Safe and Sound Steps Up Safer Internet Awareness Support

Safe and Sound Steps Up Safer Internet Awareness Support

Local charity Safe and Sound is marking Safer Internet Day (Tuesday February 9 2021) with the launch of a new online webchat for professionals working with children and young people who are particularly vulnerable to online grooming and exploitation.

This year’s Safer Internet Day highlights the importance of ‘an internet we can trust’ – a focus echoed by Safe and Sound which has seen a dramatic rise in referrals over the past year to support children as young as seven who have been targeted by online groomers.

The charity’s specialist case workers are currently working with around 150 children and young people aged between ten and 18 across the city and county who have been victims or who are at risk of grooming and exploitation.

More than half of them have experienced or are at risk of online grooming in various guises.

This has ranged from young people sharing personal information with strangers online to more sinister activity such as being coerced into sharing inappropriate images of themselves and agreeing to meet up face to face.

The charity is particularly concerned about the safety of young people with special educational needs (SEND) who are highly vulnerable to exploitation – both online and in person.

It will therefore launch a new online chat forum on Tuesday Feb 9 and then every Tuesday between 11am and 1pm to raise awareness of child exploitation amongst SEND.

In addition, throughout Safer Internet Day, the webchat facility for parents, professionals and young people will be manned by the support team who will also be available between 10am and 11am through Facebook.

Furthermore, several local schools plan to join a virtual assembly and a special awareness session for parents and carers will be held between 1.30pm and 2.30pm.  For more information contact Safe and Sound through the website www.safeandsoundgroup.org.uk

Safe and Sound Education and Awareness Officer Angela Baker works with around eight young people with special educational needs at any one time.

She explained that children and young people with special educational needs tended to be more trusting of people who targeted them on social media and gaming channels.

“In my experience, young people with SEND take on face value many of the things they are told.

“Therefore, if they are targeted online by someone who says they are a similar age and want to be their boyfriend or girlfriend, they are far more likely to believe it.

“This puts them at even greater risk of criminals who then want them to share inappropriate photographs or meet up in secret.

“Our focus is to help young people understand that they cannot always trust what they are being told – particularly online.

“This can be a long process and we use various resources including visual prompts and activities to discuss the scenarios and dangers that they can face in a careful and appropriate way.

“We explain the importance of privacy settings on social media and that they should only be in contact with people that they know and have met. We then help them to gain an understanding of healthy and unhealthy relationships and boundaries.

Safe and Sound supports children and young people across Derbyshire who are victims of or at risk of child exploitation including sexual, trafficking, County Lines, Modern Slavery and radicalisation.  It also supports the wider families and raises awareness of the dangers facing young people in local communities.

CEO Tracy Harrison continued: “Online grooming is the ultimate betrayal of trust on the internet with potentially devastating consequences.

“It is therefore highly appropriate that we mark Safer Internet Day with the launch of this dedicated webchat forum in addition to our wider virtual communications.

“People are not always who they say they are online.  At first, they may seem friendly and will always find something in common with the young person which is the start of the grooming process.

“This initial contact can turn far more sinister – asking the young person to send inappropriate photos and webcam images or persuading them to meet up.”

Mrs Harrison continued: “Lockdown and the continued restriction on social gatherings has heightened the risk to young boys and girls of child exploitation – regardless of where they live, their family situation, cultural or social background.

“Children and young people have spent long periods not in school and most of the positive activities they have enjoyed continue to be cancelled or reduced.

“This has naturally led to increased stress and isolation with young people spending far more time online and therefore at greater risk of grooming.

“Many young people have also faced additional issues including increased financial pressures on families and heightened tensions at home which make them more susceptible to manipulative grooming from sexual predators and drugs gangs – both online and in person.

“Our focus from the start of the pandemic has been to mitigate the risks of online grooming through awareness of the importance of privacy settings and the dangers of unhealthy relationships.

“Outside lockdown period, we have also been able to support more young people and their families face to face and re-introduce positive activities and work to support young people back into education.

“We are also returning to our grassroots as a charity and have launched an outreach programme to engage directly with young people and highlight the dangers they face at the hands of individuals and groups.

“I hope that the profile around Safer Internet Day reinforces to all parents and carers that they should know who their young people are talking to and meeting – whether that is on the internet or in person.

“It is therefore vital to set strong privacy settings and have a greater awareness of how perpetrators work online.”

Mrs Harrison particularly reinforced that children and young people were not to blame for online grooming: “Although it is important for young people to be vigilant about privacy settings and who they talk to online – it is the other person who is wrong for making these inappropriate approaches.

