As a statutory body the LSCP has a requirement to meet certain procedural expectations. In order to achieve this there are in place a number of policies, protocols and structures to ensure that it meets both national, regional and local expectations.
This section of the website is predominantly for professionals and agencies that work within the safeguarding arena so they are able to monitor the work of the LSCP. It also provides to the community the opportunity to see some of the inner workings of the LSCP and be a supportive observer.
THIRD PARTY ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
Thurrock LSCP Delivery Plan
Thurrock LSCP are pleased to publish their Delivery Plan for 2019/20.
Should you have any queries or comments, please do not hesitate to contact one of the LSCP Business Team.
To ensure that we all take responsibility for safeguarding children and young people and considering their welfare, we want to identify vulnerable children and young people as early as possible and work in a coordinated and integrated way to help children and young people before they reach crisis point.
We also want to ensure that Children and Young People who are abused or who are at risk of significant harm, are promptly referred to Children's Social Care.
Thurrock Local Safeguarding Children Partnership has updated the Threshold Document, which will help to identify when a child may need additional support to reach their full potential
Below you will find the revised threshold document and information on the new pathways to children's services. We do not intend to produce hard copies of this document.
To view the refreshed document, please click on the picture below:-
With reference to the two documents referred to within the Threshold Document - please see the links below.
Thurrock Common Assessment Framework (CAF)
The majority of children and young people enjoy their lives and develop satisfactorily with the support of universal services (such as the usual health and education services). From time to time however they may require help from a single agency for a specific issue or from a range of agencies if the issues are more complex.
Within Thurrock the Multi Agency Common Assessment Framework is designed to support children and young people by focusing on early help for them and their families through the delivery of services and support to meet identified needs.
The Common Assessment Framework (CAF) is a method of assessment used across all children's services/agencies both locally and nationally. A CAF is used to assess what help and support a child or young person may need.
The CAF will help to ensure early identification of needs, reduce the need for multiple assessments and children and families repeatedly "telling their stories" and coordinate the delivery of services.
If at any stage, you are worried that a child or young person is suffering, or is at risk of suffering, significant harm then you should contact Thurrock Children's Social Care for advice.
Children with Additional Needs
The CAF is a tool to help identify those children with additional needs before these escalate into more serious concerns. This might include situations where there are issues with:
- Disruptive or anti-social behavior
- Involvement in, or risk from offending
- Overt parental conflict or a lack of parental support/boundaries
- Disengagement from education or training
- Poor school attendance
- Repeated fixed term or permanent exclusion from school
- Special educational needs
- Poor nutrition or ill health
- Substance misuse
- Poor emotional or mental health
- Pregnancy and parenthood
- Domestic violence
Who will undertake the CAF?
The CAF will be used by a range or staff working in children's services. It is anticipated that most will be undertaken by those working in universal services; schools, nurseries, various health settings, community and voluntary agencies.
When is a CAF not appropriate?
In the majority of cases children and young people make satisfactory progress with the support of universal services. From time to time they may require help from a single agency for a specific issue. Referral to a single agency does not require a CAF to be completed.
Please Note: Referrals for Troubled Families Programme will need to be on a CAF.
All referrals to both Social Care and the Prevention and Support Service (PASS), including the Troubled Families Programme will now go through MASH as a single front door.
The Role of the Lead Professional
To support Partners in their role as Lead Professional, the LSCP Business Team has produced a guidance document. We hope you find the below information and document helpful.
Who is the best person to be a Lead Professional?
Depending on the needs of the family and the threshold for the intervention, the Lead Professional should ideally be someone who is already working with the child, young person or their parents and knows them well, or is about to get involved and play a major role in supporting them. The best person to take this role is usually agreed at the Team Around the Family (TAF) meeting.
Expectations of the Lead Professional
The Lead Professional role has four core functions:-
- Act as a single point of contact for the child, young person or family.
- Co-ordinate the delivery of the solution focused actions, and to ensure that progress is reviewed regularly.
- Reduce overlap and inconsistency in the services received.
- Supports improved outcomes for the child, young person or family.
A Lead Professional is accountable to their own agency for their delivery of the Lead Professional functions. They are not responsible or accountable for the actions of other practitioners or services.
For more information, please refer to the leaflet below.
Graded Care Profile 2
Neglect is the most common form of abuse and an adverse childhood experience. We know that children who experience Neglect may go onto experience long term negative effects on their health, well-being and life opportunities. We want to improve outcomes for children experiencing Neglect in Thurrock by intervening as early as possible.
As part of our approach to working with children and families, the NSPCC's Graded Care Profile 2 is being introduced across the wider Partnership.
What is the Graded Care Profile 2 tool?
Thurrock is using the NSPCC's Graded Care Profile 2 (GCP2) as a tool for assessing the ability of parents/carers to meet children's needs. The GCP2 is an evidence-based assessment tool that measure the quality of care provided to an individual child over a specific period of time. It is designed as an objective tool which focuses on measuring the quality of care received by the child. The tool is child-focused as it specifically addresses whether or not the child's developmental needs in each area are being met, to what extent and whether this is consistent.
How can it be used?
