Safeguarding update from Hampshire Constabulary

Please be aware of the attached further update from Hampshire Constabulary

Dear Parents,

You may be aware of an explicit video involving two children which has been shared far and wide on social media and has been in the news this week.

Hampshire Constabulary has conducted a thorough investigation into these matters and a man has been charged with inciting a female aged 13-15 years to engage in sexual activity, making an indecent photograph of a child and distributing an indecent photograph of a child.

Both children, who are victims of serious crime, are being supported by specialist police officers and partner agencies. As these legal proceedings are ongoing, I would like to remind people not to speculate – especially on social media – as it may compromise the investigation.

The advice from the police remains the same, if children and young people receive this video on any social media platform, be it Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp or any other channel – they should delete it immediately and tell a trusted adult – a teacher or parent for example.

It’s really important that they understand that if they show this video to someone else or forward it on to other people, they could be committing a crime and we want to stop that happening. We have been clear that we do not want to criminalise children and that people won’t be in trouble if they’ve made a genuine mistake.

Sadly, we are seeing more offences where young people are being targeted by offenders who conceal their identities, and know where to go online to access and strike up false friendships with children and unfortunately, no one is immune to the dangers. Please discuss this with your children and encourage them to talk to you or another trusted adult if they have any worries or concerns. They can also call ChildLine if they really don’t feel comfortable talking to someone face-to-face.

If you have any concerns about the safety of your children online or would like to know more, there is further support and advice for children and parents available on the CEOP website http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/

Detective Superintendent Rachel Farrell Hampshire Constabulary

Hampshire detectives charge man following investigation into online sexual offences

Hampshire Constabulary have released a statement about a local investigation into online sexual offences:

Officers from the child abuse investigation team at Hampshire Constabulary have charged a man in connection with an investigation into online sexual offences.

Daniel Norton, from Cheadle, in Stockport, has been charged with the following –

  • Three counts of inciting a female aged 13-15 years to engage in sexual activity
  • Three counts of making an indecent photograph of a child
  • One count of distributing an indecent photograph of a child

The 25-year-old is due to appear at Southampton Magistrates Court later today (Wednesday, December 6).

If you are concerned that a child you know has been a victim of online child sexual abuse, report directly to CEOP via the ClickCEOP reporting button –www.ceop.police.uk. If you would like to understand more about keeping children safe from online sexual abuse, please visit CEOP’s Thinkuknow website  – www.thinkuknow.co.uk.

Additional support for children who don’t feel able to talk to a trusted adult is available from ChildLine on 0800 1111.

Hampshire Safeguarding update for parents of 5-11 year olds

Following the recent news, Hampshire Safeguarding Children Board emailed this letter to all primary schools:

 

Following liaison with the police we are sending this email to all primary schools. We would very much appreciate your co-operation in circulating this message to parents and re-enforcing the importance of online safety.

With the Christmas holidays approaching and the prospect of children perhaps receiving digital media as a gift in some shape or form – tablets and gaming consoles, for example – we thought it would be an appropriate time to remind you about the responsible use of such devices.

Following, the recent news stories relating to the Police’s increasing concerns about child exploitation through social media ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42224148 ), please do take the time to set up robust parental controls on devices and ensure that you set the passwords and codes so that only you know them.

There is some helpful advice relating to this on Hampshire County Council’s website:

https://www.hants.gov.uk/socialcareandhealth/childrenandfamilies/safeguardingchildren/ onlinesafety

If your children are likely to be using the internet, you may find it helpful for them to be aware and to have viewed this website: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/5_7/

Helpful advice is also available from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) website:

https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/online-safety/

Aside from the risk of exploitation and cyber bullying, it is unfortunate in this day and age that content exists on social media that would be inappropriate, and potentially harmful, for young children to view.

If you receive images or videos on Snapchat, Instagram, Whatsapp or via any other social media featuring people that are naked or are sexual in nature, these should be deleted immediately and reported to the Police on the non-emergency 101 telephone number. Many people are still unaware that showing or sharing such images or videos with others could mean they are committing a crime. However, if a genuine mistake is made, it would be treated as such by the Police.

Karen Nye
School Improvement Manager (Inclusion)

Hampshire County Council Children’s Services Department

 

How To Shop Online Safely

Action for Fraud have released a very helpful infographic on How To Shop Online Safely in the run up to the Christmas present buying season:

Check the web address

Always check you’re on the correct website. Criminals can set up fake websites that have a similar design and web address to the genuine site.

  

Is it a secure connection?

Web pages you enter personal or financial details into should display a locked padlock sign and have a web address that starts with https. This means your connection to the website is secure.

