Whistleblowing helpline on child protection failures due to go live
A new whistleblowing service allowing employees to raise the alarm about child protection failures will go live on Monday.
The helpline is aimed at staff in any sector who are afraid to raise concerns about the way their organisation is dealing with child abuse cases or who feel they have exhausted all avenues with their employer.
Callers will be offered advice about the whistleblowing process and given legal protection from any future discrimination. Any concerns raised will be passed on to relevant investigatory bodies to pursue.
The facility, which will also include email support, will be delivered by the NSPCC on behalf of the Home Office. The Government has provided half a million pounds.
Launching the service, Minister for Preventing Abuse, Exploitation and Crime Karen Bradley said: " The new NSPCC whistleblowing helpline will be a vital service in our fight to end child abuse, including sexual exploitation.
"Some employers are making great strides in strengthening whistleblowing processes.
"But more can be done to encourage employees to report malpractice without fear of victimisation - particularly in relation to children where the cost of failure is so high.
"No one should be afraid to report concerns about failures in child protection."
The new service will also be used to highlight patterns of failure across the country. The NSPCC will work with authorities to gather information about reports relating to child abuse in order to identify and address trends.
NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said the helpline is a "vital" new initiative.
"If an employee thinks a child is in danger or has been failed by their organisation then nothing should stand in the way of them speaking out," he said.
"Too often people with concerns have kept silent because they have been fearful of the consequences for their jobs, and this can have devastating consequences for the children involved.
"A feature of the child abuse scandals of recent years has been people who said they thought something wasn't right but were unsure whether they could discuss their concerns confidentially outside their organisation."
The helpline will be open from 8am to 8pm on Monday to Friday. Those who call at the weekend or outside the operating hours will be able to leave their details so they can be contacted later.