is a month set aside to learn, honour, and celebrate the achievements of Black men and women throughout history, it has been marked in the UK for more than 30 years. It is held to highlight and celebrate the achievements and contributions of the Black Community in the UK.
It happens because so often in the past, the contributions made by black people to the community were ignored or played down because black people weren’t treated the same way as other people because of the colour of their skin. It aims to address this unfairness, by celebrating the achievements and contributions of the black community over the years.
Down Syndrome Awareness Month
Date: All Month
The month of October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month where we celebrate Down Syndrome and let everyone know our abilities and that we are capable of doing anything we set our minds to.
Dyslexia Awareness Week
Date: 3rd-9th October
Dyslexia awareness week is an annual event to raise awareness of dyslexia, including issues such as early identification and reasonable adjustments.
International Day of Older Persons
Date: 1st October
Raises awareness about issues affecting the elderly and appreciates the contributions that older people make to society.
World Mental Health Awareness Day
Date: 10th October
Celebration of mental health education, awareness and advocacy.
Baby Loss Awareness Week
Date: 9th-15th October
Baby Loss Awareness Week is a wonderful opportunity to bring us together as a community and give anyone touched by pregnancy and baby loss a safe and supportive space to share their experiences and feel that they are not alone.
With the cost-of-living crisis being at the forefront of a lot of minds, we have been made aware of a phishing scam that is currently doing the rounds. Potential victims are contacted by a scammer posing as ‘UK Help’ or GOVUK (multiple variations have been found) claiming to be from the official UK government. This is usually done via messaging service like iMessage.
The scam text will say something like ‘you are eligible for a discounted energy bill under the Energy Bills Support Scheme’ and provides a link for you to apply.
By clicking on the link, you are taken to a landing page that appears to be a legitimate UK Gov website – it is a clone of the official website.
You are then instructed to insert your full name, phone number, date of birth, home address, and email address which they claim will help “determine how much you are eligible for.”
The following page will ask for your energy supplier as well as your card number, expiry date, and ‘security’ code.
The end game for these scammers is to access your banking and/or private information, which they can use for their own financial gain. The details this scam asks you to provide could all be used to impersonate you and access to your accounts.
A similar scam that impersonates energy watchdog Ofgem has been circulating, with over 1500 reports already made to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB). These scams are taking advantage of the current concern many households in the UK are feeling due to the cost-of-living crisis.
IMPORTANT – the £400 discount for the UK government energy bill discount for all households WILL be applied automatically when it is released. You will not have to register or apply for anything. No household will be asked for their bank details at any point. Please follow official government guidance.
Following the recent spate of fatal shootings in Merseyside and London believed to be linked to organised crime, the August issue of this bulletin covered the issue of organised crime gangs and gun crime, we are continuing this theme this month with information and support links related to County Lines.
What is County Lines?
County lines is a form of criminal exploitation where urban gangs persuade, coerce or force children, young people or vulnerable adults to store drugs and money and/or transport them to suburban areas, market towns and coastal towns (Home Office, 2018). It can happen in any part of the UK and is against the law and a form of child abuse. Children, young people and adults may be criminally exploited in multiple ways. Other forms of criminal exploitation include sexual exploitation, trafficking, gang and knife crime.
County lines gangs are highly organised criminal networks that use sophisticated, frequently evolving techniques to groom young people or vulnerable adults and evade capture by the police.
Perpetrators use children, young people or vulnerable adults to maximise profits and distance themselves from the criminal act of physically dealing drugs. The vulnerable person does the majority of the work and take the most risk.
Dedicated mobile phone lines or “deal lines” are used to help facilitate county lines drug deals. Phones are usually cheap, disposable and old fashioned, because they are changed frequently to avoid detection by the police. Gangs use the phones to receive orders and contact and instruct where to deliver drugs. This may be to a local dealer or drug user, or a dealer or drug user in another county.
County lines is a cross-cutting issue that often overlaps with other forms of abuse and criminal exploitation. It can lead to serious physical and emotional harm to young people
Lack of understand that county lines is a form of abuse, may result in seeing children/vulnerable adults involved in county lines activity as criminals rather than as victims of criminal exploitation this can lead to them not getting the safeguarding support and protection they need.
Perpetrators may use drugs and alcohol to entice people into the gang lifestyle.In some cases, gangs trick people into incurring drug debts that they then have to pay off through county lines activity. This is often referred to as ‘debt bondage’.
There is a strong link between county lines activity and serious violence such as knife and gun crime, the use of substances such as acid as a weapon, homicide. The fear of serious physical violence as revenge for disrespecting, ‘snitching’ or ‘grassing’ is one of the things that prevents people from leaving gangs or seeking help from the police and other agencies.
Sexual abuse and exploitation
As well as being used to transport drugs, county lines gangs may sexually abuse and exploit children, young people or adults of any gender.
This can happen through:
being forced into sexual activity with gang members or for the gang’s financial gain
being made to work off drug debts through sexual exploitation as ‘payment’ (this might happen after the child has been coerced into becoming dependent on drugs by the gang)
being groomed into what they believe is a romantic relationship with a gang member which then leads to exploitation
Victims can be forced to transport drugs in ways that are invasive and harmful to their bodies. Young people may be forced to swallow bags of drugs to transport them, which could potentially be life threatening.
Trafficking and missing children
Young people can be trafficked to locations far away from where they live for long periods of time by a county lines gang. They may end up staying in unsuitable accommodation in an area that is unknown to them. This might include short term holiday lets or budget hotels.
Cuckooing happens when a county lines gang takes over the home of a vulnerable adult by coercion or force and use it as a base to deal drugs from. The vulnerable adult may have issues with substance misuse or mental health problems, be elderly or disabled or be in debt to the gang. These factors can make it easier for the gang to exploit and control them.
Financial exploitation and abuse
Gangs are known to launder money from drug sales through another person’s bank account, either by using an existing account or forcing or persuading them to open a new one.
Once they have identified a victim, the gang will make some form of contact and the grooming process will begin. This could be in person or via mobile phone. Social media profiles may also be used to glamourise gang life and entice young people.
Signs that a young person or adult may be involved in criminal exploitation
frequently going missing from education/training or work.
travelling to locations, or being found in areas they have no obvious connections with, including seaside or market towns
acquiring money, clothes, accessories or mobile phones which they seem unable to account for
withdrawing or having sudden changes in personality, behaviour or the language they use
having relationships with controlling or older individuals and groups
significant decline in education/training results or performance
being isolated from peers or social networks
self-harming or having significant changes in mental health.