 

Phishing

Don’t click on links or attachments within unsolicited emails. The number of online shopping related phishing emails increases significantly during the holiday period.

 

Bank transfers
65% of Action Fraud reports during the 2016 Christmas period were linked to online auction sites. Don’t pay for goods or services by bank transfer unless you know and trust the person. Payments via bank transfer offer you no protection if you become a victim of fraud.

Government must invest in children’s & youth services

Leading children’s charities and local councils have called on the Government to urgently close the funding gap facing children and young people’s services as new research reveals a sharp rise in families reaching “crisis point”.

An open letter signed by five major organisations warns that children’s social care is being pushed to breaking point, with a £2bn funding gap expected to open by 2020. It urges ministers to “step up” and use the Autumn Budget to invest in vital services in order to save youngsters from serious harm.

The signatories, which include Barnardo’s, Action for Children and the Local Government Association (LGA), state that between them they have “spent years warning successive governments that a failure to invest in these vital services will have long term consequences” for the UK’s children and families.

The letter, comes as a report by three leading children’s charities reveals “crippling” central government cuts have left councils with no option but to close services designed to detect early signs of child neglect and abuse – forcing them to direct to a “crisis” fire-fighting model.

Demand for crisis support for children has risen sharply as council spending on services that are designed to spot signs of neglect and abuse early has fallen by 40 per cent between 2010/11 and 2015/16, the report shows. Central government funding for children and young people’s services has seen a real terms decrease of £2.4bn in that period, while local authority allocations for these services has fallen by £1.6bn.

At the same time, there has been a 108 per cent increase in child protection investigations, as demand for council help soars.

The research, from The Children’s Society, Action for Children and the National Children’s Bureau, also reveals stark geographical discrepancies, with the most deprived councils in England having cut spending on children’s services by almost a quarter (23 per cent) – six times as much as the least deprived councils.

The open letter to ministers reads:

“Children’s social care is being pushed to breaking point, with an unprecedented surge in demand leaving services across the public, voluntary and community sector struggling to cope.

“We believe that all children deserve the chance of a bright future. That’s why we are uniting today to urge the Government to use the Autumn Budget to close the funding gap facing children’s services, which will reach at least £2bn by 2020.”

It states that the number of children needing child protection plans has nearly doubled over the past decade, and last year saw the largest annual increase in children in care since 2013. The organisations also highlight that local authorities overspent on children’s services by £365m in 2014/15 just to keep children safe, and a huge £605m the following year.

The letter adds:

“Our children and young people deserve better than the gradual decline of services – particularly those services that help children early – that have been shown to make a real difference to their lives”

“Councils and the voluntary sector are committed to getting the best for every child. Now we need the same commitment from our government, starting with urgent action through the Budget to give local services the resources they need to help children and families thrive.”

The number of young people subject to child protection enquires increased by 140 per cent – to 170,000 – in the past decade, according to research by the LGA earlier this year.

A separate study more recently revealed that benefit cuts and increased levels of poverty across the UK were the primary cause for this “unprecedented surge” in demand for children’s services, while a lack of resources to provide universal services like children’s centres and youth clubs also played a significant part.

 

 

Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying tackled in new guidance for Church schools

Guidance for the Church of England’s 4,700 schools published today aims to prevent pupils from having their self-worth diminished or their ability to achieve impeded by being bullied because of their perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity.

The report makes 12 recommendations for schools including ensuring schools’ Christian ethos statements offer “an inclusive vision for education” where “every child should be revered and respected as members of a community where all are known and loved by God. ”

Clear anti-bullying policies should include HBT behaviours and language, policies on how to report incidences should be accessible, staff trained on recognising bullying, curriculum and collective worship should support the vision and the wider church ensure that schools are responding well to the guidance.

In the foreword of the report, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said:

“All bullying, including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying causes profound damage, leading to higher levels of mental health disorders, self-harm, depression and suicide.

“Central to Christian theology is the truth that every single one of us is made in the image of God. Every one of us is loved unconditionally by God.

“This guidance helps schools to offer the Christian message of love, joy and celebration of our humanity without exception or exclusion.”

The advice is an update on Valuing All God’s Children, guidance published in 2014 which tackled homophobic behaviour. This update covers a wider range of negative behaviours, incorporates the relevant legal and inspection frameworks and reflects the Church’s Vision for Education, whose four elements of wisdom, hope, community and dignity form the theological basis of the guidance.

 

Chief Education Officer for the Church of England, Nigel Genders, said:

“Providing an education to our 1 million children that will enable them to live life in all its fullness is a big responsibility.

