Within this section you will find support services and information around domestic abuse and safeguarding.

Covid-19 A message from Berkshire West Safeguarding Children Partnership about supporting those self-isolating in unsafe environments

Covid-19 has changed the way a lot of organisations functions but it has also created situation for clients, whose living conditions already weren't safe, to be in a more vulnerable situation. The Berkshire West Safeguarding Children Partnership have a website that has a dedicated page to provide information and advice for our children, parents, carers and practitioners covering a wide range of subjects, including domestic abuse, emotional health, financial help, coping strategies for new parents, home schooling, keeping children safe on-line etc.

Due to the Covid-19 virus, the way practitioners, agencies and schools are working with the vulnerable has changed and there is a need for everyone to play a part in looking out for those children and adults at risk - to ‘Be Brave, speak up’ to help keep them safe. Please help to promote safeguarding, both professionally and personally; by sharing this short film as widely as possible within your organisation, you will be raising awareness of hidden neglect and abuse for children, young people and vulnerable adults in our communities.

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse:

  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional

This definition, which is not a legal definition, includes so called 'honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage. Domestic abuse occurs across society, regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality, wealth, and geography.

Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.

Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.

Whatever form it takes, domestic abuse is rarely a one-off incident, and should instead be seen as a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour through which the abuser seeks power over their victim. Typically the abuse involves a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour, which tends to get worse over time. The abuse can begin at any time, in the first year, or after many years of life together. It may begin, continue, or escalate after a couple have separated and may take place not only in the home but also in a public place.

Asking for support and advice is often a very difficult thing to do if you are feeling isolated or low in yourself. You may not even feel that you deserve to have support.

It is important to know that there are services out there that can provide advice at the right level for you, your children, family and friends.

Often the first step to breaking the cycle of domestic abuse is sharing your problem with another person whether that is through the helpline, outreach worker or a support group.

Information taken from 'Reducing the Risk of Domestic Abuse' see related links

Safeguarding Children

Each year children and babies in the UK die or sustain life changing injuries that could possibly have been prevented.

The safety video’s/information shown below promotes water safety, the danger from open windows for children and unsafe sleeping with babies please cascade this information to parents/carers, teams and colleagues, to help keep children safe through the summer months especially as well as the rest of the year. Open Windows – safety suggestions:

  • Always supervise young children, and keep windows locked when children are near.
  • If opening a window, make sure a child can't reach it.
  • Teach your child to stay away from windows and patio doors.
  • Don't keep furniture near a window that a child could climb on.
  • A screen will not prevent a child from falling out a window

Window safety video link:

Safer Sleeping for Babies

Berkshire West CCG produced the following video as 130 babies die every year due to unsafe sleeping in the UK. (Please share via social media where possible)

Internet Safety

Here are some top tips for staying safe along with websites and other booklets attached.

Being able to use technology is an important part of life (especially at the moment) for most, young people, teenagers and adults. You can use the internet for activities like:
• Banking
• Buying tickets to events,
• Ordering food, (if you can get a slot!)
• Clothes and general items.
• Socialising with your friends and family. So important for us all at the moment, so we can reach out to those who are important to us. Which is good for our wellbeing.

Many people on the spectrum find it easier to communicate through typing rather than speech, so social networking can be a more comfortable way for them to socialise with others or by talking through audio systems.

Not forgetting our young children, they to use the internet to play games, watch YouTube and socialise with friends.

It is therefore important that you know how to behave safely and appropriately online and when using a mobile phone or other devices.

1. Install parental guidance locks on popular sights

Websites designed for a range of age groups that contain disturbing content should have a capacity for blocking certain content using a pin. Normally this capacity can be found by entering the help/guidance/support/safety centre pages from the home page. Other useful websites to help you with this are:

The UK Safer Internet Centre –
The UK safer Internet centre has a guide for parents around how to set safeguards on these devices.

Vodafone Parent’s Guide -

Provides information about how to apply Internet safety strategies to mobile phones and handheld devices and how to manage excessive use of the new technologies. This includes information around GPS tracking systems and their advantages and risks and how to manage these.

N.B Each of the mobile networks have their own Internet safety pages. You can find these through your search engine.

The Government have recommended these Websites:
“There is a lot of support available to keep your child safe online. Below are some useful links to help parents and carers:”

• Internet matters (support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online)
• Parent info (support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online)
• LGfL  (support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online)

2. Preparing your child to use the Internet

There is a great deal of guidance available on how to support your child to use the Internet safely. Please look at the links and booklets which have been attached.

