A TEXT service is being launched by the NSPCC so people can send ‘on the spot’ messages about child abuse they know is happening.
The text number – 88858 – is free and available 24 hours a day.
This week’s launch comes as an NSPCC poll revealed people are unlikely to report child abuse unless they act immediately.
One in five people polled in Yorkshire and the Humber said they had been concerned a child was being abused or neglected, but 46% of those who didn’t report their fears immediately, took no action later.
TV psychologist Linda Papadopoulos, an ambassador for the NSPCC Helpline, said: “Most people want to help children. Four in five people in the national NSPCC poll said they would report abuse later if they didn’t do so straight away. But the reality is very different – the longer people wait, the less likely they are to act.
“As a psychologist I know how easily people talk themselves out of doing anything. They may think it’s none of their business, or they’ve made a mistake, or they simply can’t decide what to do. But procrastination can be fatal for an abused child. Tomorrow may be too late.”
Anyone sending a text to the NSPCC Helpline on 88858 will receive an immediate response confirming that their message has been received.
This message will also encourage them to call the Helpline on 0808 800 5000, or to contact the police if they think a child is in immediate danger.
A trained NSPCC Helpline counsellor will reply to a text message within three hours, and offer advice, information and assistance. They may ask for additional information about the person’s concerns, or confirm that a referral has been made to the police or social services.
The new text service adds to the existing ways that people can get in touch, by 24-hour freephone (0808 800 5000), by email firstname.lastname@example.org, or by making a report online at www.nspcc.org.uk/helpline