The JTM Blog

Find updates, news and features from JTM

Government incentive

Employers you could receive up to £4000 as an incentive payment for taking on a new apprentice.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed his new incentive plans in his 2021 budget announcement. Beginning on the 1st April 2021 until the 30th September 2021, employers can receive a £3,000 incentive for hiring an apprentice. This is regardless of the apprentice’s age. This is in addition to the £1,000 payment for hiring apprentices between 16-18 and aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan. The chancellor stated that this apprenticeship scheme would support individuals of all ages to reskill and ‘level up’ the country’s economy.

This is a great opportunity for you to employ a new apprentice with your company.

Hiring an apprentice is a productive and effective way to grow talent and develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.

  • 86% of employers said apprenticeships helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation
  • 78% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve productivity
  • 74% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve the quality of their product or service

An apprentice can be a sustainable investment in skills to support businesses as the economy recovers.

We will complete all the recruitment process for you by advertising your vacancy on the Government Recruit an Apprenticeship site and then vetting and selecting suitable candidates to refer to you to interview for your vacancy.

Once the apprentice is signed up, they will be allocated one of our specialised Assessors who they will complete the qualification with throughout their apprenticeship with you. Click the link below for more information.

  www.gov.uk/guidance/incentive-payments-for-hiring-a-new-apprentice

Kickstart Scheme


The Kickstart Scheme is the government’s £2b flagship programme targeting young people aged 16-24 who are claiming Universal Credit and at risk of becoming long-term unemployed. Employers can apply to host a Kickstart placement for up to 25 hours per week for up to 6 months. Employers can spread the start date of the job placements up until the end of December 2021.

What we do as your Kickstart Gateway

A Kickstart gateway helps an employer get a Kickstart Scheme grant. We also offer employability support to the young person on the scheme.

The job Placements created with Kickstart funding must be New Jobs. They must not replace existing or planned vacancies or cause existing employees to lose or reduce their employment.

The job roles must be for a minimum of 25 hours per week, for 6 months and be paid at least the National Minimum wage for their age group. The people will not be required to undertake extensive training before they begin the job placement, just a 1 week work placement preparation course.

In the final week the Kickstart worker will undertake an exit strategy course to decide and help them to take the next step into an Apprenticeship or permanent job.


If this sounds like something you are interested in then give our friendly recruitment team a call on 0151 336 9340 or email us at info@jarvis-eu.com to get you started.

Please see link below for further guidance on this;

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/kickstart-scheme

JTM’s Monthly Safeguarding Bulletin – May 2021

Topics for this month:

Top tips on connecting with nature to improve your mental health

There’s a lot of good research to support the role nature can play in protecting and supporting our mental health. However, for many of us, ‘being in nature’ may not be as easy as it sounds. 

The good news is, you don’t have to climb a mountain to feel the benefit – there are lots of simple ways to bring nature into your everyday.

The Mental Health Foundation have put together some top tips on how you can build your own connection with nature:

Find nature wherever you are

Nature is all around us. It might be a garden, a local park, a nearby beach or open countryside. Even in cities where nature can be harder to find, there’s things community gardens or courtyards to discover and explore. Look out for the unexpected – an urban fox on your way out for the early shift, changes in the weather or birdsong outside your window. Try to notice nature wherever you are, in whatever way is meaningful for you.

Connect with nature using all of your senses

Taking some quiet time to reflect in natural surroundings using all your senses can be a real boost to your mental health. Whether you’re relaxing in the garden or on your way to work, try listening out for birdsong, look for bees and butterflies, or notice the movement of the clouds. All of these good things in nature can help you to find a sense of calm and joy. 

Get out into nature 

If you can, try to spend time visiting natural places – green spaces like parks, gardens or forests – or blue spaces like the beach, rivers and wetlands. This can help you reduce your risk of mental health problems, lift your mood and help you feel better about things. If it feels daunting to get outside, try going with a friend or relative, or picking somewhere familiar.

Bring nature to you

Sometimes it’s hard to access natural places because of where you live, how busy you are, how safe you feel or your health. Why not try bringing nature into your home? Having plants in the house is a great way to have something natural to see, touch and smell – pots of herbs from the supermarket are a good start.

If you have a garden, allotment or balcony, think about how you can make the most of it. Grow flowers, plants or vegetables, get a bird feeder and take in the sights and sounds around you.

If planting isn’t your thing, you can also connect to nature through stories, art and sound recordings. Watching films or TV programmes about nature are also great way to connect with and reflect on nature.

Exercise in nature

If you’re physically able to exercise, try to do it outside – whether it’s a run, cycle or a short walk. Walking or running outdoors in nature may help to prevent or reduce feelings of anger, tiredness and sadness. Try leaving the headphones at home – unless you’re listening to nature sounds of course! Or why not try new routes that bring you closer to green spaces or water?

Combine nature with creativity

Try combining creativity with your natural environment. This could involve taking part in creative activities outside, like dance, music, or art. All of these things can help reduce stress and improve your mood. You could also increase your sense of connection by taking photos, writing, drawing or painting pictures of the landscape, plants or animals. Noticing the beauty of nature and expressing this creatively can help you find meaning and an emotional connection to nature that will stay with you for a lifetime.

Protect nature

Taking care of something can be a really great way to feel good. And what better thing to take care of than nature? Nature is truly amazing – do what you can to look after nature – in your actions and choices. This can be as simple as recycling, to walking instead of driving, or even joining community conservation or clean-up groups. Taking care of nature can help you feel that you’re doing your part, and that can make you feel more positive all round.

Click here for the mental health leaflet

May measurement month (Blood Pressure)

May Measurement Month (MMM) is a global awareness campaign led by the International Society of Hypertension (ISH), which represents the world’s leading scientists, clinicians, health care providers and allied health care workers, all with a common interest in hypertension (high blood pressure) research.

The No. 1 contributing risk factor for global death is raised blood pressure causing strokes, heart attacks and other cardiovascular complications.

10 million lives are lost each year needlessly due to raised blood pressure and hypertension.

Only half of people with high blood pressure, know it, so with raising awareness and increasing healthcare services these deaths are PREVENTABLE, this is why it is so important to ‘check your numbers’ as you can have high blood pressure without any signs or symptoms.

Blood pressure is the term used to describe the strength with which your blood pushes on the sides of your arteries as it is pumped around your body.

Volunteers in more than 100 countries screened people in cities, towns, and villages as part the largest free public blood pressure screening exercise the world has ever seen. All participants left knowing their blood pressure and anyone who registered as hypertensive was given advice about what they need to do next.

One way to take control is to use one of the many fitness trackers available on the market such as the Fit Bit. You can use the 24/7 heart rate to better track calorie burn, optimise workouts and uncover health trends that inspire you to make moves for your health and fitness goals. There are also free blood pressure tests offered in most Boots stores nationwide and blood pressure monitors are available to buy in Chemists and various healthcare stores to check and monitor at home.

Ideal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg. High blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher. Low blood pressure is considered to be 90/60mmHg or lower.

Here are 10 lifestyle changes you can make to lower your blood pressure and keep it down:

  1. Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline.
  2. Exercise regularly.
  3. Eat a healthy diet and drink enough water.
  4. Reduce sodium in your diet.
  5. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
  6. Quit smoking.
  7. Cut back on caffeine.
  8. Reduce your stress.
  9. Monitor your blood pressure.
  10. Get support from your Doctor.

For more information or advice regarding your blood pressure and the support and advice available please visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/blood-pressure-test/

UK Trauma Council

The UK Trauma Council (UKTC) is a group of leading experts, drawn from a variety of disciples across all four nations of the United Kingdom. They are the first UK-wide platform bringing together expertise in research, practice, policies and lived experience in the field of childhood trauma.

One in three children and young people are exposed to at least one potentially traumatic event by the time they are 18.

What has been recognised from decades of research is that such exposure can increase the risk of later mental health problems and difficulties in personal and social relationships, and of new stressful experiences. However, through improved understanding, appropriate support and timely intervention it is being proven we can reduce the negative impact of traumatic events on children and young people.

The UK Trauma Council offer ‘free, evidence-based resources’ to support Schools, Colleges and practitioners working with traumatically bereaved children and young people.

Symptoms of psychological trauma

  • Shock, denial, or disbelief.
  • Confusion, difficulty concentrating.
  • Anger, irritability, mood swings.
  • Anxiety and fear.
  • Guilt, shame, self-blame.
  • Withdrawing from others.
  • Feeling sad or hopeless.
  • Feeling disconnected or numb.

The UK Trauma Council have also launched with:

  • ‘Childhood Trauma and the Brain’ – an accessible and evidence-based portfolio of translating the latest neuroscience research, including an animation and additional resources.
  • ‘Beyond the Pandemic: Strategic priorities for responding to childhood trauma’ – a policy briefing on coronavirus and its implications for children and young people.
  • Coronavirus resources – including why childhood trauma in the past can influence a child’s response to the pandemic, as well as signs and symptoms of trauma in young people.
  • Research Practice Focus – a video on why some bereavements can be more difficult for children and young people, and what can help.

