Staying Safe and Advice
It is important you are safe, whether it be emotionally and physically. There are many things you need to consider such as staying safe when you are in public or using social media. In this section you will find information, advice and support on a staying safe and services that can support you.
The internet can be a fun, educational and interesting place where you can interact and engage with new people. There are many ways you can interact with others online this, can be on your laptop, tablet, mobile phone and online gaming. There may be times where people might send you images and send you messages that make you feel uncomfortable. This page lists different services and resources that you can visit if you feel uncomfortable when accessing and interacting with people online.
Resources for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and Online Safety
- Learning Disabilities, Autism and Internet Safety- A Parent’s Guide by Cerebra: http://www.parentsprotect.co.uk/files/learning_disabilities_autism_internet_safety_parent_guide.pdf
- Cyberbullying and children and young people with SEN and disabilities: guidance for teachers and other professionals: http://www.cafamily.org.uk/media/750755/cyberbullying_and_send_-_module_final.pdf
National Crime Agency
Has someone done something online that has made you or a child or young person you know, feel worried or unsafe? Please visit https://www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre/ to make a report to one of CEOP’s experienced Child Protection Advisors.
'Think U Know'
The ‘Think U Know’ website is the place to go if you need advice about sex, relationships and the internet. Young people aged 14 + https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/14_plus/
Different sections include information about abuse, digital dating, missing kids, sex, relationships, sex offenders, web-cams, porn, abuse, exploitation, images, the law and much more. To seek advice on these issues please click here https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/14_plus/Need-advice/
Childline is here to help anyone under 19 in the UK with any issue they’re going through. Whether it’s something big or small, our trained counsellors are here to support you. Childline is free, confidential and available any time, day or night. You can talk to us on the phone, by email or through 1-2-1 counsellor chat. Whatever feels best for you. You can contact Childline for free on 0800 1111. Please visit the following webpage to find out more information on how to contact Childline in other ways https://www.childline.org.uk/get-support/contacting-childline/
The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF)
We minimise the availability of online sexual abuse content. Specifically:
- Child sexual abuse content* hosted anywhere in the world.
- Criminally obscene adult content hosted in the UK.
- Non-photographic child sexual abuse images hosted in the UK.
The majority of our work focuses on the removal of child sexual abuse images and videos.
We work internationally to make the internet a safer place. We help victims of child sexual abuse worldwide by identifying and removing online images and videos of their abuse. We search for child sexual abuse images and videos and offer a place for the public to report them anonymously. We then have them removed. We’re a not-for-profit organisation and are supported by the global internet industry and the European Commission. https://www.iwf.org.uk/about-iwf
Report online material promoting terrorism or extremism
Report illegal or harmful information, pictures or videos you’ve found on the internet. You can make your report anonymously.
- articles, images, speeches or videos that promote terrorism or encourage violence
- content encouraging people to commit acts of terrorism
- websites made by terrorist or extremist organisations
- videos of terrorist attacks
Have you had your intimate images posted online without your consent?
The Revenge Porn Helpline is the UK's only dedicated service supporting adults. Call for free, one-on-one confidential advice and support via email and phone.
If you’re reading this because someone has distributed intimate photos or videos of you either off or online, you have been a victim and deserve support. You are not alone.
The Helpline is open from 10.00am - 4.00pm, Monday to Friday, Call 0345 600 0459
For more information please visit: https://revengepornhelpline.org.uk/
ZAP Community Workshops and Bullying Awareness and Assertiveness Workshops
We offer friendly, impartial, non-judgemental information, advice and support to parents, carers, family members or professionals who are concerned about a child - either because they are being bullied, or because they may be involved in bullying others. Bullying can happen anywhere - inside and outside of school, in the community, in the home, and online.
How and when can I contact you?
The Parent Advice Line is open part-time during the week. If we are not available at the time you call, please leave a message and we will soon be in touch.
Call: 020 7823 5430
WhatsApp: 07496 682785
Visit our website
Kidscape’s ZAP assertiveness one-day workshops teach young people who are bullied practical skills to deal with bullying situations effectively. The workshops also help to build confidence and self-esteem.
The workshops run every fortnight between 10 and 3.30 at a venue close to Victoria Station and there are separate workshop dates for 9-11s and 12-16s. There are usually 10 young people that attend each workshop.
Parents and carers also attend a separate afternoon session on the same day, where they are given information and advice on how to effectively support their child and practise the skills their child has learnt.
Who is the service for?
This service is not restricted to Southwark residents – anyone can apply! It is for 9-16 year olds, and their parents/carers.
