Tag Archive for: Clients

ICON Awareness

When babies cry it can be stressful and overwhelming. Help is out there and all you need to do is ask.

This week is ICON awareness week (25 to 29 September 2023) to raise awareness of infant crying and how to cope to support parents/carers and prevent serious injury, illness and even death of young babies as a result of Abusive Head Trauma that happens when someone shakes a baby.

ICON is a programme adopted by health and social care organisations in the UK to provide information about infant crying, including how to cope, support parents/carers, and reduce stress. Please see this short video for more information.

This is a charity doing amazing work.  The idea for the ICON programme and the different interventions within it was conceived by Dr Suzanne Smith PhD following a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travel Fellowship to USA and Canada in 2016 which included the study of effective interventions and research into the prevention of Abusive Head Trauma (AHT).

Research suggests that some lose control when a baby’s crying becomes too much.  Some go on to shake a baby with devastating consequences. Suzanne found that the most effective evidence-based programmes studied provide a simple message that supports parents/caregivers to cope with infant crying. 

ICON stands for: –

Infants crying is normal, and it will stop, after 8 weeks of age babies start to cry less.

Comfort methods can sometimes soothe the baby and the crying will stop. Think are they: hungry, tired, or in need of a nappy change? Try simple calming techniques such as singing to the baby or going for a walk.

Its OK to walk away if you have checked the baby is safe and crying is getting to you. After a few minutes when you are feeling calm, go back and check on the baby.

Never, ever shake or hurt a baby. It can cause lasting brain damage or death. If you are worried that your baby is unwell contact your GP or call NHS 111.

Studies show that a key trigger to a baby being shaken is the caregiver’s inability to stop an infant crying and the link between the normal age of peak crying around 6 weeks to 3 months.  Periods of crying should decrease by 4 to 5 months.  It also shows that around 70% of babies who are shaken are shaken by men.  So any prevention programme should include male caregivers and use the best opportunities to reach them as well as support all parents/caregivers with information about crying and how to cope with a crying baby.

Intervention points

The full ICON programme consists of 7 potential intervention points.

  1. High School: Link to lesson plan and lesson

  2. Hospital Based: Link to leaflet and script and commitment statement

  3. Community Midwife home visit: reiteration of the 4-point message

  4. Health Visitor Primary visit: reiteration of the 4-point message

  5. Health visitor topic-specific contact: dedicated contact discussing normal crying and exploring how parents/caregivers are coping.

  6. GP 6/8 week check

  7. Any professional involved with babies to provide opportunistic support/advice.

ICON is approved for endorsement by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGPs). The ICON information has been included within the RCGPs Toolkit.

Please see the below for more information, tools and resources for ICON week: 


I always add the great work from the ICON programme in my safeguarding training, and all levels of our Safeguarding Children courses feature ICON.

About Us:

For more information on resources to develop knowledge of safeguarding please contact us.

We offer consultancy, video conferencing, interactive training and blended learning on a wide range of safeguarding topics.  To find out more about the services and training courses delivered please visit our services >>  or contact us >>

Reporting and Investigation of Rape and Sexual Offences

Reporting and Investigation of Rape and Sexual Offences – Operation Soteria

Most of my police career I was trained to respond to victims of serious sexual offences for children and adults.  In my latter years I qualified as a trainer to deliver sexual offences training and Achieving Best Evidence (ABE) training amongst other courses. Like many officers who were trained to respond to victims it was a hard job, and many officers became burnt out and felt unsupported, some even suffered with secondary post-traumatic stress.

Without Consent

In 2002 Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate published a joint thematic inspection report known as Without Consent which was a joint review of the investigation and prosecution of rape offences. The report made a total of 18 recommendations and three suggestions to improve the investigation of rape cases by the police, guidance, and training for both the police and prosecutors, the decision making and the prosecution of rape offences, and the treatment of victims and witnesses. I was really pleased to read and see the changes being implemented, an important change was the implementation of Sexual Assault Referral Centres and a thorough training programme for police officers wishing to take up this role.

I remember how hard we all worked in crime training at the time to improve the training programme, and change mindsets of officers regarding victims and investigations. We spent a lot of time helping officers understand the meaning of true consent.

Before the Sexual Offences Act of 2003 went live there was no clear definition of consent, thankfully this legislation provided a clear definition, however, I have found through my training over many years, there is still little knowledge out there about what is meant by true and informed consent.

Operation Soteria Bluestone is a national project which will ensure investigations are victim-centred and suspect-focused.

I was deeply saddened to read the findings of the Op Soteria Bluestone Report published on the 14th of April 2023, a huge amount of hard work has been achieved with an aim to improving outcomes for victims of rape and sexual offences.  Having read the report it felt like police forces had gone back twenty years since the publication of Without Consent.

All 43 forces in England and Wales support the scheme, which was launched on Monday, 10 July 2023. The national operating model ensures investigations are victim centred, suspect focused and context led.