To view resources and access videos for more information, visit the UK Trauma Council website: https://uktraumacouncil.org/

Traumatic Bereavement Toolkit (UK Trauma Council)

Traumatically bereaved children and young people experience significant distress and difficulties, over and above a more typical grief. Traumatic bereavement can be easily missed or misunderstood by parents, teachers and even bereavement practitioners, meaning that children’s difficulties are not recognised.

These invaluable resources from UK Trauma Council will give school staff and practitioners the knowledge and tools they need to identify, help and support children and young people experiencing a traumatic bereavement.

Find the toolkit here: https://uktraumacouncil.org/resources/traumatic-bereavement

Online Grooming New Campaign (Internet Watch Foundation)

A new IWF safety campaign aims to help parents have conversations with their children about keeping their ‘door’ closed to child sexual abusers. The campaign includes a booklet for parents, explaining the risks, explaining why children are vulnerable, and suggests practice steps that parents can take.

The mnemonic used in the campaign is TALK:
TALK to your child about online sexual abuse. Start the conversation – and listen to their concerns.

AGREE ground rules about the way you use technology as a family.

LEARN about the platforms and apps your child loves. Take an interest in their online life.

KNOW how to use tools, apps and settings that can help to keep your child safe online.

For further details go to: https://talk.iwf.org.uk/

Online Safety Bill – New forthcoming government legislation

Social media firms will have to remove harmful content quickly or potentially face multi-billion-pound fines under new legislation.

The government’s Online Safety Bill, announced in the Queen’s Speech, comes with a promise of protecting debate. The draft legislation, previously known as the Online Harms Bill, has been two years in the making.

It covers a huge range of content to which children might fall victim – including grooming, revenge porn, hate speech, images of child abuse and posts relating to suicide and eating disorders. But it goes much further, taking in terrorism, disinformation, racist abuse and pornography, too.

Late additions to the bill include provisions to tackle online scams, such as romance fraud and fake investment opportunities.

Resource – Dove – Reverse Selfie

It is estimated that by the age of 13, 80% of girls distort the way they look online.

This 1 minute video from Dove is really good as a conversation starter both with learners, and at home to discuss why some girls and boys, use retouching apps: is it pressure, self-esteem, confidence?

You can find the YouTube video HERE.

JTM’s Monthly Safeguarding Bulletin – April 2021

Topics for this month:

‘Heads Together’ – Mental health initiative

Too often, people feel afraid to admit that they are struggling with their mental health. The fear of prejudice and judgement can often stop people from getting help and can destroy families and even sadly end lives.

‘Heads Together’ wants to help people feel much more comfortable with their everyday mental wellbeing and have the practical tools and advice to support them and their friends and family.

Heads Together is a mental health initiative headed by ‘The Royal Foundation’ of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, which combines a campaign to tackle stigma and change the conversation on mental health with fundraising for a series of innovative new mental health services.

One in ten young people will experience a mental health difficulty, and many adults with lifetime mental health issues can trace their symptoms back to childhood. By having more mental health services the initiative is working hard to develop effective diagnosis and treatment for mental health.

Significant progress has been made to tackle stigma surrounding mental health in recent decades, but it still remains a key issue driven by negative experiences and language. Through this campaign, the Royal Highnesses have built on the great work that is already taking place across the country, to ensure that people feel comfortable with their everyday mental wellbeing and feel able to reach out and get the support they need through difficult times, so that stigma no longer prevents people getting the help they need.

‘Heads Together’ works in partnership with other organisations such as Mind, The Samaritans, Shout crisis and Calm, who run confidential helplines with counsellor’s and offer various online services staffed by volunteers who can relate to the difficult times you or someone you know may be going through.

After expanding further in 2019, the Heads-Up campaign was launched within Football across the country and spoken to players, fans, and managers about how we can all come together to change the conversation on mental health through Football. The campaign led to the FA Cup Final and a week of activity ensuring that, now more than ever, mental health is at the forefront of the game both for players and fans. It is also to encourage more men to feel comfortable talking about their mental health and feel able to support their friends and families through difficult times, in that is it ok as a man to say how you feel and if you are struggling.

‘Heads Together’ along with the ‘Head up’ campaign, offer lots of resources, tips and advice on how to reach out to help your mental health. You can also get involved and volunteer online.

For more information, please access the website: https://www.headstogether.org.uk

Mental health support for children, young people and adults

Adults aged 26+ in Liverpool now have access to Qwell.io to support their mental health and wellbeing.

Alongside https://www.kooth.com/ which is available for 10-25-year-olds in Liverpool, this service supports wellbeing by providing free, safe and anonymous peer support, self-help resources and online counselling.

Visit the website to sign up and find more information: https://www.qwell.io/

‘Shout out UK’ Prevent animation

Shout out UK, an organisation set up to counter extremism, have created a short animation about the dangers of right wing extremism and online radicalisation.

You can view the animation here: https://twitter.com/Shoutout_UK/status/1381543060316823554?s=20

More information about Shout out UK can be found on their website: https://www.shoutoutuk.org/

Ofsted’s thematic review into Sexual Abuse and Sexual Harassment in independent schools and Colleges

Due to the increasing level of interest in and news coverage of the distressing testimonials posted on the Everyone’s Invited website, Ofsted are undertaking a thematic review into sexual abuse across state and independent schools and colleges.

Read the document here for further information: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ofsted-review-of-sexual-abuse/ofsted-review-into-sexual-abuse-in-schools-terms-of-reference

Sexual abuse, sexual violence and sexual harassment in any form are abhorrent and it is vital that reports of abuse are appropriately investigated and victims supported and protected.

A dedicated NSPCC helpline is now available to support anyone who has experienced sexual abuse in educational settings or has concerns about someone or the issues raised. The dedicated NSPCC helpline number is 0800 136 663 and more information is available at: Dedicated helpline for victims of abuse in schools NSPCC.

It is extremely important that with any safeguarding concerns, JTM’s safeguarding team are informed immediately, following the correct reporting processes so that the appropriate action and support can be put in place.

All staff have a duty of care to safeguard children and vulnerable adults at all times. We have included below a reminder of the following guidance to reiterate your roles and responsibilities when working with children and young people:

Keeping Children Safe in Education: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/912593/Keeping_children_safe_in_education_part_1_Sep_2020.pdf

Working together to safeguard children is very clear on how schools and colleges should work with their local multi-agency children’s partnerships as a relevant agency and how any concerns about a child should be referred.

It is important that we play our role so that our learners’ have the knowledge they need to recognise and report abuse, including emotional, physical and sexual abuse. To support this, a one-stop page has been published for teachers, including non-statutory implementation guidance ‘Plan your Relationships, Sex and Health Education Curriculum’ and teacher training modules, developed with subject matter experts and teachers. Each module covers safeguarding to make sure teachers, pastoral staff and the designated safeguarding lead are equipped to deal with sensitive discussions and potential disclosures.

YoungMinds Crisis Messenger

The YoungMinds Crisis Messenger text service provides free, 24/7 crisis support across the UK. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis and need support, you can text YM to 85258.

YoungMinds know that finding the right support is important, especially if you need someone to talk to right now. They aim to connect every texter to a trained volunteer promptly to provide crisis help. They will listen to you and help you think more clearly, enabling you to know that you can take the next step to feeling better.

It is free and confidential to text the service from the following major networks:

EE, O2, Three and Vodafone.

These include – BT Mobile, Tesco Mobile, Virgin Mobile, iD Mobile, Sky, Telecom Plus, Lebara and GiffGaff. Some Android phones issue a warning that you will be charged for texting YoungMinds, provided you are on one of these networks this warning is incorrect and you will not be charged. If you text them from a network that is not on this list there is a possibility that you may be charged for the messages and that they may appear on your bill, this is because some networks do not provide the capability to message short codes.

For further information: https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/get-urgent-help/youngminds-crisis-messenger/#youngminds-crisis-messenger

MeeToo App for iOS and Android

MeeToo is a multi-award winning, free, anonymous app where young people can talk about difficult things.

Built on research showing the positive impact of peer support for mental health, MeeToo provides a safe, pre-moderated (by humans) space for young people aged 11+ to experiment with opening up about whatever may be on their mind.


Posts can be responded to by other users, as well as a team of trained university psychology students and MeeToo counsellors who help to guide discussions and ensure that no post goes unanswered.

Moderators check every post and reply before they go live to ensure the safety and anonymity of our users, and our counsellors uphold a sophisticated system for monitoring and tracking potential safeguarding risks.

MeeToo supports over 6,000 young people each month. It is featured on the NHS Apps Library and promoted by more than 1,000 schools in the UK.

You can see how MeToo works here: https://www.meetoo.help/how-meetoo-works

Cyber Safety posters

Police Digital Security Centre (PDSC) is a not-for-profit organisation, owned by the police, who believe that the majority of cyber-crime can be prevented by taking a few simple steps.

