Advice For Parents
Alcohol and Drugs
It’s important to understand the facts about alcohol and drugs so you can make informed decisions and keep yourself and others safe.
You may think that alcohol and drugs are the answers to life problems, whether that’s to help you fit in with others, look cool or to escape or cope with other problems in your life. However, alcohol and drugs can create other problems that could leave you worse off in the future.
Resources and organisations to help:
Talk to FRANK for friendly, confidential advice 24/7 Tel: 0300 1236600 or ext: 82111 to ask a question and FRANK will text you back.
Don’t be a Zombie gives you information relating to the effect of different substances on your mind and body.
Child abuse can mean a lot of different things such as neglect, physical, emotional or sexual abuse – it’s not always easy to know if you or someone you know is being abused. The important thing to remember is that no-one has the right to hurt you or make you do anything that feels wrong.
If you think you are being abused, it is important to talk to someone who you trust or you can call and ask to speak to a social worker or call ChildLine. If you or anyone you know is in immediate danger call the police on 999.
The four main types of abuse are:
When someone deliberately hurts or injures you. It can include hitting, kicking, hair pulling, beating with objects, throwing and shaking. No one has the right to hurt you in this way.
If someone is always putting you down, shouting at you or making you feel bad about yourself, this is emotional abuse. It’s wrong, even if they are not doing it on purpose. It can make you feel scared, stressed and upset.
Is being pressured, forced or tricked into taking part in any kind of sexual activity with an adult or another young person. This can include kissing, touching the young person’s genitals (private parts) or breasts, intercourse or oral sex. It can happen to anyone – boys and girls.
Neglect is when you are not being looked after properly. If your parents or carers are not getting the important things you need, don’t protect you from dangerous situations, help you when you’re ill or hurt, support you with your education or make it hard for you to care for yourself, this is neglect.
It is important to remember, you are not alone and your situation can improve if you speak out so the right people can help and protect you.
If you want to find out more information, visit the Think U Know website or click on your age below:
Counter-terrorism, Prevent and Channel
Prevent is a strand of the Government’s Counter Terrorism Strategy CONTEST and is about working together to ‘prevent’ children, young people and adults from being drawn into extremist activity including acts of terrorism. It is about everyone taking responsibility and knowing what to do if they have concerns.
Digital Safety During Covid-19
Due to the current situation, most of us will be at home for an extended period and are likely to be spending increasing amounts of time online. Extremists may use the COVID-19 outbreak to promote hateful views, for example through conspiracy theories blaming a particular group for the virus, or through spreading misinformation regarding these groups’ responses to it. To learn more about how to support children and young people stay safe online, check out our guidance on digital safety.
The new ACT Early campaign is already having a life-changing impact in getting help and advice to those who might be at risk of radicalisation. Since its launch in November 2020, the site has already received more than 25,000 individual visits and as a result the new national police Prevent advice line has been receiving calls every week from concerned family and friends, with specialist support being put in place where appropriate. The ACT Early website has two short films aimed at the general public, and concerned friends and family:
It provides an introduction to Prevent and to the work of Prevent officers. By improving understanding of Prevent and explaining the way we work with partners, we hope more people will be encouraged and assured to seek help at an earlier stage where appropriate.
Like child protection, Channel is a multi-agency safeguarding programme run in Councils in England and Wales. It works to support vulnerable people from being drawn into terrorism and offers support such as
- assistance with employment
Channel is about early intervention to protect vulnerable people from being drawn into committing terrorist-related activity and addresses all types of extremism.
Participation in Channel is voluntary. It is up to an individual, or their parents for children aged 17 and under, to decide whether to take up the support it offers. Channel does not lead to a criminal record.
More information on safeguarding young people from radicalisation including links to online resources and training can be found on the Kent Safeguarding Children Multi-Agency Partnership website.
Referrals are received from agencies such as schools and health services. For more information please contact the Prevent Team by clicking on this link Kent Prevent.
If there is risk of immediate harm or danger then you should contact the police on 999 or the Police Anti-Terrorist Hotline 0800 789 321
County Lines it is a term used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs from urban areas into rural areas. The leaders of these gangs will try to exploit children and vulnerable adults, often without them realising it. They often use other people to move and store drugs and money. They can use some very harsh measure to make young people or vulnerable adults help them.
There may be signs of a change in a young person’s behaviour such as:
- Returning home late, staying out all night, or going missing
- Being found in areas away from home
- Increasing drug use, or being found to have large amounts of drugs on them
- Being secretive about who they are talking to and where they are going
- Unexplained absences
- Unexplained money, phone(s), clothes, or jewellery
- Increasingly disruptive or aggressive behaviour
- Using sexual, drug-related, or violent language that you wouldn’t expect them to know
- Coming home with injuries or looking particularly dishevelled
- Having hotel cards or keys to unknown places
There are different ways that adults can exploit children and young people. Exploitation involves using someone for personal gain. It is abusive and hurts children and young people physically, mentally, and/or emotionally.
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
Child sexual exploitation or CSE, is a type of child abuse. It happens when a child or young person is encouraged or forced to take part in sexual activity in exchange for something such as presents, money, or simply attention.
CSE can happen to any child or young person, boy or girl, and it may well seem like a normal friendship or relationship to begin with.
Another form of exploitation is human trafficking, sometimes called modern slavery. Children and young people are moved from abroad and within the UK, then exploited, forced to work or sold. This can be for sex, benefit fraud, forced marriage, forced labour on farms, in factories and even in people’s homes. They can be forced into criminal activities such as begging, transporting drugs, and street theft.
