The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) is launching a phone helpline for paedophiles tomorrow. The emergency number – aimed at talking convicted paedophiles out of striking again – will be manned around the clock by trained counsellors. It will be funded by donations to the 127-year-old charity, so that it will be a toll-free service.
Child-sex offenders released from jail or given community service will be able to phone up if they fear a relapse or need other guidance. But they must first have agreed to sign up to the scheme, which will see them given a unique PIN number to identify them. The phone counsellors will also reserve the right to call police.
Although it was bracing for a backlash over the service, the NSPCC’s John Cameron insisted, “It could save lives.” “There are people out there who need help, and children who need safeguarding,” he added. “It is not a soft option.” The Ministry of Justice – which is backing the scheme – and the Department of Education stressed that the hotline was not costing taxpayers anything.