PDSC partners, ChildsafeVPN has created a set of useful infographics about cyber-safety aspects of the main social media apps and sites that young people may come across.

The posters are particularly useful for sharing with parents. You can view and download the posters here: https://www.policedsc.com/security-advice/safeguarding

7 Minute Briefings

County Lines: The 7 minute briefing on county lines created by Wirral Safeguarding gives information about what county lines is, how it works, why it matters, recognising vulnerability, what are the signs and what we should do.

Click here for the County Lines briefing

Domestic abuse: The NHS domestic abuse 7 minute briefing explains what domestic abuse is and a number of statistics about those who are victims to domestic abuse to understand how severe it is and therefore why it is important to raise concerns and follow them up using the correct referral channels.

Click here for the Domestic abuse briefing

JTM’s Monthly Safeguarding Bulletin – March 2021

Topics for this month:

Managing mental hygiene: Tips and tools! (Virtual College)

In addition to looking at your mindset and emotions, there are a number of exercises and actions that you can implement into your routine to help you to manage stress and develop a positive mindset. This includes:

Gratitude:

By writing three gratitude’s first thing in the morning, you are focusing on something positive at the start of your day and ensuring that you, figuratively, get out the right side of the bed. In the evening it is also beneficial to note something you feel has gone well in your day.

There are many benefits of gratitude. Research suggests that keeping a gratitude journal can:

  • Make us happier (more resilient, happy memories, more relaxed)
  • Make us healthier (more energy and better sleep)
  • Make us more optimistic and less materialistic
  • Gives us more self-esteem and make us feel less self-centred
  • Make us less envious
  • Give us a friendlier disposition, enabling us to maintain better relationships and make more friends
  • Help our careers with increased productivity and better management and networking, decision-making and achievement of goals

Meditation:

There is research-based evidence that shows various benefits to meditation. These include:

  • Stress reduction
  • Less anxiety
  • More positive outlook on life
  • Enhanced self-awareness
  • Lengthened life span
  • Possibly reduce age-related memory loss
  • Increased generation of kindness towards self and others
  • High fight addictions
  • Improved sleep
  • Help control pain
  • Help decrease blood pressure

Take time out:

Taking a break is important to ensure you get time to recover, relax and breathe. It can be difficult juggling life responsibilities, but by ensuring you get some regular downtime, you will find that your resilience and wellbeing improve. This involves:

  • Making sure you take your lunch break and get away from your desk
  • Using your holidays wisely, spacing them throughout the year and ensuring that you use them to rest and recuperate
  • Ensuring you get time at home to have a break from chores and responsibilities. Maybe have a designated quiet time where family know not to disturb you
  • Making time to socialise with your friends
  • Getting some exercise, even just a light walk
  • Ensuring that you keep up with any hobbies you enjoy, or take up a new one!

Work-life balance:

Take a look at your own work-life balance:

  • Are you taking lots of work home with you or staying in the office late?
  • Are you spending time at home worrying about your work or deadlines?
  • Do you feel unhappy about the amount of time you devote to work?
  • Is work having a negative impact on your personal and family life?

Please visit the resource below and read how your look after your mental health:

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-to-mental-health/

Breathing exercises:

Key things to remember when doing breathing exercises:

  • You can do breathing exercises anywhere that is comfortable for you, a chair, the floor or your bed
  • Make sure you are wearing non-restrictive, comfortable clothing
  • Try and relax and don’t force it
  • Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth

Try the following links to get you started:

Get outdoors:

Research has found that people walking in nature, as opposed to a busy urban setting with traffic, experience less anxiety and focus more on the positive aspects of themselves.

Allowing the brain to take a break helps us to feel rejuvenated so that we can then continue working with high mental performance. So a walk in the park at lunchtime can help productivity, and this positive effect can last up to seven hours.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

ADHD is not a learning disability; however, it does make learning difficult and can cause barriers to how you learn. For example, it is hard to learn when you struggle to focus or when you cannot seem to be able to sit down and pay attention.

Learning involves using executive functions of the brain particularly the ability to focus, pay attention, engage with a task, and use working memory. We know that ADHD affects all of these functions of the brain.

Hyperactivity and impulsiveness

  • being unable to sit still, especially in calm or quiet surroundings
  • constantly fidgeting
  • being unable to concentrate on set tasks
  • excessive physical movement
  • excessive talking
  • being unable to wait their turn
  • acting without thinking
  • interrupting conversations
  • Low awareness of boundaries

What can trigger ADHD?

Common triggers include stress, poor sleep, certain foods and additives, overstimulation, and technology.

Once you recognize what triggers ADHD symptoms, you can make the necessary lifestyle changes to better control episodes. Working out is perhaps the most positive and efficient way to reduce hyperactivity and inattention with ADHD. Exercise can relieve stress, boost mood, and calm the mind.

How attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is treated

Although there is no cure for ADHD, it can be managed with appropriate educational and workplace support/ advice alongside medicine, if necessary.

Medicine is often the first treatment offered to adults with ADHD, although psychological therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) may also help and be offered to young people where appropriate.

For more information or advice please visit the website below

7 minute briefings

Please read the attached 7 minute briefings which cover the following information:

National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) guidance for Early Years Practitioners

Early Years providers are being encouraged to take their first steps to boost their online defences with first-of-its-kind practical advice produced by the UK’s cyber security experts.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – a part of GCHQ – has this week published its bespoke guidance for Early Years education and childcare settings, offering practitioners top tips on how to protect their devices and data from cyber incidents.

Nurseries, pre-schools and childminders are increasingly relying on technology to operate and are therefore an appealing target for cyber criminals due to the sensitive information they hold and payments they handle.

The guidance, which has been produced in consultation with major stakeholders, covers topics including setting up strong passwords on devices and accounts, how to communicate with families safely and dealing with suspicious messages.

The four key steps for practitioners to follow are:

  1. Backing up your important information – identifying what data you couldn’t operate without or are legally obliged to safeguard and creating a proper back-up
  2. Using passwords to control access to your computers and information – switching on password protection; using strong passwords and password managers; setting up two-factor authentication and communicating safely with families
  3. Protecting your devices from viruses and malware – turning on antivirus products and keeping IT devices up to date
  4. Dealing with suspicious messages (phishing attacks) – tips for spotting suspect messages and unusual requests, reporting these messages and what to do if you have already responded.

The full guidance can be seen here: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/early-years-practitioners-using-cyber-security-to-protect-your-settings

National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – Further targeted ransomware attacks on the UK education sector by cyber criminals

We have attached a document outlining an alert that has been issued in the last week by NCSC regarding ransomware attacks on educational establishments. As well as of interest to JTM staff, it may also be of interest to employers so please share this information.

Click here for more information

YouTube new parental controls:

New controls have been released by YouTube to give parents better filtering management. Previously the only filtering option was ‘Restricted Mode’ which basically meant videos flagged as 18+ were filtered out.

Called ‘Supervised Experience’ there are now filters for:

  • Explore – 9+
  • Explore More – 13+
  • Most of YouTube – all videos except 18+ (the current Restricted Mode)

YouTube released a handy explainer video, demonstrating how to set up the new safety restriction, and which can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhgvtv3FLSc

What is radicalisation?

Radicalisation is process by which a person comes to support terrorism and forms of extremism leading to terrorism.

A radicaliser is an individual who encourages others to develop or adopt beliefs and views supportive of terrorism and forms of extremism leading to terrorism.

What is grooming?

Grooming is when someone builds a relationship, trust and emotional connection with a child, young person or other vulnerable individual so they can manipulate, exploit and abuse them.

Radicalisation = Grooming

Radicalisation & grooming are virtually identical…Our response to them should be too! If you have any concerns that someone may be being radicalised or groomed, please contact JTM’s Safeguarding Team immediately.

Training / CPD

Reminder of the free ‘Side by Side’ training resource for learners and staff: https://www.etflearners.org.uk/

JTM’s Monthly Safeguarding Bulletin – February 2021

Topics for this month:

What can help your mental health and wellbeing? Gov. Guidance:

Think about your daily routine:

Life has changed for us all at the moment. Think about patterns you have fallen into and whether you could adapt them and create more positive routines. Try to engage in useful activities (such as cleaning, cooking or exercise) or meaningful activities (such as reading or keeping in touch with friends). You might find it helpful to write a plan for your day or week.

Consider how to connect with others

Maintaining relationships with people you trust is important for your mental wellbeing. If you can’t meet in person, think about how you can stay in touch with friends and family via telephone, video calls or social media instead – whether it’s people you normally see often or connecting with old friends.

Help and support others

Think about how you could help those around you – it could make a big difference to them and can make you feel better too. It is important to listen to and acknowledge other people’s concerns, worries or behaviours. Could you message a friend or family member nearby? Are there community groups that you could join to support others locally? Remember it’s important to do this in line with guidance on COVID-19 to keep yourself and everyone safe.

