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COVID-19: Violence and abuse online - children and young people

With more people than ever working from home and many children using the internet for education and entertainment, there are increased risks of exposure to online violence and abuse.

​If someone needs immediate help, they can dial 999 and the police will respond. If they need silent help, they can dial 999 and then dial 55 when prompted by the operator.

​If it is not an emergency, someone can report an incident to the police by calling 101.

Support for a child or young person experiencing violence or abuse online

There are lots of organisations a child or young person can speak to anonymously, confidentially and for free at any time of day about any troubles they may be facing.

For details of these organisations, click here

If someone is worried about something that they have posted online but are not ready to report it, help and support is still available.

So you got naked online?

So you got naked online? helps and advises young people who may find themselves in a situation where they (or a friend) have put a sexting image or video online and have lost control over that content and who it's being shared with.

For more information, visit the SWGfl website

Support for people concerned about a child or young person

There are lots of organisations a person can speak to anonymously, confidentially and for free at any time of day if they are concerned about a child or young person.

For details of these organisations, click here

If you are worried about something that has happened to someone specifically online but you are not ready to report it, help and support is still available.

Professionals Online Safety Helpline

Co-funded by the European Commission, The Professionals Online Safety Helpline (POSH) was set up in 2011 to help all members of the community working with or for children in the UK, with any online safety issues they, or children and young people in their care, may face.

Call the helpline on 0344 381 4772
It is open Monday to Friday from 10 am - 4pm.

Email the helpline at helpline@saferinternet.org.uk
You can email at any time and the team will respond in normal working hours.

Resources, guidance and resources are available on the SWGfl website.
Visit the SWGfl website


Reporting online abuse or violence

If you are experiencing or are aware of someone experiencing or perpetrating violence or abuse online, it is really important to report it when you are able to.

Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command (CEOP) is a law enforcement agency and is here to keep children and young people safe from sexual exploitation and abuse. You can make a report to one of CEOP’s Child Protection Advisors if you are worried about yourself or someone else.

You can report online, at any time of day.
Visit the CEOP website

Internet Watch Foundation

The Internet Watch Foundation provides an anonymous and confidential service for reporting child sexual abuse images and videos and non-photographic child sexual abuse images.

You can report online, at any time of day.
Visit the Internet Watch Foundation website


Report Harmful Content

Report Harmful Content is a national reporting centre that has been designed to assist everyone in reporting harmful content online. People can make a report on:

  • Online Abuse
  • Bullying or Harassment
  • Threats
  • Impersonation
  • Unwanted Sexual Advances (Not Image Based)
  • Violent Content
  • Self-Harm or Suicide Content
  • Pornographic Content
If you are over the age of 13, you can get advice or make a report on any of the above on the Report Harmful Content website.
Visit the Reporting Harmful Content website


Guidance and resources for practitioners and service providers

​We will keep this section updated as further guidance is made available. All links will take you to external websites.

Resources:
The Thinkuknow website provides tailored advice and resources for children and young people, parents and professionals about keeping safe online, available here

​The Internet Matters website provides age-specific online safety checklists, guides on how to set parental controls on a range of devices and a rage of practical tips to help children stay safe online, available here

​Childline has a dedicated webpage full of tips and resources to help children and young people stay safe online, from online gaming to bullying and online grooming, available here

​The NSPCC website contains useful information and resources for parents and other adults to support conversations with talking to a child or young person about online safety, available here

​SWGfl are a charity ensuring children benefit from technology, free from harm. Their website contains a wealth of resouces for adults and professionals, available here

​The UK Safer Internet Centre provides tips, advice and resources to help children and young people have a safe and positive time online, available here

​The Minister of State for Security has written to industry partners on countering online child sexual exploitation and abuse during the coronavirus pandemic, available here


Guidance:

The SWGfl operate three specialist helplines – a professionals’ online safety helpline, a revenge porn helpline and a harmful content helpline. To support callers in getting to the right place, they have put together a handy flow chart with details of each service, available here