Safeguarding Update, Digital Passport for Vulnerable Children & More



Significant changes have been made to the statutory guidance for schools, Keeping Children Safe in Education 2021 (KCSIE) to take effect in September.

The update strengthens sections of the guidance relating to peer-on-peer abuse.  It makes clear that schools should recognise the scale of the problem and take a zero tolerance to sexual violence and sexual harassment.  Staff should be able to recognise the indicators and signs of peer-on-peer abuse and be aware of their school’s policy and procedures for dealing with it.  They should assume that even if no reports have been received, it could still be happening. 

It contains new information on Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) including details of how children can be exploited and how they become trapped in such situations.  It emphasises that both girls and boys can be at risk of CCE although the experience of girls and the indicators of their involvement can be very different from boys.

The update emphasises the role of technology in many safeguarding issues and the importance of online safety training for staff and children.  It also includes a new section in Annex B (formerly Annex A) regarding children’s involvement in cyber-dependent crime and signposts schools to the Cyber Choices programme which can intervene to divert those at risk to more a positive use of their cyber skills.

Further details of the main changes are described in Annex G to the guidance.  DfE advice on Sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges has also been updated in line with the revisions to KCSIE.

The changes will be incorporated into Gooseberry Planet’s e-learning Safeguarding CPD.


The UK Council for Internet Safety (UKCIS) has launched a Digital Passport tool to help children and young people with care experience discuss their online lives with carers.

The tool provides a vehicle through which young people can express their concerns and expectations about their online activity, and allows carers and foster parents access to resources on how best to talk and engage on matters of digital life.


There has been a ‘worrying’ increase in child terrorism arrests in the past year, according to Counter Terrorism Policing (CTP).   Children are being targeted and radicalised online, through multi-player gaming, chat forums and social media.

In the year to 31 March 2021, 13% of terror suspects detained were children, an increase from 5% in the previous year and the highest number since 2017/18.

21 children were arrested on suspicion of terror offences in the year to April, of which three quarters related to far-right extremism.

The CTP have teamed up with Netmums to provide information on what to look out for and how to get help. 

“Not all children are vulnerable, but some are, and all parents should be aware of the dangers so they can help protect their child if necessary,” said the CTP’s national coordinator for Prevent, Chief Superintendent Nik Adams.

“That requires parents, friends and family to help us by talking to their children about what they view online, acting early to share their concerns and seeking support if they fear someone they love is in danger of being radicalised.”


EU Parliament MEPs have approved a time-limited regulation which allows websites and social media networks to tackle child sexual abuse online.

The new regulation, which will apply for 3 years or until a new law replaces it, allows social media sites to monitor private communication between users to detect potential signs of child abuse.

While it has been heralded by some as a welcome step in the fight against child abuse, an Opinion by the European Data Protection Supervisor raised concerns over the interference posed by the measures of the bill on data protection and private communications.

“Confidentiality of communications is a cornerstone of the fundamental rights to respect for private and family life. Even voluntary measures by private companies constitute an interference with these rights when the measures involve the monitoring and analysis of the content of communications and processing of personal data,” the Opinion read.


Several people have been taken to hospital in Wales after overdosing on illegal recreational drugs believed to have been mis-sold as anti-anxiety pills such as Xanax.

The news comes amid concerns about the availability of fake drugs online as well as a suspected rise in the use of antianxiety and antidepressants during the Covid pandemic.

“We are more frequently now hearing from individuals saying that they didn’t wish to go to their GP to talk about the challenges they were experiencing and found it easier to go online,” Public Health Wales’ head of substance misuse, Josie Smith, told the BBC.

Gooseberry Guru provides termly webinars and in-depth monthly videos to keep DSL’s, safeguarding governors and staff up to date with online safety issues.  Our July video on peer on peer abuse is now available.  Visit our website for more details.

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