A former teacher is helping children speak out about abuse

Lorna Stather, a retired teacher, has volunteered for the NSPCC Speak Out Stay Safe service for four

Lorna Stather, a retired teacher, has volunteered for the NSPCC Speak Out Stay Safe service for four years, Picture: NSPCC - Credit: NSPCC

A former teacher is helping children speak out about abuse.

Lorna Stather, a retired teacher from Lowestoft, has been volunteering her time as part of the NSPCC's 'Speak Out Stay Safe' service.

The scheme teaches primary school children how to stay safe from neglect and abuse and encourages them to report worries to trusted adults.

Ms Stather, 63, has been volunteering with the NSPCC for four years, using her school expertise to help deliver workshops and assemblies.

She said: 'Having been a teacher with safeguarding responsibilities for so many years, I know how reluctant children can sometimes be to speak up.

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'The importance of telling a child they can speak up about abuse shouldn't be underestimated. Even if we make things easier for just one child it's worth it.

'As a former teacher, I can really appreciate the material used in the assemblies and workshops is very cleverly written. It has obviously been trialled and tested, and we know we are working with something that can really help children to understand things. Seeing that a child has really engaged with what you've told them is a reward in itself.'

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The Speak Out Stay Safe team offer 30-minute assemblies to all pupils, followed by a one hour workshop for older pupils.

The sessions are designed to be lively, memorable and empowering, using age-appropriate language to keep the content easy to follow.

In the academic year 2017-2018, volunteers ran special sessions with 21,575 children in the county and delivered assemblies to 123 Suffolk schools.

The NSPCC hopes the increase in abuse being reported thanks to the scheme will encourage others to volunteer their time.

Katy Cole, Schools Service Area co-ordinator, said: 'We have had children who have spoken out about abuse as a direct result of our volunteers going into schools delivering the programme.

'It is so rewarding for the volunteers to know they have directly helped a child, and we give every one of them excellent training so they know how to manage these situations.

'I really admire that the volunteers give up their time to make a difference to the lives of children.'

Find out more about volunteering here

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