“Young people need to know that they will not be punished for what they have said or done online but will be listened to and it will be taken seriously.”

She advised that inappropriate online behaviour should be reported to the police or CEOP the national crime agency at www.ceop.police.uk  who can investigate.

Young people and their families can also contact Safe and Sound for advice and support www.safeandsoundgroup.org.uk where there is a wide range of information on the issue and how to help the charity continue to tackle child exploitation.

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Media enquiries: Sarah Jenkin-Jones, JJPR, Tel: 01332 515102/07951 945665; [email protected]

About Safe and Sound

Formed in 2002, Safe and Sound is an inspiring Derbyshire charity that transforms young lives affected by child exploitation with innovative, hands-on programmes.

The charity works at grass root levels delivering individual support to each child as well as families and carers.  This vital support enables them to move not just to a place of safety, but emerge unshackled and undefined by their experience and enabled to reach their full potential.

The charity continues to specialise in child sexual exploitation and is now developing its services to support children and young people facing or at risk of wider exploitation which are often interlinked.  These include physical and emotional violence, neglect, modern day slavery, radicalisation and human trafficking, domestic abuse, missing episodes and County Lines.

Safe and Sound is led by former police superintendent Tracy Harrison with the support of a specialist team; an experience board of Trustees and now a team of Ambassadors who are helping to raise the profile of the charity and the issue of child exploitation.

Safe and Sound’s expertise came to the fore during the 2010 landmark case – Operation Retriever – which was Derby’s first prosecution for child sexual exploitation and abuse.  The charity’s specialist team supported every young person affected by the criminal actions of 13 defendants who were jailed in total for up to 22 years for 70 offences.

For more information about child exploitation, Safe and Sound Derby and how to support their work, please visit www.safeandsoundgroup.org.uk

Businesses Step Up Support For Hope Box Appeal

Businesses Step Up Support For Hope Box Appeal

A wide range of businesses have successfully kick-started a special appeal launched by Derbyshire’s specialist child exploitation charity Safe and Sound.

Safe and Sound have teamed up with Derby-based personalised gift company Colleague Box to create a bespoke ‘Hope Box’ for local young people and families who they work with.

The Hope Box is filled with calming activities, treats and positivity messages and Safe and Sound are aiming to secure sponsorship from individuals and businesses so that as many of the £20 boxes can be distributed as possible over the coming months.

Safe and Sound supports children and young people across Derbyshire who are victims of or at risk of child exploitation including sexual, County Lines, trafficking, Modern Slavery and radicalisation.  The team also supports families and raises public awareness across local communities about the dangers facing young people and the support available.

Amongst the companies who have already pledged support is Cosy Direct – a Derby based company which supplies responsibly sourced play equipment to schools and nurseries all over the UK.

Cosy Direct have sponsored ten Hope Boxes and CEO Peter Ellse explained: “We are huge fans of Safe and Sound and applaud the work of the charity that is close to our hearts.

“Cosy are champions of young people and it is good to know that charities such as Safe and Sound are working hard to keep children across Derby and Derbyshire safe.”

Safe and Sound chief executive Tracy Harrison said: “The Hope Boxes carry an important message to our young people and their families that they are not alone and are something that they can keep referring to and take comfort from in dark times.

“The appeal has got off to a great start and we have so far received support for 50 young people to receive their Hope Box.

“Our workload has significantly increased in the past year largely due to the increased vulnerability of young people who have faced social isolation during the pandemic.

“Our team works with these young people for as long as they need it with 1:1 and group support, positive activities, help to return to education or into work and practical support to help them move forward with their lives in a positive way.

“We are also working hard to support their families with the wider issues that they face such as financial hardship and mental health.”

Natalie Bamford, Creative Director of Colleague Box, said: “It was an absolute delight to team up with Safe and Sound to launch the Hope Box initiative.

“The boxes are packed full of goodies designed to give the children and young people who the Derby charity works with lots of motivation and support.

“We worked with local suppliers, including Derbyshire-based Divine Box and Homemade Boutique, to source bath bombs and cards which feature encouraging words to keep their spirits up and let them know that they’re doing well.

“There are a few sweet treats in the Hope Box, alongside a worry stone and mindful colouring book – proven to reduce anxiety, improve your mood and is great for helping you to switch off.

“The response to these boxes has been great and we’re delighted to once again be supporting Safe and Sound.”

To sponsor a Hope Box, please visit the new website https://www.safeandsoundgroup.org.uk/2021-support-ideas/ where there is information about how else to support the charity’s work and a wide range of resources for parents, professionals and young people themselves.

