COVID-19 resources on Safeguarding Children

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Building a country that works for all children post COVID-19

The Association of Directors of Children's Services

This discussion paper looks at the impacts of Covid-19 on children and their families. Its purpose is three-fold: to put children, young people and their lived experiences of the pandemic front and centre in national recovery planning; to articulate what is needed to restore the public support services they rely on; and to capture the positives and gains made during a very complex national, and indeed, global emergency. The paper reveals that the directors of children’s services in England share concerns about increased exposure of children to ‘hidden harms’ such as domestic violence and the impact of social distancing on children and young people’s development and on their mental and emotional health and wellbeing. The vulnerability of specific cohorts, including care leavers, young carers, children and young people in conflict with the law and families with no recourse to public funds, has been heightened during this period. Covid-19 has disrupted professionals’ relationships with children and families and weakened the sustainability of both the voluntary and charitable sector and the early years and childcare sector. Both families and the workforce have shown great levels of resilience, flexibility and creativity. The paper calls for a rapid review of the response to the first phase of the pandemic to improve preparedness for future waves and spikes of infection, arguing that the experiences of practitioners and of children and families must be part of this process. It also suggests that the recovery phase offers the government an opportunity to further its ‘levelling up’ agenda, and the initiation of an ambitious, world leading health inequalities strategy, making wellbeing rather than straightforward economic performance the central goal of policy.

Last updated on hub: 20 July 2020

Safeguarding: remote and blended learning: challenges and approaches

Education and Training Inspectorate

This paper identifies the key safeguarding challenges faced by schools and educational and training organisations during the period of educational closures due to COVID-19 and how these have been approached across all phases of education and training. Challenges include: the impact of the absence of day-to-day contact with more vulnerable children and young people; the reported increase in domestic abuse cases during COVID-19; a need to have updated policies reflecting a change to e-learning practices; concerns regarding the use of online remote learning platforms or communication methods; the high numbers of apprentices who have lost their jobs or been furloughed; most European Social Fund (ESF) projects lacking the IT infrastructure for remote learning and on-line support for their participants. The paper sets out a range of examples from each phase detailing how specific organisations have responded and the approaches they have put in place.

Last updated on hub: 20 July 2020

Lessons from lockdown: supporting vulnerable children and young people returning to school and to learning

Barnardo's UK

This briefing highlights what Action for Children Cymru and Barnardo’s Cymru have learnt from their services, practitioners, and partners in schools about the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable children, young people and their families. It explores what might facilitate their recovery and promote their development as we emerge from the crisis. In particular it explores the support that may be needed in, and for, schools to support the mental health and well-being of vulnerable children and young people as they transition back into the learning environment; and to support vulnerable families so that, where possible, children and young people can remain at home safely and improve their well-being, development and learning. The evidence suggests that during a time of pandemic more children and families will require a range of support over the short to medium term. In order to address this expected need the briefing recommends a set of actions, including reviewing the Together for Mental Health Delivery plan to extend access to additional lower tier, non-clinical community based services, to all families with school aged children.

Last updated on hub: 14 July 2020

Roma children’s participation: shaping responses to COVID-19 in the EU and Bulgaria

University of Central Lancashire

This policy paper presents research on the impact of COVID-19 of Roma children, including in the UK, and the barriers to their health and wellbeing and the potential of participatory responses. The findings are set in the current context of child poverty and related EU initiatives on poverty and participation. The findings show consistent patterns of challenging conditions experienced by some young Roma and their communities in relation to lack of essentials for basic health and income; wellbeing and education; discrimination and participation. Lessons to learned are highlighted and priority actions are recommended, including: improve supported and ethical mechanisms for hearing and responding to children’s views so that children share their opinions; community involvement in advocacy work; improvement of community-based services in terms of planning and service delivery; and improvement of intersectoral collaboration so that social, educational and health measures towards children and families are in line with specific needs and development opportunities in family context of the child.

Last updated on hub: 14 July 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) supplementary national violence against women guidance

Scottish Government

This supplementary guidance aims to ensure a sustainable, joined-up approach to safeguarding the needs of women, children and young people experiencing VAWG during COVID-19 is embedded at a local strategic level. The guide aims to ensure local decision-makers are aware of the suite of COVID-19 guidance that has been developed nationally and that may be relevant to supporting women, children and young people affected by VAWG, and to tackling perpetrators of that abuse; highlight risks to women, children and young people affected by VAWG in the short term (during periods of lockdown and other social restrictions), medium term (as restrictions are lifted and we move towards recovery), and long term (as partners transition to a ‘new normal’); and support local decision-makers to identify short-, medium- and long-terms actions to mitigate risks as a result of COVID-19 and begin to support early planning for the post-pandemic period in order to ensure recovery needs are recognised and addressed at a strategic level.

