Child abuse is preventable – not inevitable. That is why we're here, fighting for every childhood. Part of the work we do to keep children safe is to explain to them in an interactive, age-appropriate way:
- what abuse is
- how to spot the signs
- and what to do if they are ever made to feel scared or worried by something.
What is Speak out Stay safe?
Our Speak out Stay safe programme helps children to understand that they always have a right to feel safe, and that they can speak to a trusted adult or Childline if they ever need help or support.
With the help of our mascot Buddy, our Speak out Stay safe programme covers topics like bullying and abuse - without using any scary words or adult language.
Children learn about the different types of abuse in a child-friendly and age appropriate way, so they can get help if or when they need it. We help them identify a trusted adult they can talk to if they're ever worried about themselves or a friend. And they learn about Childline, and how it can support them.
Help kids learn and remember that:
- Every child has the right to speak out and stay safe.
- Making a child feel sad, scared or worried is never OK and is never their fault.
- If they’re ever worried about anything they should tell an adult they trust.
- Whatever their worry, they can always call Childline on 0800 1111 or visit childline.org.uk/kids.
Learn safety with us online
Speak out Stay safe together
Because we weren't able to visit schools as we usually would during the COVID-19 pandemic, we developed a virtual Speak out Stay safe assembly for parents and carers to watch with their kids at home. It's fun for the whole family - and you might spot a few famous faces helping our volunteers present!
We’ve also come up with some fun activities to try at home - keeping children busy while helping them understand the right they have to feel safe and what to do if they ever feel worried or scared.
Watch our Speak out Stay safe assembly at home
Speak out Stay safe online
During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we changed the way our Speak out Stay safe programme is delivered. With the amazing support of Ant and Dec we launched an online version of our programme in September 2020. Speak out Stay Safe online is a safeguarding programme for children aged 5- to 11-years-old - and is available to all primary schools in the UK and Channel Islands.
Speak out Stay safe online provides:
- access to our online assemblies
- classroom resources covering key messages about abuse, neglect and relationships
- an effective way to support your school's safeguarding duties
- a direct link to your curriculum.
"We were delighted to have the opportunity to invite NSPCC into our school virtually for the Speak out Stay safe online assembly. Follow-up activities were fun and meaningful, provoking reflection on the content of the assemblies. We are most grateful to NSPCC for the continued use of Speak out Stay safe which is a crucial part of our PDMU curriculum. "
Primary school teacher
Versions are available in Welsh as well as in British Sign Language (BSL) for d/Deaf children. We also have a programme for children with special educational/additional support needs and disability (SEND).
How our Speak out Stay safe service helps
Before the pandemic our volunteers visited primary schools to deliver Speak out Stay safe assemblies and workshops that helped children understand they have a right to feel safe, that abuse is never their fault and that they can speak to a trusted adult or Childline if they ever need help or support.
Thanks to the hard work of over 900 volunteers and staff members – by February 2020 we’d reached over 90% of primary schools in the UK. Our Speak out Stay safe programme was a finalist in the 'Safeguarding Award' category for the Children and Young People Now Awards 2020.1
"My daughter came home empowered and enlightened because of your assembly and your powerful message. She was singing the Childline number all evening and talking about Buddy. Thank you for taking your important message to the children. It is truly amazing and effective work that you do."
In the average primary school class at least 2 children have suffered abuse or neglect2.
Abuse can derail a child’s development. But it’s never too late to help a child. Child abuse and its effects are preventable. We can work together to stop abuse happening and support children who have been abused.
That’s why we've visited primary schools across the UK and Channel Islands to give children the knowledge and confidence to speak out if they’re worried by something. Our specially trained staff and volunteers deliver interactive assemblies and workshops to help kids remember important safety messages, learning about abuse and where they can get support in an accessible and age-appropriate way.
By February 2020, the NSPCC Schools Service had reached over 90% of primary schools in the UK.
During the pandemic, our staff and volunteers weren’t able to visit schools to deliver our assemblies or workshops. But more than ever, children needed to know what to do and who to speak to if something worried or upset them.
So, we worked with David Walliams, Ant and Dec to film our Speak out Stay safe assembly – so children and families could join in from home. This was seen by hundreds of thousands of children and won “Influencer / Celebrity Campaign of the Year” from the UK Content Awards 2020. To help children remember what they learnt, we came up with fun activities for parents to try with their kids at home.
We also created an online assembly for schools to use, with a hub of helpful resources - from videos to information packs - for teachers to use to continue conversations with their classes about safeguarding.
It’s important that every child understands they have the right to stay safe. We developed versions of our resources in Welsh, in British Sign Language (BSL) for d/Deaf children and for children with special educational or additional support needs and disability (SEND).
By February 2020, before the pandemic, we had reached 90 per cent of primary schools across the UK and Channel Islands, reaching millions of children.
An initial evaluation found that after receiving the Speak out Stay safe service children said:
- they knew more about bullying, abuse and neglect
- they were able to recognise some types of abuse that can happen to children
- they felt confident and empowered to recognise and respond to abuse, neglect and bullying
- they learnt more about who their trusted adults are; what Childline is; and the importance of speaking out if something is wrong.3
Some children spoke about abuse or neglect for the first time during or following one of our sessions and we and their school staff were there to give them a supportive response.
"The NSPCC came into my school today. It was really good to hear about Childline and to know that I can talk to you about anything. I have been getting bullied at school so I have been feeling quite sad. Knowing that Childline is always here for children really helps."
Boy, age 11
We are continuing to evaluate Speak out Stay safe to understand the impact it has for children and to improve how the programme is delivered. The findings from our evaluation will be available later in 2021.
Our new online resources empower schools to deliver the assemblies themselves and help students recall key safety messages about abuse and neglect through engaging classroom activities. Linking directly to their curriculum, this online course is an effective way of supporting schools’ safeguarding duties and help us keep children safely.
Now we’re looking into developing a service for secondary schools so we can reach older children and young people, and help them understand they have a right to feel safe. We're currently developing content for this new programme and we plan to launch a pilot in Spring 2022.
"It's important that you know about it, even if you don’t need it in your lifetime, if you pass it on to your children and they just keep passing it on. At least then they'll be aware […] and they know there is someone to turn to."
Child, year 6
Find out how your school can fundraise for the NSPCC and help us be here for children.
Hear from parents, children and school staff about our assemblies
"it’s a good way of learning, like, if you’ve been bullied before – you can say ‘stop you’re bullying me’. So you know what they’re doing to you ‘cause you might not know."
Child in year 3
"The children really respond to Buddy and the messaging about abuse is simple, age appropriate and very effective. This is such an important and crucially free resource for schools."
"[The children] have a better toolkit to deal with situations that they are possibly unhappy with than they did at the start, without a shadow of doubt."
Year 6 teacher
"You visited our school last term and it was really fun. I liked Buddy and still remember the number you taught us. It's nice knowing that Childline is always here for me if I ever need them."
Girl, age 11
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Let's talk PANTS
With the help of our friendly dinosaur Pantosaurus, talking PANTS is a simple way to teach your child how to stay safe from abuse.
Support us while you shop
Have a look at our selection of BUDDY goodies which make perfect gifts for kids and help us keep children safe.
1.In 2019/20, we had over 900 volunteers delivering Speak Out Stay Safe in primary schools.
2. Radford, L. et al. (2011) Child abuse and neglect in the UK today. London: NSPCC.
3. Hollis, V. and Churchill, G. (2018) Understanding children’s and teachers’ views of the NSPCC’s Speak out Stay safe programme. London: NSPCC.