All children and young people in Doncaster deserve to live a safe and healthy life. As parents and carers there are some simple steps that you can take to help keep children and young people free from harm.
The NSPCC can provide lots of information to help keep children safe from abuse and other dangers, both online and in the physical world. Likewise RoSPA can provide a wealth of information to help prevent accidents – this includes tips for keeping children safe indoors, outdoors and on roads.
What is safeguarding?
Safeguarding is the action that is taken to support the welfare of vulnerable adults, children and young people and protect them from harm.
- Protecting children from abuse and maltreatment
- Preventing harm to children's health or development
- Ensuring children grow up with the provision of safe and effective care
Visit the Doncaster Safeguarding Children Partnership website to see Doncaster’s safeguarding procedures.
Child sexual and criminal exploitation are forms of child abuse.
Young people often trust their abuser and don't know what is happening is wrong, or feel they are unable to tell anyone due to fear, intimidation and violence.
We all have a role to play to spot the signs and help keep children and young people safe.
Leaving Children Home Alone
There is no set age for leaving a child home alone, however, it’s an offence to leave a child alone if it places them at risk.
When deciding whether or not your child is old enough to be left alone, you should use your own judgement and consider:
- Is your child happy to be left alone? Do they feel safe?
- Would they know what to do if there was a problem?
It can be difficult to decide whether your child is ready to be left alone; that's why NSPCC have created a new tool to help you make this decision. Visit their website to access their tool and read their guidance.
Babies, toddlers and young children should never be left alone.
Safety in the Home
There are many hazards than can occur in and around the home but accidents can be prevented. Child Accident Prevention Trust have lots of helpful information on common accidents and injuries. RoSPA also have lots of information, advice and resources about home safety.
Children learn from the world around them so it's important that you set a good example when using the roads. Teaching your child how to stay safe on the roads from a young age can help prevent accidents later on in life. You can read about how to teach road safety to children and visit the RoSPA website for information specifically for children and parents.
Car seats must be used for children from birth until they are 12 years old or 135cm tall (whichever comes first). Children aged 12 years+ or children who are taller than 135 cm must wear a seat belt It is important that children use the correct car seat for their height and weight, for more information on UK car seat safety, please see the Gov.uk website.
The internet is a brilliant resource. Children can play, learn, create and connect with other children. However, with this exciting resource comes risks. It is important that children are made aware of how to stay safe online to make sure that they are using the internet in a safe way. It is also necessary to make sure that you are doing what you can to protect your children online and know how to tackle any concerns you may have.
02 have partnered up with the NSPCC on helping parents to keep their children safe online. If you are unsure about the privacy settings and parental control on your child’s phone or tablet you can take the device into any 02 shop (you don’t have to be a 02 customer) and they will help you change the settings on the device.
You can also find lots of online safety tips and advice on the UK Safer Internet website.
Reporting online material promoting terrorism or extremism
Follow the online form to report online material promoting terrorism or extremism.
Bullying can occur either face to face such as name-calling or physical violence, or online (known as cyberbullying), this may be via text message or social media, etc.
If you are aware of someone who is being bullied your first step would be to raise the issue with school. If the issue need escalating you can either report bullying or ask for advice by contacting Doncaster’s anti-bullying services or following Doncaster’s anti-bullying procedures. The Young Minds website is also a very good source of information for parent and on the site there is a very useful guide for parents.
The Diana Award is an Anti-Bullying Campaign which involves a number of different projects aimed at reducing bullying in schools. On the website there is an anti-bullying parent page which is for parents who are seeking advice on bullying.
There is also advice available for if your child is bullying other children advice on preventing bullying.
Youth offending teams work with young people that get into trouble with the police and try to help them stay away from crime.
The youth offending team gets involved if a young person:
- gets into trouble with the police or is arrested
- is charged with a crime and has to go to court
- is convicted of a crime and given a sentence
Usually, the police are the first people to contact the youth offending team. However, family members and friends can also make contact if worried about a young person’s behaviour.
Domestic abuse, or domestic violence, includes a range of abusive behaviour (either physical, sexual, financial, psychological or emotional) between people 16 years or older, who are or were intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender.
We understand that the current COVID-19 isolation can put increased pressure on people, which can in turn lead to an increased risk of domestic abuse.
Victims of domestic abuse in South Yorkshire are now able to report incidents to South Yorkshire Police (SYP) via a dedicated online portal: Report an instance of Domestic Abuse or Controlling Behaviour
The portal is available to victims of domestic abuse who may be finding it difficult to report incidents over the phone. SYP are aware that seeking help or telling someone what’s happening over the phone may be incredibly difficult to do especially during lockdown due to concerns about being overheard, or prevented from making a call for help. The portal can be accessed via your smartphone, tablet or laptop, and gives the police information about what’s happening to you, with staff working 24/7 to monitor those reports the police will respond in the same way as they would if you had made a report over the phone.
If you are in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police - the police will continue to respond to emergency calls. If you are in danger and unable to talk on the phone, call 999, and then press 55. This will transfer your call to the relevant police force who will assist you without you having to speak.
Report an instance of Domestic Abuse or Controlling Behaviour via the online reporting portal. The portal will also be available via the dedicated COVID-19 page on the SYP website.
You can also take a look at SafeLives' guide for victims and survivors of domestic abuse.
- Childline - Support for children
- Keeping Your Child Safe – Tips on keeping your child safe while they develop their independence
- Talking About Difficult Topics - How to start the conversations about 'difficult' subjects that you need to have if you want to keep your children safe