Keeping safe is making careful and conscious decisions to avoid putting you or your friends in danger, risk, or threat of harm, injury, or loss of property, whether caused deliberately or by accident. We cannot eliminate all risks in our lives but by doing some of the following things we could reduce them to a minimum.
Be Street Wise
Everybody should feel safe and happy on the street, whether you are hanging out, or going somewhere. Some places, times of day and people can make the street feel less safe, or could be a risk to your safety and wellbeing.
What is a street gang?
Belonging to a group is an integral part of growing up for teenagers. Committing misdemeanours (shoplifting, graffiti) may also be part of this stage of their lives. As violence and crime begin to take over a group’s identity, however, that group gets increasingly closer to the profile of a street gang.
A gang is a more or less structured group of teenagers or young adults who use group intimidation and violence to carry out criminal acts in order to gain power and status and/or control certain lucrative activities.
What do gangs do?
Unlike organised crime groups, street gangs are known for being unpredictable and unstructured. They may commit acts of violence on a moment’s impulse, with no objective of financial gain.
Street gangs look for the opportunity to acquire territory and make money quickly.
Their activities largely involve drug and weapons trafficking, juvenile prostitution, theft, loan-sharking, extorsion and fencing stolen goods.
Tips to keep yourself out of gangs
- Talk and watch carefully. Travel with a group or with friends to and from school and school activities. Always be aware of your surroundings.
- Accept responsibility. Do your part to make your school safe by following all school rules, including behavior codes, dress codes, and safety rules.
- Find positive ways to spend your time and energy. Many teens join gangs because they are bored, lacking in purpose, or looking for a way to belong. But there are other options. Sports, recreational, and after-school programs give you a great chance to meet new people, explore new interests, develop new talents and skills, and to connect with people that really care about you and your well-being.
- Never carry a weapon of any kind . The risk of harm to yourself and others is too great. Any instrument used to attack another person can be considered a weapon, but firearms pose the greatest risk, multiplying the potential for serious injury and death.
- Do not join gangs, hang out with gang members, wear gang colors or gang-type clothing, or use gang symbols or hand signs. This is a problem of image. If you look like a gang member or are seen with a gang member, rival gangs cannot tell the difference between you and the real gang member. You have a very good chance of being the innocent target of violent gang behavior.
Tips how to keep you and your friends safe
There are some simple ways of avoiding some of the risks to your safety and wellbeing on the street:
- Share the info – Tell someone where you are going, and when they can expect you back. Maybe send a text to let them know you got there.
- Be seen – avoid unlit streets and pathways, and isolated bus stops. If other people are around, this can prevent you appearing alone and possibly a target for theft or harassment.
- Be aware – look and listen for any risks before they get too close to you – this counts for cars as well as people. Also don’t use MP3 players or phones unnecessarily as they could distract from what’s going on around you.
- Communicate – make sure your mobile phone is charged, and you have enough credit to text or call someone in an emergency.
- Trust your instincts – if you think a place feels or looks unsafe, back away, go to somewhere you feel safe and call someone to meet you.
- If you wear jewellery cover it up with clothes.
- If you are mugged scream and shout but hand over whatever you are asked for. Its better to run off and be safe than fight and get hurt. Tell the police.
Victims Support are a national charity giving free and confidential help to victims of crime, witnesses, their family, friends and anyone else affected across England and Wales. We also speak out as a national voice for victims and witnesses and campaign for change.
Call our Victim Supportline on 0845 30 30 900 to get help now.
Step up so others won’t get stepped on!!
Bullying can often be things like name-calling, hitting, happy-slapping (when someone gets attacked and it’s filmed on a mobile phone) or stealing someone’s things, receiving nasty messages either via mobile phones or the Internet or false rumours being spread about you
Are you or is someone you know being bullied? Avoid getting into fights, tell a friend or an adult or speak to someone you trust. You have a right to live without being picked on!!
Do you need to talk? Call ChildLine on 0800 1111 or visit us online.
You can also get help and support by visiting the following links:
Are you a victim of domestic violence or worried about someone? Do you want to talk to someone in confidence? There is a lot of help and support you can get but get to know the facts first.
