Sir Bradley Wiggins is running a new campaign to train members of the public to recognize and respond to signs of child abuse and neglect.
The NSPCC Listen Up, Speak Up campaign will give people practical information on steps they can take to keep their child safe if they have concerns.
Those who register will receive a 10-minute online training and receive advice from 10 experts in follow-up emails.
This comes after the charity’s adult helpline reported a 14% increase in contacts involving personal sexual abuse over a 12-month period.
Between April 2021 and March 2022, the helpline was contacted by 8,347 adults concerned about this issue, compared to 7,338 times a year earlier.
Last year, the hotline had 8,969 contacts for physical abuse, 7,370 for emotional abuse and 10,595 for neglect.
Sir Bradley revealed last year that he was groomed by a coach when he was 13.
Speaking at the campaign launch, he said it wasn’t until years later, when he became a parent himself, that he realized what he had been subjected to.
The Olympian said it was a privilege to support the campaign, which marked “a huge step forward in the fight against child abuse and neglect.”
He told the PA news agency: “This whole Listen Up, Speak Up campaign is designed to educate viewers, teachers, parents, coaches, really anyone who is around children, to notice signs of abuse and neglect and try to spot them early and get them to children speak.
“As children who are victims of abuse, you can get very used to what is happening and not be aware that you are being abused because it is so often normalized by the abuser, so it is even more of a responsibility for those around the children to notice and truly understand and educate themselves about the signs of neglect and abuse.”
After an initial pilot phase, the campaign has a long-term goal of reaching over a million people across the UK.
They will be encouraged to remember what to do by the initials DOTS – Don’t ignore it, Observe the situation, Think: If not you, then who?, Speak up.
They will be presented with different scenarios – for example, a father concerned about the news his son is receiving, or a hairdresser noticing bruises on a child – to show people what they can do if they are worried.
NSPCC chief executive Sir Peter Wanless said protecting children must be a “national priority” and referred to a number of “terrible cases” last year that shocked the nation.
He said: “You may never need the training, but it is worth attending.
“Even if children are not a big part of your daily life, you will see them in your neighborhood, on your way to work, in the supermarket.
“We encourage everyone to take 10 minutes to complete the digital training – a little extra knowledge can help keep many children safe.”