The tool can assist you to understand the willingness and ability of the parent/carer to meet the child’s developmental needs. Within the Graded Care Profile 2 there are five grades of care on a scale from positive to negative. The tool uses a scaling measurement of the level of care between 1 (best) or 5 (worst) and this scaling is based on direct observation of the extent to which the needs of a child are currently being met. The scoring applies to the areas of care that relating to particular developmental needs of children based on Maslow’s principles:-
- Physical care
- Care of safety
- Emotional care (love and belong), and
- Developmental care (care of esteem)
It is widely recognised that the level of care provided by parents to children can fluctuate over time. Therefore, this tool is useful as it can measure parenting at a specific time and then can be reviewed to ascertain whether there has been any changes over time.
The GCP2 tool was intended to be a helpful tool when assessing neglect and helps to promote resilience within families by focusing on the 'instinctive parenting strength' within the social-environmental context as well as seeking the family's own understanding of how the child's needs are being met.
Can you use this tool?
In order to carry out Graded Care Profile 2 assessments, you are required to attend a full day of training, which is being offered as two half day sessions. There will be a number of sessions provided in Thurrock to train practitioners to use this assessment tool, to better understand and respond to children who are experiencing Neglect. These are currently being organised and further information will be added to the website shortly.
Below are some different guidance documents which you may find useful:-
We also have a video introducing GCP2 to agencies:-
Child Death Reviews
Child Death Review Process
The Child Death Overview Panel is responsible for reviewing the deaths of any children who are normally resident in the Southend, Essex and Thurrock Local Authority areas, whether from natural, unnatural, know or unknown causes, at home, in hospital or in the community.
The purpose of this review is to:-
- Reduce the number of childhood deaths
- Identify matters of concern affecting the safety and welfare of children
- Identify wider public health or safety concerns arising from a particular death or from a pattern of deaths
- Undertake a co-ordinated agency response to all unexpected deaths of children
Further information can be found in the documents below:-
Notification of a child death
Any agency who becomes aware of either:-
- A child death occurring in Southend, Essex or Thurrock
- A death of a child who is normally resident in Southend, Essex or Thurrock, occurring outside of the Borough
Should make a notification to the SET Child Death Review Manager via their nominated Child Death Review Lead.
To make the notification, please follow the link below to complete the Notification Form within 24 hours.
Notification Form link
On submission of your Notification, our Child Death Review Health Team will be alerted and will be able to view the Form. The Form will also automatically be shared with the National Child Mortality Database (NCMD).
If you experience any problems with submitting a notification via the above link please contact:-
Janet Levett, Southend, Essex and Thurrock Child Death Review Manager
Child Death Review Team
Tel:- 01992 566131
Further information on Child Death Reviews can be found here
Contact details for the Rapid Response Countywide Service can be found here
Child Death Annual Reports
An Annual Report is produced which provides information that will assist professionals in understanding child deaths. Although some child deaths are unavoidable, there are occasions where we may be able to reduce this risk then there are aspects known as modifiable factors. These are things that we may be able to change, through the lifestyle that we live or through better safety precautions.
Annual Report 2018-19
SET Child Protection Procedures.
A copy of the procedures can be found here. We have also provided a reference document, which lists those chapters that have been updated and any impact on practice.
Primarily the key changes made to the procedures are to reflect the new Multi-Agency Safeguarding Arrangements (MASA) that came into force nationally from 29 September 2019 and replaces Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs).
Across Southend, Essex and Thurrock the ‘Local Multi-Agency Safeguarding Partnerships/Boards’ will co-ordinate these new arrangements on behalf of their named Statutory Partners and will be referred to throughout the SET Child Protection and Safeguarding Procedures.
LSCP Documents you may find helpful
This section of the website aims to provide you with details of recent safeguarding documents , research and news items that we hope will assist you in your roles.
It will include details of various local Policies, procedures and Strategies developed by the Board
If you have details of a report or other useful information that those working in safeguarding children could benefit from, please let us know and we will consider adding to this page.
Thurrock Neglect Strategy 2016-2019.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [1.4 MB]
Working Together 2018.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [1.6 MB]
Working Together 2015
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
Please explore the options on the side for useful information and publications on the subject of child sexual exploitation along with local forms and guidance for practitioners.
Definition of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
Sexual exploitation of Children and Young People under 18 involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where young people (or a third person or persons) receive 'something' (e.g. food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, money) as a result of them performing, and/or another or others performing on them, sexual activities. Child Sexual Exploitation can occur through the use of technology without the child's immediate recognition; for example being persuaded to post sexual images on the Internet/mobile phones without immediate payment or gain. In all cases, those exploiting the child/young person have power over them by virtue of their age, gender, intellect, physical strength and/or economic or other resources. Violence, coercion and intimidation are common, involvement in exploitative relationships being characterised in the main by the child or young person's limited availability of choice resulting from their social/economic and/or emotional vulnerability.
SET CSE STRATEGY
Thurrock LSCP has joined with its Southend and Essex Board partners to develop an Essex wide CSE strategy that supports children from across the County.
The strategy outlines the overarching approach to tackling child sexual exploitation across SET, and provides a coherent Essex-wide response which is both needs-led and outcomes-focused.
If you have concerns about a child or young person who may be at risk of sexual explotation,please open the file below and follow the guidance.
If you see or hear something that you feel is not right, dont wait for someone else to do something. The smallest piece of information could be the crucial piece of the jigsaw the Police or Social Care need to make the picture complete.
Managing Allegations against Adults in a position of trust who work with children - LADO
Children can become victims of abuse and exploitation by those who work with them in any setting. They have been found to be vulnerable in all organisational settings including social care, education, health care, the leisure industry and in faith communities.