If you or someone you know is being exploited, you should get help as soon as possible. You may be worried that you won’t be believed or will be judged but it is never the fault of the child or young person, no matter what the situation is.
– If you or someone you know is in immediate danger call the police on 999
– If you would like to report a concern you can contact the Redbridge Children Services on:
– Telephone – 03000 41 68 37
– Email – Risthardh.Hare@kent.gov.uk
– You can also report any concerns anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111
It can be scary to come forward and you may not know who to trust but the organisations below can give you support to get help.
Operation Willow is the name of the Kent and Medway awareness raising campaign around Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE). The campaign links with the nationwide Say Something if You See Something campaign. Operation Willow targets different sectors of the public such as hotels, pubs and taxi firms in an appeal for information on suspicious activities that may be linked to CSE. It also reaches out to the young victims themselves, their friends and family asking for help in bringing this kind of abuse to an end.
Information gathered through Operation Willow is reviewed and then passed to the most appropriate police team (e.g. Missing and Child Exploitation Team - MCET, Vulnerabilities Investigation Team - VIT, Paedophile Online Investigation Team - POLIT) who follow up with further research and investigation. In this way young people will be protected; perpetrators prosecuted and their activities disrupted.
Calls can be made using the 101 number quoting Operation Willow or anonymously through the Say Something Helpline 116 000.
What is Gambling?
Gambling is taking part in a game or activity where you risk losing something, usually money, to try and win a prize. It’s all down to chance and usually the odds are against you. People initially gamble for fun as it’s exciting to make money although this rarely happens!
Some adults are addicted to gambling and children and young people living with parents or carers that are affected, are likely to suffer as well. Young people are also directly at risk of developing problems with gambling. Research tells us that 2% of young people aged 12-15 develop gambling problems. That could be you or one of your friends.
Most gambling for under 18s is illegal, except for the National Lottery and slot machines with low stakes, which have a minimum age of 16.
Types of Gambling
Common examples of gambling include slot machines, lottery, scratch cards, playing card games (e.g. poker, blackjack) with friends, visiting casinos or online betting. It can start off as harmless and not often but can quickly become an obsession.
Signs that things are getting out of hand: – a significant interest in gambling and gambling related activities, with it becoming a main leisure activity;
– stakes that continue to increase;
– problems at school or college, including loss of interest, not completing assignments or skipping school;
– changes in personality or behaviour, e.g. becoming moody or angry and people begin to comment on;
– lying about the amount spent on gambling or winnings;
– borrowing money to gamble;
– desperately trying to win back money or possessions that have been previously lost;
– being put at risk physically if gambling debts can’t be paid;
– feeling low or depressed; and
– not being able to stop or give up as it feels too hard.
If you are worried, you can take an online quiz to assess whether you might have a problem. The results won’t be shared with anyone, it’s just for your own information.
What impact does it have?
Gambling addictions, like any other addiction, can take over your life. Bad things that can happen include:
– losing money that you need to spend on other things such as lunch money, bus fares, clothing etc.;
– mental ill-health including depression, loss of self-esteem, feeling of guilt;
– resorting to criminal activities to fund gambling – such as theft – which could lead to a criminal record;
– falling out with friends and family due to changes in behaviour and loss of trust;
– not doing well at school and college; and
– failing exams that impact on a future career.
Where to get support and advice:
Provides information, advice and support for anyone affected by problem gaming. Their work encompasses education, advice, treatment and communication. The organisation has a ‘youth hub’ in London. You can call the GamCare Helpline free on 0808 8020 133 (08:00 to midnight)
If you need advice about how to speak to a friend who may have a gambling problem, us this leaflet that GAMCARE has created
Provides information on what is a gambling addiction, who is most likely to be affected by gambling, what are the temptations, difficulties that may be encountered during the process of giving up gambling, and how to deal with a relapse.
Provides several useful resources for parents, click here for a free pack on how to support young people to keep control of their money and risks of gambling.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
What is FGM?
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), is also known as female circumcision, cutting, sunna, gudniin, halalays, tahur, megrez and khitan, among others. It’s a painful and illegal process that involves cutting, injuring or changing a girl’s external genitalia (private parts). FGM is a cultural tradition and there’s no medical or religious reason for it. In the UK, FGM is considered child abuse.
Impact of FGM
FGM can have a profound impact on a person. When done, it will cause physical issues such as intense pain or bleeding and can result in infection. Months and years later, it can still impact a person, like problems going to the toilet or difficulty having sex or giving birth. As important as these are the emotional and mental affects, for example depression, anxiety and loss of confidence.
What you can do?
If this is something you have gone through, may be going through or you know someone who’s dealing with this, use the resources and helplines below. Also, you may be feeling confused or scared; you might not want to get anyone in trouble but it’s important to remember FGM is abuse and you have the right to speak out and stay safe.
– If you or anyone you know is in immediate danger call the police on 999
– Speak to an adult that you trust such as a teacher, doctor, nurse or youth worker
– Speak to Risthardh Hare Telephone: 03000 41 68 37 Email: Risthardh.Hare@kent.gov.uk
– Call the NSPCC’s dedicated 24/7 FGM Helpline on 0800 028 3550 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
– Call Childine free on 0800 1111 (calls to Childline won’t show up on any phone bills)
Resource for more info:
What to do if you’re worried about FGM
Includes info on how to get help if you’ve had FGM and what to do if you are worried bad things will happen if you speak up.
Provides support for young people from women who have experienced FGM themselves.
Petals is a web app is for young people, both girls and boys living in the UK who want to find out more about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and how it might affect them and others they may know.
If you have been affected by FGM and would like to speak to a health professional, there are a number of FGM clinics in the area delivered by East Kent Health NHS Trust.