Stop it Now! (12/05/2010)
Wales became the country's first campaign solely dedicated to preventing the sexual abuse of children in Wales is going from strength to strength, Deputy Minister for Social Services Gwenda Thomas has announced.
Over the past year the campaign has worked hard to provide adults, particularly those closest to children such as parents, grandparents and professionals who work with young people, with accurate information, support and advice to help them play their part in keeping children safe from harm.
Along with offering training to professionals, the campaign runs 'Parents Protect' courses in conjunction with Parents' Networks,making sure parents and carers know what things to look out for and where to go for help if they have concerns.
In addition, the campaign operates a free phone confidential helpline – 0808 1000 900 – for people to talk through their concerns and ask questions.
Deputy Minister for Social Services said: "I wholeheartedly believe in the work of the Stop it Now! organisation in raising public awareness of child sexual abuse in Wales.
"They also play a crucial role in helping to reduce the fears that can often stop people, whether neighbours, family or friends from taking action to prevent sexual abuse.
"Early signs suggest that this concerted campaign is having an impact as has been demonstrated by the doubling of calls to its confidential helpline within the last 12 months.
"The Welsh Assembly Government is committed to safeguarding and protecting children and we have recently established the Welsh Children's Safeguarding Forum to provide national and strategic leadership across key public and voluntary sector agencies in Wales. Reporting to me every six months this Forum will take the action needed to strengthen safeguarding arrangements for children consistently across Wales."
National Campaign Manager, Rebecca Wasinski said: "When we launched this campaign we knew from our public survey that 70 per cent of people in Wales wanted to know more about child sexual abuse.
"We also knew that the more people know about child sexual abuse including the signs to look out for and where they can go for help if they have concerns, the more chance there is of preventing abuse from happening."
Over the next three months Stop it Now! Wales will address the issue of preventing child sexual abuse in Wales by conducting a review of what is happening all over the country to help keep children safe from harm.
The review will examine what services and resources are currently available in Wales, what services professions believe should be in place and identify where the gaps are.
Stop it Now! will work with agencies such as police, probation, social services, education, health, children's charities and survivor organisations, as well as parents, carers, perpetrators of abuse and adult survivors.
"We recognise that in order to maximise the effectiveness and impact of our work, an All-Wales Strategy for Prevention is required together with the development of a comprehensive approach to prevention," said Rebecca.
"A strategy would ensure that all relevant agencies, departments and organisations are working together to tackle this issue, while involving the public as part of the answer, thus achieving greater impact and efficiency when it comes to protecting children and families from the devastating effects of sexual abuse."
When completed, the review will be submitted as evidence to the Deputy Minister for Social Services, Gwenda Thomas AM and the National Assembly for Wales Children and Young People's Committee.
Anyone interested in finding out more about Stop it Now! Wales, or who would like to volunteer for or make a donation to the campaign, can contact Rebecca Wasinski at to the campaign, can contact Rebecca Wasinski at RWasinski@stopitnow.org.uk.