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Safeguarding children

Keeping teenagers safe

More crimes are committed against teenagers than any other age group, but here are some things they can do to keep themselves safe.

  • stay alert and keep MP3 players turned off to hear what's going on around them.
  • stick to busy, well-lit roads, and avoid short cuts through alleyways and side roads.
  • if your child thinks someone is following them, they should cross the road or go to a busy area with lots of people around, e.g. a bus stop or a shop.
  • a personal alarm or a whistle kept around their neck or on a key chain can warn off suspicious strangers.
  • if someone tries to take something from your child, tell them never to fight.
  • keep mobile phones and other valuables out of sight.
  • Never let your child carry weapons as these could be used against them, and it's illegal.

Substance misuse

As a parent or carer you may worry that your children may be smoking, drinking or using drugs.

With more young people drinking, smoking and taking drugs than ever before, your example and guidance is vital. Don’t let your children see you smoke, drink to excess or take drugs. 

It is very important that children are made aware of the risks of using drugs, alcohol and volatile substances (e.g. solvents). More young people have problems through alcohol than through drug use.

Drug use among young people - how widespread is it?

Drugs are more common among children and young people than ever before. Research shows that about one in twelve twelve-year-olds and one in three fourteen-year-olds have tried drugs. By the time they reach sixteen years of age, two in every five young people will have tried one type of drug or a mixture of drugs. Currently there are more male drug users than female drug users but the number of girls who are taking drugs is rising rapidly.

Alcohol use

The most common drug used by young people is alcohol. It is much easier to get hold of and is often quite cheap. Sometimes adults don’t view alcohol use as seriously as other drugs. However, alcohol is involved in accidents, violence and risk taking by young people including increasingly sexual behaviour leading to high numbers of teenage pregnancy.

Buying alcohol on behalf of someone under the age of 18 is an offence.

What can you do?

It is important to discuss drug use early.  Seek professional advice if you are unsure of what to say or do.

Why do young people use drugs, abuse substances or drink alcohol?

  • because they are curious
  • they want to break the rules
  • to escape reality to cope with difficult situations or feelings
  • because they enjoy them
  • because they are pressured into it by their friends and don't want to be seen to be different or
  • because they are bullied into it.

How do I spot the signs?

There are many signs, which include:

  • a young person who is panicky, tense or sleepy
  • complaining of sickness
  • not being able to concentrate
  • lacking energy
  • being depressed
  • being aggressive
  • changes in relationships with family and friends
  • changes in the way they act
  • changes in how they do at school
  • changes in how much money they have 
  •  personal things ‘disappearing’ or being sold or 
    becoming involved in criminal activity - such as shoplifting.

Click on the link to these useful websites below for further information if you are worried about your child.

Adfam

Adfam provides advice and information for families of drug and alcohol users. 

Frank

FRANK is a national drug and alcohol awareness website for adults, young people, parents and carers.

Sport

All children and young people have the right to be safe and free from harm when participating in sport and physical activities. 

This section gives parents, guardians and carers advice and information on good practice in sport and what to look out for. As a parent you play an important role in protecting your child and helping them to get the best from sport.

Click on the link to Sports Partnership Herefordshire and Worcestershire below for more information.

Sports Partnership

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport have produced a leaflet for parents to Safeguard children in sport.  Please click on the link below to download.

Safeguarding in Sport

The NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) has published updated standards for safeguarding and protecting children in sport. The standards provide a framework for those involved in sport to help them create a safe sporting environment for children and young people and protect them from harm. The update includes changes in legislation, government guidance and safeguarding practice.

https://thecpsu.org.uk/media/445546/web_cpsustandards-final.pdf

Herefordshire MASH

Herefordshire MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub)

Click on the link for information for parents and carers