My key aspects from the Op Soteria Bluestone Report: –

  • One in three reported rapes occurs in the context of domestic abuse.
  • There is a substantial overlap between sexual offences and domestic abuse.
  • Trust and confidence were placed at the centre of Op Soteria.
  • There was a lower rate of trust from people with different backgrounds for example people with disabilities.
  • There is a large difference in rates of rape recorded between police forces.
  • Police investigations continually focused on victims’ credibility whilst equal importance should be focused on offender’s behaviours.
  • Inexperienced investigator’s.
  • Poor support for police officers investigating these serious crimes.
  • Further understanding is required relating to grooming methods, manipulation and coercion.
  • Most reported rapes are male offenders, and most victims are female.
  • Men can be victims and women can be perpetrators.
  • Both men and women are perpetrated by men and women are perpetrated by men.
  • The usual myths of what constitutes a ‘real rape stereotype’.
  • A true sexual assault can only involve a stranger attacking victims in dark alleyways whereas most sexual assaults are perpetrated by someone the victim had known.

There is much more to this report, the link is attached below >

Operation Soteria Year 1 Report

About Us:

For more information on resources to develop knowledge of safeguarding please contact us.

We offer consultancy, video conferencing, interactive training and blended learning on a wide range of safeguarding topics.  To find out more about the services and training courses delivered please visit our services >>  or contact us >>


Stalking – the Crux

Time and time again in my work with services and agencies of all types, I hear quoted that the perpetrator did not use violence, threaten the victim or abusive in any way and therefore the victim was not being stalked. Rubbish! This is just not correct.

Many victims of stalking say that they feel agencies and services trivialise their experiences and they are made to feel responsible.  This is most often the case with online contact from the perpetrator when victims of stalking are told to stop using social media.

Victims suffer around 100 stalking incidents before they report it

One incident that may appear trivial is likely to be the tip of the iceberg.  Research conducted by Lorraine Sheridan (2005) revealed that on average, victims experience 100 incidents of stalking before they first report it – a trend that continues to be reflected by national figures. Overall, it is clear that no one knows an exact figure for how common stalking is.  Therefore the behaviours of stalking that a victim suffers need to be thoroughly explored, to fully understand what the victim is going through.

What is stalking?

Sadly, there is no legal definition of stalking in the UK. “What?” I hear you say. That’s correct, there is no legal definition. So what is stalking? Essentially if the perpetrators behaviour is fixated, obsessive, unwanted and repeated, it is stalking.

According to research by The Victim Journey, the crux of the issue lies in the fact that it is how the victim experiences the unwanted contact as opposed to the contact itself.

The experience of unwanted contact or intrusion

Unwanted contact can be broken down into unwanted communications e.g. Telephone calls, SMS texts, emails, or messages via any other type of social media, they could be leaving unsolicited gifts or materials, graffiti and (dare I say it as it shows my age!) faxes.

Unwanted intrusions can be spying on, approaching, following, so called “coincidence” meetings, going to a victims home or workplace, vexatious complaints, threats, and damage to name a few and these are acts or omissions which are ones associated with stalking as determined by legislation. This is not an exhaustive list.

As can be seen, none of these unwanted contacts or intrusions state there needs to be a threat connected to them, violence associated with them or be abusive. All that is required is for these contacts to be unwanted. So let me repeat, the CRUX of the issue lies in the fact that is how the victim experiences the unwanted contact as opposed to the contact itself. As soon as this is recognised then stalking will be identified more readily and proper safety planning and investigations can follow thereby hopefully keeping the victim safe and stalkers themselves dealt with in a positive way which will divert them away from the victim.

John Trott is an associate with Safe-guarding.co where he offers a variety of domestic abuse courses and consultancy.  John is an expert on stalking and stalking investigation having spoken on the subject at national conferences, delivered training on stalking to the police, National Probation Service, social services, Health and Housing throughout the UK, been the CEO of a Stalking Advocacy Service, is an ISAC and continues to work with victims of services throughout the UK and Europe. John is also a Domestic Homicide Review Chair and Author and an Independent MARAC Chair.

About Us:

For more information on resources to develop knowledge of safeguarding please contact us.

We offer consultancy, video conferencing, interactive training and blended learning on a wide range of safeguarding topics.  To find out more about the services and training courses delivered please visit our services >>  or contact us >>

West Country Women

West Country Women

I was  delighted to be invited to celebrate being a West Country Women Award-winner recently and share my experiences.

Alexis Bowater OBE interviewed Sarah Newberry from the YMCA, Francesca Hampshaw from Peaky Digital. and I in a Podcast at Fresh Air Studios.  We discussed what being award winners means to us, our stories and our inspirations. 

