Guidance for parents & carers

Guidance for parents & carers on safeguarding children in out-of-school settings – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The information below is taken from Gov.UK ‘Advice to parents and carers on keeping children safe from abuse and harm‘. Published on 25 June 2020.

Call the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) helpline for support and advice if you have a concern for your own or another child’s safety on 0808 800 5000.

If you feel that your child is in immediate danger, call the police on 999. You can report concerns to the police on their non-emergency number, 101.

You can also contact the relevant social care team at your local council to report a concern about a child or adult.

The information below brings together sources of information about the main risks children may be particularly vulnerable to during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and signposts you to help and support available.

The essential measures to control coronavirus can potentially increase risks to children and this can cause concern for parents and carers.

The information also signposts the support providers who can help you have effective conversations with a young person, especially if you are concerned for their safety.

Visit the See, Hear, Respond service or call on 0800 157 7015 for additional support, advice and information during this period (England only).

This includes online and face-to-face support for children and families, help for children at risk of harm outside of the home, and support to help vulnerable children successfully return to school or college.

Protect children from domestic abuse

The government’s stay at home instruction does not apply if a person needs to leave their home as a result of domestic abuse. Refuges have remained open throughout the lockdown period to provide safe accommodation for victims and their children.

Domestic abuse can have devastating consequences for children, and can have lifelong impacts on their mental and physical health and behaviour into adulthood.

Domestic abuse occurs between those who are, or have been, in relationships. It can also occur between family members, such as between teenagers and parents (known as adolescent to parent violence and abuse (APVA)).

Find out how to recognise and spot the signs of domestic abuse.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse:

If you are in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police. If you are unable to talk on the phone, listen to the questions from the operator and respond by coughing or tapping the handset if you can. Follow the instructions depending on whether you are calling from a mobile or a landline.

For help with parental conflict and relationship abuse:

  • Co-Parent Hub – information for separated parents and advice to help you and your ex-partner to be good co-parents

Teenage relationship abuse

Teenagers can experience abuse in their own relationships, even if they aren’t living with the abuser:

Child sexual abuse and exploitation

Call 999 and ask for the police if your child has been a victim of child sexual abuse – online or offline – and you believe they are in immediate danger.

When a child or young person is sexually abused, they are forced or tricked into sexual activities. They might not understand that what is happening is abuse or that it is wrong. They might be afraid to tell someone.

Sexual abuse can happen anywhere – and it can happen in person or online. It’s never a child’s fault they were sexually abused – it’s important to make sure children know this.

See the government’s definition of child sexual abuse and child sexual exploitation.

These are resources that can help:

Sexual assault referral centres

Sexual assault referral centres (SARCs) offer support services for children who have experienced sexual abuse or sexual violence, either recently or in the past.

Specially trained medical and support staff care for the child in a safe and comfortable environment and can arrange for ongoing support to help them recover physically and emotionally.

Steps are taken to ensure the child is protected from immediate harm and from any future harm. Partners, such as the police and social services, support the process and may be involved in arranging the initial referral to the SARC.

For additional advice and support, find your local sexual assault referral centre.

More support for victims of sexual violence and abuse.

Crime, Criminal Exploitation and County Lines, violence and gangs

Call the police on 999 if you feel that your child is in immediate danger. You can report concerns to the police on their non-emergency number, 101.

Children and young people involved with gangs, county lines and criminal exploitation need help and support. They might be involved in violence, be pressured into doing things like stealing, carrying drugs or weapons or be abused, exploited and put into dangerous situations.

If your child is missing from home

Contact Missing People SafeCall service – or you have concerns about them being involved in gangs, drugs dealing or county lines exploitation.

SafeCall provides confidential and one-to-one support to children, but they also offer advice and guidance to parents and carers who are concerned and need support.

To speak to someone urgently, contact Missing People’s free, 24/7 confidential helpline.

Phone or text: 116 000 Email: 116000@missingpeople.org.uk

 

Mental health

If you are worried that someone you know is suicidal, including your child, Samaritans provides advice on how you can support others.

Call Young Minds’ free Parents Helpline on 0808 802 5544 for confidential, expert advice, if you have urgent concerns about your child’s mental health and wellbeing.

This may be a difficult time for children and young people. Some may be struggling now, while others may be affected later.

During this time, it’s important that you take care of your own and your family’s mental health – there are lots of things you can do, and support is available if you need it.

  • Action for Children – helps parents to spot the signs of poor mental health in their child and explains what to do to help
  • NSPCC – a range of advice on how to support your child if you are concerned that they may be struggling with their mental health or be anxious about coronavirus
  • Public Health England advice – helps adults with caring responsibilities look after the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people, including those with additional needs and disabilities
  • Young Minds – tips, advice and where to get support for your child’s mental health – parents can also access activity ideas for use during isolation
  • Every Mind Matters – simple and practical advice to support your mental health and wellbeing, including advice on looking after children and young people.
  • NHS England has published advice for parents, guardians and carers on how to help and support a child or young person