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 book that encourages children to think about the secrets they should and shouldn’t keep, encouraging them to speak without fear by giving praise. We teach our children to look out when crossing the road and we teach them to swim to keep them safe in the water. We should be educating our children about not keeping secrets that would be better shared and give them the confidence to speak out. We don’t want children to harbour secrets that will have a detrimental effect on the rest of their lives.
“Helping to provide parents, carers, teachers and everyone with a role in protecting children with advice on how to talk to them about staying safe is something that sits at the very heart of the NSPCC’s mission. This advice includes encouraging children to share secrets that worry them with a trusted adult. It’s something we have really pushed as part of our Underwear Rule campaign that aims to keep children safe.”
Karen Childs – Head of Knowledge and Information NSPCC
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.
Other speakers at the Reach Out Speak Out Conference include the Shadow Minister for Education, Children and Families, and the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner along with representatives from the NSPCC and more! Through Pobble we are able to offer a special 15% discount. Use code AW19 for 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 the NSPCC.
If you know an adult or teenager that’s attracted to children, you can contact the Lucy Faithfull Foundation.
Christina Gabbitas is an honorary member of the NSPCC council an award-winning children’s author, poet, storyteller and voiceover artist. Passionate about safeguarding children.