Pooky Ponders: Does the COVID context mean children are less safe right now? | Elizabeth Rose

Listen here:

Watch here:

Further resources:

Creative Education’s safeguarding courses

Identify the Risks to Children Posed Online – on demand course

Show transcript:

Please note that the transcript is auto generated

Liz Rose: Hi, my name is Elizabeth Rose. I’m an independent safeguarding advising trainer.

Um, I started life working in school, um, and I mainly work with schools now, but my safeguarding, um, supports bands from early years through schools, colleges, and universities as well. Um, and, um, I would say can support businesses and organizations. As well as this, I also work for local authority. So I’m safeguard and education advisor for a local authority in the West Midlands.

And I work there part-time and then obviously helped mine. Um, consultancy work separate from them. Um, and as I said, I, uh, I started life as a teacher and I was a designated safeguarding lead. So I’m very much driven by wanting to improve conditions and outcomes for children, um, and, and kind of affecting and supporting people who work in schools.

And the other organization I’ve mentioned to, to kind of improve, um, the lives of children and intervene in if they’re, if they are suffering any kind of abuse or neglect and supporting people to do that. And 

Pooky Knightsmith: how did you end up, uh, taking on that kind of safeguarding role originally? And why did it kind of catch your imagination if you like?

Liz Rose: I think I always wanted to work in safeguarding and I did have some curriculum responsibilities actually. Um, when I was first a teacher, um, but prior to being teacher, I worked as a teaching assistant and I worked with. Children too. And on a special project, they improved their attendance. And a lot of that was around supporting children who had very significant safeguarding issues.

And, um, uh, my interest began there really. And so then I, I went into teaching, trained to be a teacher. And over the course of my career, kind of developed my knowledge and understanding of safeguarding. But I think the turning point came when I worked in Hackney and I was involved in setting up a. I don’t want to call it a people refer unit.

Cause that’s not, not what it was, but it was a, um, a sort of support unit that we had that was offsite for children who were struggling with their behavior. And again, there is often a very strong correlation between safeguarding and behavior. Um, and, and I, I was part of the team that helped to kind of set that up and work worked in that.

Um, in that area and worked down there with the students and that kind of bumped up almost my, my wish and desire to work in safeguarding specifically. Um, so then my next role, I was head of you and safeguarding leads, um, at a different school and that they were both in London. And then just through my personal circumstances, I wanted to move back to these Netherlands.

I live in Estonia now and, um, I, so I applied for a job at the liquor authority in the West Midlands and. Wanted to support schools across the board, really, rather than working just within one school. And I think that came about really, because I wanted to having had experience of being a designated safeguarding, lead myself.

It can be a very isolating position and it can be very difficult. Well, it is very difficult and the things that you’re dealing with are very challenging. And I wanted to put in support in the local authority that I was working in to mean to kind of mitigate against some of the things that make it difficult.

I mean, the core that makes it, that makes it challenging, but also makes it rewarding. Is there really. Challenging and, and shocking stories that you hear sometimes from about children and, and the challenges that you know, that they face when they go home or before they get home. Um, and, uh, and I wanted to be, uh, to implement things that that could mitigate as much as possible, um, against that for, for DSLs across the board, really, and head teachers in schools.

Pooky Knightsmith: And how has the role of the, um, designated safeguarding lead changed in the current context? So we’re thinking today about the, the KT context and how that’s impacting on, on children and how safe they are as you know, someone who kind of looks out for agency supports designated safeguarding needs. What, what is that role looking like whilst kids have not been in school?

A lot of them, 

Liz Rose: I think it’s been really difficult because I think that weight of responsibility that. People working within safeguarding and, and I don’t, I’m not just speaking for designated leads. It’s the whole team of learning mentors, the pastoral team, um, that, that work with children have had, um, still have that weight of responsibility.

So know what’s happening in children’s lives, but don’t have that direct daily impact to make things better. So that the kind of. Well, most worrying aspects are still there, but they’re the feeling that you’re actually able to make a difference has been removed in many cases. I mean, most schools in the country across the country have had to vulnerable children in and working with Emma and obviously key worker children as well, or they’re formed hubs together.

And. They are sharing, um, children across, across schools, I guess. Um, but the vast majority of children haven’t been at school and a lot of vulnerable children, haven’t been at school. And I think as well, it’s the unknown. And as a safeguarding practitioner, your role is to, to know when, or to identify when children are suffering abuse or harm or neglect.

And, um, and you can’t do that. Really, if they’re not in front of you, it’s very difficult to do that if they’re not in front of you. So that kind of thing, that the sort of drive to make things better, that people who work in the pastoral area have, has been, has been kind of removed, but the risks are heightened for the 

Pooky Knightsmith: children.

That’s quite 

Liz Rose: a toxic mix, isn’t it? Definitely. And, and it’s. Kind of playing out in various different ways because children aren’t having that face to face contact with schools. So they’re the, as I say, the risk is not reducing. And in fact, it’s increasing in many ways. So we’ve seen kind of the symptoms of this.

Um, one of the symptoms is that the NSPCC have had a huge rise in calls for help for both domestic violence and for issues across the board. I think their costs have risen by a third, um, during this. Crisis and, and it’s because, well, I think it’s because of the, that sort of face-to-face daily support that children have at school is, is, has been removed for the vast majority of children.

And, um, And so they’re turning, which is a good thing. They’re turning to the NSPCC, they’re turning to two sources of support that there’s that huge tranche of, of children that may be suffering and maybe vulnerable to suffering who, who aren’t tending to the NSPCC and they don’t have those people who are looking out for them.

And I think, I think a lot of the time, and it’s certainly my experience that is that you, you notice that there’s something. I think for a child, rather than them telling you the vast majority of the time. And if a child is calling the NSPCC or if they’re contacting you at school, they’ve reached a point where they’re able to disclose what’s happening to them.

But there are lots of children who won’t have reached that point where things are happening and you are unable to notice that that’s happening because they’re not there in front of you. So is it important at the moment that we are thinking about 

Pooky Knightsmith: how to enable children to ask for help or is our role different 

Liz Rose: to that?

