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A hard-hitting film aimed at training health professionals about the signs of child sexual abuse and exploitation has won a prestigious award. Seen and Heard by the national charity, The Children’s Society, won Gold in the Training category last week on Friday 23 June at the 2017 Evcom Screen Awards, known in the industry as the Oscars of specialist videos. The film is part of a powerful campaign and e-learning package created by The Children’s Society which was commissioned by The Department of Health and supported by NHS England to help all health care professionals to spot the signs of child sexual abuse and know how to encourage young people to talk about it. The film centres on the story of a young teen called Tyler who has been sexually abused by a member of his family for many years and is worried his younger brother may be next. We see Tyler coming into contact with a number of potential professionals who could help him but time and again they fail to spot the signs. It is the actions of a kind and patient radiographer who eventually gives Tyler the time and opportunity to tell his story. Seen and Heard launched in July last year and has already trained thousands of health staff to detect child sexual abuse and continues to be rolled out to healthcare locations across the country. Although the hour-long learning programme focuses on staff working in the health service, it is relevant to anyone who works with children and is freely available to all. The Children’s Society appointed White Boat TV to produce the film which was developed with the help of over 100 young people, some of whom were victims of sexual abuse. Last year the film also won Best Commissioned Film at the Haelo Film Festival Awards, which recognise the best in public sector films. Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said: “We are delighted that our film won Gold in the Training category at the Evcom Screen Awards. One in 20 children in the UK has been sexually abused and many do not feel able to report their abuse or it goes unnoticed or misunderstood.
“We’re pleased that our film and training is helping healthcare professionals including receptionists, doctors, nurses and anyone who works with children to help them recognise the signs of abuse so children are seen and heard and they get the protection and support they deserve.”
Catherine Davies, Team Leader for tackling child sexual abuse at the Department of Health, said: ‘I would like to congratulate The Children’s Society for their award winning film, which is a really useable learning resource to raise awareness of child sexual abuse.’ Lisa Cooper, Regional Lead for Safeguarding for NHS England North, said: ‘We are delighted to have been a partner in the development and promotion of this work to all health staff. This film is helping all health staff to recognise and support children and young people at risk of or experiencing child sexual abuse, so as to provide support, advice and protection.’

Campaign leads to new pledge for children in careHundreds of children in care who are moved outside their local communities are set to benefit from improved support from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority following a campaign by The Children’s Society. After launching its Handle with Care campaign last year, The Children’s Society made recommendations to councils aimed at ensuring these young people received the best possible support – and following constructive talks a package of measures has been agreed. Of around 5,200 young people in care in Greater Manchester as of March 31, 2015, 2,060 – nearly four in ten – were in a placement outside the boundaries of their local council. These include placements with foster carers, in children’s homes, with family or friends, or for adoption. Around one-fifth of those placed outside their local council area had been moved to placements more than 20 miles away. The Children’s Society’s research into this issue, including focus groups with young people who had been placed outside their local council area, highlighted that moves could be difficult. Young people explained how they had been asked to move at very short notice, or felt isolated from family and friends, while others found it difficult to settle in their new community or school and said they did not have as much contact with support staff following their move. The campaign urged that young people should only be moved out of their local community where absolutely necessary, or in the best interests of the young person, for example where they would otherwise be at risk of abuse or neglect, where there is a suitable placement available with a relative or friend, or where there is an appropriate opportunity for adoption. The charity’s recommendations aimed to address some of the concerns raised and focused upon ensuring young people received as much support as possible ahead of, during, and following a move out of their local council area. Over the summer, staff from The Children’s Society and campaigners gathered more than 2,300 signatures for a petition in support of the proposals, including during a day of action across Greater Manchester.