If you or anyone you know is affected by the issues mentioned on this page, here are some useful links you can explore for more information and support, if you have a concern for a learner contact the Safeguarding Team at JTM (contact details at the bottom of the page) or if in immediate danger, contact the police on 999.
With the inquest into the death of Molly Russell taking place, there has been a lot in the news over the past weeks about the dangers of self-harm as well as suicide related content online. It is really important to have regular conversations with young people and learners about online use and things they can do to stay safe as well as what support options are available. Below is some advice for parents and professionals.
A Mindful Approach
While it is important to promote online safety to young audiences, it is safer to approach this with general messages about online safety, without referencing specific incidences. If you are forwarded warnings relating to self-harm and suicide, warning others may seem like the smart thing to do. However, sending warnings can draw unwanted attention towards the content and the potential harm it can bring. Please think carefully about what you share, minimise the exposure and don’t give young people something to look for.
Have Open Conversations
Talk about all their online activity. Let them share what they’re playing or looking at, rather than asking them whether they have seen or engaged with specific harmful content online. This approach may draw their interest to it or mean they do not talk about other concerning online activities. If young people express any concern or worries over content they have seen online, or posts or comments that friends or others have made, it is important to listen to them and offer support.
Providing information and signposting to sources of support
Is important for all young people at any time. It may also be useful to provide advice on how young people can support themselves and their friends. If you have concerns that someone is suicidal, useful information can be found on Samaritan’s website along with tips for discussing suicide safely online
Report Harmful Content Online
Stop the spread of harm by reporting self-harm and suicide content online. Social media sites and other platforms have direct reporting routes for this type of content and remember, you can visit Report Harmful Content to find out how to report harmful content online. Talk about how to report content, age restrictions on different sites and why they exist. Anyone over the age of 13 can make a report on Report Harmful Content. A practitioner will check submitted reports and provide further advice on actions they can take.
If you struggle with suicidal thoughts or are supporting someone else, the Staying Safe website provides information on how to make a safety plan. It includes video tutorials and online templates to guide you through the process.
Gun Violence and Organised Crime Gangs – Information and support
The recent spate of fatal shootings in Merseyside and London is believed to be linked to organised crime. The killing of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel was the third death involving a gun in or around Liverpool this month.
There were also three deaths in London in July and a fourth in August.
If you, or someone you know, have been affected by gun violence, there are support services which may be able to help you.
Victim Support operates a free and confidential 24/7 Supportline and live chat service, every day of the year – offering specialist support to anyone who has been a victim of crime or a witness. If you’d prefer to access interactive self-support guides, visit My Support Space.
Support after Murder and Manslaughter offers understanding and support to families and friends who have been bereaved as a result of murder or manslaughter, through the mutual support of others who have suffered a similar tragedy.
Throughout the UK there are several definitions of what constitutes a gang. Categorising a group of people as a gang can be difficult, and most recently there has been a rethink as to how exactly a gang should be classified. The emphasis has shifted more onto the behaviour of the gang and whether they are involved in gang related violence and drug trafficking, rather than the makeup of the group
How is a gang organised?
The structure, characteristics and often the ethnicity of gangs varies from area to area and will often depend on the local demographic. Most gangs are primarily made up of young people, aged between 13 and 24 years, although gang members have been known to be significantly older and younger than this age group. While gang membership is predominantly male based, young girls and women are increasingly coerced and drawn into gang activity. Gangs often have a fluid and chaotic hierarchical structure where individuals slide up and down the pecking order, dependent on their involvement at differing times. Seniority is often based on longevity of service (elders) with children and young people seen as minions at the bottom of the order. Younger gang members often engage in low level criminality when first joining the gang, e.g. burglary, theft, street robbery, assaults and anti-social behaviour.
What is a criminal network?
Organised criminal groups or networks are different from gangs. They consist of individuals who are purely involved in crime for personal gain (financial or otherwise). Organised crime includes, people trafficking, supply of firearms, drug importation, trafficking and supply (this includes county lines drug supply). It causes significant harm to the community. There is no doubt that the gangs landscape is evolving. Whereas 10 years ago a gang would be defined by its postcode with the emphasis on protecting territory, many gangs have progressed and are now focussed on the drug market, both locally and through the county lines ‘business model’.
For more information around Criminal Exploitation, county lines and other gang related issues, please see links below.
Energy prices rose sharply when lockdown was lifted, and the economy returned to normal, they also increased further because of the war in Ukraine which has reduced supplies of Russian gas globally. This has therefore significantly pushed up the price of gas across the continent, including in the UK.
If your gas or electricity supplier increases its prices, they should tell you in a reasonable amount of time before the change takes place, unless:
You are on a ‘staggered tariff’, where your contract contains set price increases on set dates (you won’t get a reminder) or if
You are on a ‘tracker’ tariff, where your prices will go up and down to follow something else, such as a stock market (you won’t get any notice)
Your supplier might have increased its prices because of changes to the ‘energy price cap’. This is the maximum they are allowed to charge if you are on a default tariff, or most other tariffs where the rate you pay changes.
You will not be affected by the cap if:
You are on a fixed tariff
You are on a standard variable green tariff that Ofgem has not included in the cap
Support and help
If you are struggling to pay your energy bills or top up your prepayment meter you might be able to get extra help.
Ways to help the impact of the increase, you can compare prices from different energy suppliers using a price authorised comparison website. Make sure you act quickly – you will need to ask to change tariffs ideally before the winter months if you can when more energy will be used.
Government grant support
Millions of households across Great Britain will receive non-repayable discounts on their energy bills this winter. There will be a £400 discount, administered by energy suppliers, which will be paid to consumers over 6 months with payments starting from October 2022, to ensure households receive financial support throughout the winter months.
If you feel your financial worries or problems, are starting to impact your mental health, and you are getting into out-of-control debt, there is also lots of support there to help you, thorough the mental health and money service UK.
For more information, advice or guidance please visit the websites listed below-
UK children ‘lack understanding and awareness of cyber bullying’
A study found children in the UK don’t fully understand what could constitute cyber bullying, while parents worry about it less than others globally.
Children and their parents in the UK have “important gaps in their knowledge” around cyber bullying, a new report on online safety says, warning that both are failing to properly identify it despite many young people being affected.
A study by cyber security firm McAfee found that more than half of children in the UK (56%) had suffered from name-calling – much higher than a global average of 40%.
