Keeping Children Safe Online
Awareness initiative to keep children safe online launched in Kirklees
Marie Collins Foundation working in partnership with Kirklees Safeguarding Children Partnership, Kirklees Council Education, West Yorkshire Police and West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner
There is widespread concern among professionals that schools being closed to the majority of pupils as part of the COVID-19 restrictions could impact on children’s safety. In particular, factors associated with the lockdown may put young people at increased risk of online abuse and exploitation, as highlighted by the National Crime Agency (NCA) in March 2020:
- increased use of the internet = increased vulnerability
- social isolation = children seeking out friends online = vulnerability to perpetrators
- lower supervision of children once adults start to return to work
- broadcast features on apps = children emulating viral video trends
- increase in the taking of self-generated imagery
- increased risk of grooming from predators.
Kirklees Awareness Pilot
The Marie Collins Foundation (MCF) is working in partnership with West Yorkshire Police, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kirklees Council and Kirklees Safeguarding Children Partnership to address these issues to ensure that children are better safeguarded from sexual abuse whilst living under the conditions of lockdown. The project is being funded with a grant from the Safer Communities Fund run by Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
The MCF, a charity based in North Yorkshire, has expertise in the field of online child sexual abuse and exploitation (CSAE) and related offline abuse, addressing the recovery needs of children, and their families, who suffer harm online and enabling them to recover and live safe and fulfilling lives.
In this project, we aim to offer support directly into family homes by providing:
1. Guidance for parents to enable them to be aware of the hazards and to protect their children
2. Tips for young people regarding how to keep safe online and what to look out for
3. Dedicated, online help and advice support for parents, teachers and young people to access.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Our service spells out the online risks, literally:
C (Children) O (Online are) V (Vulnerable to) I (Internet) D (Dangers)
The project messages focus on:
- Awareness of the risks
- How to seek help – email@example.com
It is important that young people and their parents/carers, as well as the professionals with whom they come into contact, are aware that support is available.
We invite you to share the messages via your usual communication channels, for example:
- On your website
- On online parent pages
- On digital learning platforms
- As an attachment to letters homes
- In tutor contact with pupils learning from home
- Through student ambassadors
- On social media platforms
- Via any other communication channels you use.
We also ask that you feed back any comments or contacts in relation to the project to inform any developments going forward. Thank you.