I think it’s very much how we can enable children to ask for help and providing them with as much information about how they can do that as possible. And as many different ways of doing that as possible, that are all obviously suitable. Um, because I think it would take a lot too for a child to. Pick up the phone, potentially not their own phone, depending on the age of the child ring mescal.

Um, obviously we’re in a summer holidays now, so it’s different again. But, um, when mescal asked to speak to somebody know that that person’s going to be there and he’s going to answer the call, get to the point where they can say something, they might be in the home, the vast majority of children that are abused or neglected or abused and neglected by somebody that they know or a family member, um, you know, get to a place where they can be on the phone and.

Disclose that to somebody in school. Um, there are just so many compounding factors and barriers to that happening. Um, and I think it’s takes a lot of creative thinking to remove some of those barriers really, and to create opportunities for children to seek. 

Pooky Knightsmith: So what can help with that? 

Liz Rose: Well, I’ve seen a number of things working well, so.

Obviously at all times that schools are open and then there needs to be a safeguarding lead, either the designated leader or a deputy available. Um, and so sharing that information regularly with children. So having the standard things, like having things on your website, making sure that any newsletters that go home to, to, um, parents contain safeguarding information, but actually having kind of clinics DSL clinics.

So you can phone this member of staff during this time. And they will be available to answer, to speak to you. So setting some exact times for a title for children to call just removes all of those kind of shallow ring at this time. Shall I not? Um, who would I get to speak to? It removes all of that for a child.

And so they just know I’m going to ring. I’m going to speak to that person. Um, but there needs to be somebody that at all times, because you know, a child might not choose to do that. They might choose to ring at a different time. Um, having an email address can work really well, so children can, can send an email to safeguarding app wherever the school is.

Um, and then get an automated response with if this is an emergency. Contact use these contact numbers, um, or, and then the safeguarding leads can ring them back and, and that’s really helpful. Um, I think a huge issue is online safety and, and this has been just kind of exacerbated massively during this crisis.

Um, so having information shared with children and families regularly about online safety, as well as a preventative measure. So I think the preventative measures are, are incredibly important and it’s important that. We continue to push that kind of agenda safeguarding professionals, um, and just trying to keep lines of communication open.

So we can’t just rely on children contacting us when there’s something wrong. We need to be regularly contacting children vulnerable or not, because there are so many things that are happening with families that are making children’s vulnerable, that weren’t necessarily identified as that before. Um, so making sure that there is regular contact with all children.

So that we’re going to them and we’re providing them with an opportunity rather than them having to carve out time and, you know, kind of coming to terms with the fact that they got to contact us. I think that’s really important. 

Pooky Knightsmith: So you said that the things that might make children vulnerable have had changed, that looks a bit different.

Now, can you talk to me a bit about that? What’s changed? 

Liz Rose: I think, well, the number one thing is, is as we’ve talked about the fact that children are not. In front of professionals and don’t have time away from environments that are potentially harmful in order to seek help. So that’s kind of the, the number one thing.

Um, and that’s just too. I think everybody uses the word unprecedented, but it is to an unprecedented level at the moment. Um, and now we’ve got this additional period of time where children would obviously be off school anyway, during the summer. Um, I think the fact that children are spending so much more time online means that they are much more accessible to people who are perpetrators of harm, potential perpetrators of harm.

Um, and the fact that in many cases, which is absolutely not. Anyone’s fault. Um, parents will be working and being expected to kind of work full time with their children doing online work, um, or, you know, they need to look after their child or their children and do their work at the same time. So children are having potentially more time than supervised online just because of the nature of what’s happening to everybody.

Um, so I think that’s a really significant risk. I think that there’s a danger that we think risk is reduced because children are at home and then not in those, you know, they’re not facing those contextual issues. Maybe to do a chart, expectation, gangs, County lines, et cetera. Um, but that’s, um, that’s a danger in itself that we think that risk is reduced when actually the children suffer harm within, within their family homes and within their families and at the hands of people that they know far more than people that they don’t know.

Um, and, and I think. Just this idea of, of the, the impact of the lockdown itself. And we know that there’s a kind of this idea of a trio of vulnerability. So children are more vulnerable if their parents have mental health issues, if they have drug or alcohol issues, um, or if there’s domestic violence within the home and.

Those three things work together to increase vulnerabilities of children for all types of abuse. And all of those things are being impacted by the lockdown situation that we’ve been in and this kind of ongoing crisis. And if any of those things are challenging for a child, it can mean that they are at a greater risk of harm.

Um, and then we’ve got the kind of the wider issues of, of. We’ve seen a rise in hate crime, for example, because of the fact that people are looking for somebody to blame. And there’s been a rise in hate crime for some time, but there’s been a significant rise in hate crime recently against, um, people from South and East Asian backgrounds, um, around this idea of who’s to blame for what’s happening.

And, and there are, it might not necessarily occur to, to. To people who don’t work with them safeguarding that actually that’s a real risk to children because it, it kind of opens the door to dangerous conversations that might happen online. Um, difficult you to dangerous thoughts and, and radicalization as well.

So it’s sort of all aspects, really, um, all aspects of safeguarding of being impacted by, by this crisis. Domestic violence is massively increasing. So I went, I had a, I went on a really interesting webinar. And that was provided for children’s services and the local hotel that I worked with this week. And they were talking about the fact that it’s quite a well-known, um, awful statistic that two women a week in England and Wales are killed by the partner.

And this is increased during lockdown to five women per week, um, being killed by their partner. Um, so you know, that domestic violence is having a massive impact on young people and, and it’s just so prevalent. It’s so prevalent in homes and the fact that. Increased pressure. This pin forced to be together.

Um, people are not able to work. Money is tight, it’s all kind of swirling together to create really difficult environments for young people to work, to, to live in. Um, and it’s all building up a picture of, of real risks and just the kind 

Pooky Knightsmith: of the kind of racial unrest does that have any relevance in safeguarding or not so much?

Liz Rose: Definitely. Um, and I think it’s all as sort of part and parcel of the, the risks around radicalization and extremism really. And, and is that the sort of various different aspects of this? Really? So I’m just kind of thinking that through, um, I think the fact that we have this. Fake news situation, I think at the moment.

