Topics for this month:
Liverpool Women’s Hospital – Terrorist incident, 14th November 2021
Following the two confirmed terrorist incidents over the past month, (Friday 15th October which led to the death of MP Sir David Amess, and the Liverpool Women’s on 14th November) the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) have increased the national threat level from ‘Substantial’ to ‘Severe’. There is only one further threat level – critical – which means ‘an attack is highly likely in the near future’.
It can be a worrying time for everyone, but I would like to reiterate the support from the safeguarding team that is in place for those who need it whether it be yourselves as staff, or learners and employers.
Counter Terrorism Policing have launched a new national ‘Act Early’ safeguarding website on 18th November 2021.
Please visit the link and share it with learners, employers, family and friends to reinforce the message that Prevent is all about safeguarding. You may also find some of the advice, material and resources useful to incorporate into your internal Prevent training products or training sessions with learners and employers.
Extremists using online gaming and Covid-19 conspiracies to recruit youngsters
Right-wing extremists are using Covid-19 controversies and online gaming as a way of recruiting young people, as new Home Office data shows half of the most serious cases of suspected radicalisation reported by schools and colleges now involve far-right activity.
Figures published by the Home Office show twice as many young people in education in England and Wales last year were thought to be at risk of radicalisation by the extreme right-wing, compared with those at risk from Islamic extremists.
The new figures from the government’s Prevent anti-extremism programme, covering 2020-21, show that 310 people were referred to Prevent by schools, colleges and universities because of far-right links. Just 157 were referred because of vulnerability to Islamic extremism.
While far-right extremism has been on the rise for several years, online apps and platforms were increasingly cropping up in Prevent referrals, including gaming platforms and chat apps such as Discord, as right-wing groups sought to reach young people.
Some groups during the pandemic conducted leafleting campaigns, where they would promote the narrative that Covid-19 is a hoax, that hospital wards are empty, and that you shouldn’t get the vaccine. The leaflets themselves are loaded with pseudo-scientific evidence, but at the same time contain information purporting that white people are going to be a minority in Britain, which plays into people’s fears.
Teachers have also reported that they’ve seen a rise in pupils, returning after home-schooling, expressing extremist views and conspiracy theories; of those teachers surveyed, 95% had heard racist views from pupils, 90% had encountered homophobia or conspiracy theories and nearly three-quarters had encountered extremist views on women or Islamophobic views.
Key results from the Home Office data
In the year ending 31 March 2021, there were 4,915 referrals to Prevent. This is a decrease of 22% compared to the previous year (6,287) and the lowest number of referrals received since comparable data are available (year ending March 2016). This decrease is likely to have been driven by the effects of public health restrictions that were in place throughout the year to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The Police made the highest number of referrals (1,770; 36%), followed by the Education sector (1,221; 25%). The year ending 31 March 2021 saw the lowest proportion of referrals received from the Education sector since comparable data are available, likely due to the closure of schools and universities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- As in previous years, where gender was specified (4,913), most referrals were of males (4,316; 88%).
- Of the referrals where age of the individual was known (4,883), those aged 15 to 20 accounted for the largest proportion (1,398; 29%).
- The number of referrals discussed at a Channel panel (1,333) and adopted as a Channel case (688) saw smaller reductions compared with the previous year, decreasing by 7% and 0.6% respectively.
- Of the 688 Channel cases, the most common were cases referred due to concerns regarding Extreme Right-Wing radicalisation (317; 46%), followed by those with a mixed, unstable or unclear ideology (205; 30%) and concerns regarding Islamist radicalisation (154; 22%).
You can read the Home Office report in full here: https://tinyurl.com/3asez24a
- Prevent Training Home Office:
Provides an important foundation on which to develop further knowledge around the risks of radicalisation and the role that you can play in supporting those at risk: https://www.elearning.prevent.homeoffice.gov.uk/edu/screen1.html
- Side by Side Training – A Prevent resource with modules on
- Radicalisation and Extremism
- Staying Safe Online
- What Can You Trust?
- British Values
- ACT Training – Action Counters Terrorism training covers:
- Introduction to Terrorism
- Identifying Security Vulnerabilities
- How to Identify and Respond to Suspicious Behaviour
- How to Identify and Deal with a Suspicious Item
- What to do in the Event of a Bomb Threat
- How to Respond to a Firearms or Weapons attack
- Summary and Supporting Materials
Google image removal for young people
Google is rolling out the ability for children, young people and their parents to request to have pictures deleted from the company’s image search results.
The new privacy option was one of many changes the company announced in August in an effort to pre-emptively build in additional protections for users under the age of 18. Google’s other planned safeguards include making video uploads private by default and disabling and weeding out some ‘overly commercial’ YouTube children’s content, including unboxing videos.
Anyone under the age of 18 or their parent or guardian can ask Google to remove an image from appearing in search results by filling out a request form. You’ll need to specify that you’d like Google to remove ‘Imagery of an individual currently under the age of 18’ and provide some personal information, the image URLs and search queries that would surface the results.
