Parents worried about their children being “radicalised” and the impact of terrorism can now call an NSPCC helpline for advice.
The national children’s charity launched the free, 24-hour service after the spate of terrorist attacks in 2016.
It will be the first national point of support for parents who might be concerned or need advice on how to talk to their children about such issues. Previously, the only route was through Government agencies.
“We have seen a wave of terrorist attacks in recent weeks and months, and both parents and children tell us how frightened they are by what is happening,” said Peter Wanless, NSPCC’s CEO.
“It is vital that we are here for parents when they need our support and are able to provide them with non-judgemental advice on issues ranging from the wider terrorist threat to the dangers of radicalisation,” Wanless added.
The NSPCC started to receive calls from adults worried about the problem, which prompted the charity to offer help.
The charity’s counsellors have been trained to spot the warning signs of radicalisation so they can advise adults who are worried about a child being groomed.
Adults calling the helpline will be advised about the signs which may hint at a child being radicalised.
– Isolating themselves from family and friends.
– Talking as if from a scripted speech.
– Increased levels of anger.
– Becoming disrespectful and asking inappropriate questions.
Children who are potential targets often have low self-esteem, are members of gangs, or may be victims of bullying or discrimination, the NSPCC stated.
The charity released transcripts of previous phone calls from adults concerned about children.
One woman told their counsellors: “I’m worried about a child I know. I fear that they may start holding extremist beliefs because I’ve heard her saying some worrying things.
“She’s also showing changes in behaviour and appears to be more aggressive towards her parents. I’m not sure how to approach this as I know the family well however, I don’t think staying silent is an option in the current climate.”
Wanless added: “When young people are groomed for extremist purposes and encouraged to commit acts that could hurt themselves or others, then it becomes abuse.
“That’s why we’ve trained our counsellors to cope with this fresh danger to young people.”
The NSPCC’s counsellors will offer information, advice and counselling to adults about how to talk about terrorism with children.
If counsellors believe that a child is at risk of harm, they will alert appropriate authorities as they would with any other contact where a child’s safety is questioned.
Adults can ring the free helpline on 0808 800 5000 24 hours a day, seven days a week.