So there’s a lot of misinformation around COVID-19 itself. Um, lots of, kind of misconceptions that young people have around COVID-19 itself. There’s also this rhetoric of blame being used on social media a lot. Um, I read a study recently, just going back to the, this idea of misinformation about COVID-19 that the people who were most likely doing the strict lockdown conditions, most likely to break down conditions where people who got their news from YouTube and Facebook and people, most likely to kind of adhere to the rules where people who’ve got, who consume their news to mainstream media channels.

So I thought it was really interesting that the power of that. Um, it’s information that people were getting. Um, and I guess you might think, why is this relevant to child safeguarding, but actually it’s, it’s sort of around trust and information and who’s to blame and our government protecting us. And if children are having conversations with people online or within their family home around the government, don’t care about us.

Um, and this is somebody else’s fault. It can quite easily spiral into conspiracy theories. Like the 5g is spreading COVID-19 for example, um, it can kind of spiral in that, in that way. And then somebody looks for someone to blame. So if there’s somebody online, a perpetrator online who sees this happening, playing out on mainstream social media, they say, well, actually, it’s this person’s fault.

It’s that group, it’s their fault because they’re going out and doing this. Um, and it kind of works together to start that potential radicalization process. Um, and I think this has happened obviously in tan. Well, it’s not connected necessarily, but it’s happened in parallel with the black lives matter discussions that we’ve had.

And then there were the kind of riot protest slash riots, the following weekend, um, from the, from the far right and the extreme far rights in London. And it’s, it’s put it on the agenda in lots of different ways. And it’s talked about online very regularly by lots of different people and, um, and. Young people are maybe consuming this and believing fake news or being drawn into conversations about whose fault it is because they’re feeling isolated because they’re feeling worried and they’re feeling scared and they want to finances.

Um, and then they’re not going to the place that is. The supportive mechanism for educating them and allowing them to share views, which they should be allowed to do when they’re at school, um, and ask questions and the misconceptions are not necessarily being addressed. So although it seems like there’s kind of really big picture of all these different things happening around the world.

And how does this boil down to children being abused? It’s about that process of radicalization and it’s about the dangers in opening that opening the door. To kind of having conversations where it’s about blame and about, about whose fault is essentially. 

Pooky Knightsmith: Wow. It’s a very complicated picture right now.

Liz Rose: Yeah, it is. I hope I’ve explained that it kind of clear as clearly.

Pooky Knightsmith: I have to say that the thing, I just feel quite a lot of despair hearing a lot and I, I wonder. Well, then what to, what, what can we do? You know, people who are listening, who have either a specific safeguarding role, or just generally an interest in the wellbeing of children, what do we do?

What is our role as adults right now to protect children? 

Liz Rose: It’s about sharing the correct information, I think, and, and using every method possible to, to deploy the, the correct information to children and support them in that, um, working with. Um, other agencies that might be involved with children to, to make sure that they’re doing the same and the messages being sent out a consistent.

So as I say, you know, children would normally come in and they might have a PSEG, um, session, or they might have an assembly about black lives matter, or they might, um, have a session in tutor time or form time. Um, but that’s not happening. So actually, how can we share that information with children and families?

Maybe it’s. Around some of the curriculum work that they’re being asked to do. Um, some research, some, um, you know, some resources that they’re being provided with that can impart information that actually ultimately safeguards them is, is really helpful. Um, and maintaining, as I say, number one thing is maintaining that communication within people as well.

Um, and, and children, people can self radicalize, um, but children are very vulnerable. Children are inherently vulnerable anyway, because they’re children. Um, but when they’re online and they’re unsupervised, um, and they’re speaking to people that they don’t know that risk factors I’ve seen increased. So if we can put as many kinds of barriers into them, speaking to people that they don’t know online, um, and educating them around the risks and continuing to do that throughout this and building that into everything that we do in September when children come back, um, in whatever form that might be, then I think they’re the, they’re the two factors, really communication and education.

And continuing that even when they’re not in front of this, 

Pooky Knightsmith: and you’ve taught quite a bit about the, kind of the risks of online, um, and you were speaking specifically about kind of radicalization, but there’s, there’s kind of wider issues that aren’t there, you were talking earlier in the month about, um, uh, criminal child exploitation, for example, and some of the, the risks.

Can you talk a little bit more about the, the risks online and again, what we might be able to do to mitigate those risks, if that’s any different than the most suggested. 

Liz Rose: Yeah, definitely. I mean, so as, as I say, radicalization is one aspect of it. Um, another incredibly worrying aspect of online safety at all times is child sexual exploitation and child sexual abuse.

And that has been a major issue during COVID-19 again, around the fact that children are more accessible online, but also perpetrators of abuse have more time to dedicate to, um, grooming young people connecting with and grooming young people. Um, and, and that obviously is incredibly dangerous. I think one study, um, found that there’s been 8.8 million hits or the was 8.8 million hits on child sexual abuse or URLs, including the, sorry, excuse me.

URLs that contain child sexual abuse images in the first month or one of the first months of lockdown. Um, so this just massive. There is just massive scope for children to suffer this type of abuse online and for perpetrators to access children. Um, so that’s, that’s a huge risk and to Jen are accessing or speaking to people that they don’t know.

Um, things like live streaming are becoming more common. I mean, we’re. Obviously this has been recorded, but we’re live streaming. Now. I don’t know whether this would have happened necessarily, or the training that I deliver would have happened in live streaming way prior to lockdown. It’s becoming the norm.

Um, and I have, you know, four or five meetings a day where I live stream I would never have had before. So that kind of idea that may have been built into curriculum. Um, around don’t live stream, it’s dangerous and it just, it’s not relevant anymore in the context that we’re in. Um, so children are, are, and do speak to people that they don’t know online, um, regularly and livestreaming is obviously a particularly dangerous aspect of this.

Um, and I think, I think the, the kind of, um, exploitation side of things as well, there’s. Well, children are as charged set of expectations is a type of sexual abuse. Um, and there are just lots of different ways that children are at risk of this. I think through this, through online platforms. Um, so the good coercion element to send, um, indecent images of themselves is.