Sam’s Story

A 15-year-old boy will be amongst the young people to receive a Hope Box.

Sam (not his real name) was groomed and sexually abused by a neighbour when he was ten and continues to stay in contact with Safe and Sound’s specialist team.

Sam’s mum was initially groomed by the neighbour to gain her trust and his attentions meanwhile turned to her son.

Behind a manipulative cloak of outward kindness and attention, nobody knew that Sam was actually the victim of horrific sexual abuse at the hands of the neighbour. He ensured Sam’s silence by making threats of extreme violence towards him and his loved ones if he told anyone the truth.

After a family friend became suspicious and raised the alarm, the family went to the police.

Alongside the police investigation, it took Sam many months to fully disclose to his support worker from Safe and Sound the full extent of the abuse he had faced and that he had been raped. Thanks to his bravery, the perpetrator was prosecuted and jailed for five years.

Sam said: “The Hope Box is something that me and mum will be able to open up and look at the positive messages when we are having a bad day.

“My support worker from Safe and Sound has given me hope.  She helped me to speak up. She told me not to be afraid and showed me how talking about what had happened to me could help other people and stop him from hurting anyone else.”

Sam and his mum have both received on-going support from Safe and Sound to help them come to terms with what has happened and rebuild their confidence to move on with their lives.

She said: “This monster has taken away my son’s childhood. He has tried to commit suicide several times and says he is still petrified that his abuser will come back and do the things that he threatened to do if he told anyone what was going on.

“I struggle with the guilt and continually ask myself – why didn’t I realise what was going on?  This man got to my son through me.  We were both groomed and I never thought I would be taken in by somebody so evil.

“Something like this can tear your family apart and you feel that you have nowhere to turn.  The care, patience and expertise of the team at Safe and Sound has however given us hope for the future.

“Although we still have a long way to go, we are trying to move on with our lives but that has only been possible with the support of Safe and Sound and I think the Hope Boxes are a lovely idea.”

Ends

Media enquiries: Sarah Jenkin-Jones, JJPR, Tel: 01332 515102/07951 945665; [email protected]

About Safe and Sound

Formed in 2002, Safe and Sound is an inspiring Derbyshire charity that transforms young lives affected by child exploitation with innovative, hands-on programmes.

The charity works at grass root levels delivering individual support to each child as well as families and carers.  This vital support enables them to move not just to a place of safety, but emerge unshackled and undefined by their experience and enabled to reach their full potential.

The charity continues to specialise in child sexual exploitation and is now developing its services to support children and young people facing or at risk of wider exploitation which are often interlinked.  These include physical and emotional violence, neglect, modern day slavery, radicalisation and human trafficking, domestic abuse, missing episodes and County Lines.

Safe and Sound is led by former police superintendent Tracy Harrison with the support of a specialist team; an experience board of Trustees and now a team of Ambassadors who are helping to raise the profile of the charity and the issue of child exploitation.

Safe and Sound’s expertise came to the fore during the 2010 landmark case – Operation Retriever – which was Derby’s first prosecution for child sexual exploitation and abuse.  The charity’s specialist team supported every young person affected by the criminal actions of 13 defendants who were jailed in total for up to 22 years for 70 offences.

For more information about child exploitation, Safe and Sound Derby and how to support their work, please visit www.safeandsoundgroup.org.uk

Business Development Specialist Joins Safe and Sound Team

Business Development Specialist Joins Safe and Sound Team

Safe and Sound, the specialist charity which supports children and young people across Derbyshire who are victims of or at risk of child exploitation, has appointed Lucy Orme as
fundraising and marketing officer. Lucy joins the charity from the University of Derby where she was business development manager and she was previously corporate sales and events officer at QUAD.

Derby born and bred, Lucy was a student at Woodlands School and Derby College before gaining a First Class Honours degree in Fine Art at Birmingham City University. She will lead Safe and Sound’s fundraising, marketing and communication strategies – managing existing and new funding streams and supporter relationships.

She said: “I have always admired the work that Safe and Sound do to fundraise and generate valuable income to support the transformation of children’s lives. “The charity has a strong supporter base across the city and county and I look forward to working with individuals, businesses and organisations to explore new and mutually-beneficial ways to work together. “Such relationships are vital to enable the charity to support more young people and their families in Derbyshire and are also an important way of raising awareness of the dangers facing young people across our local communities.”

Safe and Sound chief executive Tracy Harrison added: “Throughout the pandemic, we have been grateful for the continued support of funders and our supporters. “Thankfully, they have recognised the increased dangers facing young people who have been socially isolated and therefore extremely vulnerable to exploitation – particularly online grooming, sexual exploitation and County Lines.