Common guidance includes:

  •  Establish ground rules with your child about how they can use the Internet, when and for how long. Make this visual
  • Talk to your child about the kind of things it is ok to look at. A basic rule could be if I won’t let you watch it on television, it’s not ok to search for it online. Look at:
  • NetsmartzKids -
  • Age-appropriate resources which are designed to educate children aged 5-17 how to be safer both on and offline. Resources include videos, games and quizzes and are organised under three different sections, ‘Teens’, ‘Tweens’, and ‘Kids’.
  • Ensure your child knows to come to you or another trusted adult if they see something that upsets them.
  • Talk to your child about what it is and isn’t ok to tell people about themselves online. Again write these down and put them up on the wall, maybe you could create a poster together.
  • Encourage your child to use an online nickname and avatar and to tell you if anyone requests their real name, photos or information about where they live or go to school.
  • Agree that if your child receives an email with an attachment that they will talk to you before they open it.
  • Talk to your child about rules for being polite. These are equally important in online communication as in person
  • Please try and keep devices out of bedrooms at night time.
  • Be careful about how your child has access to online spending especially within Games. Here are some websites to help you with thi

How to Disable In-App Purchases
Xbox 360 console parental controls:
Using the parental control settings:

3. Dealing with cyberbullying

Onlty.aspxine can make it is much easier for people to be nasty, because they can’t see the consequences, and our young people will not always understand what is happening or know how to deal with it. Talk to your children and encourage them to tell you if they are unsure of anything or they feel someone isn’t being nice to them or encouraging them to do things they feel are not right.

  • The Government offers the following ‘cyberbullying code’ as advice to parents on how to respond if your child is being bullied online or through other technology.
  • Keeping the evidence of cyberbullying is helpful when reporting an incident and may help in identifying the bully. This means keeping copies of offending emails, text messages or online conversations.

Reporting cyberbullying

There are a number of organisations that can help you if you need to report incidents of cyberbullying:
• School
• The provider of the service
• Police.

Cyberbullying advice and resources for parents:

Anti-Bullying Alliance –
The Alliance brings together over 60 organisations into one network with the aim of reducing bullying. Their website has a parent section with links to recommended organisations who can help with bullying issues. The anti- bullying alliance includes several disabled children’s charities, and has a history of providing inclusive support and guidance.

Family Lives -
Family Lives has a specialist advice sheet on cyberbullying and children with special needs, plus a number of briefings available on podcast and video. They also have a parent helpline 0808 800 2222.

National Autistic Society (NAS) -
The NAS has information on its website to support parents of children who are being bullied. They also have a helpline for parents 0808 800 4104.

Kidscape -
Provides advice and support to parents of children who are being bullied. The website also contains the government’s guidance to schools on how to prevent cyberbullying amongst their pupils.
Registered Charity no. 1089812 Cerebra 2015
Cyberbullying support for children:

ChildLine -
ChildLine is a confidential counselling service for children and young people. They can contact ChildLine about anything - no problem is too big or too small. You can phone ChildLine on 0800 1111, send them an email, have a 1-2-1 chat or send a message to Ask Sam. You can also post messages to the ChildLine message boards or text them.

Digizen -
Online game for young teens to support them to understand what actions they can take about cyberbullying.

If your children are part of Whatsapp groups / Snapchat / Tictok / Facebook or any others just check all is ok and encourage them to leave or delete the group if they become overwhelmed or distressed by them.

4. Sharing things online

Explain to them that things that you upload or post to the Internet may stay there forever. Once you’ve sent or uploaded a message or a photograph it is very difficult to get it back. There is also no way of knowing where these things will end up. Even pictures that you send to your friends may end up online, where other people will be able to see them. People put things online for lots of different reasons:

• They think it would be funny for other people to see it
• They might want to embarrass you (because they are not very good friends)
• They might not know that you didn’t want them to share your photo.

If they are sending something to a friend, make sure that they know that the photo is just for them, and that you do not want it to be put on the Internet or shown to other people. If it is a photo or a message that you would not be comfortable sharing with people you do not know, then it is probably safer not to send it to anyone at all.

Sharing pictures

Most people like to use social networking sites to share their favourite pictures with their friends. These are often pictures of themselves, their friends and family, or places that they have been. It is okay to share these kinds of pictures. However it is not ok to share a picture / video of any sexual nature or receive one. Please look up guidance on sextexting and discuss this with your young people.

It is important to check your young people’s devices on a regular basis, please make this a rule when allowing them to have these gadgets.

5. Benefits: Exploring special interests and learning tools. Socialising with family and friends

Its not all bad! The internet has proven to be a life line over the last couple of weeks and will continue to do so.  It is an amazing powerful tool with lots of benefits, all we ask is that you stay safe and we keep our young people safe as well. There has been lots of great sites shared over the past couple of weeks so do have a look at them.  

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