Last updated on hub: 13 July 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19): support for parents and carers to keep children safe online

Home Office

Advice and guidance to help parents and carers to keep children safe online during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. As a result of the measures introduced during the lockdown, children are likely to be spending more time online. Whilst there are benefits to being online in order to stay connected to family and friends during this period, this guidance recognises many parents may feel concerned about the activities and content their children are accessing. It signposts to organisations, programmes, advice and resources covering: child sexual abuse; radicalising content; sexting (youth-produced sexual imagery); cyberbullying; age-inappropriate content and parental controls; apps to help children stay safe online; suicide content; and support for children. [Published 14 April 2020. Last updated 11 February 2021]

Last updated on hub: 02 July 2020

Isolated and struggling: social isolation and the risk of child maltreatment, in lockdown and beyond

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

This briefing pulls together research evidence to explore whether the conditions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic heighten the risk of child maltreatment in the UK. From the analysis of a range of different risks and issues three main areas of risk were identified: 1. Increase in stressors to parents and caregivers – the evidence confirms that the risk of child abuse is higher when caregivers become overloaded by the stressors in their lives and there are indications that the coronavirus pandemic has increased stressors on caregivers; 2. Increase in children and young people's vulnerability – there are indications that the conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic have heightened the vulnerability of children and young people to certain types of abuse, for example online abuse, abuse within the home, criminal exploitation and child sexual exploitation; 3. Reduction in normal protective services – there is evidence that the ‘normal’ safeguards have been reduced during the pandemic but social connections and social support can provide a protective effect for children’s safety and wellbeing. The report recommends a national and local response from governments and statutory agencies which includes practical steps such as: providing practical support to parents around income maximisation to reduce stresses caused by financial insecurity; addressing digital exclusion, ensuring all children have access to the technology they need to access school, therapeutic support and other services; comprehensive and long-term funding for children’s services, with at least £2 billion a year invested in early intervention and therapeutic services.

Last updated on hub: 02 July 2020

Domestic abuse: get help during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

Home Office

Guidance on how to get help for people who are victims of domestic violence or know someone who is a victim of domestic abuse. It acknowledges that coronavirus household isolation instructions can cause anxiety for those who are experiencing or feel at risk of domestic abuse and makes it clear that those instructions do not apply if someone needs to leave their home to escape domestic abuse. The guidance covers the following topics: coronavirus (COVID-19) and domestic abuse; recognise domestic abuse; report it; get help if you, or someone you know, is a victim; economic abuse; welfare benefits and housing advice; get help if you think you may be an abuser; support for employers and professionals; get legal help; What to do if you don’t have settled status in the UK. The guidance signposts to additional support materials. [Published 5 October 2018. Last updated 6 August 2020]

Last updated on hub: 30 June 2020

Responding to the challenges of COVID-19: guidance for practitioners working with domestic abuse perpetrators

Respect

This document offers advice to professionals and practitioners who are working with domestic abuse perpetrators during the COVID-19 crisis. It is based on the learning from conversations with accredited services working with perpetrators and victims of domestic abuse and national and international experts. The document recommends that all practitioners follow their own organisation’s health and safety guidance, safeguarding procedures and business and contingency protocols. When considering any changes to existing service provision, a set of principles, outlined in the Respect Service Standard, remain important. They are: safety first; do not harm; the system matters; support for the staff. The document also signposts to additional resources, advice and support services.

Last updated on hub: 30 June 2020

Children’s social care guide to keeping families safe from domestic abuse throughout the COVID-19 emergency

SafeLives

This guidance is for professionals working in children’s social care including children's social workers, family practitioners and early help teams during the COVID-19 crisis. The guide is structured around the following areas: coordination and multi-agency working; risk assessment and risk management; safety planning; children and young people; forced marriage, ‘honour’-based violence and abuse; perpetrators; child or adolescent to parent violence and abuse. There is an appendix with a list of resources, links and additional reading, including a list of helplines for both adult and child victims and those perpetrating abuse.

Last updated on hub: 30 June 2020

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