Criteria for access to service
ZAP is for 9-16 year olds who have experienced bullying.
Accessibility of this service
ZAP has been running in London for 15 years, and has been attended by young people and parents with a variety of special educational needs, disabilities and emotional needs. More recently, the workshop content has been reviewed in collaboration with a group of young people and staff from a social enterprise called Autism & ADHD. There are occasions when ZAP is considered unsuitable for a child, and this is assessed on a case-by-case basis. If you have any questions about the suitability of ZAP for your child, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.
How can I access this service?
Parents and carers can apply at www.kidscape.org.uk/zap
You can find upcoming workshop dates at www.kidscape.org.uk/what-we-do/zap-anti-bullying-and-assertiveness-workshops/upcoming-zap-workshop-dates/
Abuse doesn't just mean physical violence, it can also be emotional, sexual, psychological or financial.
In fact, people who experience the type of behaviour that stops short of serious physical violence, but amounts to extreme psychological and emotional abuse can seek help, as it is a criminal offence.
What to do if I am being abused, or a child or young person I know is being abused?
- contact the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 020 7525 1921 (or 020 7525 5000 out-of-hours)
- email the MASH by clicking this link
- call the local police
- in an emergency, after 5pm and at weekends or on bank holidays, you can contact the out of hours social worker on 020 7525 5000
Not sure if it is abuse?
Read our page about keeping children and young people safe or contact the Children's Services duty child protection coordinator (LADO) on 020 7525 3297 for advice.
The Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) works within Children’s Services and provides advice and guidance to employers, organisations and other individuals who have concerns about the behaviours of an adult who works with children and young people.
More useful contacts
NSPCC Child Protection Helpline
24-hour freephone service for adults, children or young people for advice or to give details about a child who may be at risk.
Tel: 0808 800 5000
24-hour freephone for children and young people who need advice
Tel: 0800 1111
A freephone advice line for parents.
Tel: 0808 800 2222
If there is a crime being committed or someone is in immediate danger people should call 999 or if they have some information about a crime we would ask that they call the Police on 101. Further information is available https://www.met.police.uk/ro/report/ocr/af/how-to-report-acrime/.
If people feel unable to report crimes to the police directly they can make an anonymous report to Crime Stoppers: 0800 555 111.
Parents and carers can make a difference by talking through the issues with their children. See https://www.knifefree.co.uk/worried-young-person/ for guidance about how to approach this issue. If as a parent you need further confidential support to deal with these issues you can call
Family Lives 0808 800 2222 (formerly Parent Line).
For more information about safeguarding children and young people, please visit Southwark's Safeguarding website
It is important that you know you can get support if you find yourself to be a victim of any sort of abuse. There are organisations and services who can help you. Visit Victim Support online and contact the services listed above to request victim support as a young person.
For information about Autism and the Criminal Justice System, The National Autistic Society provide advice and guidance online.
What is Disability Hate Crime?
A hate crime is any criminal offence that is motivated by hostility or prejudice based upon the victim's disability or perceived disability.
If you think that someone targeted you or a person that you support because of a hostility against disabled people, the police must take it seriously. The incident must be recorded as a hate crime or hate incident, depending on whether what happened was a criminal offence.
Disability hate incidents can include the following examples:
verbal and physical abuse
threatening or insulting texts
damage to property
What can I do about a disability hate incident or crime?
You can report it to the police or you can obtain information, advice and guidance from the following organisations:
Citizens Advice provide free, confidential and independent advice. You can find contact details for Citizens Advice Southwark here.
True Vision provide information, guidance and resources focused on tackling hate crime. Download their disability hate crime guidance for carers here. (pdf, 2.5mb)
EASS (Equality Advisory & Support Service) provide an advice helpline to assist individuals on issues relating to equality and human rights
Spark is a youth group in Southwark for LGBTQIA+ young people aged 13-19, and up to 25 with SEND. We welcome all those on the spectrum as well as anyone who is questioning or exploring their identity.
COVID-19 UPDATE: We meet in person in well-ventilated, risk-assessed spaces, with hand sanitiser available and masks optional.
Who can use this service?
You need to live in Southwark or be able to travel, and be LGBTQIA+ or questioning your gender or sexual orientation.
Why people use this service:
To meet other queer young people
Have fun in a safe and affirming space
Engage in creative projects and workshops
Learn about LGBTQIA+ identities, history and culture
Go on free trips to the theatre, galleries, museums, Pride events and more
Attend our annual Southwark LGBTQIA+ Youth Summit
Gain experience as part of METRO Youth to plan events including the Winter Ball, Summit and Youth Pride
How we can help
Get help to understand your identity and share experiences of coming out
Discuss topics including bullying, feeling safe, life at home, education and work
Get free and confidential support and information
Have one-to-one check-ins with LGBTQIA+ identified youth workers or be referred for free counselling at METRO
Join this group
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 8305 5004. You can refer yourself or be referred by someone who works with you (like a youth worker or teacher).