“This practical and thoughtful advice is packed with templates and a comprehensive selection of resources for schools, teachers, families and young people. I hope that it will make a difference to our school communities and individual pupils too.”

The report acknowledges that it is likely that not all will agree on issues to do with human sexuality, marriage or gender identity. It goes on to say that:

“However, there needs to be a faithful and loving commitment to remain in relationship with the other and honour the dignity of their humanity without ‘back turning’, dismissing the other person, or claiming superiority.” 

The full report can be found here.

Hampshire Constabulary Launches Firearms Surrender

The surrender is giving people the chance to hand in any firearms or ammunition which have come into their possession for whatever reason.

The surrender runs from today (November 13) until Sunday, November 26 and is part of national initiative run by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS). It aims to reduce the number of illegally held firearms within our communities.

Each firearm handed into the Police is one less that could fall into the hands of criminals.  Whether it is an old family heirloom that has been stored away for years, a former military weapon or an unwanted firearm which was previously legally owned – all can be handed in to your local police station, safe in the knowledge that they will be disposed of safely.

Hampshire Constabulary will also accept replica firearms, air weapons, BB guns, imitation firearms, antique guns, component parts and other ballistic items.

During the fortnight firearms licence holders are also being encouraged to consider the surrender of weapons they no longer have any use for.

 

During the two-week campaign, those surrendering firearms will not face prosecution for the illegal possession upon surrender and can remain anonymous.  However, this is not an amnesty and if further examination of a surrendered firearm reveals a link to a crime, this will be investigated.

Hampshire Constabulary are asking anyone who is unsure about an item they have to call them on 101 to get advice on what they should do.  Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Historic ordnance should not be moved or handed in to any stations, if you think you have any items like this, please call Hampshire Constabulary on 101 for advice.

Please click here for a list of which stations will be taking part in the surrender.

Children’s & youth work links

Links from the world of children’s and youth ministry:

Halloween – No Trick or Treat

If you do not want to be disturbed by trick or treaters this Halloween, download and print out a copy of the “No Trick Or Treat” poster by Hampshire Constabulary to display by your front door.

Every year Hampshire Constabulary’s force control room receives calls from people who have been frightened or disturbed by trick or treaters in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Some advice for the elderly or vulnerable members of our community staying home this Halloween:

  • If you do not know who is calling at your house, you do not need to open the door.
  • Try to see who is at the door by looking through a spy hole or window before opening the door.
  • If you have a chain on your door – keep this in place when opening the door.
  • If you feel threatened in your home, please contact the police.

Polichampshire-constabulary-no-trick-or-treate advice to children and their parents is to be mindful that some of the more vulnerable or elderly members of the community do not wish to participate in Halloween activities and in fact may feel intimidated by groups of people calling at their doors.

Hampshire Constabulary has prepared some advice for children and their parents:

  • If your child is going outside in a costume – make sure they are wearing reflective clothing or add reflective tape to their clothes.
  • Carry a torch and consider road safety at all times.
  • If your child is going out trick or treating – make sure they go out in a group, preferably accompanied by an adult.
  • Older children should let you know where they are going and what time they will be back.
  • Children should carry a mobile phone in a pocket or bag.
  • Make sure your children know not to enter anyone’s house or to accept lifts from strangers.

Stranger hailed ‘hero’ after helping Farnborough autistic child on train

The mother of a five-year-old boy with autism has hailed a young man a “hero” after he stepped in to help calm her son during a difficult train journey.

Gayna Pealling hailed Daniel Ball, 21, from Farringdon, “my hero” after he distracted her son Jack when he became distressed on a train to Farnborough.

She posted images on Facebook of Mr Ball playing with Jack, which have been shared hundreds of times.

The pair have since began campaigning to raise awareness of autism and ADHD.

Ms Pealling, a single mother from Farnborough, Hampshire, was travelling home from Portsmouth when her son Jack began having a “meltdown”.  She said:

“I can’t thank Dan enough for what he did that day.  Strangers just think my child is misbehaving but it is just his condition. I got a lot of bad looks from a lot of people on the train – which didn’t help the situation.”

Dan helped distract Jack, who was shouting and swearing, by asking him to come and draw with his sister Amy, Ms Pealling added.

The pair have since set up a campaign to help raise awareness of the condition with the help of Mr Ball’s mother Barbara, who has worked in the special needs sector since 1976.

Mr Ball also has a fundraising page for the National Autistic Society which has already exceeded its £1,000 target.  He said:

“I thought that, as people have taken the time to like and share the post with the photos of me in, they might be able to share a few pounds and – hopefully – we can make a bit of a difference”

The team has created badges which say “The Rescuer” and “Come to my rescue” which they are urging people to wear on public transport to help bring attention to parents with autistic children who may need help.