Section 7 of the SET procedures for Allegations against staff or volunteers, who work with children, is based on the framework for dealing with allegations made against an adult who works with children and should be followed by all organisations providing services for children and young people.
Compliance with these procedures will help to ensure that allegations are dealt with consistently and in a timely manner; that a thorough, proportionate and fair process is followed and that processes are open to challenge.
Arrangements for managing concerns or allegations of this nature should be robust and effective in keeping children safe. All allegations should be taken seriously, approached with an open mind, and not be driven by preconceived opinions about whether a child has or has not been harmed.
Who to refer concerns to:
To report a concern or allegation to the Thurrock LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer) that an adult working or volunteering with children:
- Has or may have harmed a child
- May have committed a criminal offence related to a child and / or
- Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates they may pose a risk of harm to children
Step 1: If your workplace has a Designated Safeguarding Lead who deals with allegations contact them. They must contact the Thurrock LADO within 24 hours of any situation arising at 01375 652921
Step 2: If your workplace does not have a Designated Safeguarding Lead you must contact the Thurrock LADO directly on 01375 652921.
Step 3: In an emergency outside office hours contact the Emergency Duty Team on 01375 372468. They will ensure that the matter is passed promptly to the Thurrock LADO, and assist in initiating any priority safeguarding activities.
The Thurrock LADO must be contacted within 24 hours of any situation arising as above.
Role of the Thurrock LADO
The Thurrock LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer) promotes a safer children’s workforce by providing effective guidance, advice and investigation oversight to cases.
Thurrock LADO may be able to offer advice and assist with communication in situations which sit outside the statutory criteria, albeit at the discretion of the LADO Officer and where the broader goals of a safer children’s workforce are relevant.
The service will give advice on how concerns or allegations should be investigated, including if a referral needs to be raised with the Police and/or Children’s Social Care. Thurrock LADO is not directly responsible for investigatory activities but will actively support any investigation, and give advice around a range of parameters including suspension, possible media interest, when to tell the adult, and ensure all interested parties are appropriately linked together.
Thurrock LADO will retain oversight of individual cases to ensure concerns or allegations are investigated thoroughly in a fair and timely manner, and will advise in relation to any subsequent duties to communicate with regulatory bodies and/or the DBS. For more information please download the Thurrock LADO Leaflet.
To make a referral to the Thurrock LADO, please contact email@example.com for a referral form.
Signs of Safety
THE SIGNS OF SAFETY (SOS) APPROACH
Thurrock has adopted Signs of Safety as our way of working with families because this is helping to support us to achieve the type of service that children, young people, parents and carers have told us they want. Best practice is child-focused, solution-orientated, and respectful and inclusive of families, and this is what we want to achieve through adopting Signs of Safety.
- What’s working well?
- What are we worried about?
- What needs to happen?
Safety/Wellbeing Scale – After completing what is working well, what we are worried about and what needs to happen, family members and agencies are asked on a scale of 0 to 10, where they rate the situation right now.
Danger/Worries Statements & Safety/Wellbeing Goals - These are compiled with agencies and families to clearly state what the current risks are and what it will look like for the children to be safe. They are used to help shift thinking from the future we worry about to the future we want to create
Signs of Safety is much more than a three column map. Signs of Safety for Thurrock means:
- we listen to what the children say
- we place high value on the quality of relationships we have with, families, carers and each other
- we think critically and never assume we have all the answers
- we work with families collaboratively to help them find their own solutions
- we use plain language that families can readily understand
- we balance optimism with curiosity so that we assess risk rigorously
CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE
We use Signs of Safety to help children and young people talk about things that go well in their family as well as things that worry them. We try to use different methods to help children tell us how we can keep them safe
Delivering Signs of Safety in Thurrock means driving continuous improvement in four key themes:
- Leadership: Modelling behaviours; "Inquire before require"; appreciative inquiry; driving change
- Learning: Formal, self-directed and collaborative learning experiences; tools for reflective practice; group supervision; audit; multiagency
- Organisational alignment: Recording, processes and policies align to SOS ethos, principles and disciplines; targeted work based on data/audit/feedback
- Meaningful measures: Data, QA, feedback from staff, children and families
Children and families say: We will know that we have fully embedded Signs of Safety in Thurrock when:
They are getting the right help at the right time
- They understand why services are involved and find them helpful
- Involvement of their own network in plans ensures changes made are maintained through long-standing support
They are undertaking direct work that empowers families to keep children safe and well looked after
- Only the right children are taken into care and where this is necessary the outcomes for children are good
- They have the right working conditions that means they have time to do good quality work with children, parents/carers and their support network
For more information
Guidance on using Signs of Safety
Signs of Safety was developed in child protection services, so this is the umbrella term that we use for the approach. When we use Signs of Safety within different services we adapt it to those situations and it is known as:
- Signs of Wellbeing at prevention and early help (CAF)
- Signs of Safety at child in need and child protection
- Signs of Stability for work with cared for children and young people and care leavers
- Resources for work in each of these areas are included below.
Brighter Futures Vision
The Brighter Futures vision is to promote the wellbeing and resilience of families with children from conception to 18. For children with additional needs, support continues until they are 25 as we work with adult services to ensure a smooth transition for help and support into adulthood.
This vision will be achieved by empowering and supporting children and families wherever possible to help themselves, using universal and community-based services in the first instance. When more specialist help is needed we will support families by offering the right service, at the right time, by professionals with a range of skills to prevent escalation of need.
