A Coronation Street actor has spent a day with a Richmond nursery and junior school to help the NSPCC raise their awareness of child abuse.
Chris Harper, who plays Nathan Curtis on the TV soap opera, was invited to watch the charity deliver their Speak Out. Stay Safe campaign to Heathfield Nursery and Infant and Junior Schools, Cobbett Road, on June 16.
Launched in 2011, the service aims to educate key stage one children about the different forms of child abuse and where to get help before it starts.
Chris said: “Abuse can be a difficult subject to tackle with children but the NSPCC’s Speak Out. Stay Safe service proves it can be done in an age appropriate and sensitive way.
“I’m really proud to support the service and it’s been a great pleasure to help the charity in its work to empower children to spot the signs of abuse.”
Having worked with the charity before to prepare for his role in the ITV soap, which involved grooming and sexually exploiting 17-year-old Bethany Platt, he wanted to get involved with the workshops being provided.
“Researching my role for Coronation Street opened my eyes to abuse and the suffering of victims and it also made me realise we all have a role to play in protecting children,” added the actor.
With the help of mascot Buddy, the charity delivers interactive assemblies to the children, aged four to 11, and also provides one-hour workshops to children in Years five and six.
Charlie Ali, NSPCC’s schools area co-ordinator for south-west London, said: “We know that at least two children in every primary school classroom will have experienced some form of abuse or neglect – a truly shocking statistic.
“But by delivering this service to children as young as four we are giving them the knowledge to prevent abuse, the confidence to speak out and the courage to seek help if they are worried about something that is happening to them or to someone else.”
Since 2016, the charity has spoken to more than 187,600 children at more than 590 schools across London.
To find out more about the scheme and support service visit nspcc.org.uk/schools .
Children and young people can contact Childline for free confidential support and advice 24 hours a day on 0800 1111 or at childline.org.uk .