A leading child protection charity has joined forces with gas distribution networks to train workers to spot signs of child abuse and neglect during home visits.
The NSPCC’s It’s Your Call project will see the charity train more than 18,000 workers across the country to help them identify signs of abuse.
Half a million children suffer abuse and neglect a year in the UK, and almost 60,000 calls were made to the NSPCC Helpline last year from adults including utility workers reporting concerns about child safeguarding across the UK.
Gas engineers, including sub-contractors and GDN staff at Scottish Gas, Cadent Gas, Northern Gas Networks and Wales & West Utilities will take part in specialised training developed by the children’s charity over the next two years.
The training will help GDN employees who visit homes recognise signs of abuse and neglect and give them the confidence and knowledge to seek appropriate support, including contacting the NSPCC Helpline.
The roll-out of the training with GDN workers across Britain has already begun and will continue throughout the next two years.
Edward Allard, social programmes manager at Cadent, said: “We are delighted to announce our new partnership with the NSPCC. This is a significant and wide-reaching project and will create a real force for good across Britain.
“We visit thousands of homes every day, and thanks to this partnership we can create an army of safeguarders to help identify children at risk of neglect or abuse and ensure our workers know how to help them get the support they need as soon as possible.
“As part of our ongoing commitment to support customers living in the most vulnerable situations, each GDN will also work with the NSPCC’s safeguarding experts to ensure that the safeguarding of children and young people is fully embedded into our organisations.”
The project has been funded by the Vulnerability and Carbon Monoxide Allowance (VCMA) – an Ofgem fund split between the four GDNs to work with partners, charities and organisations to support customers in vulnerable situations.
Sir Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC, said: “We are hugely excited about this project, and grateful to Ofgem and all the GDNs for supporting this wonderful partnership.
“Everyone has a role to play in preventing child abuse and neglect. With this training and support, we can create a real force for good and help protect some of the most vulnerable members of our society.
“By working together and sharing our resources, experience and expertise we can help engineers and gas employees across the country play their part in supporting vulnerable families and children in their communities.”
To find out more about the NSPCC’s work to protect children and young people and support families across the country, go to www.nspcc.org.uk