In Thurrock, we are using a whole range of professionals who work with children, young people and their families to deliver the Brighter Futures Strategy, meaning that we will work together to ensure services are co-ordinated, accessible and where possible, local.
Full details of the Brighter Futures Strategy can be found by clicking here
The Brighter Futures Training Plan is set out below with links to the relevant training page:-
SETDAB Stalking Campaign 2019
What is stalking?
Stalking is a pattern of unwanted, fixated and obsessive behavior which is intrusive and causes fear of violence or serious alarm or distress.
Stalking is a criminal offence and anyone can be a victim. On average 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men will experience stalking in their adult life. It causes victims to make changes to their lives such as stopping or changing the way they socialise, changing their routes to work or isolating themselves. This in turn can have substantial adverse effects on mental and physical health.
Most victims know their stalker but the most common is the ‘ex-intimate’. These perpetrators have been in a previous relationship with the victim, usually abusive and controlling in nature. Stalking will begin once the relationship ends in an attempt to keep control.
A stalker will have little or no regard for their victim and boundaries no longer exist. Although victims ‘just want it to stop’, the words ‘no’ and ‘stop’ become meaningless to the stalker and typically the stalking behavior will escalate.
More information can be found on the SETDAB website by clicking here
Thurrock LSCP are planning to run learning events on Stalking and Harassment, please view our online training brochure on a regular basis for information and also details of other learning events available.
Oakwood Place SARC
Oakwood Place SARC offers a comprehensive service for adults and children in Essex, who have experienced sexual violence or sexual abuse. Clients can access Oakwood Place via the Police and other professionals, as well as via the self-referral pathway (booking an appointment at the SARC, without police involvement).
At the SARC, individuals will be offered support and guidance, a medical assessment/treatment, a forensic examination, and the opportunity of aftercare referrals for support services. Clients will be offered these services based on their individual needs, and can choose to use as much or as little of the service as they wish.
For more information regarding what services the SARC can offer, please click here
Professionals - If would like to visit the SARC, please book onto one of their Open Days, more information can be found in the flyer below
SARC Professionals Open Day
Safer Sleep for Professionals
Promoting Safe Baby Care
There is no advice that guarantees the prevention of SIDS or SUDC but parents should be informed that, by following the safer sleep advice, it is possible to significantly lower the chance of this tragedy occurring.
Parents make decisions on safe baby care, for example about where to sleep their new baby and what bedding to buy, at different times. Therefore it is vitally important for midwives and other professionals working with parents during pregnancy to target parents with our safer sleep message.
This advice should be followed up by the midwife after the birth, and again by the health visitor in the early weeks of the baby’s life.
It is essential that all professionals in touch with parents and visiting the family home make sure that the messages are understood by them, and do not assume that someone else has already offered leaflets or other materials.
Thurrock LSCP offer an E-Learning course on Safer Sleeping for Babies - Reducing the Risk of SIDS - if you would like to learn more about the course, or to apply, please click here.
Should you any additional questions about the advice, the research or anything else, please contact the Lullaby Trust as detailed below:-
Reducing Parental Conflict
Conflict is a normal and necessary part of family life. However, when conflict between parents is destructive, it can have negative consequences for both the parents and their children.
In Thurrock, we believe that family stability is the key to delivering the best outcomes for children and young people, and that good parental relationships (whether they are living together or not) are at the heart of the stability.
Arguments and conflict between parents may occur for a number of reasons and when they are managed and resolved, there are few, if any, lasting effects on the relationships or on children. However, where arguments and conflict are frequent, intense and poorly resolved, children can be affected in many different ways, such as:-
- They may feel responsible
- Become withdrawn, sad or angry
- Poor academic outcomes
- Negative peer relationships
- This can also potentially impact on their ability to form and maintain health relationships of their own.
How are we reducing parental conflict?
Thurrock is working with Partners on reducing family conflict and supporting families earlier so that conflict does not lead to lasting damage for children, young people and their parents.
Offering support to address other issues in families is likely to be ineffective where the conflict between parents is not acknowledged and addressed.
Training for practitioners and supervisors
A suite of training options is available for front-line practitioners. These range from online training modules to face-to-face training and 'train the trainer sessions'.
The aim is to ensure that this important training becomes embedded in our practice and that practitioners across the Partnership are:-
- Aware of parental conflict and its impact on children
- Able to identify parental conflict, discuss with parents and signpost to appropriate services where relevant
- Able to build sustainability to deliver future training themselves via a 'train the trainer' approach.
Reducing Parental Conflict across Thurrock - One day course
This is being offered on a range of dates and covers the following areas:-
- Recognising and supporting parents in Parental Conflict - Applying knowledge, skills and techniques
- Working with Parents in Conflict: How do you support, refer or intervene?
Please note that attendees will be given access to and are expected to complete an eLearning programme prior to attending the training on Module 1 - Understanding Parental Conflict and its impact of child outcomes
To book to undertake the eLearning course, please click here
Access to technology by children has facilitated instant connectivity and accessibility, children are able to communicate freely with people they would not usually interact with. Research into online exploitation of children has indicated that children are less likely to disclose being harmed online so harm online is often discovered accidentally by parents/carers or through notifications by the Police. Also, exploitation online does not always follow familiar models of child exploitation so can be more difficult to detect by professionals.
