The summer holidays can be an anxious time for parents and carers, who may be worried about whether their children are safe and well when they’re on their own. Children and young people may also feel unsure of how best to keep safe and what to do if they find themselves in a situation that they feel uncomfortable with.
The Council and its partners are taking a range of steps to keep your children safe over the summer holidays, including:
- Supporting children and young people to stay safe in the community and to use public spaces in line with coronavirus safety regulations, through regular weekly sessions delivered by Young Hackney’s Outreach Team
- Working closely with our voluntary and community sector partners to collectively keep children and young people safe over summer, including through the delivery of our jam-packed summer programme, which features a host of free, fun activities that your child can get involved in over the summer
- Providing children and young people with access to trusted relationships professionals through outreach work in their communities, Young Hackney youth hubs and our summer programme
- Regular patrols are being carried out across the borough by police in both plain clothes and uniform
Ways your child can keep safe in the community
Below are a range of tips that you can use to support your child to be safe in the community over the summer holidays:
Be alert – make sure your child is aware of their surroundings on their journey. Encourage them not to walk whilst looking at their phone, be aware of the people around you and trust their instincts if something doesn’t feel right.
If possible, walk in a group of trusted friends – is it possible for your child to walk all or part of their journey in a group?
Keep possessions out of sight – Discourage your child from carrying valuable items on them, but if they do, items should be kept well out of sight at all times.
Use busy and well-lit routes – Set out a route with your child that uses well- populated roads and paths.
Share plans – Children should let family members know where they are at all times and what time they expect to be home.
Keep an open dialogue – feel confident in discussing safety outside the home with your child and remind them of the dangers. Show you’re interested in who they’re spending their time with and what they’re doing.
If feeling threatened, use local shops and cafes or tell an adult – Encourage your child to seek safety or help in local shops and cafes if they are ever feeling uneasy or unsafe. There they can tell an adult or call home, the school and the police. They should also feel that they can ask a passing adult. Especially in the park, many people will be prepared to help, particularly people who are working there, whether that be council employees or professional fitness instructors or dog walkers, or people who are using the park socially.
Make a scene – Advice from the police is that if young people are able to, they should scream and shout for help. This will attract unwanted attention and could cause the suspect to flee the scene. Another tactic for the young person is if they can, run away from the suspect in a direction which is likely to be populated.
Empower them to feel confident in calling 999 – Your child should feel confident to call 999 if they are the victim of a crime. Ask them – “Does it feel like the situation could get heated or violent?” “Is someone in immediate difficulty/danger?” “Is a crime happening now?” If so, they should call 999.
Anyone who is concerned about the safety of a child or young person can contact the following organisations free of charge for advice, support and services:
- FAST (First Access Screening Team) – Hackney Council’s FAST help co-located professionals from children and families services, Police, Health and probation work together to share information and make decisions about the type and level of services children/ young people and their families need. They can help with access to an early help service i.e Children’s Centre, Family Support, Young Hackney or Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), as well as signpost to universal or community-based services. Telephone: 020 8356 5500 E-mail: Fast@hackney.gov.uk
- The City and Hackney Wellbeing Network – commissioned by Hackney Council, is a new network of voluntary sector mental health services for adult residents in Hackney and the City, which will empower people towards better mental and physical wellbeing. The network is a diverse partnership made up of seven specialist mental health agencies with a wealth of expertise in working with different communities in Hackney. Telephone: 0208 525 2301 Email: SPOE@mindchwf.org.uk
- Young Hackney – Young Hackney is Hackney Council’s service for all young people aged 6-19 and up to 25 (if they have additional needs). The service offers activities in youth hubs, trips and projects and provides opportunities, support and guidance for young people who need it. Young Hackney supports young people who have been victims of crime or bullying, as well as helping to prevent young people from getting involved in antisocial behaviour or crime. Young Hackney also offer youth participation projects to encourage young people to get more involved in their communities and become active citizens, campaigning and promoting social issues affecting young people. Telephone: 020 8356 7404 (9am-5pm) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Victim Support – An independent charity, offering support to people affected by crime or traumatic events. The support is free, confidential and tailored to your needs. Telephone: 0808 1689 111 Request support online: bit.ly/victim-support-help
- Victim Support’s You & Co programme offers support for young people and children who have been affected by crime. Find out more: bit.ly/youandco
- Fearless – Access non-judgemental information and advice about crime and criminality. Its service allows people to pass on information about crime 100% anonymously. They also run projects within schools and youth clubs. Contact Fearless: www.fearless.org/en/give-info