Posted: Tue 9th Feb 2021

New NSPCC service to help children stay safe online receives cash boost from Welsh Government

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Feb 9th, 2021

An NSPCC Cymru service aiming to help children stay safe online has received a cash boost from the Welsh Government.

The ‘In Cntrl’ service is free to use and has received a grant of almost £96,000 to support its delivery across the North and South over the next six months, with the donation from Voluntary Services Recovery Fund being administered by WCVA (Wales Council for Voluntary Action).

Police have logged more than 2,600 online child sex offences in Wales since it became mandatory for them to record a ‘cyber flag’ – a crime involving the internet – in 2015.

The NSPCC however warns this number may be higher due to the pandemic forcing children to spend more time at home on their internet devices and away from support networks.

‘In Ctrl’ aims to provide a safe space to help children and their parents build an understanding of risk whilst exploring issues such as online friendships, consent and sexting.

Children’s Service Manager for NSPCC Cymru, Tracey Holdsworth, said: “The online world can help children learn, socialise and play, but with children continuing to spend more time at home, it remains our priority to make sure they also have the right support to be able to navigate the online world safely.

“Online, situations can feel out of a child’s control very quickly and so through ‘In Ctrl’ we enable children to develop skills that will help protect them from grooming and exploitation.

“We want to prevent online child sexual abuse and so as well as continuing to push for tougher online regulation we want to build confidence in young people so that they feel able to speak out if they come across upsetting content or are asked to do something inappropriate online.”

Ruth Marks, WCVA Chief Executive, added: “The Voluntary Services Recovery Fund was set up to make sure vital services such as NSPCC Cymru’s ‘In Ctrl’ can continue to support vulnerable people during the pandemic. This service is so important, especially now, and we’re glad to be able to do something to support it.

“For other voluntary organisations in Wales that are delivering vital COVID-19 services at this time, WCVA would encourage you to consider following NSPCC Cymru’s example and see if the Voluntary Services Recovery Fund is for you.”

Since the offence of ‘Sexual Communication with a Child’ was introduced in April 2017 following an NSPCC campaign, there have been more than 1,000 offences recorded in Wales.

The NSPCC say they encourage all parents and carers to have regular conversations with their children to help keep them safe online, with ‘In Ctrl’ being a virtual service designed for children aged 9-13 and their carers to help minimise their risk online.

For more info on ‘In Ctrl’, contact one of the NSPCC’s service centres: 02920 108080 (Cardiff), 01792 456545 (Swansea) or 01745 772100 (Prestatyn).

Children can contact Childline every day of the week on 0800 11 11 from 9am to 3:30am, or get in touch via childline.org.uk where 1-2-1 chats can be requested between 9am to 10:30pm.

Anyone with concerns about the welfare of a child can call the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000 or visit nspcc.org.uk for advice.

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