21 May 2018

Issued on behalf of NSPCC and Sheffield Safeguarding Children Board

Red carpet event to mark the closing event of Sheffield’s “It’s Not OK” child sexual abuse and exploitation campaign

The NSPCC and Sheffield’s Safeguarding Children Board are hosting a red carpet event to mark the end of the city’s year-long “It’s Not Ok” campaign tackling child sexual abuse and exploitation.

Sheffield’s new Lord Mayor , Green Councillor Magid Magid will be guest of honour at the event on the 23rd May at Sheffield Hallam Student’s Union, he will hear from children and young people, those living and working in Sheffield and campaign partners about how they have supported the campaign and the impact it has made. George Summerson, a child abuse survivor, spoke emotively at the launch of the campaign last year and will return for the finale to speak of his approval of the campaign’s commitment to tackle child sexual abuse and exploitation.

Indeed one of the key aspects of the campaign has been the opportunity for survivors of child sexual abuse to share their own experiences, talk about how devastatingly life-long the impact of the abuse has been for them. *Sally was raped as a young teenager and now over forty years later with support from Sheffield Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre she wants to speak out hoping her life story will encourage victims to seek help from charities like SRASAC, the NSPCC and Childline so their lives are not scarred by unreported abuse.

There will also be a special screening of “Silence is a child’s loudest scream”, a film produced on the subject of child sexual exploitation by a group of 16 to 18 year olds. The group worked with the not for profit youth charity Element Sheffield as part of a four week National Citizen Service course. The powerfully shot film which has already been shared thousands of times via social media will now be available on the It’s Not OK campaign’s website page for even more young people to view, to help raise awareness of the warning signs.

Since May 2017 when the campaign launched, hundreds of parents, teachers, social workers, and nursery staff have attended workshops, and training sessions, thousands of posters and resource packs have been sent out to schools, nurseries and children centres, the NSPCC and 02 have delivered online safety workshops and the children’s charity has also delivered PANTS workshops to schools teaching children that their body belongs to them

Fundraising by readers of the Sheffield Star and the NSPCC has meant that 17 secondary schools across the city have had a theatre production and workshop for year seven pupils devised to explore themes of abuse and exploitation.

Helen Westerman NSPCC campaign manager said: “The campaign may have come to an end but the legacy for the city lives on with new resources now available, including the campaign website, and the commitment so clearly demonstrated by all those involved to protect our Sheffield youngsters from abhorrent child sexual abuse and exploitation. This event we hope will also be a huge thank you, to all those who have promoted the campaign with parents, children and young people.”

Jane Fidler, Sheffield Sexual Exploitation Service Manager: “Sheffield Sexual Exploitation Service are proud to have been part of this important campaign. Our aim is to prevent sexual exploitation, protect young people and offer support throughout Sheffield and ‘It’s Not Ok’ has helped to start the conversations which can be scary to think about. There is fantastic work happening all over Sheffield and this campaign has showcased that, with a wide range of workshops and discussions.”

Jane Haywood, Independent Chair of Sheffield Safeguarding Children Board said: “This campaign has gone to the heart of our work to prevent child sexual exploitation and abuse. Working in partnership, schools, parents, social workers, and local charities have come together to tackle the abuse and sexual offences committed against children.

“We will build on this fantastic campaign to continue to provide the information and awareness needed around child sexual abuse to protect our young people from exploitation.”