We'll get back to you in 2-3 days. We'll arrange a quick chat to find out more about you and how we can help. After you're signed up, you can drop into any session. You don't have to come every week if you don't want to.
Click here to visit our website
Stop and Search: A Guide for Parents and Children
Read and download the latest publication 'Stop and Search: A Guide for Parents and Children'. The guide has been made in consultation with parents’ groups, children and young people who have been stopped and searched by the police. Using a harm reduction approach, this guide focuses on keeping children as safe as possible during interactions with the police. It outlines what should happen during a stop and search and contains key information and tips to help support children and their parents.
To download the guide please click here
For more information please visit the StopWatch Website.
YStop: Training and Educating Young People
A youth-led project training young people to interact with the police safely and confidently in order to reduce the potential for conflict or harm.
To watch a short film and for more information please visit the YStop website.
Making London safer for Young People, London
Read about London's priorities to make London safer for young people here
Circle: the London safety app
Circle is the free, must-have safety app for Londoners. It’s the easiest way to stay safe and connected to your nearest and dearest in and around the city. Simply check-in with friends at the touch of a button, letting them know you’re okay or that you need a little help.
This handy app is packed with other useful resources too, like emergency contact numbers and directions to your closest Safety Spot. So whether you’re out dating, dancing or dining in this great city, you can live London connected with your Circle of friends.
Features on Circle include:
- Add friends from your contact list
- Send messages at the touch of a button
- Find your closest Safety Spot
Download now for free:
Kooth is an anonymous site which helps children and young people to feel safe and confident in exploring their concerns and seeking professional support. Kooth provides emotional and mental health support for children and young people aged between 11 – 24 years and is available up to 10 pm every day.
Free to download, check out the Kooth website here
How to Make a Referral for Adult Social Care
Under the Care Act 2014, your local authority have a responsibility to assess adult residents where it appears that you may have needs for Care and or Support. We can only assist you if you are entitled to support under the law. You or your family, or a professional can make a referral to Adult Social Care. If you are an individual with care needs see page ‘Can we help with your care and support needs’ for information on how to make a referral to Adult Social Care. If you are a carer with support needs see our page ‘Can we help with your support needs’ for information on how to make a referral.
For more information on Social Care, please visit our Social Care pages by clicking here.
The Service provides monitoring and support provision for young offenders or those young people at risk of offending.
The Southwark Youth Offending Service (YOS) is for:
- Young people aged 11 – 17 (some 18 year olds may work with the YOS if they were 17 at the time of their offence) who have committed an offence and who have been referred to the YOS in order to complete a court order.
- Southwark young people who have received an out of court disposal from the police and been referred to YOS to complete an order.
- Southwark young people who are at risk of committing an offence and have been referred to the YOS voluntarily for support.
Young people must be involved in the criminal justice system or at risk of entering the criminal justice system to access this service. To access the service, the youth court or police will refer the vast majority of young people.
For those ‘at risk of offending’, referrals can come from schools, colleges, the youth service or family members if there is concern. A member of the YOS team will be able to discuss the level of support that can be offered on a voluntary basis for each ‘at risk’ case.
Phone: 020 7525 0900
Welcome to the 'emergencySMS'
The emergencySMS service lets deaf, hard of hearing and speech-impaired people in the UK send an SMS text message to the UK 999 service where it will be passed to the police, ambulance, fire rescue, or coastguard.
Simply by sending a text message to 999 you can call for help and the emergency services will be able to reply to you.
You will need to register your mobile phone before using the emergencySMS service.
Click here to download the emergencySMS leaflet.
For more information please visit the emergencySMS website.
The National Stalking Helpline
The National Stalking Helpline offers information and guidance to anybody in the UK who is currently or has previously been affected by harassment or stalking through a freephone number and email facility. We respond to over 3,500 requests for help every year. For more information about this service, click here.
We work with people at increased risk of violence and aggression
Staying Safe With Other People is a peer training programme aimed at adults with learning disabilities, who can often be vulnerable to other people taking advantage of them. We’re working with adults with learning disabilities and the professionals who work directly with this group to develop a brand new personal safety training programme which is accessible and appropriate.
