Politicians must show support for school-based projects aimed at protecting children from harm
The need for this is urgent. The number of child sex offences recorded in Northern Ireland soared by nearly one-fifth to a record 1,809 last year - almost five every day - according to PSNI figures.
The NSPCC believes schools and teachers play a crucial role in keeping children safe from abuse and neglect and they need to be supported in this important work.
Research clearly shows that the earlier a child receives help, the better the outcome. Teachers have the opportunity to get to know their pupils and because of this unique relationship they can spot the early signs of abuse.
The NSPCC is also tackling the issue head-on with a range of groundbreaking initiatives. It is crucial that the funding is put in place by any new executive to support the innovative work in preventative education already under way.
We also must remember that we all have a role to play in protecting children. When children speak up about abuse, they need to feel like they will be listened to.
Our adult helpline is always available on 0808 800 5000.
NSPCC in Northern Ireland