And while 56% of UK parents worry that their child is being cyber bullied and 37% worried that their child could be a cyber bully themselves, both of these figures were well below the global averages of 74% and 58% respectively.
The McAfee said the results appeared to show a lack of understanding among UK children about what cyber bullying actually was despite the numbers who appeared to suffer from it, highlighting that while 93% of UK children said they would be the least likely to cyber bully someone, 15% admitted they had excluded someone from a group chat.
The act of cutting others out of group conversations was also higher in the UK than other European countries, suggesting the issue is more prevalent here with many children and parents unable to properly identify it.
The study involved surveying more than 11,600 parents and their children from 10 countries.
As part of Snap’s child safety efforts, Snapchat is launching a new supervision tool on Tuesday that the company says mimics how parents and teenagers interact in the real world.
Snapchat’s new “Family Centre” hub allows parents and guardians to keep tabs on who their teens message with on the app without disclosing what it is they’re saying to each other. Both the guardian and the child must accept the Family Centre invite before the oversight tools can take effect. Once the invites are accepted, a guardian can see the entirety of their child’s friends list and a list of accounts they’ve interacted with over the last seven days and report concerning accounts to Snap’s Trust and Safety Team.
Snapchat plans to roll out new Family Centre features over the next few weeks, including tools allowing parents to view the new friends their children have added along with additional content controls.
Research undertaken by the NSPCC has shown that adults don’t always recognise, understand or react appropriately when a child or young person starts to tell them about experiences of abuse and that this can mean that the child doesn’t get the support they need (Allnock and Miller, 20131). Adults aren’t always confident about knowing what to say and do if a child or young person starts to disclose.
This research identified that it’s helpful for children and young people in the moment of disclosure if adults use appropriate interpersonal skills to make it clear they are listening and taking them seriously.
Whilst the following advice is focussed around child disclosure, these steps can be applied to sensitive or emotive conversations with anyone of any age.
Show you care, help them open up
Give your full attention to the child or young person and keep your body language open and encouraging. Be compassionate, be understanding and reassure them their feelings are important. Phrases such as ‘you’ve shown such courage today’ help.
Take your time, slow down
Respect pauses and don’t interrupt the child – let them go at their own pace. Recognise and respond to their body language. And remember that it may take several conversations for them to share what’s happened to them.
Show you understand, reflect back
Make it clear you’re interested in what the child is telling you. Reflect back what they’ve said to check your understanding – and use their language to show it’s their experience.
The NSPCC have produced a short animation which demonstrates these steps in action
Organised by the international Association for Suicide Prevention and the World Health Organisation, the purpose of the day is to promote worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides. www.iasp.info
Holy Cross Day
Date: 14th September
Celebrated on September 14th, Holy Cross day is a day which honours and commemorates the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made on the cross for our salvation. This holiday is also known as “The Triumph of the Cross” in the Roman Catholic Church.
World Sepsis Day
Date: 13th September
What is sepsis? – Sepsis arises when the body’s response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs. It may lead to shock, multi-organ failure, and death – especially if not recognised early and treated promptly. Sepsis is the final common pathway to death from most infectious diseases worldwide, including viral infections such as SARS-Cov-2 / COVID-19. https://www.worldsepsisday.org/sepsis
Migraine Awareness Week
Date: 6th-12th September
Each September we use this week to raise general awareness of migraine as a serious public health issue and to reduce stigma. While there is an increasing awareness of migraine and understanding of what it is, not many would disagree that we are nowhere near the level of awareness and understanding that we need to reach. www.migrainetrust.org
The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning is Macmillan’s biggest fundraising event
Date: 24th September
People all over the UK host their own Coffee Mornings and donations on the day are made to McMillan.
How you can get involved
Sign up to host a Coffee Morning and you’ll get a free fundraising kit full of goodies. Bunting, cake decorations, stickers, a collection box and loads more to help you host a special Coffee Morning for Macmillan. www.macmillan.org.uk
National Inclusion Week
Date:26th September-2nd October
We are the UK’s first and leading membership organisation for employers looking to build inclusive workplaces. We offer consultancy, training and thought leadership, to help you make inclusion an everyday reality at your place of work. We work with a variety of organisations in the public, private and third sectors and provide bespoke initiatives to help build inclusive cultures.
Raises awareness of issues affecting young people around the world. www.un.org
Manchester Pride – The Big Weekend
Date: 27th-30th August
Manchester Pride is a registered charity that campaigns for equality and challenges discrimination; creates opportunity for engagement and participation and celebrates lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) life. The charity fundraises for LGBT and HIV projects in Greater Manchester by staging a number of events throughout the year, including the award wining Manchester Pride Festival. www.manchesterpride.com
“The worst from of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal”
World Breastfeeding Week
Transfiguration – (Christian)
Fast of Tisha B’Av (end of the three weeks of mourning) – (Jewish Observance)
Ashura* – (Islam)
Raksha Bandhan** – (Hindu holiday)
International Youth Day
Assumption of Mary – (Christian)
Krishna Janmashtami** (Birthday Lord Krishna) – (Hindu festival)
Sexting is when people share a sexual message and/or a naked or semi-naked image, video or text message with another person. It’s also known as nude image sharing.
Children, young people or adults may consent to sending a nude image of themselves. They can also be forced or coerced into sharing images by their peers or adults online.
Even if a child, young person or adult originally shares the image consensually, they have no control over how other people might use it.
If the image is shared around peer groups, it may lead to bullying and isolation. Perpetrators of abuse may circulate a nude image more widely and use this to blackmail them and/or groom them for further sexual abuse.
It’s a criminal offence to create or share explicit images of a child, even if the person doing it is a child. If sexting is reported to the police, they will make a record but may decide not to take any formal action against a young person
You should know what to do if you ever need to help a young person who has received or sent an explicit image, video or message; or had an image shared without their consent.
Children, young people, or adult who are involved in a sexting incident might have:
shared an image of themselves
received an image from someone else
shared an image of someone else more widely.
This may have happened with or without consent of all the people involved. And children may have been coerced or pressured into giving consent.
Sometimes a child/young person/adult might tell you directly that they have been involved in sexting. Or they might mention something which gives you cause for concern. Other times you might notice that a young person is behaving differently or being bullied, and the sexting might come to light when you try to find out what’s going on.
Sometimes you might overhear a conversation or see something that makes you worried.
Never wait for a child/young person to tell you directly that they have been involved in sexting. You should follow your organisation’s policy and procedures and make your nominated child protection lead aware of the situation as soon as possible.
