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In my opinion: Children still not sure where they can turn for help

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 04, 2013

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I would like to say a thank you to all of your readers who have helped support the NSPCC throughout 2012, which has seen many high profile sexual abuse cases being investigated and reported.

Many people will have seen or heard about the Jimmy Savile sexual abuse inquiry in the media.

As of early December, the NSPCC and the police have identified over 450 victims of sexual abuse by Savile. Eighty per cent of these were children or young people and the offences include over 30 rapes.

Overall, the number of contacts to the NSPCC helpline around sexual abuse, both historic and current, has nearly tripled since the Savile revelations. This means we can help more historic victims than ever before to finally get the support they need and, crucially, we can also protect children who are at risk right now.

Child abuse remains a widespread problem and children are still being abused today. However, we understand that many people are still not sure where to turn to or how to report their suspicions. Anyone who has a concern about a child can contact the NSPCC's helpline for advice and support about any issues relating to child abuse, past or present, on 0808 800 5000 or email help@nspcc.org.uk

In November we launched a national appeal for 4,000 volunteers for the ChildLine Schools Service. The service focuses on 9 to 11 year olds and aims to visit every primary school in the UK by 2016. Using assemblies and workshops, the new service is designed to help younger children understand what abuse is and how they can stay safe, and to encourage children to recognise situations where they may need help and how to get it.

NSPCC research shows that an average of two children in every primary school classroom has suffered from abuse or neglect and the majority of cases go undetected. These young children often feel alone and desperate and many have nobody to turn to. Most children who contact ChildLine are over 11 years of age, however many of these children suffered in silence for months or even years. If we are really serious about stopping child abuse, we need to reach these children when they are younger.

In Devon the service now needs to recruit a further 52 volunteers to reach the 361 schools in three years.

We have made significant strides to help children this year, but still need the public's support in Cornwall and Devon to continue our work. 90% of our income comes from voluntary donations so we rely heavily on the generosity of the public to provide our vital services. Our work makes a huge difference to the lives of children across the UK and the service centre in Plymouth will help us pioneer new approaches to address the significant child protection problems facing local children. Our Plymouth Service Centre will be concentrating on delivering services for children facing sexual abuse.

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