Some of the highlights of the discussion included how I felt when I won my award. It was (and still is!) a real honour and a compliment to be recognised in these prestigious awards! > 

We also discussed why lived experiences are so important.  I loved my old job as a police officer and leaving the police after 24 years of service was such a big challenge for me.  Nowadays I’m grateful to be able apply my knowledge and expertise to my safeguarding training and consultancy >

If you’d like to view the full West Country Women Podcast – Episode 1 is here >

I was also delighted to attend an awards lunch where I was interviewed by the BBC about my experiences as a West Country Women in business.  You can listen to the interview here > 

Nominations are open for 2023 please use this link to vote >

This year there is a collection of 16 categories and it’s not just about business, this is a celebration of everybody’s business.  Nominations must be in by August 25th and you need to complete an application by September 1st. The applications will then be sent to Judges to shortlist ready for the Semi Final, this is not a public vote.

Photography by Poppy Jakes

About Us:

For more information on resources to develop knowledge of safeguarding please contact us.

We offer consultancy, video conferencing, interactive training and blended learning on a wide range of safeguarding topics.  To find out more about the services and training courses delivered please visit our services >>  or contact us >>

Understanding Unidentified Adults

Understanding Unidentified Adults

The term ‘Unidentified Adults’ refers to an adult who agencies are not aware of, or not engaging with. They could be living within a household where children live or with someone who has regular contact with children. This can be in any capacity (such as parent, partner, grandparents, non-family member etc.)

It is important to ensure that when information is sought and responses are received regarding adults involved in a child’s life, that it is recorded within your agency’s records.

Top Tips for Identifying

The purpose of the ‘top tips’ is to increase professionals’ awareness and to assist in prompting professional to notice changes, outside of the usual contact. It may not appropriate for all professionals to question but to share information with the relevant agency.

  • The main carer references to another person in a child’s life in conversations.
  • Children refer to another unknown adult in conversation or through play/imitation.
  • Presence of another person on visits/ contacts.
  • Presence of another person at appointments and locations for example at school gate.
  • Instinct or ‘tacit knowledge’ plays an important part. For example, someone else new in the house who appears to be ‘at home’ or taking on a caring role for the children.
  • Physical evidence of another person which contradicts what you were expecting for example, personal possessions evident around the household, spare bedrooms in use / spare bedding visible.
  • When someone is introduced as a family member which does not ‘fit’ with existing knowledge of the family situation.
  • Other adult in the household who ‘removes’ themselves when the professional arrives.
  • Information provided to a professional by a third party.
  • Change in a child’s behaviour or primary carer’s behaviour.
  • New adults answering questions being directed at the primary care giver or child.
  • Falling into rent arrears.
  • Changes to the condition of the property.
  • New vehicles parking at the property.
  • Change in children appearance or demeanour.
  • Not keeping pre-arranged appointments.
  • Constant presence of someone not known at the property/answering the door etc.
  • Information may need to be flagged/checked/verified with another professional, not necessarily challenged by the worker at that time. Professionals need to consider asking partner agencies what information they hold about the child and family.

Top Tips for Engaging

  • Introducing yourself or asking to be introduced to another person.
  • Asking them to introduce themselves.
  • Enquiring respectfully about other adults who may be in a child’s life who can offer support or who may need support. This information could be gained by aiming questions to the adult rather than the child – particularly if they are a single parent / working parent. For example – is there anyone who you can/do ask to help with things around the house or the children?
  • All written communication should be inclusive of all key people in a person’s or child’s life.
  • Being aware of person’s concerns about sharing information due to loss of benefits, implications for housing provisions previous experience of services.
  • Offering the next contact at a time when the other adult can be present and noting the response to this, for example, happily accepted or avoided.
  • Asking a direct question as to why they are at the property.
  • Asking where they normally reside.

This poster can be used as a prompt for professionals and aid training on understanding unidentified adults.  ‘How do I notice an Unidentified Adult?’ poster by Hampshire Safeguarding Children Partnership © Hampshire SCP 2023 website toolkit here > 

For help and advice regarding safeguarding Adults and the services we offer please visit our website www.safe-guarding.co or email info@safe-guarding .co or ring 07980 264671.

The Reality of Dignity in Care

The Reality of Dignity in Care – when a person-centred approach is not met

Mum recently passed away and I felt the need to write this blog. I was honoured to provide end of life care for my mum with the help of my amazing sister.

Mum was a phenomenal woman. She successfully raised three children on her own without any financial assistance, whilst working a full-time job as a nurse in the NHS for 40 years. I am incredibly proud of her, she brought up three very strong women. Not long after qualifying as a nurse mum specialised and became a Theatre Nurse and Sister, mum was also promoted to what was then referred to the Nursing Manager of a Theatre Department and Outpatients.

Before I write about my mum’s short experience of her end of life care in hospital, I would like to mention that I am a huge supporter of all in healthcare, having worked as a Health Care Assistant many years ago before joining the Police, and we also a family tradition of working in healthcare.

Mum was admitted to hospital reluctantly due to jaundice, which was within days diagnosed as inoperable pancreatic cancer. My family were in shock as she had no obvious symptoms. Each day I would drive a three-hour round trip to the hospital to visit mum, which I was happy to do.

Mum was a very proud women and didn’t like to ask for help, she had poor eyesight due to macro degeneration, which meant she needed help to walk to the bathroom and also had a very specific diet due to a separate health condition. Mum had full mental capacity when she was admitted into hospital.