Talking to a young person who has been involved in sexting.
If you’re talking to a young person who has been involved in sexting, it’s important to remain calm, reassuring and non-judgmental. Give them time to talk and check that you understand what they have said.
They should talk to the young people involved, to find out what’s happened, how they are feeling and what support they need.
Your nominated child protection lead should try to find out:
if it’s an image, video or message
who sent it
who is featured in it
if there were any adults involved
if it’s on an organisational or personal device.
Safeguarding and child protection should be the main concern of any investigation into a sexting incident, and you should avoid criminalising young people unnecessarily.
What to do with a sexting image
It’s best practice never to view any sexting images. If the image is on a device belonging to your organisation, you need to isolate it so that nobody else can see it. This may involve blocking the network to all users.
You should never copy, print or share sexual images of a child or young person (Childnet, 2016; UKCCIS, 2017a and 2017b).
Getting an explicit image removed from the internet
To get an explicit image removed from the internet you can:
report the image to the site or network hosting it
encourage the child or young person to get in touch with Childline
Help for children and you people call Childline on 0800 1111
How to respond if someone discloses, they are being harmed or abused.
The NSPCC have produced a short animated video to help in responding appropriately and sensitively to disclosures. Whilst it is aimed at child disclosures, the approach can be used in any challenging or emotive conversations.
ProtectUK, the government’s new central hub for counter terrorism and security advice, have published guidance for those looking to travel abroad during the summer holidays.
As travel restrictions across the globe continue to ease, and more travellers begin planning their international travel, we want to remind you of the importance of staying safe abroad.
For some, going abroad is one of the many moments in the year to wind down, enjoy new experiences, and create great memories.
Before going abroad, it is important to think about your security. You should be vigilant at all times when travelling, from preparation of baggage to exploring your new location. To help you stay safe, Protect UK recommend watching their Stay Safe Abroad video.
This video (link below) shows you how you can apply the RUN. HIDE. TELL. approach in the unlikely event of an incident.
Plans for new internet safety laws have been put on hold until a new prime minister is in place in the autumn.
The Online Safety Bill aims to lay down rules in law about how platforms should deal with harmful content. The bill is currently at report stage, which means MPs can discuss amendments. It was expected to clear the Commons later in July before proceeding to the House of Lords.
The bill’s aims are to:
prevent the spread of illegal content and activity such as images of child abuse, terrorist material and hate crimes, including racist abuse
protect children from harmful material
protect adults from legal – but harmful – content
The legislation largely puts the onus on the tech giants, like Meta – previously Facebook – and Google, to figure out how it would meet those aims. It also empowers Ofcom as a regulator to police whether they do a good enough job.
Firms that fail to comply with the new rules could face fines of up to £18m, or 10% of their annual global turnover, whichever is highest.
The bill also requires pornography websites to use age verification technology to stop children from accessing the material on their sites, and there will be a duty for the largest social media platforms and search engines to prevent fraudulent advertising.
The infographic attached to this month’s bulletin shows what to expect when the bill moves into law, and also what can be done now to ensure a safer online world for children and young people.
Samaritans Awareness month July 2022
Throughout July, the Samaritans are running an awareness-raising campaign ‘Talk to Us’, to remind people that they are there for anyone who needs someone to listen. The message is whoever you are, and whatever you are going though and struggling to cope, you can talk about it to them and get help.
They aim to share one simple message: ‘Talk to us, and we will listen 24/7’
How can the Samaritans help & what they do?
Every 10 seconds, Samaritans responds to a call for help. They are there, day or night, for anyone who needs someone to listen without judgement or pressure.
Samaritans is not only for the moment of crisis, but also about taking action to prevent the crisis. They give people ways to cope and the skills to be there for others, and they encourage, promote, and celebrate those moments of connection between people that can save lives.
In Prisons, Schools, Hospitals and on the rail network, Samaritans are working with people who are going through a difficult time and training others to do the same.
Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy, and Samaritans’ vision is that fewer people die by suicide. That is why they work tirelessly to reach more people and make suicide prevention a priority.
During 2021, around 22,000 people volunteered their time for Samaritans.
Almost 20,000 trained listening volunteers responded to calls for help.
Around 2,500 volunteers supported the running of more than 200 branches and locations across the UK and Ireland.
Over 1,300 people in prison volunteered as trained listeners.
Exploring feelings alleviates distress and helps people to reach a better understanding of their situation and the options open to them.
Confidentiality- if people feel safe, they are more likely to be open up and talk about their feelings.
Non-judgemental- Samaritans want people to be able to talk without fear of prejudice or rejection.
People making their own decisions- they believe that people have the right to find their own solution and that telling people what to do takes responsibility away from them.
Human contact- Giving people time, undivided attention and empathy meets a fundamental emotional need and reduces distress and despair.
Contact and support
Whatever you are going through, you can call the Samaritans any time, from any phone for FREE- on 116 123
There is also a Samaritans Self-Help on their website to provide a type of support that you can use without having to discuss your feelings with someone else. It will help you learn safe, memorable techniques for coping with things that are troubling you, through a range of interactive features. It can also help you plan to stay safe in a crisis and keep track of things you can do away from the app to help yourself feel better.
Samaritans Self-Help is a web application that you can use online in your browser or install on a computer or smartphone. It is not monitored by our volunteers, and we can’t see what you write in it. Any feedback you leave on it via the sidebar will also remain anonymous.
Writing a letter can be a personal and safe way for you to get your feelings across. It might be too upsetting to talk about certain things on the phone and writing everything down can help you work through it. This has proved to help people take the first steps to getting help…
If you do not have easy access to a computer or telephone, or just do not like email or talking on the phone, you can write free to:
As part of Disability Awareness Day which took place on the 17th of July, INEGE, an online safety hub, have been looking at how technology can make a positive difference for people living with disabilities.
This article focuses on five apps and websites that can be used to support individuals with autism
Which marks the celebration of and focus on LGBTQ+ communities. It is also an important time to shed light on the difficult everyday situations which many young people who are exploring their sexuality or who identify as LGBTQ+ find themselves in.
According to the NSPCC, children and young people in the LGBTQ+ Community may ‘experience homophobic, biphobic or transphobic bullying or hate crime’. In addition, children and young people who are discovering their sexual identity may be more at risk of grooming and being encouraged to take part in underage sexual exploration.
