Public Protection Bulletin March 2020

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Public Protection

COVID-19 information for public protection

Statement 

Sincere thanks to everyone who is working across public services to keep our most vulnerable children and adults safe at this difficult time.

We’re receiving a number of briefings, updates and web links related to the coronavirus emergency and its impact on public protection. So it seems to be a good idea to maintain the distribution of our public protection bulletin. 

We know that across Scotland people are interested in receiving trusted information about the situation but we appreciate that many of you have greater priorities at this time. We’ll consider increasing the frequency of publication during the emergency if the information proves helpful.  

Public protection professionals across Scotland are sharing a wide range of information and resources which they have found useful in responding and addressing the pressures arising from the current situation. We have used some of this information in compiling the newsletter so please feel free to adapt or share any of the information.

Due to the number of resources that have been identified, these have been sorted into the sections: Child Protection, Domestic Abuse and Adult Support and Protection.

If you have any comments or information you think it would be useful to share, please contact us using the link at the foot of this bulletin.


Child protection - Eyes and Ears Open

The decision to close schools to children other than those of key workers during the  COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the need to reflect on the challenges the current situation poses to vulnerable families and to those staff working to protect children at risk within the community.  

Child Protection Committees Scotland, the national body representing Chairs of Child Protection Committees, has asked all authorities to support the Eyes and Ears Open campaign. In North Lanarkshire, the campaign was launched on Monday 23 March and has been promoted on the council website and in the Motherwell Times.

Marian Martin, Chair of North Lanarkshire Child Protection Committee is urging everyone to keep their eyes and ears open for children who may be at risk during this time.  

“Schools and nurseries in North Lanarkshire play a central role in contributing to the safety of all local children, especially those who may be at risk of abuse and neglect.  

“When children are not at school we lose the ability to monitor their wellbeing on a daily basis, and we are making every effort possible to support those children and families who may need it during these demanding times.”   

North Lanarkshire Council stresses the need for the public to join efforts to protect potentially vulnerable children during the Coronavirus outbreak and urges everyone to play a part to keep local children safe: 

“The onus of care has now shifted from schools to local communities, and we’re asking everyone to keep their eyes and ears open. Local people always provide a significant protective factor for children and that’s even more important at a time when families may be under significant additional stress. If you’re at all worried about a child’s welfare, it’s much better to say something than do nothing.”


Child protection - resources

Children 1st are determined to provide continued emotional and practical support to families through community services where it is safe to do so and through the charity’s Scotland-wide Parentline service offered by phone, online and email service.

Parentline can offer advice and support to families worried about how to cope with a long period together in a small space, how to keep their children busy, facing financial uncertainties or uncertain about how to balance work and childcare. As well as providing one to one family support through webchat, email, or by phone, Children 1st’s Parentline service has started providing specific tips and advice for all families on its webpages.

Childline have a dedicated Coronavirus page which covers what coronavirus is, what to do if you are worried and how to cope if you are staying at home: https://www.childline.org.uk/info-advice/your-feelings/anxiety-stress-panic/worries-about-the-world/coronavirus/

In line with many services, Childline have reduced their opening hours in order to maintain their service. During this period the phone line or online chat will be available from 9am till midnight. At the end of the week staff were reporting a huge increase in the demand for services with girls between the ages of 12-15 reporting the most concerns.

Young Scot has a dedicated campaign site for people to “Find out more about what's happening and the simple steps you can take to help prevent catching COVID-19 and spreading to others. Also find out more about what you can do if you are feeling anxious and worried, and how you can support others in your community.” https://young.scot/campaigns/national/coronavirus

The Children and Young People’s Commissioner for Scotland site has some information about children’s rights in a time of crisis and a number of helpful links to resources: https://www.cypcs.org.uk/news/in-the-news/getting-human-rights-advice-in-scary-times-the-coronavirus

In particular CYPCS recommend the #Covibook for children under 7 which can be downloaded here: https://www.mindheart.co/descargables /

The Aberlour Urgent Assistance Fund awards cash grants to assist children and young people (aged 21 and under) across Scotland, and their families, who are suffering extreme hardship. This support is usually via cash grants to assist with a range of needs, such as food, prepay power cards, clothing, bedding or other essentials.

Please note, available funds are limited and all applications will be evaluated against evidence of a family’s financial status. Applications must be endorsed and submitted by a sponsor, acting in their professional capacity. Examples of eligible sponsors include social workers, health care professionals, teachers, clergy and third sector organisations. Applications from individuals cannot be accepted.


Domestic abuse and COVID-19

Don’t assume someone at home is safe. 