Talk about your worries

It is quite common to feel worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. Remember that this is a difficult time for everyone and sharing with family and friends how you are feeling and the things you are doing to cope can help them too. If you don’t feel able to do that, there are people you can speak to via NHS recommended helplines.

Look after your physical wellbeing

Your physical health has a big impact on how you are feeling emotionally and mentally. At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour which, in turn, can make you feel worse. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals and drink enough water. Visit One You for advice on improving your health and wellbeing, including ideas for healthy meals you can cook at home.

Be physically active. Doing exercise and other physical activity can have a positive impact on your mood, improve your sleep, and reduce stress and anxiety. There are lots of easy ways to get moving like walking or gardening. If you can’t exercise outside, you can find free, easy 10-minute workouts from Public Health England (PHE) or other exercise videos to try at home on the NHS Fitness Studio. Sport England also has tips for keeping active at home.

Look after your sleep

Feeling anxious or worried can make it harder to get a good night’s sleep. Good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how you feel mentally and physically, so it’s important to get enough.

Try to maintain regular sleeping patterns and good sleep practices, such as creating a restful environment and avoiding caffeine close to bedtime. The Every Mind Matters sleep page provides practical advice on how to improve your sleep.

Try to manage difficult feelings

Many people find the news about COVID-19 concerning. However, some people may experience such intense anxiety that it becomes a problem. Try to focus on the things you can control, such as managing your media and information intake – 24-hour news and constant social media updates can make you feel more worried. If it is affecting you, try to limit the time you spend watching, reading, or listening to media coverage of the pandemic. It may help to only check the news at set times or limiting yourself to checking a couple of times a day.

The Every Mind Matters page on anxiety and NHS mental wellbeing audio guides provide further information on how to manage anxiety.

Do things you enjoy

When you are anxious, lonely or feeling low, you might reduce the time you spend doing things that you usually enjoy or stop doing them completely. Focusing on your favourite hobby, learning something new or simply taking time to relax should give you some relief from anxious thoughts and feelings and can boost your mood.

If you can’t do the things you normally enjoy, try to think about how you could adapt them or try something new. There are free tutorials and courses online as well as entertainment, such as online quizzes and music concerts.

Set goals

Setting goals and achieving them gives a sense of control and purpose. Think about things you want or need to do, particularly those that you can do at home, such as reading a book or learning something online.

Keep your mind active

This can help you feel in control and less low or worried. Read, write, play games, do crossword puzzles, Sudoku’s, jigsaws or drawing and painting – whatever works best for you.

Take time to relax and focus on the present

This can help with difficult emotions, worries about the future and generally make you feel better. Relaxation techniques can also help some people to deal with feelings of anxiety. For useful resources, see Every Mind Matters and the NHS mindfulness page.

If you can, get outside. If you can’t, bring nature in

Spending time in green spaces can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. If you can’t go outside, you can try to still get these positive effects by spending time with the windows open to let infresh air, arranging space to sit and see a nice view (if possible) and get some natural sunlight.

For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-public-on-mental-health-and-wellbeing/guidance-for-the-public-on-the-mental-health-and-wellbeing-aspects-of-coronavirus-covid-19

How your diet can affect your mental wellbeing – 7 things to take note of!

Eat at regular intervals

  • By eating regularly, you will keep your blood sugar levels consistent. When blood sugar drops, it leads to tiredness and irritability, and inconsistent blood-sugar levels have even been linked to mood disorders including depression and anxiety. If your blood sugar spikes, this will be followed by a dip and you’ll be hit by these issues. So eating erratically might be doing more harm than just leaving you with a rumbly tummy.

Drink plenty of fluids

  • Dehydration can impact your mental wellbeing by making it harder for you to think clearly and focus.

Eat a balanced diet

  • Healthier diets protect against depression. Given that depression is the leading cause of global disability, this is critical to understand.

Try to avoid junk food when you’re tired

  • Certain foods can impact digestion and make you feel unwell, and this is related to mood. An example is feeling uncomfortably bloated, which leads to sluggish feelings accompanied by a brain fog, and this then impairs mental clarity. It swings both ways, so if you feel tired, with this low mental focus, anxiety, irritation and mood, you may reach for refined foods low in vitamins and minerals, which give you a quick high that is short lived.

Cut back on processed food

  • While there is a relationship between regular consumption of processed food and low mood, it’s hard to distinguish between cause and effect. Foods and drinks with added sugars, such as soft drinks, are very problematic to health. Many studies from around the world show that diets high in these types of foods – as well as those with added fats, salt and highly-processed flours – are linked to worse mental health as well as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and other conditions.

Eat a diverse diet for your gut microbes

  • A good diet, particularly one that is diverse and high in plants and seeds, has been linked to reduced levels of depression in a number of studies. Conversely, a diet low in variety and fibre has been linked to a greater risk of depression.

Avoid binge drinking

  • One way we know that the gut is dramatically affected is through heavy drinking. Excessive (binge) drinking appears to damage the lining of the gut, which can promote inflammation. Inflammation, in turn, increases the risk of a host of diseases, including depression.

For more information please visit: https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/articles/diet_wellbeing

Controlling and abusive behaviour

Controlling people often prey upon those they are closest to, taking advantage of others’ introversion, submissive tendencies, or simple good faith. Controlling behaviour can come from just about anyone in your life. It could a family member, a friend, or most commonly your partner.

Being manipulated, used, or controlled by another person can lead to a number of harmful effects and sometimes in some instances being harmed. Some may be so subtle, that you do not realise until you are cemented into a toxic, controlling relationship.

The controlling behaviour can be all-consuming and can even lead to shame for ‘allowing’ yourself to be controlled. Remember it is not at all your fault.

People who manipulate use mental distortion and emotional exploitation to influence and control others. Their intent is to have power and control over others to get what they want. A manipulator knows what your weaknesses are and will use them against you.

Emotional manipulators often use mind games to seize power in a relationship. The ultimate goal is to use that power to control the other person. A healthy relationship is based on trust, understanding, and mutual respect. This is true of personal relationships, as well as professional ones.

12 Signs of a Controlling Personality

  • Blaming you.
  • Constant criticism.
  • Isolation and being locked away against your will
  • Keeping score.
  • Creating drama.
  • Intimidation.
  • Moodiness.
  • Ignoring boundaries.

If you are in a toxic relationship, you may recognise some of these signs in yourself, your partner, or the relationship itself.

  • Lack of support.
  • Toxic communication being made to feel small and unimportant.
  • Jealousy.
  • Controlling behaviours.
  • Resentment.
  • Dishonesty.
  • Patterns of disrespect and threats that scare you to keep quiet.
  • Negative financial behaviours.

Often, the person being controlled will turn a blind eye or not acknowledge controlling behaviours. That is understandable, but in the case of physical abuse, the control may have escalated without realising it – as the other person just keeps crossing a number of subtle fine lines over time, and this is when it can be fatal.

It is not always as obvious as punches and bruises. Getting beaten up is not the only form of controlling or physical abuse, even though it is the most common. Physical control can also look like restrictions on travel, the clothes you wear, or who you see breaking down support you could reach out to.

If you feel you could be a victim of domestic abuse, please visit the website below or call their 24 hour free phone helpline number on 0808 2000 247.

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

Learning disabilities

A learning disability affects the way a person learns new things throughout their lifetime. A learning disability also affects the way a person understands and comprehends information and how they communicate.

A learning disability happens when a person’s brain development is affected, either before they are born, during their birth or in early childhood.

This can be caused by things such as:

  • The mother becoming ill in pregnancy.
  • Problems during the birth that stop enough oxygen getting to the brain.
  • The unborn baby inheriting certain genes from its parents that make having a Learning disability more likely – known as inherited learning disability or difficulty.
  • Illness, such as meningitis, or injury in early childhood

Sometimes there is no known cause for a learning disability.

This means they can have difficulty:

  • Understanding new or complex information
  • Learning new skills
  • Coping independently
  • Remembering tasks through memory
  • Adjusting to rules and guidelines
  • Struggle to keep up within mainstream of learning and development.

Around 1.5 million people in the UK have a learning disability. It is thought up to 350,000 people have a severe learning disability. This figure is steadily on the increase.

A learning disability can be mild, moderate or severe, some people with a mild learning disability can talk easily and look after themselves but may need a bit longer than usual to learn new skills and can achieve with extra support. Other people may not be able to communicate at all and have other disabilities as well. It depends on the person’s abilities and the level of care and support they require. People with autism may also have learning disabilities, and around 30% of people with epilepsy have a learning disability.

These are some of the characteristics of Autism:

  • problems with social interaction with others
  • unusual interest in objects
  • need for sameness and exact routine
  • great variation in abilities
  • under or over reaction to one or more of the five senses: sight, touch, taste, smell, or hearing
  • repeated actions or body movements
  • struggle with change

Children and young people with a learning disability may also have special educational needs (SEN)

The right support from professionals – such as GPs, paediatricians (doctors who specialise in treating children and young people), speech and language therapists, physiotherapists, educational and clinical psychologists and social care – helps people with a learning disability live as full and independent a life as possible.