Education is key. Understanding the context of their lives and lived experiences empowers us all with a greater level of understanding on how we can protect and support them. We have gathered some key statistics from national reports to illustrate the lived experiences of children and young people who identify as LGBTQ+.
4 in 5 transgender young people (84%) have self-harmed
Young people who identify as transgender are subject to sustained bullying in schools, with 46% ‘frequently’ or ‘often’ hearing negative comments about trans people and their gender identity or experiencing physical violence. 45% of trans young people have attempted to take their own life. Recent findings suggest 68% of young people who identify as LGBTQ+ have also experienced suicidal feelings, compared to 29% of non–LGBTQ+ peers.
At least 2 in 5 young people who identify as LGBTQ+ have experienced a hate incident
These include verbal harassment, intimidation, and physical or sexual violence. More than nine in ten of the most serious incidents are unreported, often because “it happens all the time.”
45% of LGBTQ pupils in the UK are bullied at school
Less than a third of bullied LGBTQ+ pupils say teachers intervened during bullying. Seven in 10 LGBTQ+ pupils (68%) report that teachers or staff only ‘sometimes’ or ‘never’ challenge homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) language when they hear it. Those entrusted with safeguarding children and young people should take the lead in tackling HBT. This would promote inclusivity and acceptance within schools and helps young people who are exploring their sexuality and / or those who identify as LGBTQ+ feel protected by those in positions of power.
Whilst children and young people of the LGBTQ+ Community may face different adversities, it is possible to help mitigate these by providing support and understanding. Research has shown that acceptance and support from peers and family help provide protective factors against depression, drug misuse and self-harm amongst the LGBTQ+ youth. Support, such as family affirmation, can have incredibly positive effects on self-esteem, general wellness, and acts as a ‘buffer’ against poor mental health.
The importance of representation cannot be understated. 52% of LGBTQ+ pupils reported that seeing other members of the LGBTQ+ community makes the most positive difference in their daily lives.
How can you support a child or young person in the LGBTQ+ community?
Create a safe environment in which children and young people feel they can talk about their gender or sexual identity. Never force the conversation!
Affirm the conversation: Always thank your young person for talking with you, opening up and being honest. This may also be a good opportunity to remind how much you love them.
Active listening: Take the time to stop, listen and acknowledge what they are trying to tell you.
Acknowledge you won’t always get it right. We all make mistakes, when we do it’s important to own it and apologise; It’s okay – we all make them! For example, if you accidently use the wrong word or phrase, don’t panic. Correct yourself and apologise. This can help your young person understand that you are listening and trying to support them.
Find age-appropriate resources. The danger of leaving young people to find their own resources is that they may encounter harmful or age-inappropriate content online, sometimes of a sexual nature.
Trusted Adults – Talk to your young person about who their team of trusted adults are and who they can talk to, if they don’t feel comfortable taking to you.
Don’t make assumptions. Young people may not disclose mental health issues, bullying or abuse in fear that their sexual or gender identity will be blamed.
Seek out support for yourself! It’s okay if you need extra support as a parent or carer. There are multiple online and in person resources, including organisation specifically for parents and carers of LGBTQ+ people. We have outlined some of these in our Signposting and Further Resources section below.
Who doesn’t love the feel of those first rays of sunshine on your skin, but sometimes this doesn’t go as smoothly as planned? When summer sets in, so too does the heat, with high UV rays, that can be very damaging to your skin if you do not take the right precautions.
Whatever your summer plans and with the expected hot weather over the coming months, do not forget how important sun protection is for you and your skin!
As well as more serious health risks, too much sun can damage your skin’s moisture barrier, leading to lost elasticity, dryness, prickly skin irritation and even premature ageing. It doesn’t have to feel hot for your skin to feel the sun’s damaging effects: rays can reach through glass, so do not forget the suitable SPF for when you are exposed to the sun. After sun’ lotion can help sunburnt skin feel better, but it can’t repair any DNA damage!
Too much ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or sunbeds can damage DNA in your skin cells and cause skin cancer. The best way to enjoy the sun safely and protect your skin, is to plan time out in the shade, use protective clothing and sunscreen. The sun is strongest in the UK between 11am and 3pm from March to October.
When buying sunscreen, the label should have:
a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 to protect against UVB
at least 4-star UVA protection
take extra care with children (SPF) 50
In the UK almost 9 in 10 cases of melanoma skin cancer could be prevented by staying safe in the sun and avoiding sunbeds.
Getting sunburnt just once every two years can triple your risk of melanoma skin cancer, compared to never being burnt.
Melanoma skin cancercan grow down through the layers of the skin and spread to other parts of the body.
Remember, when skin cancer is found at an early stage, treatment is more likely to be successful. If you have noticed any unusual changes to your skin, including a mark or mole that’s new, has changed or been there for a while, speak to your doctor.
Sun and Vitamin D
On a positive Vitamin production from the sun is one of the most well-known health benefits activated by sunlight exposure. Such as for our skeletal, cardiovascular, neurological, and immune systems. Vitamin D also fights to protect against disease, improves physical performance and also improves our well-being & mental health.
-The amount of time you need in the sun to make enough vitamin D in the UK depends on your skin type and the time of day or year.
-Many people don’t realise they don’t need to sunbathe for long, to get enough vitamin D the body needs. Most people in the UK can make enough by spending short spaced-out periods of time in the sun for example 10-20 minutes.
It is also very important to remember that skin damage does not only happen on holiday or in hot, sunny places. The sun is often strong enough to cause damage in the UK, even when it’s cloudy. To help us make vitamin D for healthy bones, it’s more about minutes rather than hours.
Whilst we all need some sun, and the benefits it brings we must keep in mind the dangers it brings too…
The Teenage Cancer Trust found that nearly two-thirds (61%) of young people aged 13-24 have avoided using sunscreen in order to get a better tan. As the weather gets hotter in the UK, we need to be more knowledgeable about keeping safe in the sun than ever before.
The damage done to young skin can lead to skin cancer developing in later life, so it’s vital to help young people protect themselves in the sun.
Now in its fourth year, World Wellbeing Week returns in June 2022 to provide the opportunity for participants worldwide to celebrate the many aspects of wellbeing, from meaningful, purposeful work to financial security, physical, mental and emotional health, social resilience and empathic corporate and civic leadership, community relations and care for the environment. Wellbeing has never been so important to our lives and livelihoods.
The pandemic has revealed a capacity for change, never before thought possible, with people adapting mentally and physically all over the world. It has brought with it different ways of thinking and a new-found resilience. The word on everyone’s lips has been: ‘wellbeing’.
