Northern Ireland pupils urged to join in NSPCC virtual assembly with hosts Ant & Dec plus David Walliams 

 Speak Out. Stay Safe assembly moves online to reach children at home

  • Hosted on NSPCC Facebook page on Friday, June 5 at 9.30am
  • Includes Q&A with primary schoolchildren
  • NSPCC-run Childline service counselled nearly 7,000 children across the UK struggling during the pandemic

THE NSPCC will today (Friday, June 5) move their schools’ assembly series Speak Out. Stay Safe online, to continue its vital work helping children to stay safe from abuse and neglect.

The special broadcast hosted by Ant & Dec, with a helping hand from David Walliams, deals with some of the additional worries that children are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The assembly will be available to view later on the NSPCC’s website – www.nspcc.org.uk and on the charity’s official YouTube channel – https://www.youtube.com/user/nspcc.

Since January the NSPCC’s Childline service has delivered 6,938 counselling sessions to children and young people impacted by coronavirus.

Also, during seven weeks of lockdown (23 March – 10 May), the charity carried out 2,593 counselling sessions with children who shared concerns about abuse or neglect – on average 370 every week – an increase of approximately 60 more per week than in the months leading up to lockdown.

The digital assembly demonstrated a real lockdown effort from the contributors and aims to equip children with the knowledge and understanding they need to help them stay safe from abuse and neglect.

As part of the assembly, the NSPCC’s School’s Team will run a brand-new session adapted to address the challenges children are facing during the crisis.

Children have asked questions around what to do if their family argues all the time; whether they should be tested for coronavirus before returning to school and what to do if they can’t concentrate on their schoolwork at home.

Hosts Ant & Dec, who’ve been supporting the NSPCC for many years said:

Ant: “It’s great to be able to host the NSPCC’s virtual assembly for children and their families, especially as this one carries such an important message – that every child can turn to someone when times are tough.”

Dec: “We believe it’s vitally important that all children know what to do if they have any concerns, particularly now, and we feel very honoured to be supporting the NSPCC with this.”

In 2019/20, the NSPCC Schools Service visited over 7,000 schools across the UK and spoke to over 1.6 million children.

Across the same time frame in Northern Ireland, the service reached 41,872 children in 222 schools.

Children are taught to speak out if they are worried, either to a trusted adult or Childline. Trained NSPCC volunteers and staff deliver an assembly and workshop with the help of Speak Out. Stay Safe mascot, Buddy the speech bubble.

Head of NSPCC Schools Service in Northern Ireland, Karen Walker said:

Primary schools play an essential role in keeping our children safe. This is because they are in a strong position to identify signs of abuse and neglect, and also offer a secure space to teach children about staying safe and, if necessary, speaking out.

“However, due to the pandemic we have been unable to go into schools so by hosting a virtual assembly we can reach even more children during lockdown to let them know who to turn to for help.

“In the average primary school class, at least two children have suffered from abuse or neglect. That’s why the NSPCC visits primary schools across the UK and Channel Islands to give children the knowledge they need to help them stay safe from harm and to speak out if they’re worried.”

Speak Out. Stay Safe assemblies have taken place in more than 90% of all primary schools across the UK.

They help to reinforce key lessons about abuse and neglect that are compulsory for all primary schools.

Adults concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC helpline seven days a week on 0808 800 5000, or email help@nspcc.org.uk. Children can call Childline on 0800 11 11 or visit www.childline.org.uk any time of the day or night.

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