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The importance of safeguarding training in Sports and Leisure

Posted by admin on June 22, 2017
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Every day, hundreds of thousands of children around the UK take part in hundreds of different sporting and leisure activities. Parents, guardians and those who organise and run the activities all share the responsibility of ensuring that the children who take part are safe and cared for during the fun. The organisers, employees and volunteers who help devise millions of hours of activities, from arts and crafts to sporting leagues, drama groups to cricket teams, potentially have another role to play. These people are a link in the chain of safeguarding that protects our children from harm.

Children who are in danger of abuse or are living through an abusive situation are often reluctant to tell a close adult such as a family member or teacher for several reasons, ranging from fear of reprisals from their abuser or worries about being accused of telling lies. Visits to leisure and sporting activities can sometimes provide a real release for a child or young person in a difficult situation. They are relaxed, with a trusted adult, and often at a safe distance from the source of their abuse. As a result of the change in environment, a child may disclose something or act in a way that points to a potential problem. Sadly, many instances of abuse go unreported or are disclosed several times before any action is taken. While this is a rather distressing fact, it is understandably easy for a disclosure to be misinterpreted, or the signs of abuse to be missed if staff or volunteers are not trained to recognise them. This is part of the reason why all organisations that deal with children and young people should have a safeguarding policy in place that includes training.

The range of training available from the ChildProtectionCompany.com will take the team through a series of modules covering areas such as recognising the signs of abuse, understanding what constitutes an abusive situation, the legal guidance and framework, and when and how to report and record concerns. The learning can be done all at once, or on a timescale to suit the learner.

There are two levels of training. Our Introduction to Child Protection online training course is suitable for anyone who comes into contact with children or young people, whereas our Further Child Protection online training course is a more in-depth follow on course for the nominated child protection lead person, such as the Designated Safeguarding Lead and their Deputy. Using materials specifically tailored to the sport and leisure industry, our online courses will bring teams up to required standards without the need for expensive and time-consuming face-to-face training.

Regardless of whether you are an employee in a leisure activity business like a soft play area or climbing centre, or you are a volunteer at the local rugby club or dance society, if you are in contact with children or young people, you have part to play in the safeguarding of your charges.

Our training is designed not only to make you aware of the signs of a potential problem, but to give you the knowledge of how to most effectively deal with it. The importance of a well-trained, child-centred team and a good safeguarding policy cannot be underestimated – it could be the process that brings an abusive situation to light and ultimately makes a vulnerable child safe.

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Change to FGM law will see stiffer penalties for abusers who blame partners

Posted by admin on June 19, 2017
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The Sentencing Council for England and Wales, a parliamentary advisory body that seeks to promote greater transparency and consistency in sentencing, has put forward proposals for tougher sentences for parents who blame a partner for their own child cruelty. The proposals, which are supported by the Ministry of Justice, could mean that blaming others is considered an aggravating factor when a sentence is decided.

The proposals, if agreed, will help courts quantify the level of culpability and the severity of the offence in three broad categories. Further, they will bring into play a series of ‘aggravating factors’ including blaming others (often a partner) to avoid blame. The misdirection of blame to a partner in an attempt to avoid prosecution is a complex issue when deciding a case, and the new guidelines seek to more clearly define how it should be regarded in relation to the severity of sentencing. If the new guidelines pass into common use, attempting to divert blame would potentially result in a much more severe response at judgement.

The proposals also seek to more specifically address the issue of female genital mutilation (FGM) by making it an offence to not protect a girl from the procedure. Despite estimates that over 130,000 women and girls in the UK are affected by FGM, over 1,500 contacts have been made since 2013 and many FGM protection orders have been issued, there has not been a single successful prosecution.

The new guidelines are in consultation at the moment, and when completed in September 2017 will pass into general use shortly after, subject to the result of the process.

If you would like to comment or review the suggested changes, they can be found here.

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Could you help a girl at risk of female genital mutilation?

Posted by admin on June 13, 2017
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Barnardo’s children’s charity has released a statement advising professionals to pay particular attention to the signs and indicators that a girl may be at risk of undergoing female genital mutilation (FGM) as the so-called ‘cutting season’ approaches.

Female genital mutilation (commonly referred to as FGM) is a form of child abuse that involves partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. The practice is common in many cultures, with the largest number of reported cases occurring in African countries such as Egypt, Somalia and Sierra Leone, however, FGM has also been reported in countries including Pakistan, Russia, Thailand and Malaysia.