At the start of mums stay at hospital I asked her if she had managed to have a wash, she hadn’t for a quite a few days which was very unusual for mum. I could see from my daily hospital visits that the staff were busy, I took on the role of showering mum and helping her to the toilet whilst acknowledging that she didn’t like to ask for help.

Each day a member of staff would ask what mum would like for a meal and every time we would explain that due to mums heath condition she needed a specialist diet. Each time the staff member said they would make a note of it, but nothing changed and so I decided to bring food in for mum as at least I felt reassured she was eating some food, albeit in small amounts.

During mums stay in hospital, mum mentioned she hadn’t had any fresh water for a few days which I was surprised at, each day I would make sure it was changed, it was also clear that mum was barely drinking anything, but again she wouldn’t ask even though she had full mental capacity, she could see how busy the staff were.

Mum had been in the hospital for nearly two weeks when I was informed by a member of staff caring for mum that there was nothing on her records regarding macro degeneration and the specific dietary requirements amongst her other personal needs.

Our concerns peaked to breaking point when mum rang me one evening and begged me to get her out of hospital as she didn’t feel safe. That is when my sister and I worked hard to get mum discharged from hospital into our own private care at home. I was very concerned about mums’ care being neglected in hospital.

You may ask why am I sharing such personal information? What became clear to me, having been a Health Care Assistant many years ago before joining the Police and now delivering Safeguarding Adults training courses, was that there was a lack of dignity in care, promotion of her wellbeing, a lack of a person centred approach and making safeguarding personal. These are things I always raise awareness about in my training.

My recent personal experience has reinforced the importance of delivering an understanding of not only the statutory requirements outlined in the Care Act of 2014, The Mental Capacity Act and but also the supporting guidance to name but a few. 

What Does Promoting a Persons Wellbeing Mean?

What is Making Safeguarding Personal?

Making Safeguarding Personal sits firmly within the Department of Health’s Care and Support Statutory Guidance, as revised in 2017. It means safeguarding adults:

·        is person-led

·        is outcome-focused

·        engages the person and enhances involvement, choice and control

·        improves quality of life, wellbeing and safety (Paragraph 14.15)1.

·        Making Safeguarding Personal must not simply be seen in the context of formal safeguarding enquiries as defined in the Care Act as a Section 42 enquiry but in the whole spectrum of safeguarding activity.

Everyone has the right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect. Abuse and neglect can occur anywhere: in your own home or a public place, while you’re in hospital or attending a day centre, or in a college or care home (words taken from this NHS website Abuse & Neglect of Vulnerable Adults).

My experience has made me even more passionate and determined to make a difference to safeguard adults. At the end of the day, it is everyone’s responsibility.

For help and advice regarding safeguarding Adults and the services we offer please visit our website www.safe-guarding.co or email info@safe-guarding .co or ring 07980 264671.

Starting University

Starting University

In order to gain a better understanding of what it’s like to be bereaved youngster, we invited a student who is an orphan to comment on her first-hand experiences of starting  university and offer recommendations.  This is a follow up blog from those posted in 2020 ‘Supporting a Bereaved Teen’ and ‘Teen in Lockdown’.

I am currently an undergraduate student studying BSc Criminology at the University of Bath. I have previously written blogs about what it’s like to be bereaved during lockdown and starting college. I am now 19 years old and I am here to share a little bit about me and my story so far.

Even though I had already experienced starting a new place of education in a different city, I still had the same nerves when starting university which surprised me. I assumed because I had been through this process before, I would feel less stressed about it. I think most humans naturally worry about change, especially when it’s a change to your lifestyle and moving away from home.  I think I was most worried about making friends.

On the topic of making friends, there are apps which help you get to know people at your uni even before you start. One of which is an app called Unify. It enables you to connect to people at your university studying the same course as you and you may even be able to find people in the same flat as you. Facebook is also a good way to do this as groups are made which you can add yourself to. I did not know about this one before I moved into my flat, but everyone got along really well when we all moved in which is often uncommon. Making friends was easy (just like it was in college). Everyone is in the same boat so there are plenty of people wanting to chat to you and vice versa.  However, moving in day was weird. Bath is the third place I have lived. It is very different to Lowton (where I am from) and Teignmouth (where my current family home is). It’s a beautiful city and I have really settled in well here.

Living at home in Devon in a family of 4 with my uncle and auntie guardians and little brother with 4 dogs is very different to living with people whom I didn’t know very well (yet). I found this change to be really challenging. It felt strange to be moving out, I had never lived apart from my younger brother before and moving to another different place worried me. This reminded me of when I moved down to Devon in lockdown to live with my uncle and auntie who I didn’t see that often when I was growing up. I remembered that it takes a while to get used to new people and make solid relationships, and so I had to take the time to get to know my new flatmates. By around November time, we were all close. We now regularly eat dinner together, have film nights, go out together stay in together and so on.

