A NEW scheme to tackle child sexual abuse will be launched at York St John University next week.

It's Not OK is a play devised by the the University’s School of Performance and Media production, commissioned by the City of York Safeguarding Children Board (CYSCB) and developed by the NSPCC.

The original touring play, aimed at Year 7 and 8 pupils, centres around four characters as they explore what it means to have a healthy as opposed to an unhealthy relationship, with the focus on the young audience recognising the difference for themselves, with a single clear message that abuse is not ok. It was performed around schools in York, and later workshopped further afield, reaching more than 25,000 young people across the UK.

On Monday, the new digital version of the play will be launched at the university with an aim to reach thousands of children across the UK and help tackle child sexual abuse, launched by Vice Chancellor Professor Karen Stanton.

The play will be made available on the NSPCC website free of charge for schools, youth organisations and others to use with young people, along with lesson plans to help explore issues around child sexual abuse, exploitation, sexting, relationships and consent.

Helen Westerman, NSPCC’s campaigns manager for the North of England said: "The launch means this powerful play, which has already touched the lives of thousands of young people, can reach even more.

"This is a vital tool in shattering the hidden nature of child sexual abuse, perpetrators can rely on manipulating their victims into believing they are in loving relationships rather than the toxic reality. With this resource we can empower children to know when something isn’t right, to have the confidence to say no and speak out."

The original play was written and created in 2015 by Jules Dorey Richmond and Rachel Conlon, Senior Lecturers in the School of Performance, Media & Production at York St John University. Jules said: "We are incredibly proud to be involved in such a high profile and significant campaign with the NSPCC. The partnership has offered our students an invaluable learning opportunity to work on a project with lasting social impact. The positive response from the pupils, teachers and professionals we have worked alongside has been overwhelming and we hope that this resource continues to change lives for the better."