There is no single justification for FGM, but many communities who carry out the practice believe it is necessary to ensure that a girl will be eligible for marriage. Other common reasons include the belief that it will preserve a girl’s virginity, protection of family honour and perceived health benefits.

In the United Kingdom, it is a crime to commit female genital mutilation, and measures are in place to prevent families from sending their daughters abroad for the procedure. Female genital mutilation can have many health implications. Not least, the experience is extremely painful and highly traumatic for the girls involved, but other known implications include death, broken limbs from being held down, infertility and increased risk of HIV and AIDS.

Despite this, many families still send their daughters abroad every year, using the summer holidays as the beginning of the so-called ‘cutting season’ wherein the procedure is carried out. Barnardo’s want professionals to make themselves aware of the signs that a girl may be at risk of FGM, and to report any concerns by following the normal safeguarding procedures.

Among the signs that a girl is at risk of FGM are the following:

  • Telling friends about FGM
  • Confiding that she is going to have a ‘special procedure’ or is attending a special occasion to ‘become a woman’
  • Talking about an upcoming long holiday to a country where the practice is prevalent
  • Approaching a teacher to discuss her concerns if she is aware of, or suspects she is at immediate risk

It is important to also report any concerns you may have that a girl has already fallen victim to FGM. Some signs and indicators to suggest a girl has been through a female genital mutilation procedure include the following:

  • Difficulty walking
  • Looking uncomfortable while sitting down
  • Taking a long time in the toilet
  • Significant changes in behaviour, such as becoming withdrawn

Shocking figures released by the NHS show that there were 1,236 new cases of female genital mutilation recorded in England between January and March 2017. Of the recorded cases, 84% of procedures had been carried out before the girl reached her 10th birthday, and 17% had taken place before she had reached the age of 1.

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Childhood bullying may have long-term effect

Posted by admin on June 07, 2017
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Physical bullying can take place in school, at home and even in leisure activity situations and we are all aware of how unpleasant it can be. Cyberbullying, where a victim is harassed through social media for example, is an area of increasing concern. In a ‘switched on’ world the behaviour can be extended beyond the school day and a child or young person can feel as if there is no escape. Bullying, whether in the playground or virtual, can turn a child’s world inside out so it is vital that the adults who care for them know what to do when it happens because it would seem that the effects can be far reaching.

A recent study by researches from the University of Pittsburgh seems to indicate that incidents of bullying during childhood can have long-term effects. Over 300 American men took part in a succession of meetings starting in first grade (5-7 years) and advancing through to their early 30’s. Although the results should be taken in context there does seem to be some indication that bullying behaviour can be linked to a series detrimental effects later in life.

The test subjects who were bullied were more likely to grow up to have financial difficulties and were less optimistic about their future. The results also indicated that men who were bullies during childhood were more likely to smoke cigarettes, exhibit aggressive and hostile behaviour, and experience stressful circumstance.

As you are probably aware stress, hostility and anger can be linked to increased blood pressure and conditions such as coronary incidents and even strokes. The team who undertook the Pittsburgh Youth Study were specifically interested in the effect of bullying on physical health rather than mental health. While the results of the survey are not conclusive, if bullying is a factor in conditions such as stress it could well lead to commonly accepted physical stress related conditions. Additionally other factors such the increased likelihood of becoming a smoker or feeling ill-treated in comparison with peers are also related to the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Bullied children and the Bullies themselves appear to carry the impact of childhood bullying into later life. It seems clear then that the fast recognition and prevention of bullying could well result in a beneficial outcome in the future. In essence the research points to the effect of bullying staying with both the bullied and bully and affecting future well-being.

Our courses in online safety and safeguarding address the issue of online bullying and discuss the possible actions that adults can take in the event of a bullying problem. Only time will tell how severe the long-term fall out of cyberbullying will be and of course in the here and now it is a real issue, so the more we can do to stop it the better.

 

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We’re finalists!

Posted by admin on June 02, 2017
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Here at ChildProtectionCompany.com, we recently received news that our popular Safeguarding in Education: Early Years online training course was shortlisted as a finalist in Teachwire’s Early Years Excellence Awards 2017!

We love it when other companies recognise the value of our online child protection training courses, so we’re very proud to be shortlisted alongside many other fantastic products and services.