World Wellbeing Week 2022 will celebrate these universal achievements when the world came together as one.
How to take care of your wellbeing:
We have included a link to a poster from Mind Charity below, which outlines methods you can take care of your wellbeing, from keeping yourself physically active, getting enough sleep, talking about the way you feel, setting yourself a challenge, and many more.
The UK’s Counter Terrorism Policing HQ has launched its Summer Vigilance campaign. The campaign aims to encourage the public to report anything that ‘doesn’t feel right’ and to ‘trust their instincts’.
A range of promotional material has been produced to reach people celebrating some of this summer’s big events including the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Women’s Euros, Commonwealth Games and other sporting, stadium and large events. This campaign complements the recently unveiled #BeSafeBeSound campaign which offers the same key messages for festivals and music events.
The purpose of this campaign is to:
Make the public aware of how we can all play our part in defeating terrorism
Increase confidence in reporting something which doesn’t feel right and how to report.
Encourage event organisers, staff and security to take action themselves to support the CT effort, and prepare should they need to respond to a terrorist attack.
New Instagram and Meta Quest VR parental controls.
This month, Instagram will be making new parental supervision tools available for users in the UK. These are becoming available for the Instagram platform as well as the Meta Quest VR headsets. These features will allow parents to have more supervision over their child’s online activity, as well as provide options to set screen time limits and have more awareness when something is reported online by their teen.
Instagram Supervision Tools
Announced several months ago, the new parental tools for Instagram are looking to include the supervision option, which needs to be approved, by both the parent and the teen before features are made available. This option can also be switched off at any time. Once activated, parents will have the ability to:
See how much time their teen spends on Instagram
Be aware of who their teen follows and who follows them in return
Receive notifications about when their teen reports someone on Instagram, information about the person who was reported and the type of report that was made.
Set specific times when parents would like to limit their child’s screen time.
As part of the new features, teens will soon receive a notification (or nudge) that will encourage them to switch to a different topic if they are looking at something on Instagram consistently. This is not reserved for particular topics, but is there to allow teens to discover new things on the platform.
Meta VR Supervision Tools
Parental supervision tools are also being made available on the Quest VR headsets. For these new supervision features to be made available, teens will need to initiate the process with acceptance from both parent and teen to link accounts. Once approved, parents will be able to:
Block and approve purchases on apps that are not age appropriate
Block specific apps that may be inappropriate and have awareness on all apps that are owned
Receive notifications when a purchase is made in VR
Celebrating South Asian Heritage Month. A month of activity to explore the shared cultures and histories of the UK and South Asia. South Asian Heritage Month (SAHM) exists in order to commemorate, mark and celebrate South Asian history and culture, as well as to better understand the diverse heritage that continues to link the UK and South Asia.
The Big Listen – Samaritans Awareness Day
Date: 24th July
Samaritans are challenging the UK to become better listeners by sharing expert tips on how to be a better listener. Throughout July, Samaritans branches are also holding events throughout the UK and Ireland to raise awareness of the services they offer in their local communities. Visit your local branch website to see what they’re doing during Talk To Us. www.samaritans.org/media-centre/big-listen
World Hepatitis Day
Date: 28th July
Observed on July 28th every year, aims to raise global awareness of hepatitis – a group of infectious diseases known as Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E – and encourage prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Hepatitis affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide, causing acute and chronic disease and killing close to 1.34 million people every year. www.worldhepatitisalliance.org/
Date: 8th-19th July
The National Transgender charity organises the Sparkle weekend in July each year. They also hold several events throughout the year to actively promote fundraising and Trans awareness. Sparkle also supports Trans Rights and the positive representation of Trans people in the UK and worldwide. www.sparkle.org.uk
“Be with those who help your being”
Feast of Saint Benedict – (Christian)
Eid ul Adha* – (Islamic holiday)
9 Days – (Jewish Observance)
Asalha Puja (Dharma Day) – (Buddhist)
World day for international Justice
International Disability Awareness Day
17th July – 7th August
Fast of the 17th of Tammuz (beginning the three weeks of mourning) – (Jewish Observance)
Date: 20th 26th June Discovery and celebration of the contribution of Refugees in the UK www.refugeeweek.org
Date: 21st June The summer solstice is the longest day of the year. It’s the moment in time when the Earth’s tilt towards the Sun is at its maximum and the Sun reaches its highest position in the sky. Traditionally to mark the arrival of summer in the United Kingdom people gather at Stonehenge, in Wilshire to see the sun rise. The Heel Stone and Slaughter Stone, set outside the main circle, align with the rising sun.
Date: 22nd June Windrush Day marks the anniversary of the arrival of MV Empire Windrush at the port of Tilbury, near London, on 22nd June 1984. Those who arrived on the Empire Windrush, their descendants and those who followed them, have made and continue to make an enormous contribution to Britain. www.windrushday.org.uk
Date: 8th-13th June Awareness campaign which aims to improve the lives of carers and the people they care for.
Men’s Health Week
Date: 10th-17th June Heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and to encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. Click here for more information
“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength”
In 2019, SafeLives gathered the voices and perspectives of men and boys aged 11 and over, asking them about abuse, masculinity and what a ‘healthy’ relationship looks like. Almost a third of respondents said they had demonstrated behaviour within a relationship that they regretted.
Professionals working with young people are in the unique position to support them to have healthy relationships during this critical window – before they harm or are harmed.
To do this, professionals need to feel confident starting conversations about relationships. Building on the research, SafeLives have developed a resource pack that practitioners could use to start conversations with young people about relationships and explore what healthy looks like.
The Department for Education (DfE) has published an updated version of its statutory KCSIE in England, which will come into force on 01 September 2022. Annex F of the of the new guidance sets out the changes made, including: a new paragraph on domestic abuse added to the list of safeguarding issues all staff should be aware of, new information on the importance of talking to parents about children’s access to online sites when away from school, and a new paragraph highlighting the importance of ensuring that children understand the law on child-on-child abuse is there to protect them rather than criminalise them.
Ofcom has released the second episode of their new podcast series Life online which explores themes around online safety. This episode centres on cyberbullying and includes three teenagers sharing their own experiences of online bullying.
Mental Health Awareness Week ‘tackling loneliness’ 9th-15th May
One in four adults feel lonely some or all of the time, and there is no single cause and often there is no one solution. After all, we are all different, but the longer we feel lonely, the more we are at risk of mental health problems. Some people are also at higher risk of feeling lonely than others.
