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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

JTM’s Monthly Safeguarding Bulletin – September 2020

Topics for this month:

What is ‘Grooming’?

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

Children and young people who are ‘groomed‘, can be sexually abused, exploited or trafficked. Before the groomer reaches the point of exploiting or abusing, they will spend time forming a relationship with the young person. They will usually want to make them feel safe and like they can trust them.

A groomer can be any gender, sexuality, profession, or relationship to their victim. It could be someone you know, even someone like a teacher, parent, or family friend. It could be a stranger who has befriended you either online or in person. It can be literally anyone who is misusing the trust they have built with you

What are the stages of grooming?

Stage 1: Targeting the victim

Stage 2: Gaining the victim’s trust

Stage 3: Filling a need

Stage 4: Isolation of the child or young person

Stage 5: Sexualizing the relationship

Signs of grooming

  • The person becomes withdrawn, or they may seem troubled by something but unwilling to talk about it.
  • You notice them using or wearing something new, that you didn’t buy for them or is out of character and different to their usual appearance.
  • Groomers often aim to isolate their targets from their family or friends.

Six common grooming behaviour’s:

  • Forming relationships, perpetrators seek to form relationships with children and young people
  • Testing boundaries, perpetrators will try to test the boundaries of a child or young person’s comfort levels
  • Touching
  • Intimidating
  • Sharing sexually explicit material
  • Communicating secretly

How to prevent online grooming

  1. Ask children or young people who they are talking to on these sites/platforms.
  2. Keep a look out for abnormal behaviour or changes in behaviour.
  3. Keep an eye out for potential gifts that may have been received.
  4. Ensure a child or young person knows that they should never meet up with strangers they meet online.

Grooming is never ok, exploitation and sexual abuse is never ok, being groomed, exploited or abused is never your fault. These are very important things to remember.  If you are uncomfortable with a relationship it is important to speak up or seek advice to make sure you are safe.

For more information please visit the website below. There is a free confidential helpline where you can call or text 116 000. You also can access chat live direct from the website.

Also, visit https://www.nwgnetwork.org/services/?location=north-west which focuses on tackling child sexual exploitation and lists a range of organisations that provide support.

Harassment and what you can do about it – Merseyside Police

Harassment is extremely unpleasant and malicious behaviour that causes upset and distress – and it’s something no one should put up with. Follow the advice below to minimise the chances of becoming a target and prevent people accessing your information and finding out about you and your routine. Remember, the police always available for advice, and if you feel you’re being harassed, report it.

Statistics:

  • Eighty per cent of victims who contact the National Stalking Helpline are female and the majority of their stalkers are male, according to ‘Out of Sight out of Mind’.
  • Victims can be stalked for years with the average case lasting 15 months. But many cases last longer – 30% of people who contact the helpline have experienced stalking for over two years and 13% have been stalked for over five years.

Online
In this age of digital communication and social media, your safety online is paramount. Here are some useful pieces of advice designed to help you protect yourself:

  • restrict your social media posts to your friends and not public
  • check privacy settings on social networking sites and limit the amount of information you supply
  • Google yourself frequently to check your digital footprint
  • don’t use the same password for everything
  • be aware of geolocation and tagging on social networking sites and ensure that it’s disabled on your smartphone
  • keep your antivirus software up to date
  • report stalking to website administrators
  • if you believe that your smartphone or computer has been hacked or compromised, stop using it immediately and take it to your mobile phone provider or computer repair experts for advice


Answering the phone

  • Don’t answer the phone with your address or phone number.
  • If the caller is not known to you, avoid answering questions about yourself, no matter how genuine they sound.
  • If you have an answering machine, it’s advisable not to include your name or number in the outgoing message.
  • The message should never tell people that you are out or away; try to give the impression that you are only temporarily unable to answer: e.g. ‘Sorry, I can’t get to the phone right now, so please leave your name and number and I’ll get right back to you.’
  • If you’re listed in any directories, you might want to give your initials and surname rather than your full name.
  • Never show anger or fear over the phone: just remain calm, confident and if necessary, assertive.

https://www.merseyside.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/harassment/af/Harassment/harassment/

Street crime – How to stay safe
Street crime is often opportunistic, so making yourself less of a target, moving with purpose and being aware of your surroundings will go a long way to keeping you safe. Here’s where you’ll discover more tips on how to stay safe and feel more confident when out and about.

