As part of an education awareness programme on Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), 52 people including staff from NHS Western Isles took part in multiagency child protection training days provided in Stornoway and Benbecula.
There were representatives from other places including education, social work, the police, CAMHS, the voluntary sector and drug and alcohol workers. NHS Western Isles has been working in partnership with the child protection committee and the CSE working group in providing a programme of training for staff and young people to raise their awareness around all issues of CSE – issues such as what it is, what to look out for, how to protect and prevent and where to get help and support from.
Pictured above are organisers (L-R): Hamish Budge, Education Support Officer; Donald A Macleod, Independent Chair of Child Protection; Dr Maggie Watts, Director of Public Health; Isabel Steele, Senior Health Promotion Offi cer and Gordon Mackay, Co-ordinator and Development Offi cer for the Outer Hebrides Child Protection Committee.
Child Sexual Exploitation can happen in many shapes and forms but in today’s world of technology the internet is featuring in many more cases than before. This can include sexting, sending explicit images, online grooming, online grooming and controlling a young person using a mobile phone.
In response to this and to support the efforts of keeping children and young people safe online, three members of the local CSE working group, including Isabel Steele from health promotion, have been trained as CEOP’s Ambassadors.
CEOP stands for Child Exploitation and Online Protection and is a national organisation with a network of professionals who are trained to deliver a ‘think you know’ programme to staff who work with children and young people. The other ambassadors are Hamish Budge, Education Support Officer, and Gordon McKay, Co-ordinator and Development Officer for the Outer Hebrides Child Protection Committee.
The ‘think you know’ training programme and its associated resources are not designed to scaremonger about the danger of the online world we live in, but rather to highlight the positive and the negative uses of online technologies and provide practical advice on how to reduce the associated risks.
Gordon McKay, Co-ordinator and Development Officer for the Outer Hebrides Child Protection Committee, said: “Internet safety should not be seen as a daunting challenge but understood as no different from other child safety issues that parents have to instinctively deal with on a day-to-day basis “Communication is key and any opportunity to show interest in their child’s internet activities should be taken and initial reluctance by children to enter into dialogue (probably normal teenage behaviour) should be countered and conversation should be persisted with.”
He added: “I was very happy at the good attendance that we enjoyed at both Stornoway and Benbecula. Feedback received on the day was very positive and there seems a real appetite for meeting contemporary challenges head on. This is another good example of collaborative working across all agencies across all the Western Isles.” Representatives who attended the training days are now being registered with CEOP so they can access training material in terms of internet safety.
There are some specific tips for parents which can be found under the ‘safety advice’ page of the CEOP website –https://www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre/
• Keep computers in a high-traffic area of your home if at all possible (harder now to impose this rule given the number of mobile devices)
• Establish limits for which online sites children may visit and for how long
• Remember that internet technology can be mobile so make sure that you monitor cell phones, gaming devices and laptops
• Surf the Internet with your children and let them show you what they like to do online
• Know who is connecting with your children online and set rules for social networking, instant messaging, emailing, online gaming and using webcams
• The earlier dialogue starts the better.