Latest Public Sector News

16.02.16

Home Office launches new helpline for employees to report child abuse

A child abuse whistleblowing helpline has been launched following complaints that workplaces aren’t doing enough to prevent child abuse.

The helpline, which will be open from 8.00am to 8.00pm Monday to Friday and will delivered by the NSPCC on behalf of the Home Office, is for employees who are concerned about child protection at their workplace and who fear their employer will cover it up or treat them unfairly for complaining.

In November, children’s commissioner Anne Longfield told PSE that only one in eight children who are sexually abused are identified and supported because social services are largely geared towards people who self-refer.

Peter Wanless, chief executive of NSPCC, said: “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.

“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 new whistleblowing helpline is a vital new initiative and will provide a confidential, safe place for anyone who has concerns and wants support or advice.”

The helpline, which the government has promised £500,000 to help set up this financial year, will offer employees advice about whistleblowing.

Whistleblowers in England have legal protection if they report concerns about a number of areas, including a criminal offence, danger to someone’s health and safety and a company covering up wrongdoing.

The NSPCC will also work with authorities to identify patterns in abuse being reported.

Karen Bradley MP, 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.”

To contact the helpline, call: 0800 0280285 or e-mail: help@nspcc.org.uk.

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