  • Be prepared – Plan your route in advance. Carry a charged mobile phone and some cash, and tell someone where you’re going.
  • Be assertive – From the moment you step out onto the street in the morning, look assertive and act and walk with confidence. This will always make you appear in control and much less vulnerable.
  • Be aware – Using a mobile phone, whether making a call or texting, wearing a hood or listening to loud music, all affect your awareness of your surroundings.
  • Hide it – Keep your valuables including your mobile phone, other devices and jewellery, hidden. Remember, out of sight, out of mind.
  • Go against the flow – When walking on the pavement, always face oncoming traffic, as it will make it far more difficult for thieves on two wheelers to ride up from behind and snatch your property. But still also be aware of anyone approaching from ahead of you. 
  • Trust your instincts – Try to avoid walking alone at night in places such as parks and side streets or any unfamiliar environment. If you do have to walk, stick to busy places where there is a lot of activity CCTV and good lighting.
  • Make a plan – And stick to it. First off, discuss with friends what to do if something were to go wrong on your night out together, e.g. if one of you has too much to drink or you were to get separated. Agree on a backup plan and look out for one another.
  • Be vigilant – Alcohol and drugs will reduce reaction times and inhibitions, which makes it harder to assess risks and decide how to deal with them. So keep an eye on how much you drink and never let your glass or bottle out of your sight.
  • Safety in numbers – Try to travel with people you know and, where possible, stick to routes and forms of transport that others are using and avoid shortcuts in lonely places.

https://www.merseyside.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/violence/stay-safe/

County Lines – Manchester Police

County lines is the name given to drug dealing where organised criminal groups (OCGs) use phone lines to move and supply drugs, usually from cities into smaller towns and rural areas. They exploit vulnerable people, including children and those with mental health or addiction issues, by recruiting them to distribute the drugs, often referred to as ‘drug running’.

OCGs often use high levels of violence and intimidation to protect the ‘county line’ and control them. One of these forms of control exploits vulnerable people by using their home as a base for dealing drugs, a process known as cuckooing.

There are several signs to look out for that may indicate someone is involved in county lines:

  • repeatedly going missing from school or home and being found in other areas
  • having money, new clothes or electronic devices and they can’t explain how they paid for them
  • getting high numbers of texts or phone calls, being secretive about who they’re speaking to
  • decline in school or work performance
  • significant changes in emotional or physical well-being

Cuckooing

Dealers often convince the vulnerable person to let their home be used for drug dealing by giving them free drugs or offering to pay for food or utilities. Often OCGs target people who are lonely, isolated, or have addiction issues. It’s common for OCGs to use a property for a short amount of time, moving address frequently to reduce the chance of being caught.

Signs to look out for

There are several signs to look out for that may indicate someone is a victim of cuckooing:

  • frequent visitors at unsociable hours
  • changes in your neighbour’s daily routine
  • unusual smells coming from a property
  • suspicious or unfamiliar vehicles outside an address

Prevent in a pandemic – Nigel Lund, North West Prevent Lead

Risks from radicalisation in 2018/19 statistics:

  • The education sector in the North West made 37% of all Prevent referrals in 2018/19 
  • 66% of those that received Channel support were under the age of 20 
  • Overall Channel support – 37% were Islamist concerns and 45% were Extreme Right Wing 
  • Of those receiving Channel Support in the NW, the Education sector had the highest number of referrals (17%)

Vulnerabilities in ‘Channel’ cases before COVID-19 (Think about how these will have been accentuated during the pandemic)

  • Adverse childhood experiences 
  • Mental health 
  • Interest in firearms and/or weapons 
  • Racial or religious hatred 
  • Accessibility of social media 
  • Isolation/social isolation 
  • Child in care/family disruption 
  • Extremist media content 
  • Violent tendencies/ideas/behaviours 
  • Suicidal tendencies 


Post COVID considerations 

  • Mental health, domestic violence, relationship break up, debt 
  • Importance of an individual’s use of online space – gaming, gambling, exposure to extremist material and content 
  • Potential grievance and injustice, e.g. Black Lives Matter 
  • Protests and demos 
  • Conspiracy theories 
  • Security – different landscape of queues at shops, one-way systems etc. 
  • Ofsted inspections will focus on safeguarding and Prevent

How extremists are using COVID-19 to promote disinformation, misinformation and conspiracy theories

During the pandemic, local authorities have seen a significant decline in Prevent referrals, raising concerns about the welfare of vulnerable children and young people who require support.

As education returns, it is important that settings are extra-vigilant to radicalisation concerns, particularly as children and young people may have been exposed to disinformation, misinformation and conspiracy theories, sometimes called ‘fake news’, due to extremists exploiting COVID-19 to spread hateful narratives and increase division. 

What are the radicalisation risks related to the impact of COVID-19?

There are three main radicalisation risks for young people during this pandemic:

  • Exposed to misleading and hateful content: Young people may have been exposed to fake stories or conspiracy theories about COVID-19, which attribute blame to minority groups.
  • Engaged with extremist individuals: Young people may have become exposed to, or engaged with, extremist organisations or individuals, especially online.
  • Increased vulnerability to radicalisation: COVID-19 may have increased vulnerability to radicalisation as children and young people may feel isolated, anxious, frustrated and angry. This could increase the resonance of intolerant messaging and the appeal of extremist groups or individuals offering explanations for the crisis.

What have been the extremist themes during the pandemic?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, false and misleading narratives about the virus have been spread, particularly online, to force change or to place blame on ‘out-groups’ and minorities.

