More protection for local children as Plymouth Safeguarding Children Partnership joins forces with the NSPCC

Delivery drivers, community volunteers and those working in trades are just some of the professionals the Plymouth Safeguarding Children Partnership is asking to undertake free online training to help spot child abuse and neglect in the city.

Plymouth Safeguarding Children Partnership consists of the Council and partner agencies such as police, health, community groups, charities, voluntary sector and schools.

Joining forces with the NSPCC they aim to provide workers with knowledge on how to potentially spot signs of child abuse, through the charity’s ‘It’s Your Call’ training course.

Children and young people are normally seen by lots of different adults like teachers, health and social workers and neighbours, but this has not been always been possible during lockdown.

Over the last year children and young people have spent much more time at home and behind closed doors, meaning that some children have been at a greater risk of abuse and neglect.

The impact of COVID on families has increased pressure on parenting and exasperated situations that for some were already difficult and many will not always know how to reach out for support.

The NSPCC has found that concerns about child abuse have soared since national lockdown measures were first introduced – with the average monthly number of referrals from the charity’s helpline to local authorities on the issue increasing by over 100% in the South West.

Nationally, the NSPCC helpline has received 31,359 contacts from adults across the UK anxious about child abuse or neglect, resulting in almost 2,000 referrals to agencies in the South West between April and November last year.

The NSPCC, and the Plymouth Safeguarding Children Partnership have united to promote safeguarding children awareness training for workers who regularly go into people’s homes, such as gas engineers, taxi drivers, local authority workers and building trades.

If you see something, say something is the message to anyone living in Plymouth.

Partnership member, Councillor Jemima Laing, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Plymouth City Council said: “Everyone who works within their community can play an important role in helping keep children safe by recognising the possible signs of child abuse, neglect and domestic violence.

“It is crucial that we all play our role in helping to keep children and young people safe. I encourage all workers who regularly visit people’s homes to take the free training and ensure we act upon things that others can’t always witness.

“This is everyone’s business.”

The NSPCC’s 15-minute interactive e-learning course, ‘It’s Your Call’ will help workers to:

recognise the signs of possible child abuse and neglect

report concerns either through your work channels, the NSPCC helpline or, if the concern is urgent, the police

support those who may have already witnessed signs of child abuse and provide advice

The training, which is currently free is aimed at postal workers, delivery drivers and workers who regularly visit homes such as housing maintenance staff who are well placed to spot any emerging safeguarding concerns or signs of possible abuse and neglect.

It can be accessed at bit.ly/yourcallplymouth or search ‘NSPCC It’s Your Call’ online.

Service Manager for Plymouth NSPCC Ollie Mackie said: “We are so pleased to join forces and offer this training to organisations in Plymouth, who could help us look out for children and young people in the city.  

“Since April last year, the NSPCC Helpline, has received over 31,000 contacts from adults anxious about child abuse or neglect.  Because of this, now more than ever, it is essential that we all play our role in helping to keep children and young people safe.  

“Families are under pressure and cannot always reach out to get the help they need to prevent things getting so bad that children are at risk of harm. 

“Workers visiting people’s homes whilst restrictions are still in place have the unique opportunity to see or hear things that others may not. 

“Therefore, it is important that they feel confident in knowing what to do if they are concerned about a child.” 

The partnerships is also hoping to raise community awareness about the increased risk to children, by using NSPCC resources, including posters and wallet cards promoting the NSPCC helpline for adults and Childline for children.

The charity’s team of professionals working on its helpline for concerned adults and the dedicated volunteer counsellors at Childline will all play a vital role in being here for children during the current lockdown.

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 speak to a counsellor on 0800 1111 or chat online at www.childline.org.uk.

But if you think abuse may be happening now, contact Devon and Cornwall Police on 999 or 101.