What is Together for Childhood?
Together for Childhood is a new project bringing people together to prevent child sexual abuse. We want to stop abuse before it starts. We aim to provide help and support for children and their families at the earliest possible stage, in the community, to prevent sexual abuse from happening.
Why has this been launched?
Together for Childhood is being developed in four locations across the UK with the aim of building a better future for young people and their families by spotting and addressing problems at a local level in a way that everybody understands.
Why were Chell, Chell Heath and Fegg Hayes chosen?
These areas were chosen by partners involved in Together for Childhood based on the communities’ strengths. Community leaders applied to host the programme, and an interview also took place with community representatives setting out how they would want to be involved.
These areas were not chosen because child sexual abuse is a particular problem there.
There is already a thriving network of community groups carrying out vital work for children and families, which was a major factor in these areas being chosen.
What are you hoping to achieve?
Everyone involved in Together for Childhood has the aim of building a better future for young people and their families by spotting and addressing problems at a local level in a way that everybody understands.
In time, it is hoped Together for Childhood will help ensure children can live in communities where adults take action to keep them safe, that children themselves know what abuse is and are able to speak out, and action is taken quickly if problems do come to light.
How can we prevent child sexual abuse?
There isn’t a typical victim or a typical perpetrator of child sexual abuse but there are factors that can help prevent sexual abuse in any community. A community where there is less sexual abuse is one where:
- the places where children spend time are made safer
- adults take action to keep children safe
- children know what abuse is and are able to speak out
- adults understand more clearly how to recognise situations where children may be vulnerable and are well informed to be able to know what to do about this
- and more generally that there is early and effective action if problems do emerge.
And we need to address all of these things to make children safer.
Shouldn’t you just be focusing on helping children who have been sexually abused?
Helping victims of child sexual abuse is extremely important, but with Together for Childhood we want to stop it happening in the first place. We can only do this by ensuring that people are able to recognise the risks and warning signs, and that they know who to speak to if someone needs help.