Sometimes, in some families and relationships, there are arguments between the adults that can involve hitting, slapping or other types of physical harm. This is one form of Domestic Violence.
Domestic violence may also be a parent stopping their partner from seeing her/his friends or family or stopping them going out with no real reason to do so. They may insult them in front of other people, withhold their money, or perhaps do things to scare them like threaten them. Perhaps they might force their partner into doing something they don’t want to do. They might also do this to their children or another family member or partner.
What are the effects of domestic violence on young people?
Many children and young people may witness violence that is taking place at home, or be aware that it is happening, and sometimes they will be hurt themselves. The impact of witnessing or knowing that domestic violence is taking place is called ’emotional abuse’ .
Children feel and react differently to domestic violence. They might feel angry or confused. They might take the anger out on others or even themselves. It may be they keep their feelings to themselves and avoid other children and find excuses not to go to school. For some the impact will only last for a while, for others it may affect them for the rest of their lives.
There are people who can help and be trusted.
Who can I call and where can I get help in Ealing?
If you think your parents, carers or you are in an abusive relationship and you want to stop the violence or leave, there are a number of agencies that can help. You are not alone and do not have to suffer in silence. Listed below are some agencies that can offer your parent or you advice and support around domestic violence.
Childrens Domestic Violence Advocacy Unit is a specialist service for young people, operated by Ealing Victim Support, offering one-to-one sessions with a trained Children’s Domestic Violence Advocacy in a designated children’s room at Hanwell Police Station. Available for children and young people aged 5 to 18 years of age. Referrals may be made by any agency, or victims can self-refer by letter, e-mail, phone or fax.
Telephone: 020 8571 5911
Young people attend with parental consent.
Call the National Domestic Violence Helpline – 08082000247
In an emergency please call 999.
Do you think you or a friend of yours might be getting sexually exploitated? Take a moment to learn the facts and get help.
What is child/young person sexual exploitation?
Child/young person sexual exploitation is when someone grooms and controls a child/young person for a sexual purpose.
The terms ‘child sexual exploitation’ or the ‘commercial sexual exploitation of children’ are used to refer to a range of illegal and abusive activities.
These activities can be broadly separated into two areas:
- sexual exploitation through street grooming
- online sexual exploitation.
Sexual exploitation through street grooming can include:
- Grooming a child/young person for a sexual purpose. This might involve befriending the child/young person , gaining their trust, giving them drugs, alcohol or gifts, asking them to perform sexual acts as a favour or in exchange for something
- The movement of children/young people within the UK for the purpose of sexually abusing them (also referred to as internal trafficking)
- The trafficking of children/young people into the UK from other countries for the purpose of sexually abusing them
- Controlling a child/young person through physical or psychological means or through the use of drugs for a sexual purpose.
- Receiving money or goods in payment for someone to have sex with a child/young person (also referred to as child /young person prostitution)
- Paying or exchanging goods for sex with a child/young person.
Online sexual exploitation can include:
- Grooming children/young people online for the purpose of sexually abusing them. This might involve an adult pretending to be a child/young person, befriending the child/young person through online chat rooms, social networking websites, email, mobile telephone messaging, gaining their trust, stalking their online activities
- Asking children/young people to participate in non-contact sexual activities such as engaging in sexual conversations online or via mobile telephone
- Asking children /young people to take and share indecent images of themselves online or through a mobile telephone
- Asking children/young people to display sexualised behaviours or perform sexual acts that are recorded or shared live via webcam
- The creation, storage and distribution of child abuse images (also referred to as child pornography or indecent images)
- Arranging to meet a child/young person in person for the purpose of sexually abusing them.
The West London Rape Crisis Centre is delivered by the Women and Girls Network (WGN), a London-wide counselling and therapy service which offers support for any woman from14 years that has experienced abuse or violence.
Self-referral available for any woman aged 14 years or more who has experienced violence or abuse.
Self-referral: 020 8567 7347 (office hours)
Helpline: 020 7610 4345 (Monday, Friday & Saturday 10-1pm, Tuesday & Wednesday 6.30pm-9:30pm) Child protection response
Whether online or in person, child/young people sexual exploitation is a form of child abuse and it requires a child protection response.