This can further incite hatred, justify violence, and divide communities. While some of this occurs on popular social media platforms, it can also be found on lesser known, less moderated platforms. These sites can include easily available extreme and conspiratorial content.

The Commission for Countering-Extremism (CCE) have highlighted some of the following prominent extremist narratives:

  • Antisemitism: Several conspiracies blame the Jewish community for spreading the virus, including claims that COVID-19 is a Jewish plot, either as a hoax or a deliberate creation, to remove civil liberties and impose totalitarian rule.
  • Anti-Muslim hatred: Claims that British Muslims have flouted social distancing rules and spread the virus have been promoted, particularly on social media. Whilst these have been disproven, high profile extreme right-wing influencers have blamed Muslims for the spread of the virus.
  • Anti-Chinese hatred: Hate crime and hate incidents towards Chinese people have risen. Reports have found a 300% increase in the use of ‘hashtags’ that encourage or incite violence against China and Chinese people online.
  • Islamist: Islamist extremists have used COVID-19 to support existing narratives to promote the need for a Caliphate over democratic society, claiming the pandemic is a divine punishment for the West’s ‘sinful’ behaviours.
  • Right-wing: Right-wing extremists have similarly exploited the pandemic to amplify the weakness and hypocrisy of democratic values like tolerance and freedom.

Wider conspiracy theories: Extremist individuals have exploited a number of prevalent non-extremist conspiracy theories, related to 5G, track and trace and anti-vax, which can be detrimental to public health messaging. In some cases, these have been linked to anti-Semitic or other hateful narratives.

7 Minute Briefings

Attached are informative 7 minute briefings focusing on:

Important Training Links

Prevent Awareness Online Training (Home Office): E-learning, developed by HM Government, is an introduction into the risks of radicalisation and the role that professionals and practitioners can play in supporting those at risk

https://www.elearning.prevent.homeoffice.gov.uk/la2/screen1.html

Channel Awareness (Home Office): A training package for anyone who may be asked to contribute to, sit on, or even run a Channel Panel. It is aimed at all levels, from a professional asked to input and attend for the first time, to a member of staff new to their role and organising a panel meeting.

https://www.elearning.prevent.homeoffice.gov.uk/channel_awareness/01-welcome.html

‘Side by Side’ Training for learners – A prevent resource with modules on:

  • Radicalisation and extremism
  • Staying safe online
  • Who can you trust?
  • British Values

https://www.etflearners.org.uk/login/index.php

Google ‘Expert Approved’ apps

Google have recently announced that they are helping parents find apps that are entertaining and enriching by adding an ‘Expert Approved’ badge, to give parents some comfort that an app has been reviewed as appropriate.

In order for an app to receive an ‘Expert Approved’ badge, it must meet quality standards that were developed in partnership between Google and children’s education and media specialists. Apps are rated on factors like age-appropriateness, design quality, appeal to children, and enrichment potential. The app listing includes information about why the app was rated highly to help parents determine if it is right for their child.

Whenever parents search the Google Play Store, they can look for the ‘Expert Approved’ badge to quickly see which apps have been reviewed and rated highly by educators.

JTM’s Monthly Safeguarding Bulletin – August 2020

Topics for this month:

Returning to school after lockdown – Tips for parents

As schools reopen across the UK over the next few weeks, pupils will be dealing with new school rules, routines, classrooms, classmates, Teachers and, in some cases, even new schools.

Parentinfo have published some useful advice for parents of all school ages, offering simple tips to help make the transition easier:

Primary school: https://tinyurl.com/y59hcyw4

Secondary school: https://tinyurl.com/y5sejsyh

Online safety at home

As everyone will have experienced recently, online use in the home has rapidly become the main method of communication and social interaction. With this in mind, children and young people should have the opportunity to explore why they should keep their personal information secure and the steps they can take to do so.

Thinkuknowhow have launched an online safety at home campaign, with a focus on activities that can be carried out as a whole family.

Family activity sheet – viewing videos online: https://tinyurl.com/yyt4sdx5

This activity sheet focuses on watching videos online. With a choice of 3 conversation starters, 3 online safety actions and 2 fun family tasks, you can learn together about watching videos safely online.

Family activity sheet – cyber security: https://tinyurl.com/y3asceyc

This activity sheet focuses on cyber security, and has been developed in collaboration National Cyber Security Centre to help you and your family be more Cyber Aware. 

The Thinkuknowhow website also provides numerous parent and carer help sheets, providing key online safety advice, as well as information on support services. These can be viewed here: https://tinyurl.com/yxfxbmt3

Prevent video – Staff, learners, parents/carers and employers

Groomers of all kinds prey on feelings of stress and isolation to exploit vulnerable individuals, both online and offline. ‘Prevent’ protects individuals targeted by terrorist influences by providing local, multi-agency safeguarding support.

