20 Jul 2016

Stamping out child abuse is the responsibility of everyone working in the NHS according to The Children’s Society -  launching a new initiative with the Department of Health today (20 July) for hundreds of thousands of health professionals.

Seen and Heard — a powerful, interactive e-learning course with video — created by The Children’s Society, will support three quarters of a million staff across the NHS to recognise the signs of child sexual abuse or exploitation, as well as understand how to make children feel able to speak about what is happening to them.

One in 20 children in the UK has been sexually abused. Many do not feel able to report their abuse and too often it goes unnoticed or the signs are misunderstood. Sometimes child victims are wrongly seen as difficult or uncooperative.

The Government has declared child sexual abuse one of the greatest threats facing the UK today.

The Department of Health commissioned The Children’s Society to make a video and e-learning course. The hour-long learning programme, which was developed with the help of over 100 young people, some of whom are victims of sexual abuse, is free and can be easily accessed by any member of the NHS, with staff acting as ‘Seen and Heard champions’ to spread the information by showing the e-learning programme to colleagues.

Although the training focuses on staff working in the health service, it is relevant to anyone who works with children and is freely available to all. 

Nicola Blackwood, Health Minister, said: “No child should have to experience sexual abuse. Health and care staff are well positioned to make that vital difference in spotting and preventing child sexual abuse.

“That is why it so is important that children and young people feel able to trust and talk to them about their concerns, so that they can get the help and support that they need much sooner.”

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said: “Staff across the NHS, from receptionists to nurses and doctors, are perfectly placed to spot the signs of child sexual abuse and exploitation. But too often these signs are missed, and children don’t feel able to speak out. Recognising the warning signs and creating the right opportunities for children to talk is everyone’s responsibility and this is an important step forward in making this a reality.

“We have developed Seen and Heard to make it possible for every member of the NHS and anyone who works with children, to recognise the signs of child sexual abuse and make sure these vulnerable children are seen and heard so they can get the protection and support they need to recover from these horrific crimes.”

Tyler’s Story, the film which accompanies the Seen and Heard e-learning programme, was made by White Boat TV and the website was developed by Manifesto. Seen and Heard is available via www.seenandheard.org.uk from Wednesday, 20 July. To access the e-learning course go to: http://learning.seenandheard.org.uk/

Media enquiries:

For more information, please call The Children’s Society media team on 020 7841 4422 or email media@childrenssociety.org.uk. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.

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