I didn’t know what to do regarding telling my flatmates that both my parents had died, so I didn’t. I don’t like people to feel sorry for me because there’s nothing to be sorry for, so I left it a few months before talking to anyone about it. When you are getting to know one another, parent typically come up as a topic of conversation, people ask what their parents do for a living et cetera, I kept quiet.

When I applied for the University of Bath, I made them aware that my parents had died and they told me to fill out a mitigating circumstances form. They said that I may get a university offer even if my predicted grades were lower than what they officially wanted. I received a high offer anyway, but it’s good to speak to the universities you are applying to, to see if they can help you with your circumstance. Since then, I haven’t spoken about the death of my parents to the university. The University has a bereavement helpline attached to most emails and there are multiple support teams to go to if I am struggling. I haven’t reached out to these at all yet.

I recently saw a Facebook post from an undergraduate student who lost her mum. She explained that the university has not helped support her which I find alarming, and this must be common in other universities across the UK. I cannot imagine how this girl is feeling, I know what it is like to lose your mum but not during further education which is already stressful enough. According to Research Gate, it is estimated that 30% to 55% of undergraduate students have suffered bereavement in the last 24 months. For a university to not proactively support their students in such difficult times, I think is appalling.

A lot of people tell you that university can be super lonely even though you live with your friends, but I never really understood what they meant. The first few weeks you are filled with adrenaline after fresher’s week and meeting lots of new people but then reality settles in. My course does not have many in-person hours, so I spend a lot of the time studying alone in my bedroom. When I am alone, I tend to think a lot. I begin to think of the loss my parents and the fact they didn’t get to see me get into one of the top 10 universities in the UK. I really miss them and being alone makes me miss them even more. During my first semester at uni, my self-care went through the window. I completely forgot about it.

One of my favourite things to do is have a bath but I don’t have a bath at Uni, so I had to find new things to enjoy. During Semester 2, I joined the gym with flatmate. I began going 3 times a week and it has been great. It makes me feel good about myself and helps me to clear my head sometimes. When I had bereavement counselling in 2020, I was advised to journal about my day including my feelings. This is something I have stopped doing but I’d really like to get into again (hence this blog!). I have also been in a relationship for over a year, and we are currently in a steady long-distance relationship as he is at university in Cardiff. This has helped with my sense of stability, and he is only a phone call away if I am having a bad day.

In late November/ December time, you begin looking at houses for second year of university which I think is quite early on as you haven’t known anyone for long. I had grown good, solid relationships with my flatmates so six of us are living together next year. We all clicked. This is when some of my flatmates found out about my parents. We had to sign many forms such as contracts and guarantor forms, so we were all asking each other questions. I didn’t know if this process would be any different for me as I have legal guardians. I ended up talking to my flatmates about this and they were super nice about it. They didn’t ask me tonnes of questions or get awkward, so I was grateful for that. It hasn’t become a topic since, but I know I could go to them if I was upset.

Christmas came around quickly, and after three months of living away from home, It was time to go back for the holidays. I had around 1 and a half months off as I had at-home assessments rather than exams. It was weird going back home, I had moved into my brother’s old bedroom so he could have my old ensuite bathroom, but it really didn’t feel like I was home. Most of the things in my room at uni are from my old bedroom, so uni feels really homely. I didn’t have the same familiar space I used to have at home. Beside this, I also had to change my routine. when you live independently, you have your own way of doing things so when I was at home, I was hard to get back into the routine at home and having to do things differently. I don’t have as much freedom as I do when I live on my own and I don’t have many friends nearby. Apparently this sense of not feeling at home is common after moving out to go to uni.  New décor and furnishings have helped, it’s clean and cosy, and I have personalised my space a little bit. But it will take some getting used to.

The other thing I found hard was going back to work. I work in a Psychiatric Intensive Care unit for the NHS, so it isn’t the easiest job in the world. I was really worried going back for the first time as I hadn’t been in months, I would have new patients to meet, new staff members and the constant stress about what was going to happen that day. After my first few shifts, I was a lot more relaxed, and I find my job very rewarding. I feel a sense of fulfilment having a job where I get to help people who are struggling with their mental health.

However, I was really looking forward to going home and having a dishwasher, good washing machines and not having to cook every day. I enjoyed spending some time with my family before I had to go back to uni. Additionally, I feel more loved and supported as I have a stronger foundation at home now. I love regular facetimes and the our group chat about random stuff too which keeps me up to date with what’s going on so when I come home I don’t feel as though I’ve missed lots of stuff. 

Going to university also gives you a lot of financial independence. Being bereaved due to a parent’s death and being 19 years old, means that I have a lot more financial situations to sort out with the help of my legal guardians. I had received a letter in the post regarding my mum’s old pension and a change of contact information after my father died. I had to do lots of investigating to do, such as making phone calls and visiting old banks to search out old bank accounts – which I think was great practice for the future. It was really tricky to navigate this, but my auntie and uncle helped me with every step.

