“It’s Not OK” launched by the National Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) and Sheffield’s Safeguarding Children Board on the 23rd May 2017 is aimed at highlighting the issue of child sex abuse and preventing children from being, “targeted by sexual predators.”

NSPCC have claimed that child sex abuse is, “the silent problem that is plaguing every section of society” and the abuse scandals in Yorkshire have raised awareness of the problem.

NSPCC campaign manager for the North, Helen Westerman has said, “Following programmes like “Three Girls”, there are more calls for the authorities and the NSPCC to take action, which we are, but this makes the issue more high-profile. Any awareness is a positive thing, even if it encourages debate and discussion and that’s what we had on the back of the Jimmy Savile scandal. More referrals were made then and we are expecting something similar this time. We are in a different time now. I think professionals are acutely aware of their responsibility to safeguard children. They are more supportive and more receptive to recognising when something isn’t right. We hope we won’t see a repeat of this ever again. By launching campaigns like this we hope that it will create a sea of change.”

“It’s Not OK” is a year long campaign which will highlight the dangers of the internet and social media and give guidance to parents on how to keep their children safe on the internet. Jonathan Taylor MSC, who worked as a covert internet investigator within the Metropolitan Police Child Abuse Investigation Command has said,” parents should know their ‘Snapchat streaks’ from their ‘vamping’. Sixty to seventy percent of parents don’t know what their kids are doing online.”

The campaign will also tour a play around schools in the area. The play follows the lives of four teenagers, showing,” their experiences on the internet, in relationships and family life.”

Fiona Richards, NSPCC regional head of service has said, “What children told us is they are a bit sick of just being told the internet is dangerous. The play is a much more accessible way to talk about the issue on a wider level. We are hoping it will be seen by all schoolchildren aged 11 to 13 in Sheffield, so we can target that transition between primary and secondary.”

During the last three months of the campaign there will be focus on the community of Sheffield, talking to taxi firms, bar and nightclub owners and staff and advising members of the community where they can go for help and assistance.

Fiona Richards commented “Raising awareness is really important, but awareness of what we can do and where you can go to get help is the added value of a campaign like this.”

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