‘Mental Health Awareness Week’ this year, is trying to raise awareness of the impact of loneliness on our mental health and the practical steps we can take to address it.
Talking therapies can help
Talking through your feelings with a counsellor or therapist can help you cope with your feelings of loneliness. Talking therapy can be hard to get – but if you can find a professional, it can really be of benefit. It will provide you with a safe space to work through your feelings and thoughts without judgement. Check out your local resources by visiting the NHS website.
Try to use social media in a positive way
Social media can help your mental health, but it can also affect it negatively. The key is to use it in a positive way. Finding digital communities, you share interests and passions with can help. Most importantly be aware of how you feel when you use social media and focus on topics and activities that work best for you.
Try and do things that stimulate your mind
Activities that occupy your mind can help with loneliness. This can include the benefits of taking courses or listening to podcasts on topics from comedy to fitness. This can be stimulating and something as simple as listening to the familiar voice of someone you like can help you feel less lonely.
Think about doing a physical activity
Physical exercise can help with loneliness. It can be as simple as having a walk in the park when you are feeling a bit overwhelmed. Alternatively, you could listen to music and do a bit of dancing around your living room.
Try to engage with the people you meet in your daily life.
It can be hard to talk to others when you are feeling lonely. However, trying to connect with the people you meet as you go about your day can be helpful. Even catching someone’s eye and saying “hi” as you walk along can make you feel better. Or it could be about saying hello to the postwomen or postman or going to the shops and talking to the person at the checkout. By sharing a polite greeting – you might find you give someone else a positive lift too.
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
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. Common mental health disorders include- depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder to more extreme conditions such as schizophrenia.
Tips on how you can help mental health
Buy yourself something nice….
Cook a meal that nourishes your mind. …
Ring a friend 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
If you feel you need some advice, support, or help with your mental health you can access Mind website –https://www.mind.org.uk
Self-harm involves emotionally or physically hurting yourself on purpose. You may also hear it being called:
People self-harm for many different reasons, and in many different ways. The reason or way they self-harm may be different each time too. And sometimes they may self-harm but not realise until afterwards.
Self-harm is often misunderstood. Let’s break down some myths and stereotypes you may have heard:
Self-harm is only when you cut yourself – false!
Self-harm can take many forms, including:
hurting or injuring yourself, like headbutting a wall
doing something that will put you in danger, like getting into fights or binge-drinking
not looking after yourself, like not eating meals or washing
sending hateful or abusive messages to yourself, or about yourself, online.
Any way that someone hurts or injures themselves on purpose can be seen as self-harm.
If you don’t realise what you’re doing is self-harm, it can be harder to recognise that you need help and support. So it’s important to try to understand the reasons behind the behaviour.
‘Only girls self-harm’ – false!
Anyone can self-harm, no matter what their gender is.
More girls are seen by doctors or local services for self-harm, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only ones who hurt themselves on purpose. Boys and men are affected too. And it might be myths like this that make it harder for them to seek help. If boys self-harm, they may feel judged or misunderstood. Or if their self-harm is hidden by angry behaviour, it may take longer to be recognised and for them to receive help.
‘Self-harm is contagious’ – false!
Self-harm is not contagious. It can’t be caught like a disease and being near someone who’s self-harmed doesn’t mean you will self-harm. Nor will being told about someone’s self-harm.
But there is a greater chance of self-harm if someone close to you has self-harmed. They could be physically close, like in the same class, or emotionally close, like a friend or family member.
Here’s some reasons why:
it can be seen as a ‘normal’ response within a group to deal with difficult feelings or experiences
someone may learn how to harm themselves from someone else it can be a result of peer pressure, like copying others to fit in. This is why we should be careful about how we talk about self-harm to others, and what we see or read online.
‘Self-harm is a coping strategy’ – true!
Some people use self-harm as a way to cope with a negative experience, thought or feeling. They may feel it’s the only way for them to cope with the situation, or their feelings, at that time.
However, self-harm is a negative coping strategy. It may get rid of some of the stress or emotion at first, but it doesn’t help deal with the reason you’re feeling distressed. If you start to rely on self-harm as a coping strategy, over time it stops providing a sense of comfort or release, and it helps less and less.
‘You can stop self-harming’ – true!
With the right help and support, you can reduce your self-harm and then stop self-harming. The longer you have self-harmed, the longer it may take to break down your reliance on it and replace it with something safer.
Recovery from self-harm is a process, not an end goal. Recovery may be about managing the urge to self-harm, rather than stopping completely. Sometimes there may be setbacks, and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you don’t want to get better, and it’s part of learning what does and doesn’t help you.
Wanting to change how you cope is a great first step to stopping self-harming.
Why do people self-harm?
People self-harm for different reasons. They might self-harm as a way of dealing with something difficult that is happening or has happened to them in the past. Or they might not know why they’re hurting themselves. Even if you don’t understand why you’re self-harming, you’re not alone and you can still get help.
Some reasons young people self-harm include:
living with health problems – like a physical health problem or an illness
living with a mental health problem – or experiences linked with poor mental health, like anger or hearing voices
living with conditions like ADHD or autism
stressful or upsetting experiences – like relationship problems, losing a loved one, bullying, abuse or money worries
intrusive thoughts – thoughts that you don’t want but keep coming to you
problems with how you feel about yourself – like experiencing racism or homophobia, questioning your sexuality or identity, having low self-esteem or body image worries
self-harm feeling ‘normal’ among your peers
seeing images of self-harm online
drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
Young people also told ‘Mind’ they self-harm because they want to:
show how they feel without speaking
be distracted from how they’re feeling
cope with, or escape from, painful feelings, thoughts or memories
punish themselves for something
stop feeling disconnected from themselves or the world
create a reason to look after themselves, like caring for wounds
manage thoughts of suicide.
How do I tell someone I’m self-harming?
Try to tell someone you trust as soon as you feel ready to reach out. Some people may not understand straight away. This could be because they don’t understand self-harm, or they’re upset and in shock.
Remember: this is not your fault, and there is always someone there to support you. This could be a parent or carer, a friend, a partner or a professional like a teacher, doctor or counsellor. JTM’s Safeguarding Team, including pastoral support is available to help and support you. You can contact the Safeguarding Team directly or contact your JTM Assessor.
Member of staff
Designated Safeguarding Lead and member of JTM’s Safeguarding Team
Before you talk to someone, you might want to think about:
Writing down how you feel – you could do this when you’re feeling calm, or just before or after you’ve self-harmed.