Perpetrators can use social media apps and online games to identify young people whom they seek to groom. Children can be groomed online without ever meeting the perpetrator face to face, perpetrators online can be known to use persuasive language to arrange meeting the young person quickly. GPS technology can be use to pinpoint (within a few meters) where a photo was taken - possibly revealing a victim's location easily. They can be coerced to post sexual images of themselves, or peers, online or via their mobile phone. Then they have no control over these images which can lead to heightened trauma for the victim as there is a visual record of the abuse and they experience repeat victimisation with each viewing of their abuse. Perpetrators can use these images as a bargaining tool with subsequent threats and coercion to engage in further sexual activity and sharing of images.
Some of the methods of online exploitation of young people include:-
- Harassment and bullying through text messaging.
- Purchasing mobile phones for victims and sharing their numbers among group or gang members.
- Randomly contacting children via social networking sites.
- Using 'friends' lists on networking sites of known victims to target children and young people.
- Viewing extremely or violent pornography and discussing it during sexual assaults.
- Posting images of victims with rival gang members to invite a sexual assault as punishment.
- Filming and distributing incidents of rape.
- Contacting and grooming children and young people through online gaming sites.
Access the campaign materials for the parents, Did you Know Campaign
Exploring a young person's online world
Most young people use digital technology on a regular basis, moving between their online and offline words seamlessly. Professionals should be aware that digital technology is an integral part of young people's lives and influential in the formation of their identify and relationships with others. Therefore, exploring a young person's online network and how they choose who, and who not, to interact with is essential in effective safeguarding.
The PCFSW Digital Research & Practice Development Project (May 2020) has some practitioner guidance on how to explore a young person's online activity to determine the aspects that may enhance their resilience or may be a risk to their safety and wellbeing. This offers fourth dimension to the DoH Assessment Framework to include digital citizenship and digital risks.
Young people's use of various social media apps can change rapidly. The NPSCC provides up to date information and guidance about popular social networks, apps and games young people are currently using.
Online Safeguarding - The Dark Web - The Children's Society briefing explains what the dark web is, why young people may be accessing it and what to do if you have concerns.
Grooming of Children online
The grooming of children online aims to develop a 'special' relationship with the child so they lower their inhibitions. However, online grooming can often take the form of the perpetrator adopting a false identity in order to groom the child more quickly and arrange an offline meeting to carry out a contact sexual offence. During the grooming process online, the perpetrator will try to find out as much about the victim as possible in order to determine the likelihood of the child telling others.
They may then try to isolate the child from these protective networks through threats or bribes. This process involves removing the child's inhibitions to sexual activity by exposing them to child sexual abuse images. Repeated exposure aims to de-sensitise the child to sexual activity between adults and children and distort their understanding of social norms. May children can feel less inhibited in their online worlds and find themselves caught in a trap of being 'duped' into saying or doing something they later feel ashamed about. This sense of same further silences child victims who feel unable to speak out about the abuse they experienced.
Breck's Last Game explains how online gaming can be used to groom and exploit young people.
Youth-Produced Sexual Imagery
This includes photographs, videos or live streaming. Young people may be coerced by adults or peers to share sexual images of themselves or pass on images sent to them. These are criminal offences, even if the image is of the young person themselves. 'Making' of indecent images including opening, accessing, downloading or storing online content. 'Sharing' includes sending an email, offering a fail to a sharing platform or uploading to a site others have access to. This guidance for young people explains the legal framework around this issue in more detail.
Childline's Zipit app, uses humour to help teenagers to help teenagers deal with unwanted requests for sexual images of themselves. The free app offers young people a gallery of images and animations which they can send in response to requests for sexual pictures and to deal with difficult sexting situations.
Cyberbullying can be defined as "The use of Information Communication Technology, particularly mobile phones and the internet to deliberately hurt or upset someone" (Department for Children, Schools & Families, 2007). Cyberbullying is a form of bullying with 12% of young people being affected by this. There is guidance for schools and an online PSHE toolkit.
Bullying Online is an online help and advice service combatting all forms of bullying. Recognising that many young people that have lost friends through being bullied in the real world may turn to the internet to make new friends, the 'Staying safe in cyberspace' section gives tips for staying safe in chat rooms. There is also a section on mobile phone bullying, giving tips on how to protect yourself, and information on how the law can help. The site provides information for pupils, teachers and parents.
Online Sexual Harm Reduction Guide - NWG and Marie Collins Foundation
Southend, Essex and Thurrock Domestic Abuse Board (SETDAB)
The Southend, Essex and Thurrock Domestic Abuse Board (SETDAB) is made up of representatives from agencies and organisations working to join up and better facilitate Southend, Essex and Thurrock's vision to work together to enable everyone to live a life free from all forms of domestic abuse.
For more information or to sign up for SETDAB's newsletter, please click on the link below:-
Parents & Carers
Information for Parents
Being a Parent or Carer is not always easy. There are many challenges and demands and knowing that you are not alone can often help.
If you are concerned that a child or young person is being harmed, neglected or is at risk you should contact Thurrock Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub on 01375 652802. Out of hours (Monday to Thursday 16.30 to 09.00, Friday from 16.30 through to 09.00 Monday and public holidays) plase call the Emergency Duty Team on 01375 372468
To assist we have provided some information and useful links to different organisations that you may find helpful.
As we improve and develop our site ,we will also add from time to time articles or information that may be of assistance, so please visit us when you can.
To help you remember to visit us you can save this site in your favourites folder or download our quick link to your mobile or tablet homescreen. Just add Thurrock LSCP to your browser URL and when page opens save to your homescreen.