Very common for children to do that. And in fact, I think it was a third of third of child sexual abuse images identified by the internet watch foundation. Think in 2019, um, were self-generated indecent images of children. So they’re being coerced and groomed into sharing images and then being blackmailed using those images.

So what we’ll send this to your family or send, put it online if you don’t send more, um, and that sort of spiral of, um, risk and things becoming more and more extreme. It’s it’s happening more because children are more accessible and spending more time online. So how do we protect them? Because as you say, we might have said in the 

Pooky Knightsmith: past, well, don’t like stream it’s dangerous, but you know, my children today, one 

Liz Rose: of them has had a science lesson and a trumpet lesson.

That’s been live stream. The other one’s done in creative writing session that was live stream with the cheetah and both of them speaking to various friends online. And I wouldn’t want them not to talk to their friends, but they’re 10. And you know, at what point does it 

Pooky Knightsmith: go from their live streaming with a friend to, you know, something that we 

Liz Rose: wouldn’t want to happen is happening.

Yeah, well, I think, I think I would never have been a fan of don’t live stream. It’s dangerous that that is not sufficient education for a young person to have even prior to us using live streaming. But that is the reality of lots of children. That is what’s what they’ve that they’ve had. Um, obviously not all children, you know, there, there are, and I know that hundreds of schools across the country that have amazing, um, curriculum around online safety.

But it’s just raising that point really to consider it and consider how you handled that before, how schools handled that before. Um, but, but it comes back to the education for parents. So the supervision and the appropriate controls and filters and that kind of thing, and actually understanding the risk.

I think that that. I don’t know whether everybody and I, I wouldn’t know this, if I didn’t work in safeguarding and I didn’t hear this kind of thing all the time. Um, I, I wouldn’t necessarily know how quickly. Um, children can be drawn into things online. There was a BBC investigation a few years ago now where they, um, they asked it, she was an adult woman, but she looked quite young and they put her in a school uniform and she went on to the three kind of top livestreaming websites.

And within 60 seconds, she was receiving explicit messages requests for self indecent selfies, um, offers to send her in decent images. Um, and, and I don’t know whether. Parents necessarily know that it can happen in 60 seconds. Um, so I think what, what we can do is it’s around the education for children and it’s around the education for parents as well.

So even if you are sitting in a room with your child, you know, and you’re kind of doing your work, you need to be listening out for what’s happening. You need to make sure that you know who they’re speaking to and they know who they’re speaking to as well. Um, and it’s not just, it’s not just like streaming.

It seems, you know, online gaming, um, chat kind of functions, things like Snapchat, um, young people can quite easily add people that they don’t know, um, onto there. Snapchat, um, contact list and connecting with people on various social media platforms. Uh, it’s important that young people are taught in a sensitive way that appreciates that they need to speak to their friends and they, they are young people and they want to find out they want to use their phone and they want to go online.

Um, but equipping them with the skills to do so safely is, is really, really crucial. And I think it’s 

Pooky Knightsmith: particularly hard because. Hi, I’m a parent who has in the past been quite strict about a lot of this stuff with my children, but they are 10 and they really miss their friends. And whereas, you know, there’s online games that they play that in the past.

I’ve only allowed them to play privately and not to connect with their friends now that they can’t see their friends, it seems really cool and wrong not to allow them to connect with their friends in those games. 

Liz Rose: But then. It’s difficult to know. Well, you know, 

Pooky Knightsmith: how do you then stop other people talking to them?

And how do they know that the person who says he’s their friend is their friend. And it’s very 

Liz Rose: difficult, isn’t it? It is difficult. And I think that’s one of the factors that’s increasing risks to children at this time because actually people are families and parents are trying to. Support their children to continue to have a social life in incredibly difficult conditions.

And, and it is very challenging to do that. And that is where the education and the conversation between the parent and child come in. And also this idea of something that I find really challenging as well. It’s weird. The point is really driven home to children that it’s illegal to do things. So it’s illegal to send any explicit image of yourself, for example, which it is, but it doesn’t foster that sort of feeling of being able to disclose or to seek help or to tell somebody if something has gone wrong and actually a big, a big part of, um, keeping children safe.

Is that. Encouraging children to be able to disclose and to speak freely to their parents about what’s happened online or what they’ve seen. Um, and parents having that conversation with their children around you. Won’t be in trouble in most come and tell me. This is the kind of thing to look out for.

This is why you need to look at, out for that. And this isn’t secondary age children. This is very, this starts very young. Um, you know, from as soon as children are using these platforms, really, um, these conversations need to start happening in an age appropriate way around being approached, and then being able to take kind of disclosure disclosures for want of a better word, discuss with your child.

If they’ve seen some things, upset them or has been difficult for them. So a really important thing is just to make sure that they know that 

Pooky Knightsmith: they can come and ask for help. If something goes wrong or they see something upsetting, or they’re not sure about something. 

Liz Rose: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. And also pointing them as well too.

If they don’t want to speak to you as a parent, where else can they go for help where, you know, it’s safe and reliable. Um, so C ops, for example, the child exploitation online protection command. Um, that’s a really useful website for young people too. Report something. If they, if they’ve experienced something upsetting or bullying or any kind of abuse online, um, it is important.

I should also mention, and I should have said this before that sometimes children won’t know that this is happening to them. So grooming officey is there is an insidious way of getting tills and coercing children to do things without them necessarily when I think that they’re being abused. Um, so having that conversation with children about, well, what is, what does that look like?

How will they start? What will people be saying to you? Um, That’s really important too, as well as come and tell me if something’s upset you, these are, you also need to have that conversation around. Well, what about if somebody says this to you, what would you do? What would you think if somebody said that to you?

Um, and, and educating them around the risks of grooming as well. So what kinds of things would we be 

Pooky Knightsmith: telling them to look out 

Liz Rose: for? People who are trying to be their friends, that they don’t know, um, people who are asking them not to tell anybody things that they’ve asked them or, or spoken to them or exact kind of secret or that kind of thing, um, promising them things or saying, well, why don’t we meet up?