If you think a child or young person is being sexually exploited, contact the NSPCC Helpline: call 0808 800 5000, text message 88858, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or sign with BSL video service.
Call the police on 999
Barnardos is the largest provider of child sexual exploitation support services in the UK.
Women and Girls Network (WGN) offers counselling and support for women who have experienced gendered violence.
Information and organisations that may assist people who have experienced abuse and their family and friends http://www.mind.org.uk/
Our vision is to end cruelty to children in the UK. https://www.nspcc.org.uk/
Rape crisis If you have been affected by sexual violence of any kind we can help you.
Here are some great tips to be smart, stay safe, and have fun online!!
- Trust your instincts. If you feel nervous about anything online, you should tell a family member or friend about it.
- Use a clever nickname. If you visit chat rooms, use instant messaging, or online games that require a login name, but make sure it doesn’t use your real name or anything that someone could find or recognise you with, like your street or town name.
- Don’t give out any personal information. Never give out your address, phone number, or any other information about yourself, like where you go to school or where you like to play or hang out.
- Remember the difference between what is right or wrong is the same on the Internet as it is in real life. Don’t be rude or bully anyone, they have as much right to use the chat rooms and games as you without being picked on. It is easy today to track back to a person being nasty online so you can easily be caught and get in trouble.
- Never meet online friends in person or give out your phone number or pictures. You don’t really know who you are meeting, even if you’ve seen their photo.
- If someone is bullying you on line do not reply to them. If you are in a chat room or using an instant messaging service there should be a block or ignore option.
- Not everything you read or see online is true. If you are not sure then ask a friend or family member.
- Parental controls can help you filter out bad emails and sites, ask your parents or a family member to help you set them up.
- If you see anything which upsets you on a website, just turn off the screen and go and talk to an adult about it, don’t feel embarrassed because it’s really easy to come across bad sites by mistake.
- If you are being bullied on some ones blog or website, tell an adult or report it to your ISP (Internet service provider) who will be able to advise you on how to get it removed.
- Don’t write anything too personal. Don’t put your real name, address, or where you go to school. Don’t make it easy for people to find you if they want to.
- Use privacy options. Some blogging pages have options so you can allow only friends to read your blog.
- Don’t meet anyone offline. People you chat to online may not be who they seem. Even if you have seen their photo it doesn’t necessarily mean that photo is really them.
- Be careful when adding photos. Anyone can access your page and see your pictures. If you put a photo of yourself up someone may recognise it and see that it is your blog. Also a stranger reading your blog could recognise you in the street.
- Check your comments. If you receive any worrying comments then tell an adult and block the person leaving them if you can. Don’t respond to them.
- Don’t lie about your age. Rules about age may be put on a site for a reason. If the site is for adults you may receive comments or see content that you won’t like.
- Only give your number to people you know and trust.
- Get your friend’s permission before taking pictures of them with your phone and be very careful who you forward those pictures to as you may never know where they might end up. It’s illegal to send images of a sexual nature to others.
- If you are receiving nasty text messages or phone calls, do not reply or speak back, try and keep a record of them and go and tell an adult. They will help you get the number barred or track down who the caller is.
- Never give out your friend’s numbers without them saying you can.
- Never reply to text messages from someone you don’t know.
- All calls, video and picture messages can be traced back to those that took it in the first place. Remember this before making any calls or videoing something that may get you in trouble later.
Don’t get fooled learn it for yourself http://cyberbullying.org/
Report online abuse http://www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre/
Get advice about safety on the internet and mobile usage http://www.kidsmart.org.uk/
UK Safer Internet Centre http://www.childnet.com/
Independent Police Complaints Commission
The IPCC oversees the police complaints system in England and Wales.All complaints against the police must be recorded by the relevant police force. You can use the COMPLAINTS SYSTEM to complain about both police officers and members of staff working for a police force.
Coping with effects of crime
Being a victim of crime can be frightening and upsetting for anyone, not just children and young people, so if you are finding it difficult to cope with the experience you have been through you are not alone. I do not feel like I am coping and need help! http://www.youandco.org.uk/coping-crime/i-dont-feel-im-coping