Drugs and Alcohol
Most young people will come into contact with some form or drugs at some point during their life. The majority of teenagers make the decision not to take them but if they do it can be for a number of reasons:-
Peer pressure; or
As a parent/carer it is a good idea to fully understand the facts around drugs. Talk openly with your child about drugs and the risks and different effects that they have, this could help them feel more comfortable and confident about making the right choices both now and in the future.
What are these you may ask. Legal Highs are psychoactive drugs that contain various chemical ingredients, some of which are illegal while others are not. They produce similar effects to illegal drugs like cocaine, cannabis and ecstasy.
These are sold in a variety of forms:-
- capsules; to name just a few examples.
The main difference is that they are not controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Although the mimic the effects of illegal drugs, they are chemically and structurally different enough to avoid being officially classed as illegal substances.
One of the biggest problems is that little research has gone into their effects, especially over the longer term. However, if they produce similar psychological effects as cocaine, ecstasy or cannabis, they are also likely to carry similar risks and may some will have new risks that are not known about yet.
Children can be drawn into alcohol even if their first experience of it is unpleasant. They may not like the taste or the feeling of being drunk but often they continue to drink.
It is important for them to understand the risks of underage drinking and evidence shows that meaningful conversations between parents and their children help the child develop a sensible relationship with alcohol.
For advice, tips and facts please look at the Parent Guide to talking to Children by clicking:-
Where can I go for support
Every child deserves a safe and secure home, however around 1 in 5 children have been exposed to domestic abuse and witnessing this can have long-term effects on children and young people.
So what is domestic abuse?
Domestic abuse is any type of controlling, bullying, threatening or violent behavior between people in a relationship. This can seriously harm children and young people and witnessing domestic abuse is child abuse.
It is important to remember that domestic abuse:-
- can happen inside and outside the home
- can happen in any relationship and can continue even after the relationship has ended
- both men and women can be abused or abusers
- can happen over the phone, on the internet and on social networking sites.
For more information on the types, effects and signs of domestic abuse please visit:-
Where can I get help?
To make a disclosure of domestic abuse for either yourself or someone else, please contact:-
- Essex Police Domestic Abuse Central Referral Unit on 101 extension 180340
- Essex Police Domestic Abuse - non emergency number - 0800 358 0351
Further information and support
For Female Victims of Domestic Abuse:-
For Male Victims of Domestic Abuse:-
For Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT+) victims
Disability Support Groups
For perpetrators of domestic abuse
Are you thinking of employing a private tutor or coach?
Parents and carers may seek private tuition for their child for a variety of reasons:-
- to help with their school work and improve their grades;
- develop their language skills;
- to learn a musical instrument or be accompanied on a musical instrument; or
- other extracurricular activity (eg sports coaching, drama).
Most private tutors and tuition centers advertise in local papers and on the internet and it is the responsibility of the parent/carer to ensure the tutor is appropriately qualified and safe to work with children or the tuition center has undertaken the necessary safeguarding checks.
Some simple steps/checks that you can undertake are:-
- Always interview the tutor and be satisfied that they answer your questions fully
- Ask to see personal references and ensure you contact them to confirm the referees
- Ask to see their qualification certificates
- Ask to see their CV or employment record
- If the tutor is a qualified teacher ask to see a copy of the tutors Teaching Agency Registration and a copy of their DBS (Criminal Record Check)
Remember - Any tutor that is mindful and aware of current expectations towards safeguarding children should have no objection to any of these checks or arrangements. Do not feel that you are acting unreasonably to expect this and you should not accept arrangements you are not happy with.
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
What is Child Sexual Exploitation?
CSE is when an abuser manipulates, coerces or forces a child or young person into performing sexual acts.
Abusers are usually older males, but they can sometimes be of a similar age or be female. They are very sophisticated in the way they operate, meaning what they do is well thought out and planned.
An abuser will know areas to target. They are skilled in approaching children or young people in person or may use a young girl or woman, or boy or girl to make the initial contact. Some use the internet or mobile phones to engage the child or young person.
To do this they may use threats, violence, introduce them to alcohol or drugs and create a dependancy, or make the child/young person feel special through attention or gifts or pretend to be their boyfriend or girlfriend.
They will aim to alienate them from their friends and family - this is referred to as the grooming process.
More information can be found in the CSE Parent Guide which can be downloaded by clicking here
While there is a decreasing trend nationally, there has been a marked rise in the number of Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths in recent years in Southend, Essex and Thurrock.
No evidence has been identified to suggest a particular cause for the recent rise but there are certain co-sleeping risk factors, including:
co-sleeping with a regular smoker
co-sleeping on a sofa
co-sleeping after consuming alcohol or drugs
If the baby was born prematurely or had low birth weight
Quick Tips for Safer Sleep
Things you can do
- Always place your baby on their back to sleep
- Keep your baby smoke free during pregnancy and after birth
- Place your baby to sleep in a separate cot of Moses basket in the same room as you for the first six months
- Breastfeed your baby
- Use a firm, flat, waterproof mattress in good condition
Things to avoid
- Never sleep on a sofa or in an armchair with your baby
- Do not sleep in the same bed as your baby if you smoke, drink or take drugs or are extremely tired, if your baby was born prematurely or was of low birth-weight
- Avoid letting your baby get too hot
- Do not cover your baby's face or head while sleeping or use loose bedding.