I’ll give you this. Um, I, you might be familiar. Um, or the people listening to this might be familiar with the story of Breck Edna, um, whose mum is really, really, really, um, Vocal and promoting safety and online safety now. And, and, um, in response to what happened to him, and he was grieved online through an online gaming platform and it was all about careers.

So this, so the person who’s grieving him said that he worked for an it company and was a programmer. And it was, you know, this kind of great future, um, was offered. And it wasn’t, it didn’t have the kind of stereotypical, um, aspects of grooming that maybe you might think of. Um, and. And so it’s around thinking, well, how is somebody going to try and befriend you and how might they do that?

And what kind of things might they say and why is that a problem? 

Pooky Knightsmith: And what should families do if they kind of, you know, perhaps they created this good environment at home and a child does say, I think this, this, you know, that there’s this relationship I’m a bit uncomfortable about, someone’s wanting to make friends with me or offering me things, or, you know, some of those things that you said, well, what should you do next?

Liz Rose: You need, you need to report it. So I think a kind of need knee jerk reaction and a completely understandable one, um, from a parent’s perspective. And I’m, I’m a parent as well. I’ve got a daughter, but she’s only 17 months at the minute. So we’re not quite onto that this stage just yet. Um, but, uh, I, I sort of immediate reaction is, well, I’m going to take the phone, I’m going to take the laptop.

I’m gonna block this person. And that will be the end of it. But that’s not the end of it because your child might not be the only victim. Um, and it’s likely not to be the only victim. And there are, there are other ways that people who want to contact children can get in contact with them. And just because they’re blocked on one platform, it doesn’t mean to say that they can’t access your child in another way.

And actually, firstly, your, the safeguarding leads within school are outstanding sources of support for families for this kind of thing. So, um, they will all have had. Training to safeguard children, they will all hold hands chaining to safeguard them in terms of online safety. Um, so going to the school, if you’re talking to that at school, um, and speaking to them about that is a really good, good thing to do.

Um, you can always ring well, nine, nine, nine, if it’s an emergency or one Oh one, if it’s not an emergency, but to speak to, to the police and report crime, and you can go through the see ups, um, which is, uh, an online portal for, uh, reporting. Online exploitation of young people as well. So I would urge people to report it wider than just taking action for your child.

Um, it’s really important to report it and have that go through the proper channels as well. 

Pooky Knightsmith: And how do you support a child who’s kind of had that experience again? Would you sort of suggest that people talk to the safeguarding need at school or is there a particular things that we would do to follow up and kind of protect them from future harm 

Liz Rose: or, yeah, I mean that any child, it can be vulnerable to this.

So some, some children obviously have additional vulnerabilities that make them more susceptible to this kind of abuse. So if a child has, um, SMD, for example, special education needs and disabilities, if they are, um, Living in a kind of residential care where they are looked after child, they might have more, more of an abilities.

There are lots of different things that make children more vulnerable. Um, but any child can be, be a victim of grooming and online, online abuse. So I think it’s about making sure that that child is obviously reassured that they haven’t done anything wrong. That this is something that they’re. That’s happened to them by somebody who’s done the wrong thing.

Um, and then, and then listening to them and supporting them and lots of schools will, will implement or have access to counselors, for example, and kind of that, that support around coming to terms with the trauma of what’s actually happened. Um, if something, if it’s got to that stage, um, and then, and then really, really robust education.

So it’s not just about responding to. This has happened and we’ll put in support for this incident. It’s about thinking through, well, how are we going to stop this happening again? How are we going to involve the parents? Are we going to involve any of the agencies in protecting this child? How are we going to get the child on board with, with kind of protective behaviors and staying safe from this point forward?

Um, and having that package of support around a child is, is really important. Who’s in the kind of wider family network that can support with this as well. Yeah. 

Pooky Knightsmith: And so we’ve talked quite a lot about all the gloom and doom about it bit and how there are kind of increased risk for children right now. And it’s maybe harder to, to answer some support, but is there anything about the current context which has kind of caused for hope?

Have you seen any good new practice or ways in which children have been kept more safe or things are better? 

Liz Rose: I think different children in different families have reacted in completely different ways. So some children who are, have, who struggle with kind of school avoidance or, um, are, have real issues with our attendance.

Actually, there’s been little, those are really good things that have happened for those children. That mean that they’re more included within the school community. So the online learning is working really well for them. And they’re actually having much more contact with people in school than they ever did before because of the fact that their attendance was low.

Prior to this, this lockdown. And, uh, there’s been a lot of talk about blended learning and how we’re going to incorporate the kind of teaching that’s been happening during the period of lockdown. When children come back in September or some children might come back, we’re not sure exactly what that would look like, I guess.

Um, but how we can continue to use that for children who are either in hospital or they are. Struggling with that mental health and wellbeing, and they were unable to come to school or any of those reasons why they’re not attending. Um, and, and making sure that we kind of include that and think of that going forward.

It’s opened up, um, doors to, to different ways of working, I think, um, in order to reach children that we weren’t necessarily reaching before, which I think has been a really, really positive thing. 

Pooky Knightsmith: And how about how we reach those, you work with them as well, because. We’ll see, we’ve been working together, looking at, um, kind of providing safe, guarding training online in, in new ways than, certainly than we’ve done as an organization.

For me, that first session that you ran for us, where we had three and a half thousand people who wanted to come. And 

Liz Rose: whilst we 

Pooky Knightsmith: did limit that session, um, the idea that you could reach that kind of number of people that quickly with a really topical issue was I thought quite 

Liz Rose: exciting. Wow. Definitely. I think before.

The advent of the kind of live streaming training. It was very much contained in much smaller groups and, um, throughout the year, so therefore potentially less responsive to what was happening in the context that we’ve got. Um, and, and yeah, definitely as you say, reach fewer people. Um, and I think that what people need to work in safeguarding is they need up to the minute information about what the rest of children are right now and what to do about it.

And I think. Oh, I hope that’s why the session that we ran before was so popular because people wanted to know what’s happening for the children that we work with when they’re not in front of us, what are the risks to them? Um, and, and kind of that, that book to the minute content I think is really important.

