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Safeguarding update

UK SAYS NO MORE  – End Domestic Abuse

UK SAYS NO MORE is a national campaign to raise awareness to end domestic abuse and sexual violence across the UK. The campaign provides resources to help organisations take action and work to make a difference.

Among the resources is a specific toolkit written by young people and designed to help parents speak to teenagers about healthy relationships and topics such as sex, consent and abuse.

COVID-19 & DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

In March 2020, to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we were asked to stay at home. But home isn’t a safe place for everyone. With victims increasingly trapped at home with their abusers, domestic abuse cases surged. As we endure a second lockdown in England and Wales and restricted movement in Scotland and Northern Ireland many more people will endure domestic abuse. When lockdown measures are lifted or reduce this will remain a critical time for survivors.

Friends, family members and colleagues can make a difference. UK SAYS NO MORE is encouraging bystanders to get help if they witness or suspect domestic abuse.

If you need help or support you can contact the website below for advice.

https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk/

https://uksaysnomore.org/campaign/listeningfromhome/

Guidance for Parents & Carers re: private tutors

Every year, private tutors help children catch up with missed work or address area they are struggling in, or with extra-curricular activities. Lockdown has led to major growth in this area, especially online, and this is expected to continue with further bubble and school closures.

Click  to download the poster

A tutor might be employed by a school, the government National Tutoring Programme, or parents searching online or taking recommendations. But anyone can become a tutor, so what do you need to do so your children can learn and stay safe?

We have put together this poster to help parents and carers know what they can do, ask and check to keep their children safe against a background of rising online abuse during lockdown. Parents may have justified concerns and feel ill-equipped to check, but with a few simple steps, they can play an important role and have peace of mind.

Safeguarding When Streaming

During lockdown many children and young people have been using a variety of popular streaming apps as a way of having fun, keeping in touch with friends and family and to meet new people. The most popular of these apps being TikTok. The following information is from our colleagues at Darlington Borough Council.

We have had a number of parents and staff from around Darlington contact us with concerns around children using TikTok and similar apps and as an issue and concern it’s one that’s not going to go away anytime soon.

Thinkuknow have added some useful resources on the subject of streaming and a useful parent guide on TikTok that helps parents get a better understanding of how it works, what it does as well as the possible risks and dangers of using streaming apps.

Parents’ guide to TikTok – https://parentinfo.org/article/tiktok-what-parents-need-to-know?utm_source=Thinkuknow&utm_campaign=d422803b43-TUK_ONLINE_SAFETY_AT_HOME_16_06_20&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0b54505554-d422803b43-55257749

Streaming guide – https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/globalassets/thinkuknow/parents/quick-guide-to-live-streaming.pdf

As well as the above links we also have some useful information already on these topics as well as other internet safety issues and guides on our own website www.darlington.gov.uk/disp

Talking to children during COVID-19

A lot of children and young people will be feeling very anxious during the COVID-19 lockdown situation. It’s normal for children and young people to feel worried or anxious at the moment. We’ve all experienced sudden changes in our lives and routines – and we’re living with lots of uncertainty about the coming weeks and months. For some young people, the coronavirus pandemic may also worsen or trigger anxieties they were already struggling with.

Here are five things you can do to support your child:

  1. Talk to them about what’s going on. Find out how they’re feeling and what they’re thinking about, let them know it’s okay to feel scared or unsure, and try to answer their questions and reassure them in an age appropriate manner. Remember, you do not need to know all the answers, but talking things through can help them feel calmer.
  2. Help them to reflect on how they’re feeling and encourage them to think about the things they can do to make them feel safer and less worried.
  3. Reassure them that this will pass, you’re there for them, and you will get through this together.
  4. Spend time doing a positive activity with your child (such as reading, playing, painting or cooking) to help reassure them and reduce their anxiety. This is also a great way of providing a space for them to talk through their concerns, without having a ‘big chat’.
  5.  Keep as many regular routines as possible, so that your child feels safe and that things are stable.

