is suffering from is a form of abuse.

Pupuls with NSPCC mascot Buddy Picture: Tom HullPupuls with NSPCC mascot Buddy Picture: Tom Hull

“By visiting every school every three years, we hope to prevent children from experiencing abuse, one generation at a time.”

But making that a reality requires a group of dedicated volunteers.

Prue Pittalis has visited schools across east London once a week for the past two years, accompanied by the charity’s mascot Buddy.

She emphasised the importance of the scheme, saying: “It may be that those topics and subjects would not have been covered unless we had delivered the service.”

NSPCC volunteer Daniel Omara Picture: NSPCCNSPCC volunteer Daniel Omara Picture: NSPCC

Prue, 54, said that having someone outside of the school coming in is important for children who may be suffering abuse.

“Although the teachers know the children, the children may not feel they want to speak to their teacher about their problems but when the NSPCC comes in they feel stronger and more confident to speak out,” she said.

“Even if only one child comes forward it could bring change for them and that means it’s all been worthwhile.”

Fellow volunteer Daniel O’Mara, 32, started in the role last year.

NSPCC volunteer Prue Pittalis Picture: NSPCCNSPCC volunteer Prue Pittalis Picture: NSPCC

He said: “There have been a couple of scenarios where children have made a disclosure about being abused as a result of the assembly and workshops.

“It’s kind of a bittersweet moment because it’s horrific to think you were presenting to a child who has been going through a serious issue but then equally because we visited the school, they were able to speak out.”

The dad-of-one called the need for schools to sign up to the service a “no brainer”, adding: “Abuse happens everywhere and every child, no matter what their background, needs to hear these important messages so they can learn who to speak to and how to get help.”

Vanessa Bradford has been a Speak Out, Stay Safe volunteer in east London since the scheme began in 2011, and called it “empowering”.

NSPCC volunteer Vanessa Bradford Picture: NSPCCNSPCC volunteer Vanessa Bradford Picture: NSPCC

She said: “Abuse has always been, and always will be around but changes in technology means abuse can take many different forms.

“The NSPCC schools service makes children aware of all the different ways they could be abused and how they should trust their feelings if they think something is wrong and seek help.”

The 54-year-old juggles her volunteering around her work in catering and as a cover teacher and said that the feedback from the schools she visits is “always good”.

She added: “Sometimes I think the schools don’t realise how important it is until we actually visit.”

For information about how to volunteer or to request a visit to your school, visit nspcc.org.uk/schools

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Romford Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Romford Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Romford Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Romford News Stories

17:00

A Romford band has helped raise more than £1,400 for a Hornchurch family who are part of their group after a fire tore through their home.

15:00

William Shakespeare’s story of a naive Prince who flees his home and embarks on a sea-ward journey will be produced by the National Theatre in an exciting new partnership with Queen’s Theatre.

14:12

Havering’s Fire Cadets celebrated a year of picking up valuable life skills and learning what it takes to be a firefighter at a special pass-out parade ceremony.

53 minutes ago

“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining,” so the saying goes. So if some warm weather is making your conservatory uninhabitable, think about replacing its roof with a flat one and adding a roof lantern instead.

12:00

The number of pubs in Havering has fallen by 29 per cent and the Mayor of London is calling for a “united effort” to save the remaining ones.

10:42

An 11-year-old boy from Hornchurch who has ADHD has raised more than £1,500 by shaving his hair off to help save an important social skills class his younger brother goes to.

07:00

The number of burglaries in Havering has increased by 12per cent in the last year, according to data from the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC).

Yesterday, 17:21

Gifted youngsters were delighted to be recognised for their talents at a special awards ceremony.

PROMOTED CONTENT

“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining,” so the saying goes. So if some warm weather is making your conservatory uninhabitable, think about replacing its roof with a flat one and adding a roof lantern instead.

The next step in renewable energy could be right beneath your feet as you walk through a Romford shopping centre.

There are many reasons people decide to join a gym. Some want to pack on muscle for strength, train for endurance, or lose weight. But did you know it also does wonders for your mental health? Two members at Romford’s Better Gym in the Market Place talk about their personal fitness journey and the importance of replacing bad habits with good ones.

Newsletter Sign Up

Romford Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

News from your area

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now