Um, we do have safeguarding, these have to have refresher training every two years, but they also have to keep on top of developments as they, as they come up as well. And I think that. The live streaming training and opening it up to a bigger audience in the way that we did in the way that you do your training, I think will have a massive impact on the numbers we can beach and therefore the number of children that we can protect.

Um, and when I plan training, I always, I always keep the children in mind. So what if this was my child and they were suffering this type of abuse, um, what do I want their teachers and what do I want their safeguarding needs to know to make a difference to them? And I always think about that when I’m planning training.

And when I’m, when I’m, um, standing in front of people, delivering training or sitting at my computer now and delivering training. And I think that that’s the amount of reach and the kind of wide net that we can cast with with doing fading online will mean that, that those children are better protected.

And that’s my aim. And we’ve 

Pooky Knightsmith: had quite a lot of discussions about wanting to. Sounds a bit trite, but wanting to kind of revolutionize really, I guess, how 

Liz Rose: safeguarding training 

Pooky Knightsmith: happens. And, um, I’ve been excited to work with you on this because I think we both kind of want similar things here, but I have this view that safeguarding training and child protection training for many years, it’s.

Liz Rose: It is a box that has to be ticked 

Pooky Knightsmith: isn’t it. And that sometimes it can become a bit procedural. And what we really want is to genuinely empower people, to act and to keep children safe. And so we’ve been thinking together about how do we take training 

Liz Rose: from just being what has to be done 

Pooky Knightsmith: to something that people kind of engage with in a meaningful way and how.

Can, you know, what, can you talk a little bit about how you think you make that happen? Because that’s why we’re 

Liz Rose: working together. Isn’t it? It’s because that’s your belief too, that it needs to, to impact. Yeah. I think a range of ways of delivery I think is, is a good start because you need to appeal to.

The fact that people who work in schools at any level are incredibly busy all the time. And I am talking mainly about schools because that is the bulk of my, of the work that I do. Um, and actually going out on a whole day’s training every two years. Is exactly what people need to do to come out of their context, speak to it, the professionals learn, and that’s really important.

And that’s a really key cornerstone, I think, of safeguarding practice and training, but also sometimes you just need a 15 minute video that you can watch when you want to. So it kind of on demand type, type video, because you. Um, want to just refresh your memory about something or you just need to find out a little bit more about a topic that wasn’t covered in your refresher training, or you’ve had a, an issue raised about something that maybe you feel a little bit less confident about, and you just need to, to access that training there and then, and, and it to be ready.

And that’s the kind of thinking that I’ve had when I’ve been recording some of the on demand training that we’ve had. We’ve been working on together. Um, what is it that people need in that moment? The key information about safeguarding issues, and then sometimes we’ll have an issue like, or we’ll have a copper a situation like we’ve had with COVID.

I mean, it’s a, it’s an issue straight example, but all there will be something happening in the country nationally, or even globally where there needs to be something very responsive. So the kind of live shorter sessions packed full of information. Are really important in kind of responding immediately to, to, to what’s happening.

Um, and I think also obviously a safeguarding leads listening will know there is a huge weight of responsibility on them for training the rest of their staff. And, um, and you can’t, you can’t safeguard in isolation. You need all of your staff to be able to be the eyes and ears and be looking at what’s happening for children.

Um, from the minute they arrive to the minute they get home and also. Talking to them about everything that happens after they go home as well. And so training staff throughout the year and making sure that they’ve got everything that they need constantly drip fed to make sure that it’s always on the agenda is a kind of, is the other section really of safeguarding or one of the other sections of safeguarding training, um, as well that I’m kind of keen to, to develop through the on demand courses or, or in various ways.

I mean, we’re in, we’re kind of in discussion, I guess, about lots of different ways of. Of safeguarding people, but, um, I am always open to the suggestions of what people need. I think there’s nothing worse than kind of thinking, well, I know what people need and I’m going to do this. It’s much better to ask them what they need and then tailor something to, to them.

Um, and I think that’s what we do really in, in working together. Um, And I hope that’s what I do in my training practice, more widely. Um, and, and it kind of comes back to what I said at the beginning really about my, the reason why I want to work in why I’m a safeguarding advisor, basically that across OTN and independently.

Um, and it’s about doing everything I can to make it easier for. Those frontline practitioners to save children, to ultimately improve outcomes for children. And, um, and actually training is, is a big part of that for them and supporting them in that the workload, I think around thinking through and implementing training for everybody else.

And you said 

Pooky Knightsmith: before, which I think is really important to acknowledge that when you are safeguarding lead, there is a huge weight of responsibility on you feel that really keenly, and that can be quite a burden to carry actually concept. And the stakes are really high. So what’s your advice to people who are in that role about how they kind of look after themselves as well?

Because I worry 

Liz Rose: about that quite a lot. Hmm, I do as well. And, and I worry about it because people often tell me how, how difficult it is. And, and I wrote as part of my local authority world, I run DSL briefings and often I will have people stay behind at the end, just to have a little chat about something that they’ve been managing or a question that they’ve got.

And sometimes it’s just reassurance of, um, did I do the right thing here? And actually safeguarding leads need somebody to talk to that is. Approachable neutral and experienced and has that level of expertise in order to be able to support them. And I think safeguarding, supervision’s been a huge conversation recently for education because it’s not something that has been, um, has ever been statutory.

And it’s still not, not statutory for, for anybody other than early years. And it was in the draft, but it wasn’t me. No, no, it’s not. It was in the, um, the concept, sorry, the consultation, not the draft copies and the consultation documents for keeping children safe 2020, um, that it was in the role of a DSL.

And then it was taken out of there. The, um, the one that’s coming forward as the draft, I 

Pooky Knightsmith: didn’t realize, see, I’d read in the draft and just assumed, cause it doesn’t usually change 

Liz Rose: significantly. Does it? Oh God, this, this one did change. And I think it’s because of the co the COVID context. Um, but, but it’s has been taken out.

So it says. It’s a support rather than supervision. Um, but it is in the inspection framework. So it’s in the inspection framework for, um, earliest education settings. So it’s mentioned there, and it says that effective safeguarding arrangements include supervision. Um, but I think supervision because supervision is so, so new for schools.