You soon discover that your flatmates become more that just friend when you’re living with them. We spend every evening together. We do film night, pre-drinks, nights out and just sit in a chill. I am very lucky to have good relationships with all my flatmates, I know a lot of people who don’t get on well with theirs. I think this is bound to happen though as people have very different personalities.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at university so far and I find I have only the odd days where my grief gets to me. Through having counselling, a couple years ago, I understand that this is normal, and I have learnt ways to deal with it. Grief will never go away and it’s something that I will always experience but it is important if you are bereaved, that you understand ways to cope. If you are starting uni as a bereaved student, make sure that the university know. It could lower the grades for your offer, and you are more likely to be told about the services available to support you. Your flatmates and friends won’t judge you or look at you differently but don’t feel pressured into telling them that you are bereaved. Take your time.

I’m nearly at the end of my first year now. It has flown by. As much as I’ll miss my friends for the 3 months we will be living apart, I can’t wait to spend time with my family and friends from home over the summer break. After spending Christmas and the odd weekends at home, I have gotten used to my new space and home feels more like home again, it just took some time getting used to. I also love that this semester specifically, I have always had a date in the diary booked in for the next time I am coming home. 

Writing this blog encouraged me to read back previous blog I have written. Whilst reflecting on them, I have realised I am lot calmer, settled and feel less pressure. It has enabled me to see how much I have grown over the past few years which is something I am proud of.

Safe-guarding.co is very grateful to this young student for openly sharing experiences and recommendations for this blog.

Useful Resources for Bereaved Teens:

If you feel like grief and sadness is interfering with daily life, talking to a GP may help, they can suggest some options to offer more support, or may refer to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) or bereavement counselling.

Grief is a process and the need for support or counselling can come at any time. This is why it doesn’t matter if it’s a short or long time after your loss, you should ask for support whenever you think you need it.  Please see the below links for additional resources:

Winston’s Wish

Hope Again

Grief Encounter

Marie Curie

Young Minds



About Safe-guarding.co:

For more information on how to support schools/ colleges and resources to develop staff knowledge of safeguarding in learning environments, please contact us.

With the ongoing concerns about the spread of the Coronavirus (aka COVID-19) we have changed the way we work to ensure that we continue to deliver high quality safeguarding training courses.  Our ethos of “Doing the Right things to Do things Right” is being achieved via our distance learning courses and we offer video conferencing, interactive training and blended learning on a wide range of Safeguarding topics.  To find out more about the services and training courses delivered please visit our services >>  or contact us >>

Why Learner Feedback is Important

Why Learner Feedback is Important

This week I had the great pleasure of delivering an advanced Safeguarding Children (Level 3) face to face training course.  Some of the learner delegates were new to this course and some attended this course as a refresher.  Despite this mix of delegates they were all attentive, working effectively in their groups, positively exploring topics, discussing, posing queries and using realistic social learning group exercises.

There were lots of questions, the delegates were very engaged and eager to learn. In fact, learner input is an intentional part of our safeguarding course design.  We actively encourage learners to find and integrate content into their training courses. 

Why do we evaluate learning and development (L&D) activities?

Course feedback is something I never shy away from, simply put, it helps ensure that each course delivered is successful in meeting its aims.  It provides organisations with the return on investment confidence that their staff are “knowing the right things to do things right”. 

How do we evaluate feedback? 

The most influential model for evaluating learning and development (L&D), was first published in the 1950s by Kirkpatrick. It outlines four levels for evaluating training:

  • Reactions – reaction to a training intervention.
  • Learning – ‘principles, facts etc absorbed’.
  • Behaviour – ‘using learning gained on the job’.
  • Results – ‘increased production, reduced costs, etc’.

There are many different evaluation models, but some were developed to assess the value of individual training programmes not an holistic approach to the impact on the organisation. 

The first level of evaluation is the learner’s reaction to the learning itself

The most recognisable way to get feedback is commonly called a ‘happy sheet’ which looks at learner satisfaction levels of, for example, the facilitator, materials, venue etc. This is not the approach Kirkpatrick advised in the first level of evaluation –  the first level is the learner’s reaction to the learning itself, which is the approach I also agree with.

Does formal facilitated learning work for your organisation?

Measuring the impact, transfer and engagement of L&D activities can’t be done just by a ‘happy sheet’, end of course questionnaire, knowledge quiz or post-training survey.  Practitioners must work closely with client stakeholders to agree success criteria. I take great pleasure in getting to know each client professionally thus ensuring each course fits each organisation and isn’t just a “the same course off the shelf “course regardless of the organisation or client, whilst also maintaining the course aim and learning outcomes comply with statutory requirements.

The AGES model, produced by Davachi et al, draws on established psychological principles. It suggests that learning is effective when these factors are considered in training course design and delivery:

  • A (Attention): We need to ensure minimal distractions and avoid cognitive overload. Novelty and varied techniques and approaches enhance attention.
  • G (Generation): We maximise the likelihood of positive engagement and formation of long-term memories when learning has personal meaning and significance. Practitioners need to align learning to existing knowledge to support meaningful associations and applications.
  • E (Emotion): This is key in fostering attention and enhancing memory function. Generating positive emotional experiences and social activities helps learning transfer. Conversely, if leaners have a negative emotion associated with learning, such as a fear of failure, they are less likely to engage.
  • S (Spacing): It’s better to distribute learning in discrete blocks delivered over short time periods than cram lots of content into a prolonged session to aid long-term memory retention.