Additional Advice and Support
If you are a parent or carer of a young child, or know someone that is, you can get support and advice from your midwife or health visitor, so please speak to them if you have any questions, whether this be about safer sleep or other things like getting help to give up smoking, advice on settling your baby and getting rest.
Click on the Unicef logo to find out about their baby-friendly initiative to promote and support breastfeeding and close, loving parent-infant relationships.
Call 0808 802 6869 or click the Lullaby trust logo for Safer Sleep advice, bereavement support and awareness raising.
Safer Sleep for Babies - a guide for parents
Baby Check booklet
Safer Sleep Advice for Premature Babies booklet
Safer Sleep Product Guide
CEOP Activity Packs
CEOP have created a page to support parents during COVID-19 and the closure of Schools.
Every fortnight, they will be releasing new home activity packs with simple 15 minute activities that you can do with your child to support their online safety at a time when they will be spending more time online at home.
Visit their website using the link below to access these.
Online Child Exploitation
This section is aimed at parents/carers. If you are a professional or someone working with children and families please click here. If you are a young person please click here
New videos and Q&A with the 2Johns - for more information click here
Online Child Exploitation is a growing issue, highlighted even more in recent months during the COVID-19 lockdown period. The internet and social media has become so integral to our daily lives, as we socialise and work online. For children, the internet has become the new classroom and playground. Sadly there are people out there that take advantage of this.
The resources and information on this page aim to help you understand the way your children view the digital work. A work that, to them, is being more and more their reality.
It is important to remember that the victim, the child, is NEVER to blame. Victims are always the victims. Online groomers can be very persuasive and children should never be made to feel they did anything to encourage their exploitation. The best response an adult can provide a child who has been a victim of online exploitation is to comfort them, be supportive and help them address the issues they have encountered.
And of course, it is not just about when things go wrong. You can help your child to stay safe by creating an environment in which they feel able to speak openly about concerns they may have. You can do this my making good internet habits a part of your daily lives by limiting screen time, no devices at dinnertime/bedtime and by taking an active interest in the games that they are playing.
Take a listen to this podcast by The 2 Johns - a general overview of the internet, how we view it, and how our young people are growing up in a world of social media influences.
With thanks to everyone involved in creating materials for this campaign:-
Parents of young children and pre-schoolers
You do not need to talk to your pre-schooler about online safety yet, right? Wrong. If you treat online safety just as you would treat road safety, then talking about safe internet use becomes the norm and not something that they feel needs to be hidden as they get older.
This podcast from The 2 Johns talks about how pre-schoolers and young people view the work through the lens of the internet. There are useful tops about how to develop a health curiosity in children about what they see and do on the internet.
Parents of pre-teens
Parents Did you Know ... the number of children exploited online doubles between the ages of 11 and 12 years old. This means those at the end of primary school, about to enter secondary school are particularly at risk, especially as it is a time when some children begin to enter the world of social media.
The brain development they are going through at this age makes it hard for them to make decisions or plan ahead. They lack the ability to fully understand consequences, or view, anything from someone else's perspective. They get an increased drive for risk taking and trying out new things. They are super sensitive to social status and so they start craving peer approval.
These podcasts by The Children's Society talk about this in more detail and about the ways parents can help their child navigate their confusing time in their lives. Podcast Transcript
Parents Did you Know .... the security settings of off game chats are often not as good as those built into the game. Discord is a chat forum used by a lot of gamers and it's important to be aware that strangers can contact your child especially on public or large servers and send inappropriate, mean or sexual content. Find out more about Discord and how to keep your child safe. This video by James Pearson, Violence and Vulnerability Unit is all about gaming. He discusses why parents need to be aware of their child's chat can filter out of the game and onto other platforms and what they need to be discussing with their children to keep their online gaming an enjoyable experience.
Perpetrators are increasingly targeting children and young people via online gaming sites, pretending to be someone who they are not. This can often lead to bullying, grooming and sexual exploitation. The Breck Foundation is a self-funding charity, raising awareness of playing safe whilst on the internet.
CEOP's Thinkuknow has launched Band Runner, an interactive game for 8-10 year olds to help build their knowledge, confidence and skills to stay safe from risks they might encounter online. The game is hosted on the area for 8-10 year olds on the Thinkuknow website.
Internet Matters Online Gaming - The Basics
There is no 'usual' stereotype, any young person could send a nude picture, even your child. Make sure they understand that it is illegal to send nudes, even of themselves. And if it happens, try to understand whether there is peer pressure or grooming involved.
Taking, making, sharing and possessing indecent images and pseudo-photographs (an image made by computer graphics, which appears to be a photograph) of people under 18 is illegal. It does not matter how old they look, looking at indecent images of under 18s is illegal.
The Home Office has published guidance to help young people understand the law on making and sharing indecent images of people under 18 years-old. There are also short films that demonstrate the serious harm that viewing indecent images of children can cause, including the Is She Legal? video.
This podcast by The 2 Johns looks at why and how young people are drawn into taking and sharing inappropriate images. They discuss how both parents and young people may be feeling and how to have an empathetic conversation with your child, as well as practical advice on getting photos removed.
Case Study: Sharing Sexual Imagery Online - A Carers Story
Say no to nudes!
Childline's Zipit App, uses humour to help teenagers deal with unwanted requests for sexual images of themselves. The free app offers young people a gallery of images and animations which they can send in response to requests for sexual pictures and to deal with difficult sexting situations.
Videos and livestreams
Houseparty exploded in popularity during lock-down, but did you know this is not automatically set to private? That means anyone could video call your child without them having to accept. Make sure your child knows to change their privacy settings. Find out more about Houseparty safety on NetAware.
