A new campaign has been launched in the UK to protect victims of child abuse during the lockdown.
The ‘Something’s Not Right’ campaign, launched by the Home Office in association with charities including the NSPCC, Barnardo’s and The Children’s Society, encourages young people to recognise different forms of abuse, report it and get help.
As part of the campaign, animated adverts aimed at secondary school pupils aged 13+, will be running across Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.
Young people will be directed to a dedicated page on the NSPCC service Childline where they can access information and seek support.
The monthly average number of Childline counselling sessions about domestic abuse and abuse increased by 20 per cent and 22 per cent respectively in April-July 2020, compared to pre-lockdown levels.
The Internet Watch Foundation revealed that there were almost 9 million blocked attempts to access child sexual abuse material during the first month of restrictions alone. This trend has continued, with the charity revealing that in September, they received a 45 per cent increase in calls reporting child abuse material online.
“Coronavirus has changed the way we all live, and many children and young people are seeing people they trust and those who care about them less. This has created additional risks and dangers for some,” said home secretary Priti Patel.
“Since the start of the pandemic, we have invested millions to support vulnerable young people and our new campaign will help them identify abuse and get the support they need.”
Shaun Friel, head of Childline said: “At the NSPCC calls to our adults’ helpline and Childline about abuse and neglect significantly increased as many children were left isolated behind closed doors with their abuser. Abuse and neglect can have an impact which can last into adulthood. As we move into tighter restrictions, we all have a role to play in keeping children safe.
“Our frontline teams are still here for children who feel they have nowhere else to turn to for help and adults with concerns. It is essential that all children know how to speak out and that Childline is here to support them no matter what their worry is.”
Children and families minister Vicky Ford said that children must feel safe, whether they are at home, in the classroom or spending time online.
“This new campaign builds on the steps we have taken throughout the pandemic to support the most vulnerable children, including increasing the capacity of the NSPCC’s helpline and placing more social workers into schools to support teachers spot the signs of abuse and neglect.”
The campaign will help victims understand what may be happening to them and provide advice on how to report concerns to a trusted adult such as a teacher.
Besides the new campaign, the government will publish a comprehensive strategy for tackling child sexual abuse by the end of the year, an official statement said.