Landmarks and achievements
Kidscape was established in 1985 by child psychologist Michele Elliott. Alarmed by the stories of child abuse and violence reported by the children she worked with, she was determined to help all young people learn how to stay away from harm, and to change the public attitudes that permitted it.
Through consultation, research and experience, she formulated the basic tenets of Kidscape's work, which remain the charity's central precepts:
- 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.
- All adults have the responsibility to keep children safe, to listen to the feelings and concerns of children and take them seriously.
Kidscape developed the first nationwide programme for children that dealt with personal safety. A two-year study surveyed children of all ages about their concerns. The study revealed that the main threats to children came not from 'stranger danger' but from violence by family, friends and schoolmates, with bullying mentioned often.
The results encouraged the charity to develop programmes and publications to serve the goals Kidscape had established. A training arm was developed to deliver safety and other programmes to staff and children in thousands of schools and community groups UK-wide.
Kidscape has also helped set public policy, as well as influenced public opinion on a wide variety of children's issues. In later years, DVDs, websites and books appeared in order to serve children of all ages and abilities and their families and schools.
Bullying in schools
Kidscape was the first charity in the UK to identify and deal with bullying in schools, and is now the first resource many consult.
The charity's first task was a continuing one - to convince schools and the world that a climate of bullying is harmful to both the bully and the targets, as well as the bystanders who are not directly involved. Bullying is not just one of those familiar rituals of childhood, or a small matter, or something a child 'needs' in order to toughen up.
The whole school community can work together to ensure children are free from harm at school. Research has revealed much about both the bully and children who are targeted, and Kidscape built on that to design its innovative ZAP workshops.
Hundreds of children have joined us for our ZAP workshops that teach them how to turn their situation around, with new body language, ways of speaking, and sense of self. The majority of participants manage this transformation, with a success rate of 80 per cent.
Official recognition has come often - Kidscape received the first Charity Times UK Charity of the Year award in 2000, and was a runner up in 2007. Michele herself received an OBE in 2008, and was named Children and Young People's Champion in 2009.
Just as rewarding are the constant examples of small children who are able to make big changes for themselves, and communities that come together to make a better life for their children. Such achievements are truly rewarding for us all.