What we stand for

The NSPCC stands up for children, demanding that laws change and action is taken to better protect them.

NSPCC stands for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

It means that each of us has a responsibility to keep childhood free from abuse, and we must do everything possible to protect children and prevent it from happening.

So if a law needs to change, or if more needs to be done to protect children, we demand it. The fact that we’re independent – relying on the public to fund our work – means we can push for change when others can’t.

Speak up if you're worried about a child

Anyone who is concerned that a child is being abused or neglected should pick up the phone and contact our helpline.

Whether you work with children day-to-day or you're a concerned neighbour, having that conversation means we can help you protect children in abusive situations and get them the help they need.

Contact our helpline

Act quickly to get children the right help

When children have been abused or neglected, we need to make sure they get more effective help, and quickly.

Taking action to protect children is essential. It not only saves lives, but with the right kind of support we can help children recover and go on to lead happier lives.

Find about the child protection system 

Better support for new parents and babies

Mum and baby playing in garden

Both mums and dads need good quality antenatal education to learn how to care for and bond with their babies, as well as the emotional aspects of parenting, relationship changes or mental illness such as postpartum depression.

Our spotlight report on perinatal health highlighted the need for appropriate help to be provided to families affected by mental illness immediately before and after giving birth. It revealed that a ‘postcode lottery’ currently determines whether mothers get the right help. Many do not, which has a devastating impact on them, their children and their families.

As a result of the report and subsequent influencing work, health minister Dan Poulter announced that there will be sufficient training to allow for a specialist mental health midwife in every birthing centre in England from 2017.

We’ve also worked with a cross-party group of MPs led by Andrea Leadsom MP to produce the 1001 Critical Days manifesto. The manifesto advocates the importance of evidence-based early intervention during pregnancy and infancy and promotes our Parents Under Pressure and Improving parenting, improving practice services.

Making the internet a safe place

The internet is an exciting and amazing place for young people: it lets them play, learn, create and connect. However, there aren't always the same protections online as there are offline. This means that young people may see content that is inappropriate for their age or meet people who try to hurt them.

We're working to ensure there are equal safeguards online and offline - after all, we know that for most young people there is very little distinction between these worlds.

The NSPCC and O2 are working together to make 3 million families safer online over 3 years, We're delivering online safety workshops to parents, providing information on social networks through Net Aware and offering advice via our dedicated online safety helpline.

Working to tackle the supply and demand of child sexual abuse images

Our review of child sexual abuse material explored new evidence about the scale of the problem; presenting tangible solutions to reduce supply and demand. We've commissioned further research into what deters offenders from viewing imagery. We're also working to ensure that children can remove self-generated sexual images of themselves from the internet.

Equal protection for children online and offline

Our position paper calls for a Statutory Code of Practice to keep children safe wherever they are. Child protection and safeguarding needs to be at the heart of online design and Internet companies need to be accountable for their actions.

Sexting and keeping young people safe

We've helped create new guidance for teachers on sexting. It supports teachers to respond to disclosures, to handle devices and images, and to decide if, or when, it is appropriate to include other agencies.

Flaw in the Law

In 2014, following a petition by our supporters, the Government made it illegal for an adult to send a sexual message to a child. We will be seeking to help shape guidance for police officers.

Better support for children giving evidence in court

Many children who have been abused tell us how giving evidence in court can be almost as horrific as the abuse itself. So we’ve been campaigning hard for a better system for child witnesses.

Over 21,000 people signed our Order in Court petition calling for vital changes to make the justice system fair, age appropriate, and fit for children. We had a significant breakthrough when Justice Secretary Chris Grayling announced plans to pilot pre-recorded evidence and cross-examination for young or vulnerable witnesses ahead of trials – an important step towards making courts more child-friendly.

There's still a long way to go and we'll continue to campaign on this issue, but we come from a strong position of authority and experience to do this. Our Young Witness service  in Northern Ireland helps 700 – 800 young people giving evidence each year.

Changing legislation to protect children

Our Trust to Lead campaign is calling on Government to amend legislation to better protect children from abuse by a trusted adult.

Position of trust
In the UK it is illegal for a person in a ‘position of trust’ to engage in sexual activity and relationships with children under the age of 18. There is separate legislation for England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland defining what this means.

The term ‘position of trust’ currently applies to people working with children in settings such as teaching and care. But there are many other roles and positions where adults have the opportunities to establish trust with a child and this trust could potentially be abused.

We’re calling on Government to add the following definition to the legislation in all 4 nations of the UK:

Persons over 18 who are in Regulated Activity; are in a position of trust over any individual(s) under 18 who is employed or looked after by that organisation.

DBS checks for regulated activity
We are also calling for a change to the legislation defining ‘regulated activity’ in England and Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Following changes made in the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, only people who are in sole charge of children and young people in ‘regulated activity’ need to have an enhanced disclosure and barring service (DBS) check with barred list information. Those whose activities within a club or organisation are ‘supervised’ do not have to be checked against the barred list.

This means that people who have been disqualified from working with children and young people could still work with children in a ‘supervised’ role.

We’re demanding that the law is amended so that everyone who works or volunteers regularly with children is properly checked.

Campaign with us

Fighting for childhood across the UK

All Party Parliamentary Group for Abused and Neglected Children

We provide the secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Abused and Neglected Children (previously the APPG on Child Protection). 

An APPG is a crossbench group of MPs and Peers. The purpose of this group is to raise the profile of child abuse and neglect in parliament, consider solutions to tackle it and investigate policy and upcoming areas of legislation which could have a significant impact. 

We hold meetings in Westminster and run inquiries where we hear from professionals, academics and frontline staff about the key issues in child protection. Most importantly we involve young people in the work that we do to ensure that they have the chance to have their voices heard in Westminster. 

In the parliamentary session 2016-17 the APPG will be running an inquiry on therapeutic support for children that have been abused or neglected. The inquiry will focus on 4 themes:

    • understanding need for treatment and the gap in provision
    • mental health of looked after children
    • what children who have experienced abuse and neglect want to aid their recovery
    • and best practice in delivering support.

Previous reports from the APPG for Child Protection can be found on our library catalogue. If you would like any more information about the inquiry, the APPG or would like to join our mailing list, please contact martha.kirby@nspcc.org.uk