Our Safeguarding in Education: Early Years online training course is a variant of our popular Safeguarding in Education course, which is effectively 4 courses in 1, written specifically for staff in the education sector. The course covers topics such as radicalisation, child sexual exploitation and e-safety, as well as guidance on how to make referrals.

If you would like to start training online with us, our full list of courses can be found on our website, or, for more information, you can contact us by calling 01327 552030, or emailing help@childprotectioncompany.com today.

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Supporting children at home and school after a terrorist event

Posted by admin on May 30, 2017
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In the weeks following a terrorist event, whether you work in a school, are a parent, or you come into close contact with children through any other profession or activity, it is highly likely that you will see the young people in your care displaying behaviours triggered by stress, confusion or fear.

Following an event, it is important to know how to deal with these behaviours in order to help children best understand the context of what has happened, in a way that will reassure them and minimise stress. We have found a number of resources available across the web to support staff and parents to achieve this.

This article from Newsround is a great resource to direct young people towards. It offers reassuring advice for ways in which children and teens can share their worries in a safe way, and gives suggestions of things to do ‘that make you happy’ if young people are feeling upset after an event.

The PHSE Association has compiled two separate documents offering guidance on discussing terrorist attacks with pupils at both primary and secondary ages.

Childline have a dedicated webpage that provides definitions of terms such as ‘extremism’, ‘terrorism’ and ‘radicalisation’, as well as asking the important question, ‘What if you were someone else?’

The NSPCC provide a list of tips for parents who want to talk about the topic of terrorism with their children, and also offers links to advice and further support for both young people and adults.

One common theme that all of these resources share is not to ignore the issue, and to ensure that you explain events to children in an age-appropriate manner, acting in a calm, reassuring manner.

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Facebook’s ‘fake news’ crusade may highlight major online safeguarding issue

Posted by admin on May 11, 2017
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When we think of online safety for children and young people, we naturally focus on the potential danger from areas such as sexual predators and cyber bullying. However, we tend to think less about the potential harm caused by fake news.

Our children and young people, as well as a significant number of adults, are now gathering news from social media feeds. While it is easy to dismiss this as trivial, we may well be foolish to do so, because false news and the twisting of facts are convenient tools for propaganda. Social media is a concern when it comes to the promotion of terrorism and radicalisation, and Twitter have deleted over 600,000 accounts for this reason.

The Prevent Duty Guidance specifically addresses the radicalisation of young people and clearly states that one of its overall aims is to:

“…prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure that they are given appropriate advice and support.”

The responsibility of schools, then, is to address the process of radicalisation where possible.

So, where does fake news and false reporting sit in all this? It hardly seems the same as an account actively promoting terrorism.

Facebook have recently taken a very strong stand against the dissemination of false information and false news items. Initially, they were reluctant to commit and took the stand that they were only a platform, not a broadcaster, so had no responsibility for content—however, they have now introduced a series of measures that are intended to educate users in spotting false news. This education initiative is supported by digital methods of identifying fake information sources. Facebook are clearly concerned enough to recognise this issue and do more than just indulge in a bout of sabre-rattling at the sources of fake news. As well as overhauling their news feed to give less prominence to stories that show markers of being fake news, such as low shares or repeat posts, they have deleted thousands of UK accounts.

Many groups that promote racial and religious intolerance will use the fake news story to gather likes and supporters. A good example of this is the story about Tesco refusing to serve a soldier in uniform out of fear of offending Muslim shoppers. Not only was there no basis to this story, there wasn’t even a Tesco at the address given in the so-called news item. This item is usually disseminated while requesting people to ‘support our troops’ by liking and spreading the story. While certainly less of an immediate issue than the promotion of terrorism, the viral news story can sow the seeds of prejudice and easily lead to an emotional response that escalates to bullying and persecution.

We all know how easily something like this can become the reason for marginalisation and bullying in the playground and online.  Fake news is not just about inaccuracy; it can be about influencing our children to hate.

In their recent advertisements attempting to educate people in identifying fake news, Facebook advise:

“Some stories are intentionally false. Think critically about the stories that you read, and only share articles which you know to be credible.”

It would seem then that while critical thinking and education in spotting the use of fake news may not be high on the agenda when it comes to online safety issues, it probably should be considered a potential safeguarding issue.

