News : Whistleblowing Helpline to Act on Fears of Child Abuse to Go Live
London, UK, Feb 12, 2016 -- Set up with grant from the Government, the hotline is aimed at staff in any sector who are afraid to raise concerns about the way their organisation is dealing with sexual exploitation or neglect or cruelty towards children.
Callers will be offered advice about the whistleblowing process and given legal protection from any future discrimination, then their concerns will be passed on to relevant investigatory bodies to pursue.
It was part of a package of measures to improve how organisations manage whistleblowing cases and concerns raised by staff and the initiative, which will also include email support, will be run by the NSPCC on behalf of the Home Office.
NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless described the helpline as "vital".
"If an employee thinks a child is in danger or has been failed by their organisation then nothing should stand in the way of them speaking out," he said.
"Too often people with concerns have kept silent because they have been fearful of the consequences for their jobs, and this can have devastating consequences for the children involved.
"A feature of the child abuse scandals of recent years has been people who said they thought something wasn't right but were unsure whether they could discuss their concerns confidentially outside their organisation."
The Government committed to establish a child abuse whistleblowing helpline as part of the Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation report published in March 2015.
The idea was first raised in the wake of the death of 17-month-old Baby P, who died in Haringey, north London, in August 2007 after suffering a series of injuries inflicted by his mother Tracy Connelly, her boyfriend Steven Barker and his brother Jason Owen.
The tragic toddler suffered extreme abuse over a long period of time despite being on the at-risk register and visited 60 times by social workers and police.
The new service will also be used to highlight patterns of failure across the country and the children's charity will work with authorities to gather information about reports relating to child abuse in order to identify any trends.
The helpline will be open from 8am to 8pm on Monday to Friday. Callers at the weekend or outside the operating hours will be able to leave their details so they can be contacted later.
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Karen Bradley, minister for preventing abuse, exploitation and crime, said: "Some employers are making great strides in strengthening whistleblowing processes, but more can be done to encourage employees to report malpractice without fear of victimisation - particularly in relation to children where the cost of failure is so high.
"No one should be afraid to report concerns about failures in child protection and this new helpline will be a vital service in our fight to end child abuse, including sexual exploitation."
The NSPCC whistleblowing helpline number is: 0800 028 0285. The NSPCC whistleblowing e-mail address is: email@example.com.
The postal address for written whistleblowing concerns is; National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), Weston House, 42 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3NH.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) is a charity campaigning and working in child protection in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands.
Published: Tuesday, February 16, 2016
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