THOUSANDS of children across Dorset were taught about how to keep safe from abuse over the last year through a nationwide campaign in primary schools.

The NSPCC’s Speak Out Stay Safe programme provided guidance to a total of 19,077 pupils in the Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset council areas in 2017/18.

The charity's schools service team visited 85 schools in the county to talk about different kinds of abuse.

Nationally 1.8 children in the UK at 8,000 schools were part of the programme.

The children learn about physical, sexual and emotional abuse as well as neglect and bullying. Assemblies are tailored to different year groups to ensure the content is age-appropriate.

Volunteers and staff help the children identify a trusted adult they can speak to if they have worries about themselves or a friend.

Candia Crosfield, schools service manager for the south west and Wales, said: “We aim to visit every primary school across Dorset every three years to deliver our Speak Out Stay Safe programme.

"Our research shows that one in three children who have been sexually abused by an adult did not tell someone at the time.

"We’re empowering a generation of children to know about the different kinds of abuse there are and how they can talk to a trusted adult if they are concerned about themselves or a friend.

"On average two children in every classroom have suffered abuse or neglect and so it’s really important that children know who they can talk to if they’re upset or worried.”

This month will see the return of Speak Out Stay Safe for the new academic year.

The NSPCC will be delivering the sessions to many new faces at schools across the region as well as children who had visits earlier on in their education.

Research shows one in 20 children have been sexually abused.

If you’d like to find out more how you can volunteer with the NSPCC’s Schools Service or fundraise for the charity contact 02920 108133 or