SSS Learning February 2024 e-bulletin

Sam Preston 5 February 2024 6 min read
 

Welcome to our February 2024 safeguarding bulletin. It has been a productive start to the year here at SSS Learning and our teams have been busy creating lots of new content so I thought I’d give you a quick update.

Safeguarding Training courses

Production of our new specialist course designed to support staff taking on the role of the Designated Teacher for Looked After Children is about to be completed and will be available later this week.

Following your feedback, in order to make our Child Protection courses more accessible for all staff and governors we are transferring the training content which focuses on legislation into a separate optional course. As a result, our main training course will be shorter and focused on the more practical elements.

We also have several new courses in production on the topics of:

  • Emergency Response Strategies for Schools - which focuses on evacuation, invacuation and lockdown procedures
  • The Control and Regulation of Asbestos
  • Child-on-child Abuse Refresher - a follow-up course for staff who have previously completed our main course to refresh their learning
  • Managing Allegations
  • Developing a Coaching Culture to Raise Performance
  • Effective Performance Management

Parental Resources

In addition to our existing parental resources on health & well-being, we added five new parental resources to our library:

Please feel free to add a link to our parental hub on your school/academy website. This is a resource we provide free and is now used by thousands of parents as a valuable source of safeguarding information.

Podcasts

We’ve been getting fantastic feedback on our Safeguarding Conversations podcast series which we started this month. So far we’ve covered a whole range of topics (listed below) and we will continue to release content regularly. You can listen via Apple podcasts, Spotify, Amazon music and You Tube Music so subscribe and don’t miss an episode.

  • Sexism & Misogyny
  • Out-of-School DSL Provision
  • Safeguarding Looked After Children
  • End-to-end Encryption on Meta
  • Serious Case Reviews
  • Gaslighting
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences & Trauma Informed Practice
  • The ‘Beyond Ofsted’ Enquiry
  • Domestic Abuse
  • Prevent Duty

Webinars

Our Q&A webinars, where you can post your safeguarding questions to our expert panel, are proving very popular and we will continue to schedule them regularly throughout the academic year.

We will also continue our safeguarding topic webinars. Our next webinar takes place on Wednesday 7th February at 16:30hrs on the topic of Safeguarding Children from Domestic Abuse. All our webinars are free to access and registration is available on our website.

In addition, we also regularly publish articles on a wide range of safeguarding topics and you can access our extensive back catalogue via the website.

System Updates

In the last few months, we have made a few significant improvements to our systems.

For non-Suite customers we have made managing your course licences much easier with clearer visibility and making it easier to add additional licences when required.

Following feedback from our customers regarding the automated revalidation emails, we have added new options to exclude courses, users, or both from being sent reminder emails.

Again in response to feedback, we have added the ability to add external training records to multiple staff members at a time. This could be useful following a staff training session.

For courses where revalidations are not statutory, we’ve added the option to customise the revalidation period for certain courses to fit in line with your school policies.

Also, references have been taken out of course notes and added to a separate section in training to review. This reduces the size of the course notes.



Child trafficking in the UK

The Home Affairs Committee has published its first report for the year on the subject of Human Trafficking. According to the report, 16,938 referrals were made in 2022 to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), five times as many as in 2015 when the Modern Slavery Act was passed. However, it is estimated that there are at least 100,000 victims of modern slavery and human trafficking in the UK. 78% of these referrals were male, primarily due to criminal and labour exploitation, and 21% were female who were disproportionately impacted by sexual exploitation. The proportion of those victims who are children has increased at an equally alarming rate. As the report states:

‘In 2022, 7,109 children were referred in to the NRM, representing 41% of all referrals. This is the highest number of referrals of potential victims claiming exploitation as a child since the NRM began in 2009.’

Trafficked children can be exploited criminally (the highest level of exploitation reported to the NRM in 2022), sexually and for their labour and children often experience two or more forms of exploitation with overlap between these exploitation types.

Worryingly, the report has found that: As such the findings of the committee are that the NRM is not appropriate for children and that there is an overall lack of a joined-up approach across the NRM, child welfare and protections and criminal justice systems.

‘The overall lack of a joined-up approach across the NRM, child welfare and protection and criminal justice systems without any particular focus on identifying and addressing trafficking related needs, or assessing risks posed to the child is of particular concern to us given the high prevalence of re-trafficking of children.’

As well as highlighting the lack of trafficking-specific support for children, the report is also critical of the use of Home Office hotels to house unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, where many go missing, making them vulnerable to re-trafficking and exploitation.

Safer Internet Day 2024

This year, Safer Internet Day takes place on the 6th of February) with the theme ‘change online’. This year’s theme strands are:

  • young people’s perspectives on new and emerging technology;
  • using the internet to make change for the better;
  • the changes young people want to see online;
  • the things that can influence and change the way young people think, feel and act online and offline.

To support these theme strands, as detailed earlier we have produced two new parental resources, one focussed on why keeping your child safe online is important and a practical top tip guide detailing practical measures parents can take to keep their child safe online. All parent content can be accessed by selecting the Parental Resources tab on our website and via our YouTube channel.

Child Perpetrators of Child Sexual Offences

A freedom of information request has found that 86,962 child sexual offences were recorded in 2022/23 by the 43 police forces that responded. Although this figure appears to be slightly less than the previous year, 87,808 offences, it should be recognised that only 41 police forces responded to the previous year’s information request.

The highest number of crimes were committed against children between ages 11 to 15 which include offences such as grooming and exploitation, sexual assault and rape. Ian Critchley, lead for the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) child protection, abuse and investigation has cautioned that child sexual offences are likely to be far higher stating:

‘we know that sadly many victims who have been abused have not yet reported it. We know this is also the case for carers and professionals who may suspect abuse but haven’t yet reported it.’

In addition, a report on recorded child sexual abuse and exploitation crimes has also found that children now account for the largest group of perpetrators of sexual abuse against children.

The National Police Chiefs Council report found children aged between 10 and 17 are perpetrators in over half of all cases, with age 14 the most common age of perpetrators.

Tackling Knife Crime

In response to knife crime rates, the Labour Party has confirmed their commitment to introduce a network of ‘Youth Hubs’ across the UK should they win the next general election.

The latest statistics recorded as a knife-enabled crime show that offences have risen by 5% on the previous year, with over 50,000 offences involving a sharp instrument. Sentencing statistics from the Ministry of Justice show that in the year ending March 2023, there were over 19,000 cautions and convictions made for possession of a knife or offensive weapon and that juveniles, young people between the ages 10 to 17, were offenders in 18% of cases.

The Labour Party are proposing a scheme of Sure Start programmes aimed specifically to support teenagers funded by an annual £10M budget. As well as committing to creating 90 youth hubs across the UK, youth mental health hubs will also be formed in every community. In addition, the Party is also committed to funding youth workers in A&E departments, youth custody centres and communities to support young people involved in violent crime as well as mentors in pupil referral units.

You may wish to listen to our upcoming Safeguarding Conversation Podcast where our experts discuss the topic of Knife Crime, including multi-agency approaches, which will be available from 16th February.

Please do let us know what you think of the e-Bulletin: e-bulletin@ssslearning.co.uk

Please feel free to share our e-Bulletin. We are passionate about the role we play in safeguarding children and the more people that know about it the better. They can sign up to our safeguarding e-Bulletin here.

Sam Preston

SSS Learning Safeguarding Director


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