CHILDREN across the county have been taking part in workshops, which have been designed to teach them about abuse.
Volunteers across Gloucestershire are helping the NSPCC with their aim of achieving a massive reduction in child abuse by doing more to prevent it before it starts.
The ChildLine Schools Service aims to visit every primary school in Gloucestershire by 2016 to talk to children aged nine to 11 about abuse, how to protect themselves and where to get help if they need it. It is designed to equip children with the knowledge they need to act with confidence.
Using a series of age-appropriate assemblies and interactive workshops, trained volunteers encourage children to recognise situations where they may need help and show them ways of accessing support.
Recently volunteers from the scheme visited year five and six pupils at Tutshill C of E primary School in Chepstow, where they took part in assemblies.
Head teacher Jenny Lane said: “The workshop was for year five and six students. They learnt about abuse and the four categories related to this. It was very engaging for them. They were also shown a funky video which was really interactive for the children. We have carried on the work since. Some pupils have come up to me saying how much they learnt from their visit. One pupil came up to me afterwards and said the talk was very helpful.” The message which the NSPCC delivered was any child can contact them with whatever problem they have.”
Five schools across Gloucestershire have already been visited and with the help of new volunteers more schools will be visited.
NSPCC research shows that, on average, at least two children in every primary classroom will have suffered some form of abuse or neglect.
But ChildLine, a service provided by the NSPCC, says the majority of children who contact its helpline are aged over 11 and often talk about abuse that happened months or even years earlier.
Natalie Chamberlain, ChildLine School Service area co-ordinator, said: “Firstly we visit the school to have a meeting with the headteacher and we discuss what the assembly is about and a letter is sent to parents too.
“During the assembly we discuss forms of abuse including, physical, mental, sexual abuse and bullying. We have an exercise called Sack of Worrying, where we encourage children to tell us some things children their age might be worried about, for example losing a pet.
“We put bricks in a sack and then explain it would feel lighter when a child talks to a trusted adult about their problems.
“We go back two weeks later to hold a workshop where children take part in an exercise and they recap about what they learnt from the assembly.
“We have had a high amount of positive feedback from schools and children. My favourite bit is when we leave we give the pupils a buddy kit.
“The children can write things that make them happy, for example watching a film with mum and they can refer back to the kit this if they are feeling low.”