The Blue Butterfly project was officially launched at Northamptonshire Police Headquarters today. This innovative scheme has proven to be an effective way of engaging with children and helping them understand the feelings they might have if they witness domestic violence, exploitation, bullying or abuse, so they talk to a trusted adult and get help.
The project was first piloted in 2015 and since then, it has been delivered to 14,500 primary school children in the Daventry area. The aim of today’s event was to update fellow professionals and safeguarding leads from across the county on the success of the scheme, with the aim of recruiting new advocates and expanding the project further to help protect more young people.
PCSO Kirsten Bates created the project and worked alongside colleague Katrina Heath to develop it. She said: “The scheme takes its name from the term ‘butterflies in the tummy,’ the sensation people experience when they are scared. The aim is to help children recognise the emotions they might experience if something isn’t right.
“Each child who participates in a session wears a blue butterfly badge, sporting ‘Bertie the Butterfly,’ the scheme’s mascot.
“Bertie acts as a powerful reminder of the messages they’ve been given and has led to children reporting disclosures of bullying, abuse and violence in the home, after learning the ‘butterflies in the tummy’ feeling is a normal response to being afraid and they shouldn’t keep their fears to themselves – there are adults available to talk to who can help them.
“The plan is to make the project available to all primary schools across the county and there is clearly an appetite to expand it further, both geographically but also to include vulnerable adults as well as children.”
Assistant Chief Constable James Andronov added:
“For me, the beauty of this project is the simplicity of the ‘butterfly’ concept, while its intention couldn’t be more serious – giving a voice to the most vulnerable and protecting them from harm and abuse.
“It is imperative for anyone involved in child safeguarding to ensure a child or young person is seen and their views, wishes and feelings heard.
“Our approach should always be child-centred and it’s crucial our officers see, observe and hear any child present and the Blue Butterfly project complements this perfectly. It ensures the voice of the child is heard and that we see the world through a child’s eyes, in order to take the necessary action to protect them if something isn’t right - and to put a stop to it. ”