The 5 minute video below gives an introduction to how Prevent works on the ground, told by those who have come into contact with the programme.

For further information:

Right-wing terrorism

‘Right-wing’ terrorism or ‘far-right’ terrorism is terrorism that is motivated by a variety of different right-wing and far-right ideologies, most prominently by neo-Nazism, white separatism, ethno nationalism, religious nationalism, and anti-government citizen beliefs. They usually aim to prevent something from happening or to change legislation or domestic policy, but try to do so outside of the normal democratic process.

Right-wing terrorists aim to overthrow governments and replace them with nationalist and/or fascist regimes. They believe their actions will set in motion events that will ultimately create these authoritarian governments. Although they often take inspiration from Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany with some exceptions, right-wing terrorist groups frequently lack a rigid ideology.

Right-wing terrorists tend to target those they deem to be members of an alien community, though they may also target political opponents, such as left-wing groups and individuals.

The attacks of right-wing terrorists are not indiscriminate attacks seeking to simply kill people; their targets are carefully chosen. However, because their targets are often entire sections of the community, the victims are not targeted as individuals but rather as representatives of the group that the terrorists regard as allies.

Social media platforms have been one of the principal means by which right-wing extremist ideas and ‘hate speech’ have been shared and promulgated, leading to extensive debate about the limits of free speech and its impact on terrorist action and hate crimes.

In 2018, researchers identified the YouTube recommendation system as promoting a range of political positions from mainstream libertarianism and conservatism to overt white nationalism. Many other online discussion groups and forums are used for online right-wing radicalization.

Right Wing Symbolism

A symbol is a visual image or sign representing an idea and to express specific ideologies and social structures, as well as to represent aspects of culture. They have the ability to be extremely powerful as they can convey complex messages, ideologies and history in a compact, recognisable form.

As such, relatively simple symbols can be hugely significant to different cultures around the world. One can see this in the reverence held for national flags or religious symbols. As such, the defamation of a particular symbol has the potential to be hugely insulting to entire communities or even entire countries.

Please make yourself aware of the signs and symbols by looking at the poster attached and speak to the Safeguarding Team if you have any concerns.

Dealing with anger and frustration due to Covid-19

When dealing with anger and frustration through difficult times, try to remember the acronym ‘Rain’:

  • R – Recognise when you are angry and identify its presence in your body
  • A – Accept that anger is there and understand that it is ok to be angry
  • I – Investigate sensations within your body – what does it feel like to be angry?
  • N –Nurture the anger. It is important that we are kind to ourselves when we are angry. Don’t be self-critical or shame yourself for being angry. Be compassionate towards your emotion; it’s reminding you of your boundaries. If you become considerate with your anger, it will pass naturally.

Take a look at the article focusing on ‘conscious breathing’ and the steps that you can take to relax your mind: https://magazine.vitality.co.uk/conscious-breathing-take-a-breath/?_ga=2.74253392.396443122.1598264150-196264826.1561454550

JTM’s Monthly Safeguarding Bulletin – July 2020

Topics for this month:

Tips for coping with mask/face covering anxiety – Mind Charity:

Some of us may find masks/face coverings very hard to cope with, especially if you have a mental health problem. You might not ever feel totally comfortable with masks, but here are some things that you could try to help:

  • Get some fresh air outside before and after you wear your mask/face covering
  • Do something to relax you before and after you wear a mask/covering
  • Choose a face covering that hangs down your neck rather than fitting around your jaw
  • Keep your body as cool as possible. For example, wear loose fitting clothes
  • Add a comfortable scent to your face covering. This might be a few drops of lavender oil, your own perfume/aftershave, or a smell that reminds you of someone else

You can also experiment with different fabric types:

  • You could try making a mask from an old t-shirt that doesn’t bother you to touch.
  • Experiment with different ways to secure your mask. Some fit behind the ears, some tie behind the head.

Anxiety around other people wearing masks:

If people in masks make you feel uneasy or afraid:

  • Try to pay extra attention to your non-human surroundings. This might be trees, traffic or the sounds and smells you notice. Balancing what you’re taking in with other things that are unchanged might help things to feel less abnormal.
  • Take a distraction out with you. For example, listen to music or podcasts through headphones, or call someone you enjoy chatting to.

Mask exceptions for mental health reasons:

  • Don’t assume that someone not wearing a mask is being ‘selfish’. Many people are exempt from wearing masks/coverings and it might not be immediately obvious why.
  • It can be difficult to judge if you’re unwell enough to have a reasonable excuse for not wearing a mask, but remember, you are the expert on your own experience. You might decide that you have a legitimate reason for being exempt.