For advice and support please go to;

http://www.youngminds.org.uk

http://www.nspcc.org.uk

New Support helpline from the RSACC

The following information has just been received from the RSACC and provides help and support for women and girls who have experienced rape and/or sexual violence.

Today marks the launch of our new helpline number which means we have increased our capacity to support women who have experienced rape and sexual violence. 

We have made the investment to ensure women in crisis or those who are struggling with the long-term impacts of sexual violence can access confidential assistance over the phone.

Our new RSACC helpline number is 0300 222 5730

The Helpline is open Monday to Thursday, 10am to 2pm.

We are acutely aware that the Covid-19 Pandemic is causing increased distress for many survivors with other support services closing, increased isolation and a higher likelihood of dangerous situations in the home due to lockdown guidance. 

Isabel Owens, deputy chief executive at RSACC, said;“ The improvements to our helpline system mean that we can help more women who are living with the life-long consequences of sexual violence such as depression and anxiety and also those women who are in immediate crisis.

“The coronavirus pandemic presents huge challenges for us all but the guidance means more survivors are in close confines with abusive partners, are struggling with isolation and loneliness or are under immense pressure to manage their own mental health alongside caring responsibilities and work. Our team has seen first-hand how this situation is exacerbating the trauma of sexual violence and women are turning to our vital service for support.
“Whilst sadly some charities have been forced to pause their support, we are committed to continuing to be there for women by adapting our approaches, whether that’s through wellbeing phone calls, online counselling sessions and extending our helpline hours.”

RSACC had more than 700 calls to our confidential helpline in the past year. It is run by trained staff and volunteers who speak to callers for up to an hour to provide emotional support and practical information for women who are dealing with the trauma of being raped or sexually assaulted.

Don’t forget, RSACC is always here if you need us. We offer support to any woman or girl who needs to talk about rape or sexual assault. This includes our helpline, specialist counselling and women-only groups for survivors including mindfulness.  Our new RSACC helpline number is 0300 222 5730. The Helpline is open Monday to Thursday, 10am to 2pm.

Family Media User Plan

Modern media and technology can be fun, informative and a great way to explore, learn, develop and enhance our daily life. However it also comes with its fair share of risks and dangers and sadly all too often it’s used inappropriately with little or no thought of the consequences of misuse.

Modern media and technology has also had a major impact upon family lifestyles and without the appropriate measures in place can impact on the way families interact and socialise together. As we all approach a 24hr plugged in online society we risk losing those valuable activities that quality family time brings, such as face to face interaction, play time, exercise and the importance of spending time away from our screens and gadgets.

Creating a Family Media Plan allows your family to look at how modern media and technology can work best for you. By working together as a family you get to set the rules, to create the goals and aims around the use of all the devices within your home. You also get to set and agree the important times when everyone can stop, switch off and take a break from their screens and devices.  

Creating a Family Media Plan is also a great place to start those often difficult conversations with your family around the risks and dangers they face online and allows you to set simple rules that make you all a lot safer.

Making a Family Media Plan is easy and we have included an easy to follow template for you to complete on the link below.

Remember to work together to agree your plan and revisit it often as your family grows and develops, but also to meet the every changing world of modern media and technology

.https://www.darlington.gov.uk/media/10103/family-media-use-plan-blank-logo.pdf

https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/Support-tools/home-activity-worksheets/

Parental controls

As we approach school closures, lots of children and young people will have a lot of time on their hands. I have been made aware today that Sony, Microsoft (Xbox) and Nintendo have already reported large increases in users on their platforms and the developers behind Fortnite have reported a large spike in users.