The kind of supervision that schools need is still developing and the kind of support that that practitioners in schools need and the number of people in schools that need that support is just huge. Um, and, and I think it’s a very, kind of big conversation about how we can do that and how we can implement that, um, to make sure that that designated safe by needs are supported and that they have that, that opportunity to speak to and have somebody as there.

Kind of sounding board, but also have that reflective kind of integrated supervision session, which is just there’s. And that specific time that they can talk about what’s happening, but also it needs to involve that case oversight. So it’s got to be as well as the support. It’s also got to be around keeping at the heart of it, the safeguarding of the child.

The mental wellbeing of the number of staff and the kind of health and, um, and sort of support for the member of staff, but also what impact is this having on the child? How can we take your concerns or take the work that you’ve been doing and, and how can we support the young person that you’re telling me about as well?

Um, it’s kind of part and parcel of the same, same thing really. 

Pooky Knightsmith: Do you provide that kind of input in your local authority role? And is that something that happens like with you. 

Liz Rose: Yeah. So that’s something that is, um, that we’re working on actually. And we’re going to, I’m going to provide train the trainer supervision, um, across the local authority for, um, for people to, to learn how to do that, essentially in their setting and support their staff.

But it is difficult because lots of the time a safeguarding lead will be a head teacher. Um, and, and they will then come on the train, the trainer, um, to support the rest of their staff, but they need to be. Deported themselves. Um, and that’s where I think the role of external supervision comes in. And there’s lots of really amazing work going on with external supervision, um, across the country and, and supervision and education across the country.

And, um, and I’m excited to see where that goes really. 

Pooky Knightsmith: Yeah. And I think we can think about how we can support and help with that as well. Do you think supervision has to happen face-to-face or do you think it is possible? That’s happened safely online? 

Liz Rose: I think it needs to happen. Face-to-face to start with, um, I think.

If I was supervising someone, I would find it very difficult to, um, form that meaningful relationship with them having just met them online. And I think it’s also really important to understand their context as well and go to them. And, and I’m talking specifically for supervision for education here, um, you know, go, go to where they’re working.

And when they’re speaking to you understand the context that they’re in. I think, I think. Me as a supervisor, that would be very important, important. Um, and then I think once you’ve done that work and you have that existing relationship, then yeah. Online is, is, um, an option. But I think the groundwork needs to be done in person.

Yeah. That’s a big 

Pooky Knightsmith: ask then actually, isn’t it. That’s the, it’s a big undertaking and he, okay, well, how do you look after yourself? So you end up supervising that he’s going to leading and then 

Liz Rose: he looks after you. Well, it’s a good question. Really? I think, um, I think I have a support network within the organization that I work with in my local authority.

Well, and I’m very well supported in that. Um, and, and then. I guess through conversations that I have with, with kind of peers and, and with safeguard it, you know, with, with all, with people that I work with, I think it’s, I think safeguarding is a very difficult arena to work in, but I think practitioners who work in it are very supportive of each other as well, um, within education.

And I think, um, I think that’s really helpful. And I think that sets a good ground level really for this implementation of supervision, um, because of the fact that people want to support each other. Hmm, I hope that they do. Um, and, uh, but, but yeah, I think, I guess it’s, it comes through my local authority.

Well, and the support that I get from my colleagues there, but you are right. I think it’s, it’s something that highlights, um, that highlights that there is a dearth in, in this area, I guess, at this point. Um, and, and I think it will, I think, and I hope over the next few years, it will really kind of ramp up and, and people who work in this area will have access to.

High quality supervision as well. 

Pooky Knightsmith: And have you found that becoming a mum and having your own daughter, has that made your job harder? Does it make it more kind of real. It’s quite leading question that I found that my work is much harder now. It feels a bit more real. I have my . Um, 

Liz Rose: yeah, I think, I think I would agree with you and I’m hesitating there because I don’t want to come across a saying that you don’t understand unless you’ve got a child.

I definitely do not believe that. Um, but I do think that there is you can’t help some times that have that. Well, what if this. You always think as a safeguarding, what if this was my child? Because you have the child’s best interests at heart, and you think what, what is the best for this child? And what can I do this the best for this child?

I think when you have your own child, There’s an actual concrete title that you’re thinking about there. And that’s, that’s the difference. And that’s, and I have found that, and I have found that, um, you know, some of the research that I’ve done and some of the, you do, I mean, as a, as an advisor, you do extensive research, um, constantly really about, about what’s happening in the world of safeguarding and serious case review, be serious practice reviews.

And I do think that the way I approached them and the way I think about them is slightly different to the way that I did before. Not in terms of the output. So the output and how I communicate it to people it’s the same. But I think the kind of maybe the emotional impact on me is different. Yeah. So you have to perhaps look 

Pooky Knightsmith: after yourself a little bit more.

Liz Rose: Yeah, I think so. I think so. And, and that’s why I think I enjoy the kind of tandem working is working independently and having a structured place of work, which is within children’s services because I have that, that support network. And I think it’s. Difficult. If you’re working completely on your own in that, in terms of your own emotional needs, 

Pooky Knightsmith: you never thought that maybe a more cheerful line of work might 

Liz Rose: I feel really passionate about safeguarding.

I really do. And I think it’s just so crucial and it’s so crucial to have people in the arena that are passionate about it because you. When you say you’re passionate about safeguarding, what you actually mean is you’re passionate about keeping children safe. And I don’t think it’s a bad thing that things emotionally affect you as long as you’re able to manage that, obviously.

And it’s it’s to the benefit of the children, ultimately, that your work is reaching. And, um, and I think that that that’s, that drives everything that I do. So although it’s challenging or that it’s difficult, um, Ultimately, it’s making a positive difference and it’s doing the right thing. Um, and intervening when children need help.

And there’s nothing, you know, for me, there would be nothing more rewarding than that. Okay. But is said before that, the point at which this kind of work stopped summation, the impacting on 

Pooky Knightsmith: you is the point when you should stop. Would 

Liz Rose: you agree with that? Yeah, I definitely do agree with that. Um, because then, and actually at that point, I think that’s where an individual would really need some supervision because it’s, you’ve become desensitized.

