HELPING YOU TO HELP US KEEP YOUR CHILD SAFE
The safety of your child is really important to us, and we do everything we can to make sure that your child learns in a safe environment. We have clear policies and procedures in place and you can access the school’s Child Protection/Safeguarding policy on the school website or request a hard copy from reception.
Part of our commitment to safeguarding is to support students and parents by increasing awareness of the types of issues faced by young people in society today, as well as providing the guidance, advice and resources which can help to address those issues.
Sometimes, a change in behaviour could signal that something bad is happening to them. Instances of child abuse and bullying are rare but, sadly, they do happen.
Below are a list of things to look out for which may be signs of abuse or bullying. It is important that you know what to look for in the event that a child is being abused.
There are four types of abuse:
Physical – this is when a child is deliberately hurt or injured
Emotional – this is when a child is made to feel frightened, worthless or unloved. It can be by shouting or using threats. It can also be when children see their parents, or visitors to the home fighting or using violence.
Sexual – this is when a child is influenced or forced to take part in a sexual activity. This can be physical activity or none physical, e.g. being made to look at inappropriate images.
Neglect – this is when a child is not being taken care of by their parents. It can be poor hygiene, poor diet, not keeping appointments for additional support, not coming to school or being left home alone.
Most cases of abuse happen with someone the child or family knows rather than a stranger. If the unthinkable happens, you may notice:
- Bruises or other injuries
- A change in behaviour – from quiet to loud, or from happy-go-lucky to withdrawn
- Fear of a particular person, or a reluctance to be alone with them
- Secrecy around a relationship with a particular person
- Reluctance to discuss where they go, or who they are with
- Sexual talk or knowledge beyond their years
- Being watchful, or always on edge
- Losing interest in their appearance, hobbies or family life
- Alcohol or drug taking
- Having money and refusing to say where it has come from
- Wetting the bed
- Becoming clingy
Signs of bullying include:
- Reluctance to go to school, truancy, lateness
- Torn clothing, losing dinner money or asking for more money than usual
- Complaining of regular headaches or stomach aches
- Unexplained bumps or cuts
Internet and Mobile Phone Safety:
- Try to put the computer in a family room where it will be easier for you to supervise your child’s online activity
- Make sure that your child knows they should never give their full name, address and contact details to people they chat to on the internet
- Gently explain that some people they talk to on the internet may not be who they say they are and might say or do unpleasant or hurtful things
- Find out whether the ‘parental controls’ available from some internet service providers will be helpful
- Think about installing software that can filter out inappropriate material
- Talk to your child about their internet use. Ask them which sites they enjoy most, and why. Show you are interested, while understanding their need for some privacy
- Impress on your child that they can talk to you if they are worried about something that has happened during their internet use
- Make it very clear that your child must never arrange to meet someone they have chatted to online without your permission. Their new ‘friend’ might well be a local young person of similar age, but they might not
- You may be alerted to question your child’s online activity if they are spending more and more time on the internet
- Being secretive – reluctant to talk about their internet activity, closing the screen page when you are close by
- Spending less time with the family, or giving up previous hobbies and interests
- Losing interest in their schoolwork, regularly failing to complete homework
- Starting to talk about ‘new friends’ that you have not met and who do not visit your home
- Overly possessive of their mobile phone or computer – perhaps overreacting if someone picks it up or asks to borrow it
- Showing fear or discomfort when their phone rings, or quickly turning it off without answering
- Undergoing a change in personality that you cannot attribute to any obvious cause
Remember that none of these signs prove that your child is at risk in any way, but if you notice anything that confuses or worries you try talking things over with them. They may well tell you to stop fussing. They may be laid back. In any case, think about their demeanour and attitude as well as what they say.
For further advice and information visit: Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre: www.ceop.gov.uk Stop It Now! www.stopitnow.org.uk
If you notice any of these things, try talking to your child; if you are not satisfied with their explanation (remember, they might be scared to admit what is happening), talk to our designated Child Protection Officers, who can give you advice and support:
Ms Trude Feiweles – Assistant Headteacher or Mrs Tanya Byrne, Pastoral Manager