Letting go

This afternoon I did a presentation to a group of volunteer fundraisers about ‘Don’t wait until you’re certain,’ the campaign I helped to manage to promote the organisation’s adult helpline service. The first burst of the campaign was handed to me to manage by my outgoing manager three months after I joined the charity, in March last year. To say it was a stressful experience to devise and execute a PR plan for a national media campaign in under a month would be an understatement, but when the launch turned out to be a huge success and contacts to the charity about serious cases of child abuse increased by 16% I was delighted that the blood, sweat and tears had paid off.

Fast forward ten months to January this year and it was time to do it all over again. With a bigger budget to play with we were able to pay for TV advertising as well as digital, which gave a much bigger reach. As before my role was to manage the PR for the campaign, which included the development of a content plan across the charity’s website and social media channels to drive engagement with the campaign messaging. I even wrote my first film script – for a message of support recorded by the rather lovely actor, Dominic West (though sadly I didn’t get to meet him in person).

This time around, with the benefit of TV advertising and a sponsored trend on Twitter, we’ve seen a 46% increase in referrals to the helpline – an uplift that has stayed constant for the duration of the campaign. Social media engagement has also been through the roof as a result of the campaign, which has been exciting to see.

In truth it choked me up delivering a presentation on something that I’ve been so close to for the past year but which I will soon have to walk away from. Yet despite my impending redundancy, this campaign is something I will always feel enormously proud to have been involved with. I know that wherever I go next I will always feel a glow of satisfaction that its success was in no small part down to my contribution.

201299_Don't_Wait_A4_Poster_FINAL

Advertisements

Why no child should suffer

Seeing as today has been entirely taken up by arranging media interviews for the NSPCC’s ‘Don’t wait until you’re certain’ campaign launch tomorrow it makes sense for today’s post to touch on the importance of tackling child abuse. Before I continue, I should make it quite clear that whilst I work for the NSPCC all views expressed on this blog are entirely my own.

As a child of the eighties I was distressed to hear the allegations against Jimmy Savile when they first came to light at the end of last year. I remember writing numerous letters to Jim’ll Fix It when I was about ten years old, asking him to fix it for me to meet Kylie and Jason. At the time I was distraught not to be chosen but now I, like many others, am left feeling that I had a lucky escape.

Sadly the abuse of children by adults in positions of trust is not a phenomenon that died with Savile. It’s true that as a result of the media furore hundreds have come forward about abuse they suffered at the hands of Savile and other celebrities many years ago, but it’s important to acknowledge that child abuse is as much a problem today as it was back then, it’s just that nowadays it’s harder for paedophiles to operate as flagrantly.

Every single day children across the UK are subjected to horrendous abuse at the hands of adults who are meant to be their protectors. What’s scary is these aren’t celebrities, but normal people like you or me. Or at least that’s how they appear. Can you imagine what it must feel like to be one of those children? Confusing, distressing and painful don’t even begin to cover it.

The longer abuse is allowed to continue the greater the risk to the child, not only in a physical sense but also a mental one – because mental scars take far longer to heal than physical ones. This is why the NSPCC is taking its ‘Don’t wait until you’re certain’ film to a wider audience as a television advert, starting tomorrow.

Critics may scoff and say the charity is encouraging false allegations, but in my opinion if one child is saved from a childhood of torture – and, let’s face it, that’s exactly what child abuse is – because someone sees the advert and takes action on their behalf then it will have been a success.

The bottom line is that no child should have to suffer from abuse. The recent media coverage has felt gratuitous at times but it has brought child abuse into the spotlight, and until we stamp out child abuse once and for all that’s exactly where it needs to stay.

Image

For this post I thought I’d share a pic of me when I was a baby, taken at a fair with my wonderful mother. I had a fantastic childhood filled with love, laughter and security, despite my parents divorcing when I was little. It makes me so sad to think of all the thousands of children who aren’t so lucky.