Topics for this month:
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
- contact the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF)
- 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.
Increase your summer travel safety.
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.
RUN – to a safe place. This is better than trying to surrender or negotiate.
HIDE – it is better to hide than confront. Barricade yourself in, turn your phone to silent and use only when it is safe to do so.
TELL – Make sure you know the local emergency numbers in the country you are travelling to. For all EU countries call 112.
They also recommend reading the latest travel advice on the country you are visiting before travelling via the Gov.uk website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
For more information, please visit: https://www.protectuk.police.uk/
Online Safety Bill put on hold
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.
For more information on this, please visit: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-62158287
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:
Freepost SAMARITANS LETTERS
For more information or advice please visit
Disability Awareness Day
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