The vision of the Mr Shapeshifter project is to reach as many 9-11 year old children as possible, with an exciting creative project which entertains, informs and safeguards them against risk and danger in real life and online. So far we have achieved great success and positive impact with performances of the Mr Shapeshifter play in primary schools. This face-to-face work is vital and we will continue to tour the play, particularly into schools in ‘hot spot’ areas or where there are known safeguarding issues or concerns.
But we are now ambitiously expanding our vision by using the play, animation and book together, and separately. This bolsters the impact of our work in schools and offers us the increased capacity to deliver the project outside schools in alternative and special settings.
Pioneeringly, we are piloting ways to engage directly with parents, carers, foster carers/parents and families. The project can bring these people together in partnership and collaboration – making children safer and making adults a pro-active part of prevention and protection. As a creative agency of change our vision is clear and simple.
We believe that early intervention and sustained and consistent safeguarding work with very young children is essential. It builds instinctive self-protection skills, awareness, confidence and emotional resilience, all of which are vital to a child’s capacity to stay safe, and to recognise and report abuse and exploitation. We must empower children.
By bringing key adults into the core of this work we can build a much stronger network of support for children, as well as supporting and educating the adults themselves. We must empower adults and families.
By training and raising awareness with key agencies and workers, we can make inroads into tackling the rise in Child Criminal Exploitation, which increasingly targets very young children. We must listen to children and we must respect and protect childhood.
We must bring everyone together in a single-minded mission to do whatever possible to keep children safe from sexual abuse and exploitation. This includes breaking through the cultural and social barriers and sensitivities which can be contributory to keeping children trapped in abuse, and can lead to it being ignored, hidden or not reported. We must face truths as adults to protect all children.