And if you’ve become completely desensitized, then you’re not, you’re not responding necessarily, or you’re not able to respond potentially in the way that that’s the most effective. Um, I always say in, in my training, um, and I think sometimes people. Have sex. I can to think about what I mean, that when people start to say, well, I know everything about safeguarding means that they don’t have anything they’ve got, you know, it kind of, it gets to that point and you can be as experienced as anybody.

You know, you can have worked in safeguarding for so many years, but there will always be something that happens that you, that is unexpected. And in fact, we use that phrase all the time, expect the unexpected, um, And actually, if you’re getting to a situation where either you’re emotionally desensitized or, or where you think, well, I’ve said I’ve seen everything now, you’re not open to spotting new risks or, or new challenges.

And I think it’s always important to challenge your, um, kind of. Conceptions of yourself almost and to challenge well, am I thinking of everything? Am I thinking of every angle here? What could I have missed? Um, it’s, it’s really, really important. So it’s a slightly different thing to, it’s slightly different point, I guess what I say in training too, to the question that you asked, but, but I think it’s the same sort of idea that you need to remain emotionally responsive and you need to always be thinking, how, what else can I do?

What else can I learn about what else is going to happen? Um, because only then. Are you remaining kind of with your finger on the pulse, really, and able to safeguard children in the issues that are coming up for them. It’s, it’s a challenge, isn’t it? Cause it is such a big responsibility. And although we think often about our safeguarding needs, and those were the specific responsibility, actually, this is the responsibility 

Pooky Knightsmith: of every single person working with or supporting children.

Isn’t it. And then we look at it in this current context and how it’s changing the rest of the children are facing. It’s. 

Liz Rose: I mean, it’s a lot, 

Pooky Knightsmith: isn’t it, it’s hard to know how, how best to, to help, um, and make a difference. 

Liz Rose: It is. And I also think, um, that raises a really good point about safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility.

Um, and it’s also important to think about when you go back to school, or obviously you’ve seen that all along, people have been there all along, but when things were turn. In September, um, the kind of issues that your staff will have faced doing knockdown. So thinking about the training that you deliver in September, how you’re going to talk about children might have experienced domestic violence or mental health issues or drug and alcohol abuse.

When actually the people who are sitting in front of you in that training might also have experienced some of those things. So thinking about their emotional needs as well, and you need them to be. Prepared with a lot of the information to safeguard children when they come back and there is expected to be a huge influx in referrals for children going into social care when children come back to school fully in September.

Um, but also thinking about your staff and what might’ve happened to them and how you’re going to phrase training for them is really important because you don’t know what kind of experiences they’ve had as well. 

Pooky Knightsmith: Yeah. I always tell people to imagine that front and center is someone who has got direct 

Liz Rose: living experience of 

Pooky Knightsmith: whatever it is we’re teaching about and that if you keep them safe, you keep everyone safe.

But I don’t know if you have any other ideas that kind of add to that. 

Liz Rose: I think that that summarizes it really, um, exactly. Just thinking. And that is difficult when you’re delivering an annual refresher. That has a huge amount of content in it. And you are trying to boil it down into a certain period of time.

Um, but, but kind of on that, that’s where the, this idea of the drip feeding comes in. You know, you don’t, it’s, it’s more effective to cover what you need them to know to safeguard children that day. And, you know, what’s the, what’s the key information that you need them to take away from that session. But then next week we’ll do something with a bit more time on this issue or that issue and doing it throughout the year.

It means that you have. Time to think through what you’ve just said about, you know, how am I going to present this? And it’s not just a kind of rushed, here’s a slide on domestic violence. Here’s a sidebar on a based abuse. And, um, and it’s kind of thought through and spread out a bit more, I think is more effective.

Pooky Knightsmith: Yeah. And hopefully that’s where that the on demand training that you’re kind of filming for us at the moment will really help X people be able to go and digest that at their own pace. And hopefully take it on board over a period of time, rather than having to do it all 

Liz Rose: in one in one hit. Yeah, definitely.

And I’ve designed those in order for them to be the applicable, to, to all members of staff. Um, but also with sufficient detail for essay specialists to refresh their knowledge and to add something new. Um, so, so they would be really useful to have people watch, um, Maybe during the course of a week, and then you do a shorter training session.

And so in questions or doing a kind of Q and a, and I know we’ve talked about the potential for, for us doing a kind of Q and a following some of those on demands as well. Um, but kind of using them to give yourself more time and space, really, to explore issues in more detail, um, because they have that kind of flexible element.

It’s people watching them at different times and you don’t have to. Again, as the safeguarding leads, stand in front of everybody and tell everybody, run through kind of a list of slides, about a particular issue. You’ve got a, a toolbox really, um, to, to appeal, to, to different members of staff and to be accessed at different times and watch this space.

I’m really excited about 

Pooky Knightsmith: it. I am reading. What thought would you like to leave people with, what would you like 

Liz Rose: to close with? Um, I think the most important thing, um, that I’ve said, I guess, in the discussion, or that we’ve talked about in the discussion today is about lines of communication for you people and having lines of communication with them open, whether they’re in front of you or whether they’re at home and no matter what issue.

We’ve talked about or what issue has happened for children that we may or may not know about. We need to be a constant, uh, safeguarding professionals need to be a constant in their lives. They need to know that they can come and tell it. They will have an appropriate response to them. Um, and we need to give them opportunity to do that.

So when they come back in September after the holidays, Don’t assume that they can remember that they remember that they can talk to anybody about their concerns or this number of staff is helpful for this thing, um, to induct them again. So as part of your kind of processes for getting children back into school, make sure that that safeguarding is on that.

Induction and what you need to, what you can do. If you need to seek help person, that’s happened to you over the course of lockdown. Um, and then if children, if we’re in a situation where there are children, not at school, um, then it’s about making sure that you’re contacting them and, and having those, you are taking responsibility for those lines of communication, rather than putting that onto the child to seek help, if they need to think that’s, that’s what I’d want people to take away as the kind of most important point really.