“Lucy has an excellent reputation as an accomplished event planner, communicator and strategic business development professional with strong links amongst the business
community in the city and county. “She joins at a pivotal time for Safe and Sound as we continue to balance the increasing demand for our services with the need to develop new and innovative ways to engage with existing
and potential supporters as well as reaching out across local communities to increase awareness of the dangers facing all young people – regardless of who they are, where they
live or their home situation.”

For more information about Safe and Sound and how to support the work it does, please visit https://safeandsoundgroup.org.uk/

Media enquiries: Sarah Jenkin-Jones, JJPR, Tel: 01332 515102/07951 945665;
[email protected]

About Safe and Sound

Formed in 2002, Safe and Sound is an inspiring Derbyshire charity that transforms young lives affected by child exploitation with innovative, hands-on programmes. The charity works at grass root levels delivering individual support to each child as well as families and carers. This vital support enables them to move not just to a place of safety, but emerge unshackled and undefined by their experience and enabled to reach their full potential. The charity continues to specialise in child sexual exploitation and is now developing its services to support children and young people facing or at risk of wider exploitation which are often interlinked.
These include physical and emotional violence, neglect, modern-day slavery, radicalisation and human trafficking, domestic abuse, missing episodes and County Lines.

Safe and Sound is led by former police superintendent Tracy Harrison with the support of a specialist team; an experienced board of Trustees and now a team of Ambassadors who are helping to raise the
profile of the charity and the issue of child exploitation. Safe and Sound’s expertise came to the fore during the 2010 landmark case – Operation Retriever – which was Derby’s first prosecution for child sexual exploitation and abuse. The charity’s specialist team supported every young person affected by the criminal actions of 13 defendants who were jailed in total for up to 22 years for 70 offences.

For more information about child exploitation, Safe and Sound Derby and how to support their work, please visit www.safeandsoundgroup.org.uk

Local Company Provides Vital Support To Safe and Sound

Local Company Provides Vital Support To Safe and Sound

A Hilton-based company, which specialises in security management, has pledged support for a local charity to expand its work with children and young people who are victims of or at risk of exploitation and their families.

Repton Security has donated several mobile phones and tablets to the charity which are recycled to raise vital funds thanks to a partnership with Sinfin-based Century Mobile. The company has also donated PPE equipment to enable the charity to continue to provide a safe place to meet with and support young people and their families.

Repton Security managing director Steve Rimmington said: “Public safety is the cornerstone of our business and we are committed to supporting a wide range of local organisations who share this ethos. We are therefore delighted to support Safe and Sound’s work with across the local communities that we both serve.

Safe and Sound chief executive Tracy Harrison added: “We rely heavily on the generosity of local businesses both in practical terms and fundraising. We are therefore grateful to
Repton Security for supporting us in this way.”

For more information about Safe and Sound and how to support the work it does, please visit https://safeandsoundgroup.org.uk/ and visit https://www.reptonsecurityltd.co.uk/index.asp for information about Repton Security

Virtual Santa Aims To Spread Festive Cheer

Virtual Santa Aims To Spread Festive Cheer

The Rotary Club of Derby has adapted its annual Santa Sleigh to spread joy and excitement to even more children this year and raise much-needed funds for two charities who support some of the most vulnerable local young people. In normal times, the Club Santa Sleigh would visit families in Derby suburbs in return for donations. Due to the pandemic, such close contact may not be possible even in December, but organisers are determined not to disappoint children who traditionally enjoy seeing and meeting Santa in the approach
to Christmas.

Thanks to the expertise of Derby digital agency Think3, families across the county and beyond can visit www.derbysanta.co.uk to book a personalised letter from Santa sent by email or post or a personalised recorded video from Santa. Families will be asked to donate money for the Santa experiences with all money raised being split between two established local charities.

Safe and Sound supports young people across Derbyshire who are victims of or at risk of child exploitation and Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre has, for the past 125 years, organised seaside holidays for disadvantaged children across the county. Post-lockdown and subject to future restrictions, the Rotary Club of Derby hope to take out Santa and his sleigh to offer drive-by cheer to families who can watch from their windows and doorsteps with tours which will be videoed and online.