This is likely to continue over the coming weeks and months. So with that in mind here are some handy links for parents and carers on setting parental controls on consoles and gadgets. This should help to ease some worries and give you the ability to protect your children from accessing inappropriate material.

https://www.internetmatters.org/parental-controls/ – An excellent site for setting parental controls  with easy step by step picture guides on how to set controls on most popular gadgets.

www.darlington.gov.uk/disp – This is the Local authority website and it’s new. It will be added to over the coming days and weeks as more information becomes available. You will find useful advice, guides and links on a variety of internet and gaming related topics/issues.

https://www.net-aware.org.uk/ – This is an NSPCC site and contains some great information on popular apps and games.

Also recommended for people to download is the Pegi age rating app https://pegi.info/app available in all the app stores. The app provides excellent information on video game age ratings.

I hope you find this information helpful. If you know of any other sites which you have found useful and may be helpful to other parents and carers, please let me know.

Sexual Harassment and young people

Sexual violence and sexual harassment can occur online and offline (both physically and verbally), and are never acceptable. The following information is from Childnet International and offers support to parents, schools and young people.

90% of 16-24 year olds and 69% of 12-15 year olds own a smartphone, giving them the ability to quickly and easily create and share photos and videos. This increase in the speed and ease of sharing imagery has brought concerns about young people producing and sharing sexual imagery of themselves. This can expose them to risks, particularly if the imagery is shared further, including embarrassment, bullying and increased vulnerability to sexual exploitation. Producing and sharing sexual images of under 18s is also illegal.

Many people are unclear on the difference between harassment and abuse, both in schools and in adult life. Sexual harassment can happen in an educational or social situation and involves making unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks. Sexual abuse is being persuaded or forced into undesired sexual activity. It’s important to note that this can happen to both males and females; sexual abuse and harassment works both ways. It can be committed by someone who is close to you, even a friend or family member.

When talking about online sexual harassment, we typically think of the offender as an adult. But that is by no means always the case. Both with respect to physical and so-called ‘digital’ offences, young people are often harassed by other young people.

In a recent survey by a children’s charity:

1 in 10 (10%) of survey respondents aged 13-17 reported being sent sexual threats online (e.g. rape threats) in the last year.

Almost 1 in 4 (23%) of survey respondents aged 13-17 witnessed young people secretly taking sexual images of someone and sharing them online (‘creep shots’) in the last year.

1 in 12 survey respondents (8%) aged 13-17 years reported that they have shared a nude or nearly nude image of someone else without their permission in the last year.

Almost half (47%) of survey respondents aged 13- 17 witnessed people their age editing photos of their peers to make them sexual (e.g putting their face on a pornographic image or adding sexual emojis).

Over a third (33%) of survey respondents aged 13-17 witnessed young people sharing images or videos of someone they know doing sexual acts in the last year.

What we all need to do to support our young people is:

Make it clear that sexual violence and sexual harassment are never acceptable and will never be tolerated – it is not an inevitable part of growing up.

Not to dismiss or tolerate sexual violence or harassment as “banter” or “part of growing up”. Banter is only banter if both parties are enjoying it. Once it becomes offensive and hurtful, it’s not “banter” anymore.

Challenge behaviour such as grabbing bottoms, breasts and genitalia. If we see this on TV, movies or youtube etc., we need to point out how wrong it is and tackle the issue head on.

Understand that sexual violence and sexual harassment can be driven by wider societal factors, such as everyday sexist stereotypes and language. Tolerating any of these behaviours risks ‘normalising’ them – they are potentially criminal acts.

It is an offence to possess, distribute, show and make indecent images of children. • The Sexual Offences Act 2003 (England and Wales) defines a child, for the purposes of indecent images, as anyone under the age of 18.

For further information on Sexual Harassment and young people, please see the following sites.

https://www.childnet.com/parents-and-carers

https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-centre/parents-and-carers

TikTok new safety features

TikTok has unveiled new family safety features. These will allow parents and carers to link their account, to their child’s and restrict what content they can see, limit or remove private messaging and set time limits on the app. Check out the link below for more information.

https://www.darlington.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/public-health/children-and-young-people/darlington-pshe-network/darlington-internet-safety-partnership/apps-and-games-information/

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