A new whistle-blowing helpline has been launched, aimed at employees who have concerns about child protection issues at work.
The new child abuse helpline is run for the Home Office by the NSPCC. It is hoped the initiative will avoid a repeat of the Rotherham abuse scandal, where failings by the authorities allowed 1,400 children to be abused, 1/3 of whom were already known to social services.
The helpline will provide a forum for staff to raise any worries they have about child abuse and child protection issues. Employees’ concerns will be communicated to the relevant authorities for investigation. One of the lessons drawn from the Rotherham scandal was that staff can be fearful about job security if they speak out. It will also encourage people who have suspicions to raise alerts without worrying if they are breaching any confidences.
The government minister responsible for preventing abuse, exploitation and crime, welcomed the initiative saying that the helpline will be "a vital service in our fight to end child abuse, including sexual exploitation".
The helpline will also enable the NSPCC to look for trends or patterns that might highlight potential problem areas in the country.
People are invited to call the helpline on 0800 028 0285. It operates from 8:00am to 8:00pm, Monday to Friday, but anyone calling outside these operating hours can leave their details so they can be contacted later. Alternatively concerned employees can use email.