For more information and how you can access support please visit the link below

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/learning-disabilities/

Omegle

Omegle is a popular free online chat website that allows users to socialise with others without the need to register. The service randomly pairs strangers in one-on-one chat sessions where they chat anonymously, communicating via instant messaging and video chat.

Young people are likely to use these chat rooms and chat room apps because they seem fun, and the randomisation of people can be exciting.  

Recent press reports have highlighted the potential dangers of this and other anonymous chatrooms. As young people spend much more time online due to ongoing lockdown restrictions, there is an increased chance that they will come across these sites. Content from Omegle is now being shared by popular influencers which could encourage young people to visit this platform. There are also instances where popular influencers are livestreaming reaction videos of them using the platform.  

Videos from Omegle are being shared widely across other platforms with trending hashtags, which could drive even more traffic. Despite young people seeing platforms like these as fun, they may not see the risks from those online with malicious intentions.  

What are the risks?

  • Young people are at risk of seeing distressing or highly sexualised imagery without warning 
  • They may be asked or pressured to remove clothing or reveal personal information 
  • They may be asked to have private conversations on other apps or platforms 
  • They may also be sent malicious links or spam

New Snapchat safety resources launched

Safety Snapshot – Snapchat’s New Discover Channel

Snapchat have launched a new Discover channel, Safety Snapshot, dedicated to online safety for Snapchatters. Twelve episodes will be released over the coming months that focus on topics like keeping your account safe, debunking myths, protecting your data, reporting illegal activity or bullying on Snapchat, and more.

When the pandemic first hit, there was a 40% increase in reports related to hacked accounts. With that in mind, the first episode includes a swipe-up call-to-action to encourage Snapchatters to verify their email. 

Subscribe by searching for Safety Snapshot in app and clicking the subscribe button. Once done, you’ll receive safety and privacy tips and tricks as they’re released on the channel. Over the next year watch out for advice about digital literacy, combating hate speech and taking social media breaks.

Snapchat Parent Guide

Snapchat’s new 25-page UK Parent Guide is available through their Safety Centre and Support Site. The guide covers such topics as:

  • What is Snapchat?
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Top features
  • Our privacy principles
  • Helpful safety tips
  • Wellness resources
  • How to talk to your teen about Snapchat

The guide can be viewed and downloaded from here.

JTM’s Monthly Safeguarding Bulletin – January 2021

Topics for this month:

‘Every Mind Matters’ campaign

Every Mind Matters campaign has been launched to support people to take action to look after their mental health and wellbeing and to help support others such as family and friends. The new campaign aims to support the nation’s mental health, as half of adults say they are more worried during this current lockdown than in March 2020.

The campaign encourages people to get a free NHS-approved ‘mind plan’ from the Every Mind Matters website. By answering 5 simple questions, adults will get a personalised action plan with practical tips to help them deal with stress and anxiety, boost their mood, sleep better and feel more in control. Over 2.6 million mind plans have been created since it launched in October 2019.

There is also an Every Mind Matters COVID-19 hub which includes practical tips and support on how adults can deal with uncertainty, how to cope with money and job worries and how to look after both their own and their family’s mental wellbeing while staying at home.

The research found that almost half (49%) felt that the pandemic has impacted negatively on their mental health and wellbeing (53% of women and 45% of men). Of those surveyed, significant proportions of the population said they had been experiencing more anxiety (46%), stress (44%), sleep problems (34%) and low mood (46%) over the course of the pandemic.

The following were the most common reasons people thought the lockdown had negatively impacted their mental health:

  • 56% missing friends and family; and loneliness 33%
  • 53% uncertainty about the future; with financial and employment worries 27%
  • 53% worried about family’s safety and health

The campaign is supported by a coalition of leading mental health charities, including Mind, Samaritans, Young Minds and Rethink.

Better Health – Every Mind Matters also offers information and videos to help young people look after their own mental health and provides dedicated support to help parents and guardians look after the mental wellbeing of the children and young people they care for.

For more information, please visit this link – https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/

Women’s Aid

Women’s Aid is a national charity working to end domestic abuse against women and children. It aims to be a lifesaving frontline domestic abuse service, supporting women and children at the most challenging times of their lives.

What is domestic abuse?
Women’s Aid define domestic abuse as an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence. In the majority of cases by a partner or ex-partner, but also by a family member or carer. It is common in the vast majority of cases to be experienced by women and is perpetrated by men.

Domestic abuse can also include, but is not limited to the following –

•              Financial or economic abuse

•              Harassment and stalking

•              Online or digital abuse

•              Breaking down the victims contact with their family and friends.

When you contact Women’s Aid, they promise they will –

•              Never judge you or what you say.

•              Always have a fully trained female support worker available

•              Give you space to explore your options.

•              Support you to make safe choices for you and your children.

•              Keep everything you tell confidential

Women’s Aid Covid-19 resource Hub for survivors
If you are looking for support during the Covid-19 lockdown, there are a range of downloadable resources and advice available for survivors, friends and community members.

There is a survivor’s handbook on the website with advice, support and information for all aspects of domestic abuse, such as women’s housing, safety planning, and dealing with police.

There is also a forum where you can speak to other women in a supportive community of domestic abuse survivors.

You can also email: helpline@womensaid.org.uk which goes straight through to a Women’s Aid domestic abuse support worker.

The Women’s Aid Live Chat
Women’s Aid realise talking to someone else about your personal life can be hard, but getting in touch for help can be your first and most important step. If your behaviour has changed because of how your partner treats you or your children, this can be the sign of an unhealthy or controlling relationship. Please access the link for more information.

https://chat.womensaid.org.uk/

‘Ask for ANI’

Since the 14th January, victims of domestic abuse have been able to access much needed support from thousands of pharmacies across the UK, backed by the government.

The Ask for ANI scheme allows those at risk or suffering from abuse to discreetly signal that they need help and access support. By asking for ANI, a trained pharmacy worker will offer a private space where they can understand if the victim needs to speak to the police or would like help to access support services such as a national or local domestic abuse helplines.

As an essential retailer based on high streets across the country, and with specifically trained staff, pharmacies can provide a safe space for victims to sound an alarm if they are isolated at home with their abuser and unable to get help in another way.

Kooth

Kooth is a leading digital mental health and wellbeing company who provides a free welcoming space for digital mental health care. Kooth offers mental health and emotional support for children and young people aged between 11 – 24 years and is available up to 10pm every day.

1 in 5 children and young people suffer from a mental health illness in any given year. At Kooth, they believe every young person has the right to thrive and to access high quality mental health care.

Kooth.com is commissioned by the NHS, local authorities, charities and businesses to provide anonymous and personalised mental health support. With over 4000 logins per day, they provide end to end support whatever the need. The support is available and safe to access for children and young people seeking professional support.

Symptoms of mental illness in young people include:

•              Anger

•              Substance abuse.

•              Isolation, or being “a loner”.

•              Antisocial behaviour.

•              Delusions

•              Confused thinking

•              mood swings, changes in character

•              Hallucinations

Services offered by Kooth

  • Online chat service to chat with a counsellor for free mental health support and advice.
  • Daily journal to write about your feelings each day to track your emotions and worries and check how you are doing. There is also a coping box which can be used to help improve mental health and well-being, with coping strategies and techniques that may help to meet individual needs.
  • Discussion boards give an opportunity to start or join a conversation online with the Kooth community. The child or young person can interact with others to help mental health and well-being were appropriate.

You can apply online at www.kooth.com removing the need for Apple/Android accounts, data requirements and the stigma of mental health apps on your devices.

On every part of the Kooth platform, they ask for feedback on functionality and measure outcomes. 94% of the children and young people would recommend Kooth to a friend. https://www.kooth.com

Prevent Act Early campaign videos

As part of their ACT Early campaign, Counter Terrorism Policing have added two new animated 2-minute explainer films about Prevent to their ACT Early website and partners’ toolkit.

These can be viewed here:

https://actearly.uk/support/reach-out-for-help/

https://actearly.uk/working-together/how-we-help/

The films are aimed at a general public, concerned friends and family audience, and provide an introduction to Prevent and to the work of Prevent officers.

The aim of the ACT Early campaign is for more people to be encouraged and assured to seek help at an earlier stage where appropriate.

Tiktok – Family safety mode and screen time management

Early in February 2020, TikTok introduced a new feature, Family Safety Mode, which it refers to as ‘digital wellbeing’ features. Family Safety Mode allows a parent to link their TikTok account to their child’s account.

Once enabled parents will be able to manage the digital wellbeing features, which are:

  • Screen time management – control how long your child can spend on TikTok each day.
  • Direct messages – limit who can send messages to the connected account or turn DM’s off completely.
  • Restricted mode – restrict the appearance of content that may not be appropriate for all audiences.

