The prevention of bullying
and children’s safety are the main concerns of Kidscape
, a child protection charity
based in London, England. As the developer of the first national programmes teaching children how to be safe from their earliest years, Kidscape has originated unique and widely distributed programmes as well as been a source of advice and support for more than 25 years. The charity is especially recognised for expertise with bullying, its causes and resolutions.
Kidscape was founded in 1984 by Michele Elliott, child psychologist, teacher and mother of 2, who was concerned at the prevalence of threats to children, and the lack of successful solutions. From the first, the emphasis has been on prevention, and the acquisition of skills that underpin independence and self confidence. With the help of parents, carers, teachers, police and other professionals, children are taught ways to deal with bullies, as well as how to stay safe in a variety of situations, from a mugging to “stranger danger.” In a pilot project from 1984-1986 which involved over 4000 children, their parents and teachers, Kidscape realised that the main threat to children came from people known to them - bullies, friends, or even family members. Kidscape "Keep Safe" programmes are now taught UK-wide in thousands of schools and community groups. In addition, the anti-bullying training is much in demand; Kidscape has worked all over the UK and in several foreign countries.
Kidscape's work is based on two premises: that all children have the right to the knowledge and skills that will help them be safe, independent and able to express their feelings and concerns, and that all adults have the responsibility to keep children safe, to listen to their feelings and concerns and take them seriously. Kidscape encourages self-reliance and works to provide individuals and communities with practical skills and the resources necessary to prevent harm.
Kidscape's work falls into five main categories:
- A helpline for parents of bullied children which offers support and advice on steps to take to help improve the child's situation
- A nationwide training programme in all aspects of anti-bullying and child protection work for children, teachers and professionals
- Free and unique one-day workshops for bullied children that teach them how to block the bullies; their parents also learn and are supported in their own session
- A range of publications on bullying and how to keep safe
- An extensive website with information and advice
Work with external organisations
Kidscape is a frequent commentator in the media on bullying and child protection issues. Michele Elliott has represented childrencape on a number of advisory boards over the years, including the Toy Council, consults and advises, including giving evidence to the House of Commons Educations and Skills Committee on the effects of bullying.
In 1998 SmithKline Beecham awarded Kidscape an Impact Award recognising Kidscape's work in improving community health.
In September 2000, Kidscape was named UK Charity of the Year in the first Charity Times awards.
In 2007 Kidscape was Highly Commended in the 2007 Charity Awards Children and Youth category and Michele Elliott was Highly Commended in the Charity Principal of the Year category.
In the New Year's Honours list 2008, Michele Elliott was awarded an OBE by HM the Queen in recognition of her services to children.