There will be many reasons why a young person might want an image to be removed from Google search results, e.g., embarrassing photos from when they were younger, perhaps uploaded by a parent. However, there are limitations to the service; currently, the removal is made from search results within the UK, not the rest of the world. For example, if someone has their image removed and someone tries to search on Google.co.uk, they won’t be able to find it. But if someone repeated the search on Google.com, the image will still be there. It isn’t a solution, but it can make the image harder to find.
The online image removal request form can be found here: https://support.google.com/websearch/troubleshooter/9685456#ts=2889054%2C2889099
Staying safe online – Top tips!
We have attached an infographic from the National Cyber Security Centre covering the following information on passwords:
- How can your passwords be stolen?
- Create strong passwords
- Look after your passwords
- Use 2FA to protect your account
- What to do if your password is stolen
Click here for the using passwords document
Alcohol Awareness Month – November
With many of us drinking more during the pandemic, for many different reasons, our way of living and relationships at home, with friends and at work can become even tougher. By taking control of our drinking, we can create happier relationships, as well as an improved health and wellbeing.
The UK’s Chief Medical Officer recommends not drinking more than 14 units a week; that means about six pints of lager or a bottle and a half of wine.
If you have a drink, enjoy each drink slowly and remember to pace yourself and keep in mind that you do not have to join in every time someone else decides to drink. It can help to only drink the drinks you really enjoy and skip the ones you are drinking for the sake of it. And it is worth bearing in mind that the drinks you pour at home are often larger than those served in pubs.
Keeping a drinking diary each week will help you understand your drinking pattern, so you can work out what your happy with and what you are not. Download the free ‘Try Dry’ app to help you keep track.
Not everyone drinks alcohol, and it is fine to say no. It is surprising how many people think it is ‘OK’ to pressure other people to drink – it is not!
Having a few alcohol-free days each week is a good way to cut down and give your body a rest, boost your immune system and improve your mental health and wellbeing. Consider taking an extended break like having a Dry January or another dry month.
Also, there are alcohol-free beers, ciders, wines which have improved so much in recent years that they are winning awards in place of their full-strength competitors. Lots of supermarkets now have alcohol-free sections and alternatives.
Alcohol links to domestic violence
Alcohol alone is not a cause of domestic abuse and is never an excuse. There are, however, many ways in which alcohol and domestic abuse are related. Domestic abuse affects millions of people in the UK. It affects not just the main target of the abuse but also other family members.
The COVID-19 pandemic seen a rise in domestic abuse taking place, resulting in some drinking more heavily, which could have made the problem worse.
Drinking and domestic abuse often occur at the same time
Many abuse incidents occur when one or both people involved has been drinking, and alcohol is more commonly involved in more aggressive incidents. It is not just being intoxicated that can increase risk; lack of access to alcohol can make someone irritable or angry which can, in turn, create a trigger point.
When alcohol is involved, abuse can become more severe
Alcohol can affect our self-control and decision-making and can reduce our ability to resolve conflict. Global evidence shows that alcohol when over consumed can increase the severity of a violent incident.
Home Office analysis of 33 partner domestic cases in 2019-2020 found that 20 of these involved alcohol substance use.
Controlling access to alcohol can become part of the abuse
A perpetrator may exert control over another person by withholding alcohol from them or preventing them from buying it. For someone who is dependent on alcohol, this could be extremely distressing and even dangerous, if they experience withdrawal symptoms.
People who experience domestic abuse may drink to try to cope
Living with domestic abuse can be extremely frightening, distressing, or exhausting. This can cause some people to drink alcohol to try to cope with the physical and mental health impacts of domestic abuse. Research shows that women who experience extensive physical and sexual violence are more than twice as likely to have a problem with alcohol than those with little or no experience of violence and abuse.
UK Figures state –
22% of drinkers have drunk to try to cope with relationship problems in the past six months.
20% of drinkers have drunk because of an argument with a family member or partner
19% have struggled to socialise without alcohol
For more information or advice please visit the website below
Refuge Charity – Domestic Violence Help
Refuge supports women and children who experience all forms of violence and abuse, including domestic violence, sexual violence, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, so-called ‘honour’-based violence, and human trafficking and modern slavery.
Refuge tailor their support to suit individual needs and they run a range of services you can access, including refuges, community-based projects, culturally specific services, services for children and support for women going through the criminal justice system.
Freephone 24-Hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247
or visit www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk (access live chat Mon-Fri 3-10pm)
Support for male abuse victims
Everybody has the right to a life free from violence. Refuge professional staff are highly trained to work with everyone experiencing domestic abuse, including heterosexual, gay, bisexual and transgender men. No-one deserves to be abused by the person they love. Everyone has the right to be respected and live in safety.
It is important to remember that you are not alone, the abuse is not your fault and there are people who can help you. Refuge runs a number of outreach and independent advocacy services for male victims of domestic violence across the country.
You can also call the Men’s Advice Line on 0808 801 0327 for specialist support.
For more information please visit: https://www.refuge.org.uk/get-help-now/help-for-men/