Listen Up, Speak Up campaign provides training to spot and report abuse

Today we’re launching a campaign to give adults practical advice on what to do if they’re concerned about a child.

Listen Up, Speak Up will encourage people to take an engaging, free ten-minute digital training followed by a series of emails from experts with actions people can take to help keep children safe.

Over the past year, our adult Helpline has seen a 14% increase in the number of contacts about in-person sexual abuse.

From April 2021 to March 2022, our Helpline spoke 8,347 times with adults concerned about this issue compared to 7,338 the year before.

Our Helpline’s child protection specialists have also taken thousands of contacts over the past year relating to other issues including:

  • 8,969 contacts about physical abuse
  • 7,370 contacts about emotional abuse
  • 10,595 contacts about neglect.

One dad who called the NSPCC Helpline said:

“My 5-year-old son’s told me he’s being abused. He told me his step-dad has been visiting him in his bedroom at night and hurting him; when I ask more details he shuts down and looks away. I noticed he cries so much when I drop him off at his mum’s house, but I didn’t think it could be a sign something’s wrong.”

The scale of children at risk is likely much higher than this with more than half a million children in the UK experiencing abuse or neglect a year.

Listen up, Speak up


We believe that abuse and neglect are preventable and that everyone can play their part in keeping children safe – and that is why we’re launching Listen Up, Speak Up.

The campaign has been endorsed by Olympic cyclist, Sir Bradley Wiggins, who last year spoke out publicly for the first time about being groomed by his training coach when he was thirteen years old.

Bradley buried his experiences and struggled cope and he said that if someone had spotted that he was suffering and had spoken out, he might have been able to get the help and support he needed much earlier.

This is a pilot phase, and in the long-term, we want to reach at least a million people in communities and organisations across the UK to equip them with practical advice and confidence to know what to do and who to speak to if they're concerned a child might be experiencing or is at risk of abuse or neglect.

Those that sign up to Listen Up, Speak Up will initially take a 10-minute digital training session that uses scenarios - a father concerned about messages his son is receiving, a hairdresser that notices bruises on a child and a friend worried about a new parent – to show people what to do if they think a child is in trouble.

The advice is based on the mnemonic DOTS which is designed to address the barriers to people acting on concerns.

DOTS stands for:

  • Don’t ignore it
  • Observe the situation
  • Think: If not you, then who?
  • Speak up.

Sign up and take the training

Sir Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC said:


“Child protection in the UK needs to be a national priority. Last year a series of terrible cases shocked the nation, while major reviews called for urgent reform.

“2023 must be the year we take action. At the NSPCC, we want to encourage everyone to play their part in keeping children safe and that’s why we're thrilled to be piloting a fresh and exciting new campaign, Listen up, Speak up, offering free digital training to adults across the UK and Channel Islands.

“We're encouraging everybody to listen up and learn a bit more about how to help keep children safe and what to do if you have a concern.

“You might never need to use the training, but it’s beneficial to take part. Even if children are not a big part of your everyday life, you’ll see them in your neighbourhood, on your commute, at the supermarket.

“We're encouraging everyone to take 10 minutes to complete the digital training - a little bit of extra knowledge can help keep a lot of children safe."

Sir Bradley Wiggins said:

“It’s a privilege to be supporting the launch of the NSPCC’s Listen Up, Speak Up campaign which will help ensure children across the UK are better protected from abuse and neglect unlike myself.

“I believe it is every child’s right to live a life free of abuse and if more people know the signs to spot and how to speak up, this will mean more vulnerable children can get the help and support they need and deserve.”

Abuse can stop with a call to the NSPCC Helpline. Will you help us answer every call?


Analysis by the NSPCC estimates that half a million children a year suffer abuse in the UK. Based on 2.5% of under 11s and 6% of 11 to 17-year-olds who had experienced maltreatment by a parent or guardian in the previous year. (Radford, 2011) and child population data for 2011 (Harker et al, 2013 - How safe are our children?).