Les Bryan, President of the Rotary Club of Derby explained: “Our Santa Sleigh is a long-held tradition in the city – visiting suburbs such as Littleover, Mickleover and Chellaston. We are very grateful to our members, Think3 and to Safe and Sound and DCHC who have pooled their positivity and creativity to re-imagine the Santa Sleigh for these unprecedented times. Our hope is that even more children will enjoy a Santa experience this year and still have our fingers crossed that we can take the sleigh out again post-lockdown – albeit in a drive-by and therefore totally socially distanced way”. “As well as bringing much needed festive cheer to families, we have raised thousands of pounds for local charities over the years. Our aim this year is to generate even more much-needed funds for Safe and Sound and Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre this year who both support some of the most vulnerable children in our local communities.”

Safe and Sound CEO Tracy Harrison continued: “We have seen a dramatic rise in the recent months in the number of children and young people targeted and groomed by criminals – particularly online. “We are therefore extremely grateful that The Rotary Club of Derby has chosen to support us again this Christmas. Funds raised will enable us to help and protect many more young people, provide a support lifeline to their families and continue to raise awareness of the dangers facing young people in our local communities.

Bill Tomlinson, a Trustee of Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre, concluded: “The Rotary Club of Derby’s Santa Sleigh is a much-anticipated event every year and I hope that families will
embrace this new initiative. “It will not only add to children’s excitement in the run-up to Christmas but also raise funds to support many disadvantaged children who benefit greatly from a week of fun, education and relaxation at the holiday home in Skegness. “Christmas will be very different for many families this year and I doubt that children will be able to enjoy any kind of Santa’s Grotto experience this year. Both DCHC and Safe and Sound will therefore ensure that our young people and their siblings can also experience the magic of Christmas albeit in this very different way.”

For more information and to make a donation or to book a letter or call from Santa, please visit www.derbysanta.co.uk
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About Safe and Sound Formed in 2002, Safe and Sound is an inspiring Derbyshire charity that transforms young lives affected by child exploitation with innovative, hands-on programmes.
The charity works at grass root levels delivering individual support to each child as well as families and carers. This vital support enables them to move not just to a place of safety but emerge unshackled and undefined by their experience and enabled them to reach their full potential. The charity continues to specialise in child sexual exploitation and is now developing its services to support children and young people facing or at risk of wider exploitation which is often interlinked. These include physical and emotional violence, neglect, modern-day slavery, radicalisation and human trafficking, domestic abuse, missing episodes and County Lines.
Safe and Sound is led by former police superintendent Tracy Harrison with the support of a specialist team; an experienced board of Trustees and now a team of Ambassadors who are helping to raise the profile of the charity and the issue of child exploitation.

Safe and Sound’s expertise came to the fore during the 2010 landmark case – Operation Retriever – which was Derby’s first prosecution for child sexual exploitation and abuse. The charity’s specialist team supported every young person affected by the criminal actions of 13 defendants who were jailed in total for up to 22 years for 70 offences. For more information about child exploitation, Safe and Sound Derby and how to support their work, please visit www.safeandsoundgroup.org.uk

Contact: Tracy Harrison 07534 011026
About Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre: For over 125 years, Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre has provided children across the county with a week-long holiday at
our specialist residential centre on the seafront in Skegness. Every penny donated goes directly towards helping the most disadvantaged children in our society.
We provide disadvantaged youngsters with a break they might never receive, helping with their education and self-esteem; making friends and memories that last a lifetime. We rely solely on financial donations from the public and on those who give up their time to help.

Contact: David Harris 07941 829069
About Rotary Club of Derby: The Rotary Club of Derby meets regularly and welcomes new members from all walks of life who want to make new friends while getting involved in charitable work in the community. Rotary International connects 1.2 million members of more than 34,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work impacts lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. For more information, visit www.rotaryderbyuk.org. Contact: Tim Wherly, Mobile: 07957 882322. Email: [email protected]

Superheroes Initiative Set To Support Safe and Sound

Superheroes Initiative Set To Support Safe and Sound

Derbyshire charity Safe and Sound has been chosen as a recipient for a national initiative encouraging businesses to donate the unused cost of their Christmas charity. Xmas Party Heroes has set up an online platform https://xmaspartyheroes.co.uk/ for donations in recognition that the usual ‘office Christmas party’ will not be possible due to Covid restrictions and enabling businesses to instead support a charity of their choice.

Safe and Sound chief executive Tracy Harrison said: “Although it is disappointing that we will not be able to celebrate Christmas with colleagues this year, the Xmas Party Heroes
initiative is a great idea. “We know that our local business community is full of Superheroes – not least those who donned their costumes and joined our Leap of Faith abseil earlier this year.
“Now I hope that businesses large and small will get behind this great initiative and support us in our work to help transform the lives of children and young people who are victims of
or at risk of child exploitation as well as their families.”

For more information about Safe and Sound and how to support the work it does, please visit https://safeandsoundgroup.org.uk/