Preparing for, Preventing, and Managing Incidents Involving Online and Offline Violence

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  3. Preparing for, Preventing, and Managing Incidents Involving Online and Offline Violence

In response to rumours circulating on and offline about real world violence, we would like to remind educational establishments about the role they can play to help prevent and manage incidents. In light of recent rumours we’d recommend that establishments take a look at our Advice for schools on responding to harmful viral challenges to start. In addition, when considering the context, it’s timely for staff to familiarise themselves with and adhere to government guidance on:

What Can I Do To Help Prevent Harm On And Offline?

  • Ensure all staff are familiar with:
    • safeguarding responsibilities
    • incident management processes
    • reporting procedures
  • Remind the wider community where to go for help if they come across harmful content online
  • Remind parents/ carers to report any concerns they have about children and young people to the school
  • Remind the community what other sources of emotional support are available to them if they are experiencing concerns
  • Be mindful that these rumours have the potential to trigger and re-traumatise survivors of real world violence and emotional support must be adequately signposted
  • Ensure school policies surrounding both on and offline behaviour are up to date. Review policy templates here:  
  • Ensure risk assessments, including those around digital technologies are up to date
  • Remind staff, parents and pupils about behavioural and acceptable use policies in place and the establishments’ expectations around behaviour
  • Make use of anonymous reporting mechanisms to enable communities to have a safe space to speak out in confidence, without threat of harm.
  • Be open to critical discussion around establishment culture. Ensure that underrepresented groups are consulted (e.g. when discussing an establishment approach to VAWG (Violence against women and girls), ensure female staff and students are involved and can help shape appropriate change)
  • Take allegations of misconduct/ abuse seriously by following establishment procedure for investigating and reporting/ responding to incidents. Review our article about allegations of abuse or malpractice
  • Call out misogynistic and victim blaming rhetoric that perpetuates violence on and offline whilst addressing this in line with establishment policies
  • Respond to common placed victim blaming rhetoric around sexual violence by reframing the narrative to focus on perpetrator behaviour. The Welsh Violence Prevent Unit’s Statement on Male Violence against Women is a great place to start

What About If Something Has Already Happened?

  • If someone is at immediate risk of physical harm, contact the emergency services on 999. The police are the right people to respond to this
  • If someone is being assaulted, contact the emergency services on 999. The police are the right people to respond to this
  • If you or someone you’re supporting has experienced sexual violence, contact Rape Crisis for further emotional support
  • A reminder that duty of care to all who attend extends beyond the establishments gates and is about providing holistic support. As such, safeguarding processes need to be followed where there is  negative impact or a potential to cause  issues during school hours
  • Ensure establishment incident management processes are followed
  • Respond in accordance with relevant establishment guidance
  • Find out how to report harmful content online on
  • If there’s an online element and you’re a professional working with young people, contact the Professionals Online Safety Helpline for further advice and support
  • If you’re supporting a young person under 18 who has had their nudes shared without consent, take a look at So You Got Naked Online
  • If you’re an adult who has experienced intimate image abuse (colloquially known as revenge porn), contact the Revenge Porn Helpline
  • If you have experienced sexual harassment or abuse in education, contact the dedicated NSPCC Helpline
  • If any of the discussions surrounding this topic have been triggering for you, there are people who can and will help. You can talk to your GP to source local support and/ or find other sources of support on our helplines websites

If you have any other concerns you wish to discuss then please contact us 

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