Young people today are exposed to many risks.
It‘s estimated that 3.5 million children live in poverty in the UK. There are many different reasons for poverty including unemployment, low incomes, substance abuse, domestic violence, divorce and family breakdown. Schools report that children often come to school hungry without having eaten breakfast. They lack basic clothing and can suffer poor health, neglect, deprivation and even in some cases physical or sexual abuse.
Children exposed to situations of abuse and domestic violence are more likely to experience difficulties in school and have a tendency to engage in high risk activities including self-harm and suicide.
Evidence shows that children who do not value themselves learn early on to put themselves in dangerous situations and engage in risky behaviour.
For instance, teenagers who have difficulty communicating with and trusting adults fall into excessive social involvement to escape situations at home, sometimes resulting in joining a gang.
About the Charity
The Dot Com Children’s Foundation was formed in December 2013 with the goal of reaching every child in the country.
The resources were launched by Tony Blair in 2000 and have been piloted in 135 out of the 150 local education authorities. In 2007 Sir Hugh Orde, on behalf of the Association of Chief Police Officers, signed a document of support for the programme.
There are currently 33,000 children using the programme across the country. In Birmingham 118 schools are taking part in the programme with a co-ordinator funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office. In Oxford 3,000 children are in the programme with the support of the Chief Constable of Thames Valley and the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Board. In London, Croydon Council has invested in the programme for all 80 of the borough’s primary schools to help prevent domestic abuse.
Every child deserves the right to learn how to manage risks in their life and the opportunity to learn how to reach their potential.
The My Value Journal Programme
Our programme has already, in a short period of time, helped to improve the life chances of some of the most vulnerable children in society. It teaches them that they have a choice about their behaviour – positive behaviour has rewards and negative behaviour has consequences. They learn about the role and the value of the emergency services in society. They also learn who they can turn to for help in difficult situations.
Using a set of nine personal journals written for children from aged four to eleven, in a classroom setting children learn how to communicate about the most difficult and sensitive issues in life. The programme has been carefully designed based on research and evidence gathered from teachers, police officers and third sector organisations.
Each journal is a special book for the children to keep and provides teachers with vital OFSTED evidence that key targets are being addressed for every child. A set of teachers guides are also available to assist with the learning programme.
KEY STATS & FACTS
Why is The My Value Journal needed in our schools?
- An average of two children in every primary school classroom has suffered from abuse or neglect and the majority of cases go undetected.
- 1 in 20 children in the UK have been sexually abused.
- More than one in three children who experienced sexual abuse by an adult did not tell anyone.
- 52 % of parents with children experience frequent or serious conflict.
- 4 out of 5 families do not seek help.
- Nearly 26 million child abuse images were confiscated by the police between 2010 and 2012. Behind every picture is a child who is suffering.
- Police recorded over 23,000 sex offences against children aged under 18 years in England and Wales between April 2012 and March 2013.
- 28,000 children ran away from care in 2012 and were reported to police.
- On average, every week in the UK at least one child is killed at the hands of another person.
Research shows that early intervention with safety programmes helps teach children who are experiencing violence or abuse how to manage risky situations and to learn what it means to feel safe. The influence of a supportive adult, who could be a family member or community advocate, is also thought to be key in helping children feel valued and develop resilience. The My Value Journals is an early intervention programme which can be delivered in school and supported by community role models.