For more information on mask exemptions for mental health reasons, please visit: www.mind.org.uk/masks

Depression during the pandemic – Mind Charity:

In the current crisis, many of us are experiencing depression for the first time, or having stronger symptoms. Everyone’s experience of depression will vary, but you might feel:

  • Isolated or unable to relate to other people
  • Down, upset or tearful
  • Difficulty taking pleasure in life, especially if you can’t do some of the activities you enjoy
  • Restless, bored or tired because your usual routines have had to change
  • Hopeless or despairing about coronavirus
  • A sense of unreality, especially if your life has changed significantly during the pandemic
  • Guilty, worthless and down on yourself
  • Empty or numb
  • Low self-confidence or self-esteem
  • Physical aches and pains with no obvious physical cause
  • Difficulty speaking, thinking clearly or making decisions
  • Suicidal

It is possible to recover from depression and many people do – especially after accessing support. Your symptoms may return sometimes, but when you’ve discovered self-care techniques and treatments work best for you, you’re more likely to feel confident in managing them.

For more information, please visit:

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/depression/about-depression/

Advice on coping with furlough and a mental health problem from the Mind Charity:

Have a routine and try to stick to it as much as possible. Some ideas/suggestions:

  • Go to bed and get up at the same time every day
  • Eat healthily and drink regularly – it’s all too easy to eat too much or to skip meals whilst on lockdown. It can be helpful to limit caffeine as it can lead to manic symptoms
  • Stay in touch with people. It can feel easier to self-isolate when you’re struggling but checking in with a loved one could help to brighten your day, and theirs too!
  • Have a 5 minute dance anywhere in the house to your favourite music. You might feel silly to begin with but it will help to lift your mood and energy levels

Bereavement help and support

Cruse Bereavement Care is the largest national charity for bereaved people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Cruse offer face-to-face, group, free phone helpline, email and website support to people after someone close to them has passed away and works to enhance society’s care of bereaved people.

There are no set stages or phases of grief which everyone goes through, but some feelings are very common.

In the early days you may feel shocked and numb, or you may feel nothing at all. The pain can be overwhelming, and you may experience waves of intense feelings or mood swings. It is common to find yourself going over and over events.

You may find yourself searching for the person who has died. It is normal to see the person, feel their presence or talk to them. You may feel guilty about things which happened before the death, or about how you feel now. You may feel very angry with yourself or others, or with the person who has died. You may have trouble sleeping or need to sleep more than usual. You may feel sick or panicky. As time goes on you may have strong feelings of longing, sadness, loneliness and sometimes hopelessness and fear about the future.

It is therefore important to look after yourself if you are experiencing grief following a bereavement.

Treat yourself gently, take one day at a time and give yourself permission to grieve. Don’t feel guilty or weak if you are struggling to cope, or need help.

Talk to someone talking can be really helpful, often family or friends can help. You might also be able to talk to someone in your community, and talk to your GP if your health is suffering.

Diet and sleep is easier said than done in these circumstances, but try to eat properly and get enough rest (even if you can’t sleep). Routine can help eating, sleeping and connecting with others. Exercise even a short walk to get some fresh air can really help.

If you are struggling with bereavement and would like to talk to someone about how you are feeling, you can call the Cruse Freephone number on 0808 808 1677 and a specially trained bereavement counsellor will be able to help and assist you. The helpline is available Monday- Friday 9.30am-5pm and weekends 10am-2pm.

If you would rather get bereavement help online you can use Cruse Chat which is a free online service and live chat programme available Monday-Friday 9am-9pm to anyone over the age of 18. Cruse Chat is a third party service provided to Cruse by GriefChat.

Young people and children’s understanding of grief and their reactions will depend on their age. A very young child might not understand that death is permanent. An older child or teenager may use denial to help them cope.

A young person may seem to dip in and out of grief – this doesn’t mean they do not care.

You can best support a child or young person, by telling them what has happened using clear language. Check their understanding, and let them talk and ask questions.

Reassure them that they are still loved, and that it is ok to let them see that you are sad too. Let them join in with funerals and memorials, but be led by them. Talk to their school or College and make sure other adults involved in their care know what has happened.

Click here a leaflet on bereavement

To find out more about Cruse and the services they provide please access the websites using the links below.

Once you make contact with Cruse they will be able to assess what care and support you need, this may also include bereavement therapy treatment, referral specialist counselling and psychotherapy.

For more information visit:

www.cruse.org.uk/

https://www.griefchat.co.uk/

There is also a sister website for young people suffering bereavement under 18 www.hopeagain.org.uk

Smart Speaker Safety
Smart speakers have grown in popularity among many households in the UK, with just over 1-in-5 UK households currently estimated to have a smart speaker. A smart speaker is used for things such as listening to music, setting reminders as well as asking everyday questions.

As with a lot of internet-ready devices, there also comes concerns over privacy and how to stay safe when using smart speakers within the home.