Our online child protection training courses offer a simple, cost-effective and time-saving solution to your safeguarding training needs. Written in line with current legislation and meeting the safeguarding requirements for Ofsted, with variants available for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, these courses are designed to help leaders and managers empower their staff to protect the children in their care.

Click here to browse our range of e-safety online training courses.

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Child Protection Training for Equestrians

Posted by admin on May 05, 2017
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If you are a professional or volunteer working closely with children in the equestrian sector, the ChildProtectionCompany.com has a safeguarding training course just for you!

Our Introduction To Child Protection for Equestrian Volunteers, and our Child Protection for Equestrians – Refresher online training courses are developed in-house by child protection experts, in association with the British Equestrian Federation, to align with the current government guidance for child protection, including the 2017 updates to ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015’.

The ChildProtectionCompany.com’s online courses are ideal for busy equestrians, as they can be paused and resumed at any point—so, if you don’t think you’ll finish the module you’re working on in that short space of time between mucking out and your first riding class of the day, there’s no need to worry! Our training is flexible to suit your individual needs.

Our equestrian-specific online child protection training courses take between 1-3 hours to complete in full. At the end of our easy-to-navigate modules you will be given an assessment to test understanding, which you need to score 70% or above in to pass. You can go back and take the assessment again free of charge as many times as you need.

Upon completion, you will receive a personalised training certificate, which you can either download and keep on file, or print and present to inspectors. You will continue to have access to the whole course content, associated links and downloads for the duration of your certification, allowing you to refresh your knowledge at any time.

Each of our child protection training courses for equestrians costs just £27.90 (inc. VAT) per course, with discounts applied for orders of more than one course.

If you are interested in our training and would like to find out more, please browse our website or get in touch by calling 01327 552030, or emailing help@childprotectioncompany.com today.

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Netflix series sparks concerns over teen mental health

Posted by admin on May 03, 2017
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A growing number of sources are placing the spotlight on a controversial new Netflix series that could be a potential ‘trigger’ for teens with poor mental health.

Thirteen Reasons Why is an adaptation of Jay Asher’s 2007 teen fiction novel, focusing on a high school-aged girl who commits suicide and leaves behind a number of recordings on cassette tapes, which she sends to her peers to explain why she has killed herself. While the series has received largely positive reviews and enormous response from its target audience—teenagers—worldwide, there are concerns surfacing within schools and colleges about its potential to ‘trigger’ teens who are already suffering with mental health problems.

In the UK and USA, there are strict guidelines in place for the portrayal of suicide in film, television drama and soaps, however, because of its unique position as an online entertainment distributor, Netflix does not fall into the correct category to adhere to these rules. Subsequently, the suicide portrayal in Thirteen Reasons Why is much more graphic than teens may be used to witnessing in other popular TV series or films.

It is important to note that Netflix and the actors, writers and producers associated with Thirteen Reasons Why have been very vocal in promoting suicide prevention contacts and resources since its release. As with the majority of suicide portrayals in drama, that in Thirteen Reasons Why does not attempt to glorify the act, but rather draw attention to the complex issues surrounding the decision.

However, many teachers, parents and schools staff have been understandably alarmed to learn that their teens are being exposed to content of such a graphic nature. The greatest concern is that teens will mimic the actions of characters in the show, particularly those who are already suffering with pre-existing mental health conditions.

Suicide is a complex issue, and often there are many contributing factors that lead to an eventual decision. It is vital that teens are made aware of the complexities and the often ambiguous nature of the act.

The Samaritans have created a ‘Help A Friend In Need’ leaflet, which provides guidance on what to do if you suspect someone is suffering with poor mental health and/or is suicidal. You can view and download a PDF of the leaflet here.

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‘Growing up with the internet’ Report

Posted by admin on May 01, 2017
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The House of Lords recently published its ‘Growing up with the internet’ report, which advises schools to teach online responsibilities, acceptable behaviour and potential risks as part of compulsory PSHE education.

The report highlights concerns that the internet is not a child-friendly environment, and argues the case for companies to ensure their websites are created in such a way that makes it easy for a child to navigate, with a view to protecting youngsters from harmful or inappropriate content. They suggest websites should be designed ‘preventatively’, rather than ‘reactively’, in an attempt at reducing the risk of exposure.

As well as this, the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications wants all children to be given appropriate teaching to navigate the internet. According to the report, online safety is the ‘fourth pillar’ of education for the younger generation, alongside reading, writing and mathematics.

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