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Teachers 'first port of call' for vulnerable children

15/08/2012 Joanna
Following the publication of the Department for Education (DfE) report on faith-based child abuse, a senior policeman has identified those in teaching jobs as key players in helping vulnerable children.

Detective superintendent Terry Sharpe, who has investigated such cases, told the Evening Standard that teachers can be trained to look for warning signs.

"Teachers play a very big role," he said. "They are the first port of call when the child has confidence to report it. They will see the changes in the child's behaviour and may challenge that."

While the 'National action plan for tackling child abuse linked to faith or belief' report published by the DfE deals specifically with the issue of witchcraft-type abuse, education teaching jobs have a much wider scope than this.

For instance, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children provides training to teachers to help them deal with the issue of bullying - covering areas such as special education needs and disability.

As well as training courses, it offers a number of online resources to teachers such as information packs, report form templates and checklists.

The surge in the number of children with access to the internet via personal computers and mobile phones has broadened the remit of the primary and secondary teacher even further.

Get Safe Online promotes awareness among teachers and parents alike of the dangers faced by children using the internet.

"There are several ways to safeguard children," it says.

"Undoubtedly the most effective is to educate them from an early age about the risks they may encounter when online, what these risks are, how to spot them and what action to take."

And while the new DfE action plan focuses on faith-based abuse, its goals of engaging communities, empowering practitioners, supporting victims and witnesses and communicating key messages are equally valid to any situation where children are at risk. 

Posted by Theo FouldsADNFCR-2164-ID-801429558-ADNFCR
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