How to enable Family Safety Mode

  1. To enable Family Safety Mode, you first of all need to have the TikTok app on your (parent/carer) device and be logged in to your account.
  2. At the top right you will see 3 dots. Tap on these which will take you into the Privacy and Settings menu.
  3. Scroll down to Digital Wellbeing and tap, you will be presented with the 3 options.
  4. Firstly, tap on Family Safety Mode in order to activate the feature. Tap on parent and your child will then need to scan the QR code in order to link the two accounts.
  5. You can now activate the screen time management feature, where you can manage the amount of screen time you allow (40, 60, 90 and 120 minutes). You will then set a password which prevents your child going over their allocated time.
  6. Once this is done, it’s recommended you activate Restricted Mode which is a feature to prevent your child seeing inappropriate content.
  7. It’s also recommended you limit who can send messages to the connected account or turn off Direct Messaging completely and also ensure your child’s account is set to Private

UPDATE: On 13/01/21, TikTok announced they would be making additional improvements to the app, specifically for younger users. All users who have registered as aged between 13 and 15, will now have their accounts set to ‘private’ by default, allowing children to make an informed choice about who they are sharing with.

This is a good decision by TikTok, but fundamentally relies on the user indicating their correct date of birth at sign-up. More info on this can be seen here: https://newsroom.tiktok.com/en-us/strengthening-privacy-and-safety-for-youth

JTM’s Monthly Safeguarding Bulletin – December 2020

Topics for this month:

‘Crisis UK’ – Helping someone who is in crisis this Christmas

Each year ‘Crisis UK’ support thousands of people who are homeless, and now as the harshest time of year approaches with the added unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are getting ready to help many people again across the country who are vulnerable and have nowhere to go.

Social distancing means they will be doing things differently this year but will still be looking after as many people as they possibly can, and the spirit of a Crisis Christmas will be exactly the same. ‘Crisis’ treat people with care and respect, giving people in need that warm welcome, so they get their dignity back and feel ready to take on life again.

The Christmas frontline Crisis teams will be providing food and festive treats, and be on hand with emotional and wellbeing support, offering everything from Christmas games and advice to showing someone cares. Nutritious meals will be provided and there will be somewhere to stay, with help and hope for the future – it will make such a difference to people.

During the pandemic, Crisis have provided remote and in person support to its members with advice, practical support, and wellbeing checks. They have arranged for phones and internet access for hundreds of members so they could be connected and receive support while self-isolated. They also launched a grant programme offering funding to local homelessness organisations to support them to continue provision and transform their services. Recently lobbying with the Government to get people into emergency accommodation during lockdown and to ensure that everyone was able to access emergency accommodation. 

Crisis have also been campaigning to ensure there is a ‘Home for all’, calling for protections from evictions for renters, funding to help people into permanent housing, and changes to ensure that everyone can access homelessness and housing support going forward. Crisis will also be keeping accommodations open into the New Year, so they can better link up with services that might have closed or have reduced staffing levels over the Christmas period, so they have the best chance of helping members access the longer term help they may need into 2021.

You can apply for support on their website or call their helpline number on 0300 636 1967

‘Crisis UK ‘have skylight support centres and shops across the country where you can access more information about what they offer. Crisis believe together we can end homelessness.

You can also donate on their website if you wish.

https://www.crisis.org.uk/

Domestic Abuse

From March to June 2020 the police recorded more than a quarter of a million domestic abuse-related offences, a 7% increase the same period in 2019 and an 18% increase from in 2018. The number of offences has been increasing in recent years, so it is not possible to determine exactly how the increase relates directly to the pandemic period.

Domestic abuse is not acceptable and should not be tolerated whether the victim is male or female. Every person has the right to live a life free from abuse.

Women’s Aid’s services are provided for women and children survivors. This is because the gendered nature of domestic violence means that women and men have different safety and support needs. Women’s Aid believe that most of the information resources for survivors on their site are relevant to anyone experiencing abuse, and will help you reach a point where you are ready to contact a service for male survivors.

Women’s Aid: https://www.womensaid.org.uk/

The links listed below give information about organisations for men to contact if you or a man you know is experiencing domestic abuse.

Further information and support:

Survivors UK
Provides help for men who have been sexually abused or raped.

Men’s Advice Line
0808 801 0327 or email info@mensadviceline.org.uk
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 10am-1pm and 2-5pm
The Men’s Advice Line provides a range of services aimed primarily at men experiencing domestic abuse from their partner.

Women’s Aid Rail to Refuge scheme
Accessing money can be difficult for those experiencing domestic abuse, particularly if they are experiencing financial abuse. This can stop them from travelling to safety and may be a huge barrier to support.

Launched in the March 2020 by railway station manager, Darren O’Brien, the Women’s Aid Rail to Refuge scheme means that survivors with a confirmed refuge space can travel for free across England, Scotland and Wales. The cost of tickets is covered by the Rail Delivery Group and has been extended until the end of March 2021.

Once the person has contacted a women’s aid service and a refuge vacancy has been confirmed a ticket can be allocated.

For further information visit https://www.womensaid.org.uk/rail-to-refuge/

Cybersecurity: How children can protect themselves online

In recent decades computers have become much more advanced. The average smartphone is now more powerful than the technology used to put the first human on the moon. But with this great power comes even greater responsibility.Cybersecurity can seem like a daunting topic that requires a certain level of technical expertise. But there are simple steps you can take to support the children in your care to protect their information and devices.

Teaching children and young people about cybersecurity is central to building their digital resilience and supporting them to thrive in a digital world.

Why is cybersecurity important?

As computers become increasingly more embedded in our lives, we store important personal information on several devices and computers, which is highly sought after by cybercriminals.   

 Cyber-attacks are becoming more sophisticated, and in an increasingly connected world, it’s never been more important to be mindful about cyber security.  

  • A US study found that there is a hacking attempt online every 39 seconds 
  • In the UK, there are 65,000 daily attempts to hack small to medium-sized businesses 
  • 1 in 10 people in the UK have had their social media or email account hacked 

Empowering the children and young people in our care with cybersecurity skills supports them to understand the valuable importance of taking steps to secure their information and devices from hacking, malware, phishing and data leaks.  

Top Tips for Supporting Children and Young People with Cyber Security 

1. Secure Your Passwords  

When it comes to making passwords, longer is always stronger. Young people may have a lesser understanding of why using a strong password is important. The challenge of making a long password memorable can be tricky for children, young people and even adults.  

General principles of password security:  

  • Passwords should be changed four times a year, use a secure password manager rather than allowing browsers to ‘auto-save’.  
  • Use a different password for each online account  
  • When helping children create passwords, ensure they tell you but no-one else 
  • Use a selection of numbers, capital, and lowercase letters and characters when creating a password (avoid easily guessable information, e.g. name, address, pets, football teams etc.)  
  • Use a formula or recipe, for example, three random words followed by four numbers – pineapple-shoelace-buttercup1969 or replacing vowels in passwords with numbers or symbols – 1L0v3F0rtnIt£  

2. Lockdown your accounts with 2 FA 

2 Factor Authentication (2 FA) is when you need 2 passwords (factors) to authenticate your access to an account or platform 

This is when you log in and use two codes or passwords and sometimes, the platform will send one to your mobile phone or email 

This additional layer of security can bring an extra sense of confidence in cybersecurity for children and young people. 

Young people can also enable 2FA on social media and email accounts to secure them. This means that even if a password is guessed, an unauthorised user should not be able to gain access. This is also useful if they are using a cloud-based storage system such as Google Drive or iCloud. 

TikTok updated with parental controls with family pairing feature
TikTok is used by many teenagers and sometimes children younger than that 13 despite its terms and conditions. Using the new Family Pairing feature can allow parents to guide their child’s TikTok experience in a safer way.

Features include:

  • Search: Decide what can be searched for. This includes content, users, hashtags, or sounds
  • Screen Time Management: Sets how long your teen can spend on TikTok each day

Discoverability: Decide on the account being private (you decide who can see their content) or public (anyone can search and view content)

We have attached a ‘TikTok checklist’, giving all the details about the app and how to stay safe, plus you can find out more information about the Family Pairing feature from here: 

Click here for the TikTok checklist

https://swgfl.org.uk/magazine/tiktok-update-parental-controls-with-family-pairing-feature/

7 minute briefings

Attached are two briefings: one focusing on domestic abuse from Wirral Safeguarding Children Board and the second focusing on the dark web.

Click here for the domestic abuse briefing

Click here for the Dark web briefing

COVID, anxiety and stress resources

Dr Karen Treisman, MBE, is a Highly Specialist Clinical Psychologist who works across the National Health System and children’s services. She has extensive experience in the areas of trauma, parenting, adversity (ACE’s) and attachment.

Her website features a wide-range of resources and the section on COVID, anxiety and stress is particularly valuable and can be found here: http://www.safehandsthinkingminds.co.uk/covid-anxiety-stress-resources-links/

JTM’s Monthly Safeguarding Bulletin – November 2020

Topics for this month:

Digital Resilience

Why is it important to know about digital resilience? 