For the three main smart speakers currently available, we have provided details of their parental restriction and safety settings:

Amazon Echo

  • You can turn off in-app voice purchasing, or set a code to stop children ordering things from Amazon.
  • You can easily restrict access via parental controls to inappropriate content, like songs with curse words by creating an age-appropriate account for your children.
  • Turn off or restrict ‘drop in’. This feature allows users to drop into a video call with someone else’s Echo.
  • Activate the ‘Do Not Disturb’ option. This would be most suitable for when your family is sleeping.
  • Alexa can be asked to delete everything that has been said today. If you want to delete data older than 1 day, simply do so via the App, where you can also adjust settings to automatically delete voice recordings every 3 or 18 months.

Google Nest 

  • Users can set up Family Link. This is done by setting up another account for your child. This will require another android device, but will be controlled from yours. Your child’s voice will be added to your Nest.
  • Make sure to use Google’s Digital Wellbeing tool. This allows users to set up filters for music, video and assistant queries.
  • You can turn off Google’s Pay Assistant to prevent any unwanted purchases.
  • You can ask to delete all voice recordings on the Nest via the Google Assistant app. You can also adjust settings to automatically delete voice recordings every 3 or 18 months.

Apple HomePod

  • You can stop your child from accessing explicit content.
  • Users might also want to lock personal requests. This is what Apple calls the ability to send and read texts, add reminders and create notes. This will prevent anyone sending messages from your Apple device.
  • You can prevent children from making in-app purchases
  • You can ask to delete all voice recordings on the HomePod. Apple will keep recordings from your Speaker for up to 2 years, but they will not be assigned to you as an individual, rather they are listed as random and are kept to help with developing Siri

SafeToNet app
The COVID-19 pandemic, the related lockdown and closure of schools has increased the amount of time children spend online. This time is often spent without immediate supervision, making children more vulnerable to increasing levels of predation and risk online.

As a response, the SafeToNet Foundation is making available 1 million copies of SafeToNet’s safeguarding software free for life to families of the United Kingdom. SafeToNet is an app for parents that helps safeguard their children from online risks like cyberbullying and sexting, whilst respecting the child’s rights to privacy. It also gives children wellbeing exercises to help deal with issues such as stress, fear and anxiety.

Features of the app

To Children:

  • Keeps them safer online whilst respecting their privacy
  • Parents never see what their child is typing
  • The keyboard blocks harmful outgoing messages before the damage is done
  • Gives real-time advice and guidance on cyber-safety topics
  • Provides breathing exercises when signs of anxiety and fear have been detected
  • Audio practices assist with issues of low-self-esteem, bullying, anxiety and more
  • Emotion diary helps children to articulate and analyse their feelings

To Parents:

  • Provides powerful insights into a child’s digital world without snooping or spying
  • Shows the typical moments in a day with the high-risk messages are sent
  • Provides a dynamic safety indicator that shows a child’s proximity to risk
  • A list of the top 5 apps in use by their child where levels of safety can be improved
  • Allows real-time diagnosis of online issues as they arise

Parents have until midnight on the 15th of September to register their details via the link below and until the 30th of September to activate the App on their smartphone or tablet.

https://register.safetonet.com/covid

Free online training courses:

A reminder to staff, learners and employers that there are a number of free online training courses to access – we have listed some below!

  • An introduction to Infection Prevention and Control
  • Infection Prevention and Control Resource Pack
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing Resource Pack
  • Prepared to save a life
  • Understanding Young Minds
  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • Keep Them Safe: Protecting Children from Child Sexual Exploitation
  • Awareness of Forced Marriage
  • Awareness of Type 1 Diabetes
  • Get Moving, Get Healthy
  • Understanding Animal Welfare in Violent Homes

https://www.virtual-college.co.uk/resources/free-courses

JTM’s Monthly Safeguarding Bulletin – June 2020

Topics for this month:

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter (BLM) is an organized movement advocating for non-violent civil disobedience from the police against African-American people. In 2013, the movement began with the use of the #BlackLivesMatter on social media after the acquittal of George Zimmermanin and the shooting death of African-American teen Trayvon Martin in February 2012.

For many decades, black people have been treated unfairly compared with people of European descent. Often black people have not been given the same advantages for instance, not offered the same employment opportunity for jobs, been unfairly harassed and made to feel inferior.

Time and again, black people have protested this unfair treatment, while there have been some improved changes and accountability in policing, there continues to be many challenges.

On May 25 2020, a black man named George Floyd was killed by police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They were arresting him for a relatively minor alleged offense, he did not deserve the treatment he got and he did not deserve to die. The arrest was caught on video, everyone around the world saw the brutally unfair treatment of Floyd at the hands of the police. The four police officers who killed George Floyd were fired from their jobs and have been charged with murder in one case and for aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter in the three other cases.

After Floyd’s death, as well as other recent racist incidents in the US and other countries many protests have took place. Hundreds of thousands of people have marched to raise awareness about racism against black people and the need to find a solution.

Racism or discrimination of any kind has no place in society. Equality and equity for all should not be a controversial issue, it is a human right regardless of the colour of a person’s skin. The value of black people’s lives is not dependent on how well they can assimilate into a society that was built to work against them. Ignorance of racism is a choice, yet many people of society still fail to act on this to fight against it.

