England

NSPCC pilot child sex offender helpline

A new telephone support line is being piloted in the Midlands to help child sex offenders change their behaviour.

The 24-hour phone line will be operated by the NSPCC and will be available for sex offenders under probation supervision.

It is being run in partnership with local probation trusts in Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands, West Mercia and Derbyshire.

The charity said the two-year pilot would help to protect children.

Jon Brown, from the NSPCC, said one in 20 children in the UK is sexually assaulted before they reach 18.

'Talk through feelings'

"Some child sex offenders want to stop harming children and evidence shows they can, but they need monitoring and supervision to do this," he said.

The confidential phone line will be staffed by trained counsellors and funded through donations to the charity.

John Cameron, head of the NSPCC child protection helpline, said: "What we're going to do is talk through with them some of their feelings.

"What they do under those circumstances, the strengths they might have to prevent them reoffending and look at a range of strategies they've been working on with their probation officer."

"I think we ought to be offering opportunities to people who want to address their behaviour," he added.

"If anyone does provide us with information where we believe there's an immediate risk to a child then we would contact the police to make sure action can be taken to protect the child."

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