National Safeguarding Week begins with knife crime talk
A series of guest speaker visits to mark National Safeguarding Week at York College & University Centre started with talks on knife crime and harmful sexual behaviour.
Yesterday's two one-hour talks were delivered to students and members of staff by North Yorkshire Police PC Nicola Elliot and Ross Holden, from City of York Council’s Youth Justice Service (YJS), in the Lecture Theatre.
The Knife Crime talk stressed how reporting a social media image of somebody brandishing a knife or an offensive weapon to the police could potentially save a life, while pointing out that the person carrying a knife is the person most likely to be injured by it.
In fact, 65 per cent of people who carry a knife end up having it used against them.
Other alarming statistics highlighted in the talk included the reality that a teenager is stabbed every nine days in the UK and that 175 people are robbed at knifepoint every day.
Ross went on to share the awful story of his brother having been stabbed after leaving church on Easter Sunday in Nottingham and spoke of The Ripple Effect that had on family, friends and the wider community.
Although knife crime offences in North Yorkshire are less common than in West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and Humberside, they have still risen steadily in recent years and, while PC Elliot reasoned “we are lucky to live in this county”, she also pointed out that 50 knives were recently dropped in a knife bin within a month of it being installed as part of an amnesty in Harrogate.
It was explained, meanwhile, that the maximum prison sentence for carrying a knife or offensive weapon was four years.
Graphic images of injuries caused by knives were shown to the audience, too, to highlight the devastating and shocking effects of such attacks.
York College & University Centre has a zero tolerance to knives and weapons being carried on our grounds.
We can also search students if we believe there is reasonable cause, and a student could be carrying weapons or drugs.
In such a case, the police would be called to offer further advice and attend College to speak to the student.
Students and young people could then be referred to Operation Divan – a North Yorkshire Police-led partnership initiative with North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children’s Partnership aimed at challenging and discouraging the carrying of knives by young people in the county.
Anybody with a concern about a student should speak to the Safeguarding Team or their line manager as soon as possible.
All safeguarding concerns and incidents also need to be recorded on our Child Protection Online Management System (CPOMS) as soon as possible.
The Harmful Sexual Behaviour talk emphasised how inappropriate sexual behaviour online is just as serious as that committed offline and stressed the illegality of anyone over the age of 18 engaging in sexual activity with somebody under the age of 16.
Ross went on to stress that it was illegal to take and share nude images of anybody under the age of 18 and how making unwanted sexual comments or jokes and the sharing of sexual rumours about someone are perhaps lesser-known sexual offences.
The importance of consent was also highlighted in relation to how it cannot be given by anybody who is under the age of 16, asleep, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, cannot speak or communicate or doesn't understand what's happening.
Ross added that sexual consent can be withdrawn at any time and never assumed, and spoke, too, of the disturbing rise in sexually violent offences, as a consequence of how online pornography has skewed perceptions of a healthy sexual relationship.
While the sending of nudes has become worryingly more common, meanwhile, the audience was reminded that it should not be considered a mandatory part of any relationship and warned of the danger that the images could be shared with others or lead to blackmail threats.
Indeed, PC Elliot stressed that the chances of nudes sent to one person appearing elsewhere on the internet are "very high".
Both speakers also asserted that being tricked into sharing nudes is an offence and that victims should never hesitate to come forward and tell a parent, carer, teacher or inform the police or CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command).
Further National Safeguarding Week events coming up in the Lecture Theatre at York College & University Centre this week are:
Wed, 21 Jun - IDAS (Independent Domestic Abuse Services) Service Review talk, 1.30pm-2pm
Thu, 22 Jun - Changing Lives - Drugs and Alcohol, 1.30pm-2.30pm; 3pm-4pm
Throughout the week, there will also be stands at the back of the Atrium, where information will be available for students and staff to access support.
North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children’s Partnership, meanwhile, are hosting the following events that can be booked by clicking the links below:
Tue, 20 Jun 2023, 4pm
Wed, 21 Jun 2023, 12noon
Wed, 21 Jun 2023, 4pm
Thu, 22 Jun 2023, 12noon
Thu, 22 Jun 2023, 4pm