This doesn’t just mean protesting, donating, signing petitions or posting hashtags. While these all play their own role in moving BLM in the right direction, the most important thing we can all do during this time is educate ourselves. Thinking about this gives hope that the next generation will be the driving force to create meaningful change and more acceptance and equal treatment to black people and that their lives matter.

In order to be true allies to black people and to the many ethnic minorities in this country that suffer oppression under systemic racism, we need to understand how to get there. There are various toolkits, campaigns and resources on the website below to help take action and support this change.

https://blacklivesmatter.com/

Reading Terrorist attack

A terrible terrorist attack took place on Saturday 20th June in the evening in Reading, during which three people tragically lost their lives. At this stage the incident appears to be a lone actor attack, and it is not believed that anyone else was involved, or that there is any further threat to the public now that the offender is in custody.

We understand that staff and learners may be feeling anxious or worried and this is completely fine. The Safeguarding Team are here to support you. We would like to share again the Run, Hide, Tell video (see link below) which provides simple but useful advice for anyone who unwittingly gets caught up in a terrorist incident or other emergency situation. We have also attached the Run, Hide, Tell leaflet for information.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/stay-safe-film

Managing feelings about lockdown easing – Mind Charity

Lockdown has been difficult for many people. But when we were in full lockdown across the UK, things might have felt more certain, as the rules were clearer. Now things might start feeling less clear, and there may be new challenges. It can feel stressful when things are changing fast.

What might I be feeling about lockdown easing?

You might feel relieved or excited when lockdown is eased where you live. But you might also find yourself feeling less positive about the changes. You may move through a range of difficult feelings and thoughts.

For example:

  • Stressed and unprepared for the changes that are coming.
  • Anxious, afraid or panicked that the changes may cause an increase in infections. Or that someone you care about may now be put at risk when they weren’t before. For example if your children might be asked to go back to school or nursery.
  • Angry or frustrated. Perhaps because people aren’t following social distancing rules, and now can’t avoid them. Or you feel that the changes are wrong, or the measures in place aren’t enough. Other people may seem to have more freedom than you, if you’re shielding or live somewhere with more restrictions. Or you may feel that the changes will make your work more difficult or higher risk, especially if you’re a key worker.
  • Conflicted or confused. For example, you may want to socialise more if it’s allowed, but feel like perhaps you should still stay at home.
  • Protective of your lockdown routine, like you’d rather not have to deal with more change or uncertainty.
  • Grief for people who have died, and that you want to avoid more loss.
  • Reluctant or unmotivated to rearrange events that couldn’t happen during full lockdown. This could be big birthday celebrations or weddings, or everyday things like barbecues, meet-ups, or dating.
  • Uneasy about relationships that have changed during full lockdown.
  • Distrustful of the Government’s reasons for changing the rules, or how things are portrayed in the media.
  • Powerless, like you don’t have a say in anything that’s happening.
  • Stigmatised or that others will avoid you. Perhaps because you’ve already had coronavirus, or they think your work makes you more likely to spread the virus.
  • Like you’re having to make an unfair sacrifice. For example if you are being asked to go back to work when others are still able to stay at home.
  • Under pressure to return to work when you can’t, or when you feel it’s not safe to.
  • Unsupported or disregarded, perhaps if you’re asked to go back to work without having access to things like childcare, personal protective equipment (PPE), or safe transport.

Remember:

  • There’s no ‘normal’ response to lockdown or lockdown easing.
  • Your feelings might change. You might feel one way one day, and another way the next. It might not feel logical.

Your feelings might be influenced by:

  • your personal situation
  • what lockdown has been like for you
  • your own views about what’s happened so far, and what should happen next
  • lots of things that are out of your control.

As restrictions are being lifted differently around the UK, it might feel like others are following different rules to you. Your general mood may feel quite different to full lockdown, when most people were following the same rules.

What could help me manage these feelings?

Some of the feelings you’re having now may feel difficult to manage. For those of us with existing mental health problems, they may be particularly tough. You might find it useful to try some of these suggestions.

  • Get practical support from organisations who can help. Our coronavirus useful contacts page lists lots of organisations who can help with different aspects of the coronavirus pandemic, including bereavement, work and parenting.
  • Talk to someone you trust. It might feel hard to start talking about how you are feeling. But many people find that sharing their experiences can help them feel better. It may be that just having someone listen to you and show they care can help in itself. If you aren’t able to open up to someone close to you, you can call Samaritans any time on 116 123.
  • Try online peer support. Mind runs an online peer support community where you can share your experiences and hear from others. We welcome people from all backgrounds, whatever you’re going through right now.
  • Express your feelings creatively. You might find that it helps to express how you are feeling about the easing of lockdown by writing, drawing, painting or any other creative way that feels helpful to you.
  • Make choices to control the things that you can. Although the coronavirus outbreak means that your choices are limited, try to focus on the things you can change. It might be helpful to list the things you can change on one piece of paper and all the things you can’t on another.
  • Seek help. If you are struggling with your mental health, it is ok to ask for help. A good place to start is by speaking to your GP, or your mental health team if you have one. The NHS and other services have adapted to the coronavirus outbreak. There are video and telephone appointments available, if you need to speak to someone.
  • Alternatively, you can speak to JTM’s Safeguarding Team who can discuss your concerns and whether you would like external support to be arranged.

