Scotmid and Morning, Noon and Night stores are lending their support to the Scottish Executive’s Child Protection Awareness campaign by distributing “HELP” campaign booklets to shoppers.
The booklets are intended to help the public spot a child or young person at risk and include a fridge magnet designed for people to keep, which displays a confidential freephone number 0800 022 3222 to call if they spot a child at risk.
Councillor Jimmy MacDonald, Chairman of The Highland Council’s City of Inverness and Area Social Work Committee, visited Scotmid, Hilton, Inverness today (Monday) speak to the staff and shoppers about child protection and spotting the signs of a child or young person at risk.
The Child Protection Awareness campaign 2007 kicked off in February this year, launching a new 24-hour child protection information line designed to complement Scottish child protection services. The phoneline gives people easy access to child protection services and allow them to share concerns about a child with the most appropriate local agency.
Throughout Scotland, people can call the confidential freephone number - 0800 022 3222 - to speak to a trained operator. Depending on the nature of the call, the operator will either:
• Transfer the caller to the most relevant agency, or
• Provide details of who the caller should speak to next
The introduction of the information line follows a pilot in the North-East of Scotland in 2005 and delivers a commitment from the Children’s Charter to provide a nationwide, 24-hour child protection information service.
Councillor MacDonald said: “We are delighted that Scotmid has got on board to support the campaign, particularly as it means we can get the information right into the heart of the community. All children deserve the best possible start in life but too many find their young lives blighted by abuse or neglect. For those vulnerable youngsters, it’s vital that they get help as soon as possible and that means we all have a duty to step in if we fear a child is in trouble.
“Shoppers can take away one of our ‘HELP’ booklets, which includes a fridge magnet with the child protection freephone number on. We would urge people to keep these on the fridge at home and to call the number if they are ever concerned about a child whether it’s today, tomorrow or in the future. The calls are completely confidential and take callers straight to child protection services.”
Malcolm Brown, Head of Corporate Communications at Scotmid, said: "Children are amongst the most vulnerable groups in today's society. Scotmid is therefore delighted to be part of this excellent campaign to highlight this important helpline for those children that might be at risk.