As a quarter of adults (26%) in Scotland say they have had concerns a child may be experiencing abuse or neglect, the NSPCC offers workshops to help people take action.

The YouGov survey of 3,999 adults across the UK, including 344 in Scotland, also revealed that one in five UK adults who have had a concern did not take action.

Survey results show that the main barriers that prevented people from acting are being unsure about if what was happening was abuse, being worried about making things worse and not being able to prove it.

The children’s charity is releasing this data to show why its new campaign is needed. Listen up, Speak up – through workshops and online training – aims to inspire adults across the UK to play their part in keeping children safe, by taking action to support children and families.

That might mean stepping in to help juggle childcare, providing a listening ear to a struggling teen, or calling the NSPCC Helpline if they think a child is at risk.

The NSPCC recognises that parenting can be challenging, and the new poll also found that of the 175 parents in Scotland surveyed:

  • More than two in five (47%) said they have experienced difficulties as a parent that they found hard to manage alone.
  • One in four (25%) said the fear of being judged would stop them seeking help.
  • Almost three out of five (59%) said that if someone offered support they had not asked for, they would be glad someone had stepped in (18%) or be reassured to feel someone was on their side (41%).

The Listen up, Speak up workshops, which are led by the NSPCC and being offered to schools, businesses, organisations and community groups, advise participants on some of the signs that a child might be at risk, how to approach difficult conversations and who to contact if they are concerned about a child or their family. The workshops are being offered face-to-face and online and people can also complete a 10-minute digital training session.

Carla Malseed, Local Campaigns Manager for Scotland, said: “We believe that everyone can play a part in keeping children safe, if armed with the knowledge of what to do when concerned a child is at risk. This can range from practically supporting a family, being a listening ear or letting someone know about your concerns, such as a parent, a child protection lead for a sports club, or even contacting the NSPCC Helpline.

“In our Listen up, Speak up workshops, we run through different scenarios, talk about the things that stop people raising concerns and give some advice about broaching these conversations, which can be difficult.

“We are really keen to reach as many people as possible through our workshops and would love to hear from any community groups, businesses or organisations that would like to host one.”

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.

Workshops are already set to take place across Scotland in the coming weeks, including several at Sanctuary Housing sites in Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen. Sessions are also set to take place at Montrose Playhouse, House of Bruar, Bike for Good in Glasgow and more.

A series of follow-up emails to the online training will share more advice on how to listen to and support children and families and will introduce some helpful services and resources.

That includes advice on everyday challenges that families may be facing such as bonding with their baby, parental mental health and keeping their children safe online.

So far, more than 25,000 people have signed up to Listen up, Speak up digital training.  The charity is striving to reach one million people and organisations across the UK over the next 10 years, inspiring them to take actions in their community.

NSPCC’s CEO, Sir Peter Wanless, said: “All of us come across children in our daily lives, be this in our neighbourhoods, at our places of work, on our commute or at the supermarket.

“At the NSPCC we understand it can be hard to know what to do in a situation where you have a niggling concern about a child’s wellbeing.

“Findings from our survey show 73% of UK adults agree that there is a lack of training on what individuals can do to prevent child abuse and neglect, which is where our Listen up, Speak up programme can help.

“In just 10 minutes, you can equip yourself with a little bit of knowledge, which can go a long way in helping to keep children and young people safe.”

To find out more and sign up for online training, visit To host a workshop, email

Headlime image credit: Myriam / Pixabay

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