The use of the internet has undergone rapid expansion with the growing use of social media platforms and the increased use of mobile technologies. Smartphone and tablet ownership has risen sharply and young people have greater independence than ever before to explore their own online world, bringing both opportunities and risks.

By 2010, the vast majority of 9-16-year olds in the UK (96 per cent) reported going online at least weekly. Just over half of teenagers surveyed in a recent study reported using the internet without parental supervision.

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the use of the internet to more than ever before, where many people are using technology as a way of life.

A person’s resilience is their ability to cope with ups and downs and bounce back from the challenges that life can throw at them. Resilient people are better able to make sense of the world around them, build strong relationships, and seek out support when they experience unprecedented change.

Opportunities online – the online world brings a lot of advantages where people can seek and access advice, support, undertake teaching and learning, give self-expression, connect with real friends and family around the world, enjoy entertainment and engage in their community.

However, with this there also brings online risk and vulnerabilities, including cyberbullying, online grooming, sexting, self-harm and suicide contagion, exposure to pornography, radicalisation as well as harmful excessive screen time.

Online vulnerability can often mirror wider causes or issues, this is particularly apparent where online behaviours are influenced by the psychological effects of abusive relationships, childhood trauma or family breakdown; manifesting in low self-confidence, impulsivity, and a propensity to seek out risky scenarios.

It is therefore crucially important to be vigilant and always look out for any signs where a person, particularly a young person or someone with learning difficulties is vulnerable or at risk.

Professionals working with learners online, should always look out for any changes in the learner. Such as changes in character, behaviour, arriving late for remote sessions, being unusually absent, differences in appearance, possible concerns with background noise around them that must be recognised and followed up to safeguard the learner.

Practice must remain relevant and needs to be recalibrated and pulled through to the online context from what it was when face to face before the pandemic with

  • Recognise, respond, record, report, refer

Good practice in digital resilience

  • Preventing and reducing exposure to risk whenever possible
  • Focusing on resources that help foster resilience (e.g. online safety)
  • An alert button on digital platforms such as zoom to be able to send a message of ‘help’
  • Record zoom and any other team meetings for safeguarding purposes
  • Ask the question, how are you?
  • Strengthen cyber security
  • Professional conduct and staff engagement

Discover how to have a healthy digital life and avoid the more negative elements…

  • Avoid the internet’s negativity
  • Recognise fake news and scams
  • Protect your digital identity and reputation
  • Avoid upsetting people – and what to do if you do
  • Overcome digital addiction
  • Never share personal information with strangers or anyone you do not know
  • Ask for help and tell someone if you feel at risk, such as a Teacher, professional or family member

For further information please visit:

Can you recognise these 10 signs of bullying?

Bullying is best understood as a set of harmful behaviours directed at one person or a group. It can include verbal, physical, psychological or socially harmful behaviours that can inflict harm, stress and injury.

Early Warning Signs

The difficulty of knowing if a child is being bullied, is one that worries parents, teachers, Assessors and carers. One or more changes in a child’s mood, physical appearance and behaviours could be an indicator that a child in your care is being bullied.

It can be helpful to have supportive conversations with children and young people in your care to establish what they would do and who they would tell if they had a problem that was worrying them.

Recognising the warning signs early means you can take action to stop bullying, but be aware that not all children show these signs and these signs could also be a sign of other issues in a young person’s life.

Ineqe Safeguarding Group have put together 10 indicators you need to look out for:

  1. A change in sleeping patterns and frequent nightmares.
  2. Not wanting to attend school/college – making up excuses as to why they don’t want to go.
  3. Returning home from school/college with ripped clothing or broken/missing belongings.
  4. Unexplained bruises, cuts and scratches on their body.
  5. Frequent headaches, sore stomach pains and possible fabrication of an illness.
  6. Irregular eating patterns, skipping meals, loss of appetite or returning from school/college hungrier than usual.
  7. A noticeable decline in standards of work.
  8. A nervous reluctance to use their mobile phones/internet.
  9. Unexplained avoidance of regular social activities with usual friendship groups.
  10. Showing unusual aggression, being disruptive or unreasonable.

If you are worried because you are witnessing these behaviours – it’s a sign you should take action. Talk to the child/young person open and honestly, this will help you identify a problem early. Bullying is very rarely a complete secret.

Young people might not use the word bullying when telling you about things that made them sad, upset or worried at school. If a child in your care confides in you or you suspect something is wrong at school/college, having a gentle well-planned conversation can help.

Further support:

PREVENT: New Counter-Terrorism website ACT Early
Between 1st January 2019 and 30th June 2020, 17 children were arrested in relation to terrorism offences. Some were as young as 14 years old and nearly all were radicalised entirely online.

In the same time period, more than 1500 children under the age of 15 were referred to the Prevent programme to help them choose a different path, away from hatred and violence.

The impact of Covid-19, social isolation and a rise in hateful extremism online has created a ‘perfect storm’ which is making more young people vulnerable to radicalisation and other forms of grooming.

With this in mind, Counter-Terrorism Policing have developed a new website called ACT Early. The website emphasises early detection and is aimed at family and friends and are encouraged to call the Prevent advice line on 0800 011 3764.

You can also find advice on the website around staying safe online and also tips for talking to friends or relatives if you think you’ve spotted worrying behaviour.

The website can be found here: https://actearly.uk/

Depression Booklet – Mind Charity

Mind Charity have published a booklet that focuses on what depression is and information about depression, its symptoms and possible causes, and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips on caring for yourself, and guidance for friends and family.

We have attached the booklet to access.

Click here for the Mind booklet

Coronavirus: Help to stay safe and well for young people and adults with learning disabilities (Mencap)

Mencap have a series of easy-to-read to help communicate clear messages about keeping safe from coronavirus. The information covers:

  • Shielding
  • Self-isolating
  • Social distancing
  • Face coverings
  • Keeping safe
  • Public transport
  • Going to work and working from home
  • Test and trace
  • Food shopping
  • Befriending
  • Scams
  • Keeping clean and handwashing
  • About coronavirus
  • Government guidance

Please visit Mencap’s website to access the information: https://www.mencap.org.uk/advice-and-support/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-help-stay-safe-and-well

7 Minute Briefings:

Attached is a 7 minute briefing from Knowsley Safeguarding Children Partnership focusing on ‘Contextual Safeguarding’.

Click here for the 7 minute briefings

UK Safer Internet Centre:

The UK Safer Internet Centre have published an infographic that focuses on ‘Covid-19: Expectations and effects on children online’.

The infographic explores digital migration, increased demand for content, warnings and predictions, health and wellbeing, and possible impacts such as child sexual exploitation.

Please access the attached infographic for more information.

COVID-19 Alert Levels

When the national lockdown is lifted, areas will be put into different tiers. The list of local restriction tiers by area, from Wednesday 2 December 2020 are below.

COVID alert level: very high (TIER 3)

North West

  • Blackburn with Darwen
  • Blackpool
  • Greater Manchester
  • Lancashire

East Midlands

  • Derby and Derbyshire
  • Leicester and Leicestershire
  • Lincolnshire
  • Nottingham and Nottinghamshire

North East

  • North East Combined Authority:
    • County Durham
    • Gateshead
    • South Tyneside
    • Sunderland
  • North of Tyne Combined Authority:
    • Newcastle upon Tyne
    • North Tyneside
    • Northumberland
  • Tees Valley Combined Authority:
    • Darlington
    • Hartlepool
    • Middlesbrough
    • Redcar and Cleveland
    • Stockton-on-Tees

South East

  • Kent and Medway
  • Slough (remainder of Berkshire is tier 2: High alert)

South West

  • Bristol
  • North Somerset
  • South Gloucestershire

West Midlands

  • Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton
  • Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent
  • Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull

Yorkshire and The Humber

  • East Riding of Yorkshire
  • Kingston upon Hull/Hull
  • North East Lincolnshire
  • North Lincolnshire
  • South Yorkshire
  • West Yorkshire

COVID alert level: high (TIER 2)

North West

  • Cumbria
  • Liverpool City Region
  • Warrington and Cheshire

East of England

  • Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes
  • Cambridgeshire, including Peterborough
  • Essex, Thurrock and Southend on Sea
  • Hertfordshire
  • Norfolk
  • Suffolk

East Midlands

  • Northamptonshire
  • Rutland

London

  • all 32 boroughs plus the City of London

South East

  • Bracknell Forest
  • Brighton and Hove
  • Buckinghamshire
  • East Sussex
  • Hampshire, including Portsmouth and Southampton
  • Oxfordshire
  • Reading
  • Surrey
  • West Berkshire
  • West Sussex
  • Windsor and Maidenhead
  • Wokingham

South West

  • Bath and North East Somerset
  • Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole
  • Devon, including Plymouth and Torbay
  • Dorset
  • Gloucestershire (Cheltenham, Cotswold, Forest of Dean, Gloucester, Stroud and Tewkesbury)
  • Somerset (South Somerset, Somerset West and Taunton, Mendip and Sedgemoor)
  • Wiltshire and Swindon

West Midlands

  • Herefordshire
  • Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin
  • Worcestershire

Yorkshire

  • City of York
  • North Yorkshire

COVID alert level: medium

South East

  • Isle of Wight

South West

  • Cornwall
  • Isles of Scilly

You can find out the coronavirus restrictions in a local area by visiting: https://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-local-restrictions

JTM’s Monthly Safeguarding Bulletin – October 2020

Topics for this month:

Black History Month

In the UK, October has been designated Black History Month, and we’ve profiled three black history pioneers, who chased a dream and changed the world.

