More preventative measures need to be put in place to protect vulnerable young children from abuse, according to a Yorkshire author who held a conference in Leeds to highlight the issue.
Christina Gabbitas, from Selby, hosted ‘Reach Out Speak Out’ at the Royal Armouries to highlight the importance of making use of resources that are available in the field of safeguarding.
Mrs Gabbitas’ book Share Some Secrets teaches, illustrated by Leeds artist Ric Lumb, teaches children how to speak out about abuse and has been backed by the NSPCC schools service and Barnardo’s.
And it is this early education on the issue that she wanted to drive home at the event, one of the first of its kind in the North, which was attended by public sector workers, primary teachers, NHS staff and adults working with children.
She said: “I wanted to get people together to highlight the importance of education from a young age.
“I think the Government needs to put more money into this. I find it so frustrating.
“The idea is to hold more of these events in Yorkshire.”
A range of high profile speakers attended the conference, including former Sheffield United and Halifax player Andy Woodward, the first footballer to speak out over historic abuse in the game, and 2001-2003 Children’s Laureate Anne Fine, author of Mrs Doubtfire.
Mrs Gabbitas said: “It went fantastically well and I have received lots of positive feedback.
“This is a national problem and we need to come together more to educate young children. It’s really important.”