Perpetrators of domestic abuse often use isolation to control their partners and limit their options. During the pandemic, there is more opportunity for perpetrators to use these tactics. Perpetrators may use current fears and anxiety around COVID-19 to further control their partner and to justify this behaviour.

Although agencies are providing services differently during the pandemic, they are still there to offer support. But the way they do this might be by telephone or email rather than face to face.

If you or someone you know needs support you can contact the following agencies:

Monklands Women’s Aid – 01236 432061, info@monklandswomensaid.org.uk

Motherwell and District Women’s Aid – 01698 321000, info@mdwa.org.uk

North Lanarkshire Women’s Aid – 01236 730992, nlwaid@aol.com

Lanarkshire Rape Crisis Centre – 01698 527003, support@lanrcc.org.uk

If you find yourself roofless, have no other accommodation, and you require temporary accommodation, you can contact North Lanarkshire Council Homeless Out of Hours service on 0800 953 2424.

If you would prefer to use a national helpline or you live out with North Lanarkshire you can use:

Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage helpline

Call: 0800 027 1234 (open 24/7)

Email: helpline@sdafmh.org.uk

Rape Crisis Scotland

Available for survivors of all forms of sexual violence.

Open daily, 6 pm - midnight

Call: 08088 01 03 02 Text: 07537 410027 Email: support@rapecrisisscotland.org.uk

National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline

Monday to Friday, 10am - 5pm and Wednesday to Thursday, 10am - 8pm.

Call: 0800 999 5428           Email: help@galop.org.uk

If you live out with North Lanarkshire you can find your local Women’s Aid group or Rape Crisis Centre:

Find your local women’s aid group

Find your local rape crisis centre.

 

Services for Black and Ethnic Minority women

Shakti Women’s Aid

Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.    

Call: 0131 475 2399           Email: info@shaktiedinburgh.co.uk

AMINA – Muslim Women Resource Centre helpline

Open Monday to Friday, 10am - 4pm.    

Call: 0808 801 0301

Hemat Gryffe

Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.    

Call: 07792 017442 or 07866 936644

 

Click - support for women selling sex online

Click offers a range of support services, including for wellbeing and safety.

Their chat is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 11am - 1pm.

Online chat: www.click.scot/chat

 

Scottish Women’s Rights Centre

Legal advice, practical information and victim support

Helplines - 08088 010 789

Legal information: Monday 2 - 5 pm, Tuesday 6 - 8 pm, Wednesday 11 am - 2 pm, Friday 10 am - 1 pm

Advocacy support: Tuesday 11 am - 2 pm

Sexual harassment: Thursday 5 - 8 pm

Legal representation: you can apply for legal representation here

 

Remember in an emergency dial 999.


Adult Support and Protection

Keeping our most vulnerable and often at risk members of the community as healthy and safe as possible has become an even greater priority during the current circumstances. 

With such a huge commitment by partners to provide the best possible service in such a challenging time, there is an increasing challenge for those who are key to adult support - including social work, social care, health, Police Scotland, community and voluntary services and carers - to maintain vigilance and awareness around adult support and protection.  

Remember the increased risks for adults at risk and older people at this time, largely through COVID-19 but also in other ways. There are risks and challenges for people’s mental health, the impact of social isolation as well as lack of provision and access to care. We know that isolation also increases the expectation on carers and family members, which can increase their tiredness and stress. 

We would like to acknowledge the commitment of people who are caring and volunteering at this difficult time, benefiting the whole community. While this amazing response from communities is admirable, it does bring with it some risks. Vulnerable people need support and a very few people are taking advantage of this opportunity.  We are asking all partners to be extra vigilant in the months ahead.

Here are some useful resources that might be of help:

At this time when adults who need support may be identified as being additionally vulnerable to harm or exploitation, there have been some of examples of targeted online scamming. The link below provides information from Trading Standards on things to be aware of. North Lanarkshire Trading Standards will also be publishing weekly information that will be shared widely. https://www.tsscot.co.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-scams/

To ensure the right messages about COVID-19 are shared to all, Doctors of the World have shared COVID-19 advice for patients in 20 languages, which were produced in partnership with the British Red Cross, Migrant Help and Clear Voice. Please use this resource as required: NHS COVID-19 information in other languages

A North Lanarkshire A-Z Adult Protection information card is available, which is easy to use and fits in your phone case or wallet so it can be carried around with you. It provides information to help identify harm and the social work contact details in each locality if you are concerned about someone.

National updates for communities:

Volunteer Scotland - COVID-19 advice for volunteers provide practical guidance in order to minimise the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the health and wellbeing of volunteers (as well as those that they volunteer for and with).

Coronavirus Community Assistance Directory  The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations have launched a website which co-ordinates and collates offers & requests for support from across the country.