Sister Inspires Welsh Star To Promote NSPCC Cymru
Matthew Rhys’s sister has inspired him to lend his support to children’s charity NSPCC Cymru. After working on the helpline, she heard first-hand from terrified and alone children reaching out for help.
The 32-year-old actor said, “Her work on the helpline was a big part of me wanting to be involved. She was really affected by it and she told us how much the system did work. The support network that they can offer is one of the most simplistic and effective ways to help children.”
The Cardiff actor, who is currently wowing American audiences in drama Brothers & Sisters, highlighted the importance of the NSPCC’s new bilingual Cymru/Wales Helpline.
He said, “Children who are abused or being bullied don’t go to teachers, they don’t go to their friends and it should be really hammered home that the helpline is one of the only places that they can turn to.”
As the charity aims to encourages everyone to look out for the safety of Welsh children, Rhys agrees it is a role that we should all be undertaking. “It is the responsibility for all of us to do that. I’m sure when people think of the helpline they see it as something for children who are being abused, but it is as much a tool for everyone else to use to stop abuse and get advice on how to help.
“It is not just for the victims. And the fact that there is anonymity with each phone call can help people who are too scared to report abuse in case of comeback.”
Most calls to the charity are made by concerned members of the public. One in 20 were made by a child themselves.
Rhys is conscious that mistreatment of young people can often scar them for life, if they don’t get help. He said, “I was very fortunate in school that I didn’t get bullied but I did witness it. But one of my friends did get bullied and you can see that he is still affected by it today. It was a good half a lifetime ago and it is still there. That’s quite an immediate reminder for me about how abuse can affect you.”
NSPCC Cymru/Wales Helpline (0808 100 2524) is a free bilingual service, open 10am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. Calls outside of these hours are transferred to the NSPCC National Helpline.