Livestreaming is becoming a very popular way for young people to broadcast themselves on many different apps, to communicate with their friends or wider community. just as their favorite celebrities and Vloggers do. Make sure your children understand the risks of livestreaming:-
- They cannot be edited.
- You cannot erase what people have already seen
- Personal information might be given away by things said during the stream, things shown on camera or even in the background.
- Livestreams can be recorded by others, who can then keep a copy even after the stream has ended or expired.
Find out more about livestreaming and staying safe
This online bullying podcast looks at the pressure from social media and the impact this has on young people. The 2 Johns talk about how parents can create a relationship with their child that encourages them to tell them about these issues and the support available. Parents, Did You Know ... just under half of those being investigated for exploiting others online are children and most are the same age as the victim. If you are worried your child might have been a victim there is more information on how to get help on our bullying page.
All About Apps
With children spending more and more time online over the last few months, there has been an explosion in popularity of certain apps and games. TikTok has soared in popularity in recent months, with many celebrities getting involved with dances and challenges. If your child is using the app, make sure you know the risks involved and how to change privacy settings to private.
NSPCC's NetAware has lots of information on how to make your child's social media secure and a detailed description of the most popular apps, sites and games. This printable guide from the Children's Society also has a list of the most popular sites and apps.
"What's your favorite game? Can I play?"
"Can you show me your favorite TikTok dance/YouTube video?"
"Have you got online friends? How do you know who they are?"
"What do you think is ok for a child your age to be going?" (So they feel involved in the decision making)
Showing an interest in your child's online life will help them feel they are able to come to you with any concerns they may have.
NSPCC - Talking about online safety
Safer Internet - Talking about online safety
Parental Controls and security settings
Parents and carers should be ensuring the settings of apps and online games that their children use are set to private, with location settings turned off, to restrict the ways in which they could potentially be targeted by perpetrators. Many apps are public facing automatically, and have to be manually set to 'private'.
You can use parental controls to help you block or filter the content your child sees when searching online. Parental controls are also available to help you to:-
- plan what time of day your child can go online and how long for
- stop them from downloading apps they are too young for
- manage the content different members of the family can see
It is important to bear in mind that children and young people can potentially have access to the internet anywhere, not just at home. There are wifi hotspots, internet cafes, friends houses and of course mobile data available 24/7. So, whilst parental controls are useful, the most important thing you can do is have an open and inquisitive relationship with your child about their online interests.
Criminal Exploitation included gang crime and county lines. A gang may claim control over territory in a community, and engaging either individually or collectively in violent behaviour or other types of criminal activity. County lines is when gangs and organised crime networks groom and exploit children to sell drugs. They may make them travel across counties, and they use dedicated mobile phone 'lines' to supply drugs. Young people who are being criminally exploited often use public transport (train, buses and taxis) to get around. Read more below about our campaign to raise awareness of safeguarding on public transport.
Safeguarding Vulnerable Young People on Public Transport (Operation Henderson Campaign)
Operation Henderson, is a joint initiative being run by the Thurrock Local Safeguarding Children Partnership, Essex Safeguarding Children Board, Southend Safeguarding Children Partnership, British Transport Police, Essex Police, the Violence and Vulnerability Unit, Rail Operators, local councils and The Children's Society. It aims to raise awareness of the vulnerability of young people to exploitation and abuse at stations and transport networks in parts of Essex.
Research and local data have shown transport networks are used by vulnerable young people who may be at risk of exploitation, criminal exploitation and trafficking. Young people often gravitate towards stations because they are traditionally busy, anonymous places that also provide some form of shelter and access to food and drinks. A young person may use a station or form of public transport in an attempt to disappear. Bus and rail networks can also be used by offenders to traffic young people for the purpose of sexual and criminal exploitation.
Despite local restrictions, research has shown that young people vulnerable to exploitation are just as likely to be using trains, buses and taxis as they were prior to COVID. A young person travelling on their own during a lockdown is in fact an indicator of potential abuse. They may be unable to stop, for fear of punishment from their exploiters, and during a lockdown less people travelling means young people and their exploiters can travel around unchecked.
Spot the signs of exploitation
- Children who are alone and look frightened and maybe have no tickets or money to pay the fare
- Children/adults who look frightened in the company of other children or adults
- Children travelling along at night
- Those who do not look comfortable with adults they are travelling with
- Allows others to speak for them when addressed directly
- Those under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Children in school uniform during the school day
- Their physical appearance may show signs of injury, malnourishment and maybe unkempt
- They might seem unfamiliar with the local area, or not have a local accent
- They could be travelling during school hours or unusual hours (early in the morning, late at night)
- Are they travelling the same route on a regular basis (once or twice a week)?
- They could be receiving excessive texts or phone calls
- Are they deliberately avoiding authority figures such as police officers or railway staff?
- Some may be with older individuals who are purchasing tickets for them or giving them money for tickets.
The Police - If you have intelligence or wish to report concerns please call 101. If you think a child or young person is in immediate danger always call 999.
British Transport Police can be contacted by phone on 0800 40 50 40 or members of the public can report a crime or an incident that occurred on your train via text on 61016.
Crimestoppers - You can report concerns anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org
Look Closer Campaign - a joint initiative with The Children's Society and British Transport Police encouraging members of the public to learn the signs of child exploitation and understand how to report it if worried.