Mrs Ball, said:

“Judging by the response to Gayna’s Facebook post, most parents would be grateful for a smile, a nod or a word of support or even an offer to help in an extreme situation such as Gayna and Dan found themselves in.”

CrossTeach banned from Church primary school for being ‘extremist’

A primary school in Kent has cuts its ties with a Christian group after parents complained of religious extremism and claimed children had been distressed by comments about gay marriage and a demonstration of “God’s power” in assemblies.

Dan Turvey, the headteacher of St John’s Church of England primary school in Tunbridge Wells, told parents in a letter that he was ending invitations to the charity CrossTeach to lead school assemblies and take lessons, after what he called a campaign by parents.

One parent said children were being told ‘they would not go to a good place when they died’ if they did not believe in God, according to the Telegraph, and another said her son had been told ‘men can’t marry men’, according to the Guardian.

The parents group said in a statement:

‘We recognise and respect the school’s Christian values but think there is a brand of Christianity that is abusing that respect. The basis of [our] complaint relates purely to concerns over the welfare and safeguarding of children who we believe are being exposed to potentially damaging ideology.’

In a letter to parents on Monday Turvey said he was ‘deeply saddened’ to be severing ties but acknowledged children had been ‘upset and disturbed emotionally’.  He wrote:

‘After careful consideration I have decided that we will end our regular commitment to CrossTeach and that they will no longer lead assemblies or take lessons.’

But he added: I do not believe CrossTeach has done anything wrong.’

He said the group would continue to run a voluntary after school club. ‘They do not deserve the tarnishing of their good name and allegations of extremism that have taken place over the last few months,’ he told parents.

One parent who asked not to be named said:

‘I didn’t pull my mine out because overall I think it would do more harm than good to segregate them.

‘But I do know some of the children have been upset by what they have heard. No one minds Nativity plays and Bible stories but considering most of the parents at the school aren’t practising Christians I think the feeling is that it’s all too much.

‘In Tunbridge Wells the vast majority of primary schools are affiliated with the church so it’s not like you have a choice whether you expose your children to this.

‘Personally I want my children to learn about all religions. If you want them to be raised as Christians there are plenty of Sunday schools.’

But Turvey hit back at the parents’ complaints and said: ‘It is my view that the use of social media can be destructive and counterproductive. In this case I believe that the damage caused by the use of this media will take a very long time to repair.’

He added ‘relationships have been soured and trust eroded’, telling parents ‘the past few months have been stressful, tiring and a distraction from our focus’.

Wayne Harris, the national director at CrossTeach, said the group was a charity and worked with schools under constant supervision, observing school policies and national guidleines, where applicable. He added:

“Whilst we note the strong comments made by Mr Daniel Turvey, Headteacher, in support of our workers and activities, Crossteach is very disappointed that, after 16 years of supporting the school, our work will no longer be available to young people at St Johns CE Primary School, Tunbridge Wells.

“Wherever possible we work in partnership with local churches and we reflect their teaching, always aiming to be sensitive to the local context, and recognising that churches vary. We teach mainstream Christianity.

“In 16 years of Christian schools work no teacher has ever raised a concern that something has been said that could be interpreted as in any way ‘hateful’ or ‘extremist’.”

Want to join the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Youth Commission?

The Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Michael Lane, is seeking volunteers aged between 14 and 25 years old to help give young people a voice on the crime and policing issues that matter to them most.

The purpose of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Youth Commission is to make young people part of the solution to tackling crime and improving policing, rather than being seen as part of the problem. It is made up of up to 50 young people aged between 14 and 25.

The Youth Commission currently has four priorities:
• Mental Health
• Hate Crime
• Cyber Safety
• Unhealthy Relationships

Youth Commission members identify the issues that young people are concerned about most and gather opinions on what the specific concerns are and ideas on how to tackle them. They also work to raise awareness and educate young people via campaigns, such as this year’s #GoFISH cyber safety campaign, run workshops, speak at events and take part in a range of other activities.

Members of the Youth Commission gain a variety of skills, meet and work with a range of people, learn about different issues that are relevant to them and their peers and get to be part of some great youth orientated events – this year members have attended festivals, youth conferences and summer activity schemes.

If you are interested is applying (or know someone that maybe interested) then please complete the online application form by 03 November 2017 which can be found here . This is the first part of the two stage application process.

Applicants that reach the second stage will be invited to an assessment evening week commencing 20th November. Applicants with experience of the police and criminal justice systems, as an offender, victim or any other interaction are welcome to apply.