There is so much to consider about training course design including digital delivery ‘v’ face to face, social learning – learning takes place through interaction with others in a social context and all of this whilst understanding the importance of learning being a stress-free and enjoyable experience for effective outcomes (The neuroscience of joyful education by Willis).

Learning underpinned by research and evidence:

Sometimes feedback speaks for itself…

“Fiona explained everything well and made sure everyone understood what was being talked about, written activities helped learning”.

“Very good at covering everything and exploring things to those new to safeguarding training”.

“She was really helpful and explained in detail each part and gave space for questions”.

“Laws surrounding this subject were clearly outlined. Outlined Mash referral process and different levels and thresholds that I was unaware of before”.

“This course has been very informative, and I will certainly use the knowledge gained in my role going forward”.

“I enjoyed working with Fiona at Safe-guarding.co in delivering specialist Level 4 safeguarding training for GPs.  The high-quality conferences that she delivered were met with very positive feedback from delegates. Fiona is well organised and helped with the logistics to run the training efficiently and sensitively”.

“I have known Fee Lee for many years as we served together in the same police force. I have been her student and also worked alongside her as a trainer. Fee’s knowledge in sexual offence investigations was outstanding and she went above and beyond her role to improve police response to victims.
Fee excelled further in Child Protection and is an expert in Safeguarding.”

“I have recently attended some of Fee’s training sessions – she remains extremely passionate about her work, and this shines through in her training delivery. She is friendly and engaging and her training is current, practical and realistic. I have no hesitation in recommending Fee”.

“Very good safeguarding teaching. Lots new to learn” 

‘’I have worked in social care for 28 years and health for 2 years and this is the best safeguarding training that I have attended. It revisited core principles around recording, legislation, risk assessment whilst keeping the content fresh and up to date. The use of media clips and exercises helped to make the training varied and I came away with 35 points for follow up!’’

‘’Excellent trainer. Plenty of opportunity to ask questions, share knowledge and experience. Case studies relevant and a valuable means of consolidating understanding and reflecting on practice.’’

‘’Great session, very informative. and interactive.’’

‘’Really well organised and executed course. Really enjoyed it! Great trainer!’’

‘’Was surprised how well zoom worked for a face-to-face course. Really good way of doing it, no travel and at home really good.’’

‘’Really like Zoom it really does work for training and the breakout rooms were great. Difficult topic made interesting thank you.’’

‘’The trainer was excellent, appreciated real case examples to highlight and illustrate the points that she was making.’’

Why do we follow up the follow up?

According to the CIPD, evaluating learning and development (L&D) covers 3 key areas:

  • Impact – L&D working with the organisation to show how learning has impacted on performance – including links to key performance indicators (financial and operational).
  • Transfer – L&D working with the organisation to show how any learning has been transferred back into the employee’s role and work area – these can include performance goals and how new skills and knowledge have been used.
  • Engagement – L&D demonstrating how stakeholders are engaged with learning, this can be at an organisational level where a positive learning environment is the goal, at team levels or at an individual level.

So this is why I’ll be following up on the training impact with my clients in a few weeks time.

Meanwhile my next online Safeguarding Children Level 4 is now available for bookings here

https://safeguardingchildren.eventbrite.co.uk >


About Us:

To find out more about the courses we deliver and how we can tailor them to your organisational needs please email info@safe-guarding.co or ring 07980 264671

We offer consultancy, video conferencing, interactive training and blended learning on a wide range of safeguarding topics.  To find out more about the services and training courses delivered please visit our services >>  or contact us >>

The Danger of Incels

The Danger of Incels – how the internet is radicalising young men

You may recall the dreadful case in Plymouth in August 2021 when 22-year-old Jake Davison shot himself after killing five others including a three-year-old girl. The Plymouth attacker who was a licenced firearms holder, expressed misogynistic and homophobic views and portrayed himself as a man in despair who raged against his mother and his failure to find a girlfriend. The inquest is currently taking place in Plymouth.

One of the key questions for investigators was what, if any, role his belief in “Incel” (involuntary celibate) culture played in his murderous decisions. His motive was never established, but, following the incident, Davison’s Youtube account was found to feature videos of Davison talking about Incels and using terminology and ideas linked to the subculture.

Incel Culture & Misogynistic Manosphere

Meanwhile, controversial influencer Andrew Tate made headlines recently when he was arrested by Romanian police as part of a human trafficking and rape investigation. The 30-year-old former kickboxer rose to prominence through his misogynistic content.  Tate is known as one of the prominent faces of the ‘manosphere’. The manosphere is a wide range of misogynistic content aimed at men. A key aspect of the dark side of the manosphere is its proximity to ‘Incel culture’ which has risen online over the last few years.

