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Southport and  Mersey Reporter -  Your free online newspaper service covering the Merseyside region - (Greater Liverpool).
Covering the news in and around Merseyside

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Issue:- 19 May 2011

NSPCC launches Helpline text service to report child abuse in Merseyside

THE NSPCC launched, on 16 May 2011, a text service to drive Ďon the spotí reports of child abuse to its Helpline in Merseyside and across the UK.1 The text number - 88858 - is free and available 24 hours a day.

The NSPCC is also announcing TV psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos as its first ever Helpline Ambassador. She is backing the NSPCC call for people to act when worried about a child.

The launch comes as an NSPCC poll reveals people are unlikely to report child abuse unless they act immediately. 1 in 7 people polled in the North West said they had been concerned a child was being abused or neglected, but 36% of those who didnít report their fears immediately, took no action later.

Dr Linda Papadopoulos says:- "Most people want to help children. Four in five people in the national NSPCC poll said they would report abuse later if they didnít do so straight away. But the reality is very different - the longer people wait, the less likely they are to act. As a psychologist I know how easily people talk themselves out of doing anything. They may think itís none of their business, or theyíve made a mistake, or they simply canít decide what to do. But procrastination can be fatal for an abused child. Tomorrow may be too late. Sending a text is quick and immediate, whether youíre at home or out shopping. Itís good to know youíve taken action. So if youíre worried about a child, the message is simple. Donít delay, text the Helpline today."

In the NSPCC poll, 56% of adults in the North West who had been concerned about a child had not acted immediately because they didnít know what to do or who to call.

Adults can contact the NSPCC Helpline about any worry they might have about a child, no matter what it is. Just for the period 2009-10, the Helpline received in the region of 114 calls from the Merseyside area3. On one occasion, a caller from Merseyside contacted the NSPCC Helpline after seeing a child under five with a bruised face being slapped and sworn at by the man looking after her. The NSPCC Helpline adviser took all the details and shared the information with childrenís services and asked the police to check that the child was safe and well4.

Alison Houghton, Service Manager at the NSPCC Helpline in the North West, said:- "We must pick up on the signs of child abuse as early as possible. Social workers cannot be in the community all the time. By texting the Helpline the public can help be their eyes and ears. Our new text service - 88858 - is discreet and only takes a few seconds but it could be the difference between life and death for a child."

Anyone sending a text to the NSPCC Helpline on 88858 will receive an immediate response confirming that their message has been received. This message will also encourage them to call the Helpline on:- 0808 800 5000, or to contact the police if they think a child is in immediate danger.

A trained NSPCC Helpline counsellor will reply to a text message within three hours, and offer advice, information and assistance. They may ask for additional information about the personís concerns, or confirm that a referral has been made to the police or social services.

The new text service makes the NSPCC Helpline more accessible, and adds to the existing ways that people can get in touch, by 24 hour freephone on:- 0808 800 5000, by email:- help@nspcc.org.uk, or by making a report online.

Alison Houghton continued:- "Some people may prefer texting to talking when reporting abuse or seeking advice and information about keeping children safe. However you contact the Helpline, itís about choosing the right option for you."

Get Involved: Labour Party Conference 2011

LIVERPOOL is increasingly becoming host to major business, sporting and political events. The Labour Party Annual Conference will take place in Liverpool between Sunday, 25 September 2011 and Thursday, 29 September 2011.

Over 10,000 delegates and exhibitors will be in the city to attend the conference, which will be held at the cityís Arena and Convention Centre.

Whether you are a commercial organisation seeking business opportunities, a charity hosting a fringe debate on an important policy issue, or a guest attending the business forum, there are a number of ways to become involved in the conference.  

Further details available online.

 

Die in Merseyside not in Zurich?

A North West Liberal Democrat Euro-MP says that people seeking medical help to die should be able to do so at home on Merseyside and not be forced to travel to Zurich.    Chris Davies MEP has welcomed the result of a referendum in Switzerland rejecting a proposed ban on foreigners taking advantage of the countryís law permitting medically assisted suicide. More than 150 people from Britain have travelled to Switzerland to seek help from the organisation Dignitas, based in Zurich.

Davies, who has written about Swiss practice and met on several occasions with Ludwig Minelli, who founded Dignitas in 1998, described the law in Britain as:- "cruel and inhumane. In a civilised country the freedom should exist for people who are suffering unendurably to seek medical assistance to due. It amounts to little less than torture to force people to live against their will in circumstances that most of us hope we will never experience.  People in these situations donít want to be forced to make an arduous last journey to Switzerland to exercise their free will, they want to die at home, at a time of their choosing, surrounded by people who love them."

Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg have all followed Switzerland in legalising medically assisted suicide if strict rules are followed to respect the wishes of individual patients and curb any risk of undue influence.

Attempts to change the law in Britain along similar lines have been defeated in the House of Lords, although the Director of Public Prosecutions has issued guidelines expected to ensure that family members who help a loved one travel to Switzerland to die will not face prosecution under the Suicide Act.

Chris Davies claims that there is massive public support in Britain for a reform of the law and blames a religious minority for blocking reform. He said:- "A massive 85% of voters in Zurich have seen off an attempt by Christian evangelicals to ban assisted suicide. I believe that the views of people in Switzerland and in Britain are really very similar."

The Liberal Democrats are the only main political party to support the introduction of a law on assisted suicide similar to that in Belgium and the Netherlands, but the Coalition Government is not known yet to have discussed the issue.

Do you agree? Email your views on this topic to news24@southportreporter.com and let us know what you, our readers think about this topic.

 Get Involved:- Labour Party Conference 2011

LIVERPOOL is increasingly becoming host to major business, sporting and political events. The Labour Party Annual Conference will take place in Liverpool between Sunday, 25 September 2011 and Thursday, 29 September 2011.

Over 10,000 delegates and exhibitors will be in the city to attend the conference, which will be held at the cityís Arena and Convention Centre.

Whether you are a commercial organisation seeking business opportunities, a charity hosting a fringe debate on an important policy issue, or a guest attending the business forum, there are a number of ways to become involved in the conference.   Further details available online.

40th WOODVALE RALLY UPDATE

THE 2011 Woodvale Rally is ready for take-off and the 2 day weekend is set to be the best yet. The event is held each year on the RAF base just outside Formby in Merseyside. This yearís event has returning again, the Bell UH-1 Huey Helicopter that was used by the US Army and Marines in Vietnam, vintage and classic cars and motorbikes, motorbike stunt display, the world famous Vander Brothers, the Wall of Death, lots of military vehicles including tanks! Thatís not forgetting working Merlin engines, large model aircraft flying, Microlights, model boats and railways, steam engines, kids entertainment, live music and other shows, picnic area, car boot sale, autojumble sale, trade stands, pyrotechnic display and much, much more... this year we are selling tickets on our Mersey Reporter Shop and also you can get them via the Tourist information Centre in Southport, as well as via the Woodvale Rallyís website. The event this year runs from 6 August to 7 August 2011 and an added surprise is again install, if all goes to plan, for Southport Town Centre on the Saturday! So why not visit this celebration that truly has something for all the family!

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