We have worked in several counties to support victims of stalking – or those at heightened risk of being stalked, such as victims of domestic violence – to stay safe. This has included delivering stalking awareness and personal safety workshops in refuges, distributing safety packs to victims of stalking, and training frontline professionals so that they are able to respond more effectively to victims of stalking who approach them.
We deliver community projects
For example, the PLAN Project is a peer education programme for young people aged between 14 and 22. We are training clusters of young people in communities across the country on a range of personal safety issues including how they can go out into their school, college or community to help other young people to stay safe. For more information about the PLAN Project, click here.
We also deliver free personal safety training for staff and volunteers of small charities around the UK. These groups often have members of staff and volunteers who go out on their own into the community. This can involve entering other people’s homes and going into unknown situations with vulnerable client groups so it’s vital that they have strategies and tools to keep themselves safe. If you are a small charity and would like some personal safety training for your staff/volunteers, click here for more details.
For more information please visit the Suzy Lamplugh Trust website.
The NSPCC campaign Talk PANTS is a simple conversation to help keep your child safe from sexual abuse. They produce guides for people with a disability and for children with autism to have conversations about privacy and staying safe.
For tips, resources and advice please visit the NSPCC website for more information.
Contacting the NSPCC helpline
If you're worried about a child, even if you're just unsure, contact our professional counsellors for help, advice and support.
Call us on 0808 800 5000 or email email@example.com.
18 or under?
Childline offers free, confidential advice and support whatever your worry, whenever you need help.
Call 0800 1111 or visit the Childline website for support
FGM is an illegal, extremely harmful practice and a form of child abuse and violence against women and girls, and therefore should be dealt with as part of existing child and adult safeguarding/ protection structures, policies and procedures.
The World Health Organization, defines female genital mutilation (FGM) as: "all procedures (not operations) which involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or injury to the female genital organs whether for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons" (WHO, 1996).
FGM has been a criminal offence in the UK since the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985 was passed. The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 and more recently the Serious Crime Act 2015 have further extended this to protect children who may be taken abroad to undergo FGM and charge offenders. In Scotland FGM is illegal under the Prohibition of FGM (Scotland) Act 2005. For more detail, please refer to the government’s Multi-agency Statutory Guidance on Female Genital Mutilation (issued April 2016).
For more information on Safeguarding in Southwark and FGM, please click here.
View the FGM project leaflet here with contact details for support
Click here to view our information on Independent Living and Housing.
Finding yourself with nowhere to live or the risk of being made homeless is both frightening and stressful. Southwark Council wants to help you by preventing homelessness from occurring wherever possible so that you can avoid the worry of this difficult situation.
It is advisable to make contact with Southwark Council's Housing Option Advisors if you are worried about being made homeless within 28 days. Housing Option Advisors can be contacted on 0207 525 5950 or on firstname.lastname@example.org
While Southwark Council tries to help everybody who approaches with homelessness, however sometimes there isn't enough resources available to provide temporary or emergency accommodation.
For more information about your rights and our responsibilities or for independent advice see the Shelter website.
Are you intentionally homeless?
What 'intentionally homeless' means: being intentionally homeless means that you are homeless because you left an accommodation that you could have stayed in. If your last home was temporary or short-term, the council looks into the reasons you left your last 'settled home'.
When deciding if you are or aren't intentionally homeless, the council must consider the reasons you became homeless. It's up to the council to prove that you became homeless intentionally and that:
You did, or failed to do, something that caused you to leave your home
The act, or failure to act, was deliberate or you were aware of what was going on
It was reasonable for you to continue living in your accommodation
You have the right to explain your actions to the council in relation to your housing situation.
Some examples of making yourself intentionally homeless includes:
Not paying your rent when you could have - however not being able to pay your mortgage because of significant financial difficulties that were out of your control i.e illness and redundancy will not be considered as intentional.
Evicted because of antisocial behaviour
You could have stayed in your accommodation
When you are not intentionally homeless?
If you acted in good faith or weren't aware of something that caused you to become homeless, the council should accept that it's not intentional.
For example if:
you left your accommodation because you didn't know you had a right to stay, for example you left your home because your landlord gave you notice even though you could have stayed until a possession order was issued
you left your home because of misleading advice
someone you live with did or didn't do something, for example a family member you live with didn't pay the rent but they told you they had
If the council decides you are intentionally homeless
If the council decides that you intentionally caused your homelessness, it only has a duty to provide you with short-term accommodation, usually for 28 days.
For more information visit Shelter's website.
If the council decides you're not intentionally homeless
If the council decides that you are not intentionally homeless, it probably has a duty to provide you with long-term accommodation. Contact Southwark Housing for advice.