For further information, visit: https://www.mind.org.uk/

Health and Safety – Tips for working from home

  1. Get ready for the day – Get up early and prepare for the day in the same way you would if you were going into the office. Some people find it useful to wear office clothes  – but this is ultimately up to preference.
  2. If you have a spare room or space, use it – Try to allocate a specific place where you work. This will help you to maintain a distinction between home and work, which can help you to relax when you need to, but also be productive when working.
  3. Keep your normal work structure – Work the hours that you normally would. Know when to log off and don’t be tempted to just keep working the whole day – you’ll be more productive if you keep a good structure.
  4. Drink plenty of water and keep moving – It can be easy for a whole day to pass before you realise you’ve been largely sedentary or dehydrated. Set reminders to drink water and to get up and move every hour.
  5. Find what works for you – You might find new things that work for you, whether it’s taking a lunch break at the same time, working at a standing desk, or putting on shoes to make you feel more productive.

How best to respond? Contextual Safeguarding Factsheet

LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer/Questioning) people can face unique and complex challenges growing up and later in life. It is integral that we educate ourselves and young people in our care about LGBTQ communities to promote tolerance not only during Pride month, but throughout the year.

Find out how to best respond to the needs of LGBTQ young people by reading the Contextual Safeguarding fact sheet created by Ineqe.

New Xbox parental control app

During COVID-19, it is inevitable that everyone – and especially young people – are spending more time online due to lockdown restrictions. Microsoft have announced that that will shortly be releasing a new family settings app for their games console. The Xbox Family Settings app is for parents to manage their children’s gaming activities on Xbox One consoles, from iOS and Android phones.

Currently, parental controls for the Xbox are controlled via the settings on the console itself, a process which is not as simple and straightforward as it should be.

With the new app parents, don’t now actually need to go near the game console itself – the settings are controlled via the app.

The app will allow a parent to:

  • Set screen time and update content restrictions
  • View activity reports – gain insight into your family’s Xbox gaming activity with daily and weekly activity reports
  • Regulate screen time – set console screen time for your children and block or unblock content
  • Manage incoming requests for screen time.
  • Friend management – stay on top of incoming friend requests
  • Employ privacy tools – set communication limits and allow online multiplayer in each child’s Xbox profile

The Xbox Family Settings app will be released by Microsoft shortly.

Gaming loot boxes and gambling

Most games and apps have in-game/in-app purchases, particularly free ones, for example Fortnite. Free games are a deliberate way of gaining traction and popularity quickly, meaning the likelihood of big profits through in-games purchases is significantly higher. There are a range of things that can be purchased, but one of the most popular are loot boxes.

Loot boxes are virtual treasure chests containing undisclosed items that can be used in games, i.e. the player doesn’t what they are buying until the transaction has been completed. These might be ways of customising characters or weapons (‘skins’). These contents may affect progress through the game, or simply be designed to convey status.

Loot boxes are a key feature of many online games. They have come under fire for using predatory techniques to push players to spend money while gaming. Some researchers have noted an overlap between loot boxes and problem gambling. It is also known that some children will gamble items for real money using unregulated websites (known as skin gambling). 

Despite resembling a lottery, loot boxes are not classified as gambling in the UK. So far, the UK Gambling Commission has accepted industry arguments that because the items inside are only used in the game, loot boxes shouldn’t be seen as gambling. Other countries, including Belgium, the Netherlands, and China, have taken a different view and moved to classify loot boxes as gambling or to restrict them.

This and more has prompted the government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to put out a call for evidence on loot boxes to examine links to gambling-like behaviour and excessive spending in games. It is hoped that the findings will provide a solid foundation for future steps and will be considered alongside a review of the Gambling Act.

In the meantime, parents should be aware that children are often pressurised to spend money on loot boxes.  Some things for parents to consider when thinking about their children and gaming:

  • Show an interest in the games they play. If your child is being exposed to loot boxes, talk to them about why they think they are being asked to spend money without knowing what they’ll get in return. 
  • Buying a loot box occasionally isn’t going to lead to problem gambling. The concern comes when the habit gets out of control. Make sure to get involved and be aware of what your child is spending. 
  • Check that your card details aren’t saved on any gaming system. It’s easy for a child to get tempted into buying a new skin for their character or a new weapon camo – or simply to click the wrong button and make an accidental purchase. Beware of having payment methods (vouchers, prepaid cards, debit/credit card) linked to their account.
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