Whilst ‘Inceldom’ / Incel culture and the manosphere may be a niche subculture engaged in by a small, but vocal, minority, it is impacting the main-stream and influencing young men. Its ideology has begun to spread among teenagers and particularly young boys at secondary school age.

Incels – A Form of Radicalisation

Examples of misogynistic manosphere content creators range from Pick Up Artists (PUAS), Men’s Rights Activists and MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way). Many of these videos, podcasts, forums and articles all centre around prejudice against women and are in direct opposition to feminism, with some having connections to the far-right. The real concern at the moment relates to not necessarily Incels themselves, but people promoting Incel and misogynistic messages and microaggressions.

In September 2021 the National Grid for Learning (NGfL) published learning relating to ‘Incels’ and the ‘Manosphere’. 

What is it all about, why are Incels and the Manosphere a danger to others (and to themselves) and how can we proactively identify concerns?

There is a very interesting Q and A media clip between Professor Veronika Koller and Dr Mark McGlashan who studied this area as part of the MANTRap project. Topics covered include:

  • Incels and Manosphere- what are they? Are they new?
  • Why do we particularly need to worry about this area? What is the red/blue pill? What do they believe about women?
  • What are the links to race, racism and far right? What’s a Chad?
  • Language- What words should we look out for/understand?
  • What messages can we send home to help families?
  • Primary schools- why and how is this area relevant for younger children too?

Click on the link below for access to the full Q & A session >


Takeaway messages published in this session were:

Incels are part of a large, sprawling, and ever-changing network: the Manosphere.

  • Incels post a risk to themselves, to women and girls, and to gender relations.
    • Certain words and phrases are typical of nanosphere, including incel, language: femoid/foid, roastie, hit the wall, looksmaxx, cuck, simp, AWALT, LDAR…
  • Apart from words, members of the manosphere:
    • compare men against women in absolute and emphasised ways
    • often draw on genetics and evolutionary psychology to do so
    • believe that society has been hijacked by feminists and is biased against men
    • see women as duplicitous and having the power to hurt men, but also as sexual objects

Please note that showing an active interest in the world of Incels/ the Manosphere is a Prevent issue. Follow normal CP and Prevent referral procedures for your school and area for matters relating to Incels


For more help and advice regarding safeguarding consultancy and training visit our website on www.safe-guarding.co or email info@safe-guarding.co

About Us:

For more information on resources to develop knowledge of safeguarding please contact us.

We offer consultancy, video conferencing, interactive training and blended learning on a wide range of safeguarding topics.  To find out more about the services and training courses delivered please visit our services >>  or contact us >>

Smarter Ball for CHSW

Smarter Ball for Children’s Hospice South West raises £4,000

The Smarter Ball in aid of Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW) saw over 100 guests, come together on Friday 23 September 2022 at Teignmouth Golf Club to raise funds for the charity.

The event was organised by local businesses Safe-guarding.co and Smarter Accounting with the support of partners – Future Media, Tank Sherman and Angela Consulting (Marketing).  Hosted by compare and comedian, Tank Sherman, the black-tie fundraising event welcomed over 100 guests, including tables from businesses including Scott Richards Solicitors, Orestone Wealth Management, Howard Mortgages and Pride Fitness.

Offering a glitzy evening of fundraising and entertainment, guests at the Smarter Ball enjoyed an exclusive live performance from Shelley Smith (X-factor contestant) followed by a Future Media DJ on the decks.  The charity auction included prizes from Laura Wall, Gidleigh Park, Kenton Vinyard, Devon Sea Safari, Teignmouth and Dawlish Warren Golf Clubs. Prizes also included memorabilia from Exclusive Memorabilia – a John Travolta signed Greece poster, Liverpool FC “Boot Room” signed photo, and Darren Clarke signed photo.

The event raised over £4,000 from ticket sales, donations and the evening auction for Children’s Hospice South West, which is enough to pay for 250 hours of vital care. 

Henrietta Olsson, Area Fundraiser for the CHSW, said: “The Smarter Ball was a great, fun event and we’re thankful to everyone who attended or donated a prize for the auction to help raise funds for our charity.”
The funds raised at the Smarter Ball will support the provision of hospice care for children and young people with life-limiting conditions and their whole family. Respite and short breaks, emergency care, palliative care and end of life care at three children’s hospices; Little Bridge House in Devon, Charlton Farm in Somerset and Little Harbour in Cornwall.

Additional funds were also raised on the evening in aid of an Automated External Defibrillator or AED, a lightweight, battery-operated, portable device used to help people having sudden cardiac arrest for public use at Pride Fitness Gym in Dawlish.

If you would like any help of advice with your safeguarding training of consultancy, please email info@safe-guarding.co 

About Us:

For more information on resources to develop knowledge of safeguarding please contact us.

We offer consultancy, video conferencing, interactive training and blended learning on a wide range of safeguarding topics.  To find out more about the services and training courses delivered please visit our services >>  or contact us >>