Topics for this month:
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.
Telephone: 0808 16 89 111
Live chat: victimsupport.org.uk/live-chat
My Support Space: mysupportspace.org.uk/MoJ
More information can be found at www.victimsupport.org.uk
Support after Murder and Manslaughter
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.
Phone: 0121 472 2912
Support for victim or witnesses of other criminal offences such as domestic abuse, sexual violence or abuse can be found here Victim and witness services – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
National Bereavement Partnership.
Helpline. The helpline is open 7am – 10pm, seven days a week, to listen to those in need, support them in dealing with their bereavement
What is a gang?
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 price increases help and support
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)
You should complain to your supplier if you think they have not given you reasonable 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.
The Citizens Advice Bureau can offer free confidential advice and help , and you will be able to check with them, if you can get grants and benefits to help pay your energy bills.
How to help you with the energy price increase
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 are struggling with living costs
If you are struggling with money and living costs, there are things you can do to save on your regular living costs. Please look at on the Citizens Advice website- ‘check what to do if you need help with living costs’
If you are finding it hard to pay your bills, you can also get help again on the website for – ‘Find out more about getting help with your bills’
If you and your family due to the energy increase are struggling to pay for food, please also ‘find out how to get help from a food bank’.
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.
For more information on this, please visit: https://www.mcafee.com/en-us/consumer-corporate/newsroom/press-releases/press-release.html?news_id=d1da63d3-47bd-48c1-9463-35a4d97799ba
Snapchat introduces new parental controls
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.
For more information on this, please visit: https://www.theverge.com/2022/8/9/23296987/snapchat-family-center-snap-child-safety-online-privacy-tool
Helping adults respond to disclosures of abuse
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