Here’s a question: how do we teach young children about which secrets are good and which secrets are bad, give them the confidence to speak out about things that are troubling them, but not scare them?
It’s a question that has been pondered by many professionals involved with safeguarding and, of course, parents. Too often children are groomed in an attempt by the perpetrator of the abuse to stop them speaking out and I believe that we are still not bold enough in talking about this topic with children in an appropriate manner to protect them.
I’ve put together a a free animation resource to help children and teachers address the topic and to encourage children to speak out. This was prepared with the help of Sheffield Hallam University students. It has endorsements from the NSPCC and Barnardo’s. It is also featured on the BBC Education website.
“Share Some Secrets is a great story and free resource about a little girl who was brave enough to tell her brother, who encouraged her to tell her teacher. The voice of the child is powerful, and we need to give children confidence in self-expression and self-reporting. When children feel safe and listened to, they are more likely to open up and talk. We know children are groomed, abused and exploited by trusted children and adults in their lives, and we must pick up children’s cues in their mood, body language, expression, schoolwork and behaviour.”
Ann Marie Christian, international safeguarding consultant
David Niven, Chair of Bradford and Tameside Safeguarding Children’s Boards is also a supporter of the helpful free resource. David is amongst a line up of speakers who are coming together to help educate and get the message across to all working with young children. Through Pobble we are able to offer a special 25% discount code NY18 Bookings: sign up here.
Arrests and trials still happen in high-profile child exploitation scandals. It is important that we do not rest in the mission to ensure that children, as well as parents, carers, teachers and other professionals, have the tools they need to prevent child abuse happening or stop it early. We have a long way to go to achieve this, but each step is vital to improving outcomes for all children and preserving childhood as the special time it should be.
Some useful links:
If you are worried about a child you know either personally, locally or professionally, please seek support and advice by calling the confidential NSPPC helpline on 0808 800 500 or email theNSPCC.
If you know an adult or teenager that’s attracted to children, you can contact the Lucy Faithfull Foundation.
Ann Marie Christian is a Safeguarding Consultant and is my advisor on child protection and safeguarding matters. She is an accredited NSPCC child protection trainer and author.
Christina Gabbitas is an award-winning children’s author, poet, storyteller and voiceover artist. Passionate about safeguarding children.