Practising what you want to say or speaking confidentially to Childline or The Mix first.
Who you want to talk to – you could think about who will be kind and supportive?
How you’d feel most comfortable telling them – this could be sitting down face-to-face, doing something together, talking over the phone or giving them a letter.
If you have low self-esteem – this can sometimes make you feel like you’re a ‘burden’ to others. This isn’t true but can make it feel harder to reach out. If you feel like this, you could try having a chat with a counsellor from Childline or The Mix. They could give you some encouragement or positive things to remember.
Looking at our information on opening up for more suggestions.
Once you feel ready to talk, you could:
Think about how to start the conversation – there’s no right or wrong way to do this, but if you need some ideas, you could try:
‘This is difficult for me to talk about, but I need to tell you something.’
‘I need your support with something, can we talk?’
‘I’ve been hurting myself because I feel…
Ask someone you trust to help you explain – or to tell someone for you, if they feel able to.
Try not to tell them too many details about how you self-harm. It may be upsetting for them to hear or a lot for them to take in at first.
Explain what you’d like from them – are you looking for someone to listen or to help you find support?
Ask them to let you know if they need to tell someone else – so you know what to expect.
Plan to do something kind for yourself afterwards – telling someone may not be easy, but it’s something you should feel proud of.
Visit the Mind website to understand more about self-harm and information relating to:
Free training on self-harm and understanding young minds:
Virtual College has a free ‘Understanding Young Minds’ online training course that handles the subject of teenage self-harm and parental ways to support children, in a sensitive and informational way.
Virtual College have worked in partnership with SelfharmUK to create a free online course designed to help parents talk about the issue of self-harm with their children.
Thousands of children and young people in the UK are thought to be impacted by self-harm each year. Spotting the signs can be difficult, and approaching the subject with children can be an uncomfortable experience.
This online course, ‘Talking to your children about emotional resilience and self-harm’, has been designed to provide a basic awareness of the subject to help approach children with confidence about the issue.
Drink and needle spiking’s are serious crimes, and can seriously affect the health of the person who’s been spiked.
Make sure you know how to stay safe from spiking and what to do if you think you or someone you know has been spiked.
What is spiking?
Spiking is when someone gives another person a substance without that person’s knowledge or consent.
Substances used in spiking can include:
‘Date rape’ drugs
These substances can be added to a person’s drink, or injected into a person using a syringe. Shots of alcohol can be added to drinks to make them stronger, causing someone to get drunk much quicker than expected, or sometimes a drink can be spiked with drugs that are specifically designed to incapacitate someone.
Symptoms of spiking
The effects of spiking vary depending on what you’ve been spiked with. Symptoms could include:
Loss of balance
The symptoms will depend on lots of factors such as the substance or mix of substances used (including the dose), your size and weight, and how much alcohol you have already consumed.
If you or a friend start to feel strange or more drunk than you should be, then get help straight away.
How to help a friend who has been spiked
If you think a friend has had their drink spiked, and they are showing any of the symptoms described above there are a few things you can do to help:
Tell a bar manager, bouncer or member of staff
Stay with them and keep talking to them
Call an ambulance if their condition deteriorates
Don’t let them go home on their own
Don’t let them leave with someone you don’t know or trust
Don’t let them drink more alcohol – this could lead to more serious problems
How to avoid drink spiking
Ensuring all venues are safe from assault and harassment such as drink spiking is a collective responsibility. All venues that are licensed to sell alcohol have a legal duty for public safety and the prevention of crime and disorder on their premises, and this is monitored by their local authority. These licenses to sell alcohol usually include conditions to ensure venues have appropriate security and staff training in place.
Some venues give out drink stoppers for the top of your bottle to prevent someone dropping something in your drink.
There are also testing kits that can be used to detect certain drugs. But these don’t test for all types of drugs, so don’t always work, and they can’t detect extra alcohol in your drink.
Reporting suspected drink spiking to a venue and the police is one way to ensure enough steps are being taken to keep people safe.
As individuals, there are also things we can do to help avoid being a victim of drink spiking.
Drink spiking can happen in any situation, at home or on a night out. However, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself:
Never leave your drink unattended, whether it’s alcoholic or not
Don’t accept a drink from someone you don’t know
Avoid drinking too much by sticking to the UK low risk drinking guidelines
Stick together with friends, and look out for each other
If you think you’ve been assaulted
One of the effects of date rape drugs can be amnesia, or loss of memory. That means it’s possible that you won’t be sure if you’ve been assaulted. But if you suspect you’ve been physically or sexually assaulted it’s important to tell someone. Try to confide in someone you trust like a friend or family member or JTM’s Safeguarding Team listed above.
You can go to the police or hospital accident and emergency department. If you don’t feel able to do that right away, there are Rape Crisis charity helplines you can call for support and advice:
Expected to release at the ‘end of the year’ as a new tab/section in the app, the Communities feature aims to bring together separate WhatsApp groups into one super group or ‘Community’. It will allow real-life communities to “communicate and coordinate” with each other (e.g., a neighbourhood, restaurant staff, or school parents’ groups) by allowing administrators to organise all relevant group chats into one page. Users will receive notifications and updates that are sent to an entire Community by admins, as well as individual messages for smaller groups within that Community. The goal is to allow up to “thousands” of users to connect with one another more easily.
Admins will be given new tools that will help them to manage the conversations happening across their Community on the platform. Users will have the ability to leave a group or Community silently if they so choose (unlike presently, where entire groups are notified if someone leaves) and will have more accessible blocking and reporting features.
What are the potential safeguarding risks?
While this change will be beneficial to groups and eliminate the number of notifications or messages a user receives, it also will make it easier for groups with harmful intentions to organise and share information and material on an encrypted platform.
The names of communities are not encrypted. This could mean harmful groups might go by false names, which makes it more difficult for investigators to access potential evidence if there is an incident. It could also mean someone might be invited into a Community without knowing what it is actually dedicated to.
Administrators will have more power for moderation than before, including multi-group broadcasting and linking groups in. This could result in instances of cyberbullying or online harassment that may go unchecked or un-investigated by WhatsApp moderators.
WhatsApp have said they will take action against any Communities who engage in abusive behaviour “such as distributing child sexual abuse material or coordinating violence or human trafficking.” However, they intend to do this through available unencrypted information (e.g., Community name or description) and will rely heavily on user reports to ensure groups are banned or disbanded.