Lisa Gelobter (1971-present) 

  • Each time we congratulate ourselves for reacting to an online chat with the perfect GIF, we should also be celebrating the genius animation skills of Lisa Gelobter. As well as inventing the Graphics Interchange Format (GIF), Gelobter was involved in bringing animation and video streaming software to life – think Shockwave and HULU. Gelobter has since combined her technology talents and personal experiences of discrimination to launch teQuitable; a company aimed at making workplaces more equitable, through technology.

Yvonne Connolly (1936-present)

  • Yvonne Connolly was Britain’s first black female Head Teacher. Moving to Britain in August 1963, Connolly proved popular with her pupils and was later appointed as Head Teacher of what was referred to as “a white man’s school”. Angry letters from the public ensued, along with threats to burn the school down. Yet, Connolly’s determination has seen her become a key figure in black history, celebrated for her passion for teaching and her contributions to making education more equal. 

Oprah Winfrey (1954 – present) 

  • Challenging the norm can change the world and Oprah Winfrey is a case in point. Winfrey has spoken openly about her impoverished upbringing, multiple accounts of sexual abuse in her childhood and her experiences of racial injustice. Yet, her entrepreneurial spirit led Winfrey to start her own production company. She’s since become North America’s first black multi-billionaire. Known for her talents as a talk show host, television producer, actress, author and philanthropist, Winfrey is often named as the most powerful woman in America and the most influential black person of her generation. 

COVID-19 Alert Levels

Local COVID alert levels set out information for local authorities, residents and workers about what to do and how to manage the outbreak in their area. Local COVID alert levels are sometimes called ‘tiers’ or known as a ‘local lockdown’.

As of 22/10/20, the local alert levels are included below:

Local COVID alert level: very high

  • Liverpool City Region
  • Lancashire
  • Greater Manchester (From 23rd October 2020)
  • South Yorkshire (From 24th October 2020)

Click here for the very high leaflet

Local COVID alert level: high

  • Cheshire
  • Cumbria
  • Derbyshire
  • Durham
  • Essex
  • Leicestershire
  • London
  • Nottinghamshire
  • Northumberland
  • Surrey
  • Tees Valley
  • Tyne and Wear
  • York
  • West Midlands
  • West Yorkshire

Click here for the high leaflet

Local COVID alert level: medium

  • All areas in England are medium, apart from those listed above as high or very high.

Click here for the medium Leaflet

You can find out the coronavirus restrictions in a local area by visiting: https://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-local-restrictions

World Mental Health

After months of lockdown and the loss it has brought to many around the world, it has had a huge impact on us all, and prioritising mental health has never been more important than it is now.

Research shows that nearly 80% of people living with mental illness say that Covid-19 and the national response have made their mental health worse. World Mental Health Day which took place earlier this month on the 10th October, focused on how people can reach out as well as how people with lived experience are overcoming the challenges of lockdown and how together, we are pushing for a better world post-pandemic.

The theme this year for World mental health is ‘mental health for all’ as everyone has been affected in one way or another. Making a positive change can seem so hard, especially during uncertain times and sometimes it can be hard to know where to start. Our mental health is just like our physical health, in that everybody has it and we need to take care of it as best we can.

Five Warning Signs of Mental Illness

  • Long-lasting sadness or irritability
  • Extremely high and low moods
  • Excessive fear, worry, or anxiety which takes over the mind
  • Social withdrawal and changes in character
  • Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits, as well as appearance


Mental health problems affect around one in four people in any given year. They range from common problems, such as depression and anxiety, to rarer problems such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Living with a mental health problem can often have an impact on day to day life, making things that others might not think about more difficult.

Tips on how you can help mental health:

  • Buy yourself something nice
  • Cook a meal that nourishes your mind
  • Ring a friend or arrange a zoom who you have not spoken to in a while
  • Write yourself a letter, highlighting your good points to remind yourself about what a special person you are
  • Watch a funny film
  • Go for a walk in the country side
  • Look at happy photos or videos

‘Mind’ a UK leading mental health organisation who campaign for better metal health, believe everyone with a mental health problem should be able to access excellent care and services. They also believe every person should be treated fairly, positively and with respect.

Through public campaigns, influencing decision makers and the services Minds deliver in communities across England and Wales, they have touched millions of lives. If you feel you need some advice, support or help with your mental health you can access their website: https://www.mind.org.uk/get-involved/world-mental-health-day/

Click here for the mental health handbook

5 Ways Young People Can Cope With Stress

The pandemic is an uncertain time for many young people. Young people have expressed anxiety over feelings of uncertainty, fear, loneliness and isolation, alongside a constant feed of negative news stories. 

As lockdown measures begin to relax, young people will naturally be nervous about what happens next, creating overwhelming feelings of stress and anxiety.  

Ineqe Safeguarding Group have put together 5 ways parents, carers, teaching staff and safeguarding professionals can support young people with stress and anxiety. 

1. Facing their fears

During stressful or threatening situations, our bodies react with the ‘fight-flight-or-freeze’ response. But under sustained threats, we can overthink potentially dangerous situations until our anxiety makes us avoid the situation or thought itself. Sometimes, these thoughts can be more frightening than the perceived threat. In situations like this, it can be helpful to encourage young people to discuss their fears and anxieties about the return to the ‘new normal’. If a young person with an existing mental health condition has established coping mechanisms laid out in a support plan they should be encouraged to engage with them.

2. Use breathing exercises

Being aware of and controlling our breathing is a highly effective grounding technique that helps us relax our mind and body. Teaching young people in your care to focus on breathing in slowly through their nose and exhaling through their mouth can help them relax. It also builds their capacity to cope. When using breathing techniques, it can help to visualise themselves succeeding. For example, if a young person is stressed about going outside or to their education setting, encourage them to think things like ‘they will be ok, they will get through this’.

3. Practice daily mindfulness

Finding just 10 minutes a day to focus on mindfulness can make a major difference for young people. It could be when they wake up in the morning, before they sleep, at lunchtime or even on the way to school. There are lots of apps that play relaxing music, sounds, or guided meditations which are designed to help people practice mindfulness and relaxation. Any activity can be mindful, which involves being present and calm. Some young people use creativity such as colouring, painting or making music to help practice mindfulness.

4. Switch off

During the Lockdown, young people in the UK have relied on their screens to keep in contact with their support networks and to stave off the boredom. Playing Fortnite, watching YouTube and scrolling through Instagram can be fun but it is important to get the balance right. You should encourage young people in your care to take regular breaks from screens. Switching off allows young people to connect more with the people they are with, and this simple change will work towards making them feel less stressed.

5. Talk it out

Talking about our worries can help us make sense of them and see things from a new angle. Remember to regularly check in with young people to see how they are feeling. Ask open questions and take the time to listen to their worries. Having someone take the time to listen can make a big difference. It’s important that young people are able to engage with their support networks if they are struggling with their mental health. Make sure they know who they can talk to about anything that worries them. 

‘Friend-Finding’ Apps

Online safeguarding experts are particularly concerned about the surge in the use of ‘friend-finding’ apps, as authorities have previously warned during the pandemic that around 300,000 online offenders pose a threat to children in the UK. 

A couple of apps that have grown in popularity during the pandemic are Wink and Hoop.

Wink

  • Linked to Snapchat, allowing users to exchange profile information, with conversations then continuing on Snapchat
  • No effective age verification built in, e.g. fake date of birth can be used, meaning users may not be who they say they are
  • There are limited privacy and safety settings. Users cannot restrict who can contact them and there is no option to make an account private, but they can block and report users
  • App has reward feature aims to create habits and is designed to hook users 

Hoop

  • Linked to Snapchat, allowing users to exchange profile information, with conversations then continuing on Snapchat
  • Users are not asked to input their age
  • Anyone can add a user, and search by location and age
  • Personal information such as age and location can be added to your profile
  • The app has its own ‘diamond currency’ allowing users to spend ‘diamonds’ to request ‘chats’ with other users. It costs ten diamonds to ask for a Snapchat username 
  • ‘Age gating’ means adults can’t see profiles of users under the age of 18, and vice versa, but users can edit their age at any time 
  • Ineffective age verification means users may not be who they say they are  
  • Users can report photos but NOT other users
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