Advice for Families

SAFE cic’s response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in the UK –

The impact of these challenging times upon the welfare of the most vulnerable in society cannot be underestimated, with people self-isolating, families facing immense financial pressures and all of us uncertain about what the future may hold. We have already seen a rise in ‘cold callers’ and scammers.

HM Government has published this advice for groups and volunteers helping in the crisis.

10 Questions Frequently Asked by Families

To help families keep as safe as possible SAFE has developed some useful FAQs. If you have any safeguarding related questions which you feel need to be answered, please email us. Relevant questions/answers will be added to this page.

This page can viewed as a video and also can be downloaded as a word or pdf document.

My children are old enough to be at home alone while the schools are closed but I am worried they will get bored and/or into trouble whilst I am at work.

This is a huge challenge for families especially as time goes on. The Government instruction still recommends to “stay at home” where possible, so most childcare will coontinue to be at home (subject to the exceptions for school provision via www.gov.uk/coronavirus)  and not be arranged with anyone vulnerable to the virus such as relatives aged 70 years or over, or people with an underlying health condition. Get them to check in with you frequently with their phones or other devices, so you can see where they are. Make sure they know not to let anyone in who they do not know. Identify trusted neighbours who can be called in an emergency and share their contact details, as appropriate.

I am worried that my disabled brother who lives alone will just let anyone in who knocks at the door.

There has already been a rise in ‘cold callers’ pretending to be official visitors: speak with him about being sure who people are. Although there should be none in the current period of “Stay at home”, genuine callers like meter readers carry ID and will always come back. Consider fixing a chain on the door and installing a CCTV camera outside the door to link to your mobile phone. Helpful guidance can be obtained via tradingstandardsblog.co.uk/

My elderly mother lives alone: how can I be sure the volunteer helping her is safe?

If the volunteer is a close neighbour and they have known each other for years, it is probably quite safe. Otherwise, many groups are being set up by local churches and councils and their people will be known to them and quite trackable. Contact the group to check that they are following best safeguarding practice guidance. In any case, nobody should be going into the home unless there is an emergency, due to the required self-isolation of anyone 70 years of age or over.

My 10-year-old is really anxious and thinks everyone is going to die: what can I do?

Childline has seen a large rise in such concern in recent weeks and has written some good advice for young people and parents and also resources for helping to deal with such worries. Similarly, young people will find help at www.kooth.com. Where available, your school, school nurse and/ or GP will also be able to help if the anxiety does not reduce. Alternatively, seek medical advice from NHS 111 online.

My grandfather has paranoia and thinks everyone is infected.

Whether this paranoia has been medically diagnosed or is a new behaviour and difficult to manage, do speak with his GP about possible strategies. You do need to be cautious as it may only be a quite natural reaction to what is a frightening situation. Reassure your grandfather about what is happening and why. Ensure others who need to see him such as carers understand the situation. Explain to him and demonstrate the government's Staying Alert and safe (social distancing) guidance. Seek medical advice from NHS 111 online  if required.

My children are spending increasing amounts of time on the internet whilst we are working from home: how can we be sure that they are staying safe?

This is an important question at any time. Thinkuknow has been especially set up and designed by ‘CEOP’, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command within the National Crime Agency, for this very purpose. There are user-friendly sections for all age-groups, including children, young people and parents/carers.

My elderly father lives 5 hours’ drive away and has been told he is in a vulnerable group. How do I ensure he is having food delivered and is getting food he can prepare and eat himself? For example, he is unable to open tins and packets.

Most food being delivered to individuals during this crisis is coordinated via the council or local charities and religious groups. Your father will have received a letter or card through the door. If he is able to, get him to ring the number and explain his needs or, if not, do it yourself.  With some prior arrangement and exchange of contact numbers, it may be that a neighbour could open a can or packet when required. Your father (and neighbour) will need to follow the Staying alert and safe (social distancing) guidance and leave it on the doorstep and contact them. It would be wise to also leave a dish or saucepan with a plate to protect the contents. Once opened, the neighbour should then leave the dish/saucepan on the step and knock on the door.

I am a Dad on my own with three young children and I am trying to work from home. The children need care and attention and are too young to look after themselves: what can I do before I break down?

Firstly, do not feel badly about yourself:  these are very difficult times.  Secondly, do not feel guilty: take some time for yourself, when practicable. When the children are asleep, treat yourself to some downtime and relax. Try to plan your day and know what and how much you can do. Take some of the children’s toys and put them away. When they get bored you can swap them over at a later time.

Money Saving Expert has useful information about working if you have others to care for during this crisis.

For help with stress and mental health issues visit NHS every-mind-matters

My ex-partner has our children every other weekend. They tell me it is great fun as they always have a lot of visitors calling at the house, including children to play with. I am worried he/she will not take any notice of social distancing.

You will need to try and talk with him/her about the importance of government's Staying alert and safe (social distancing) guidance and seek co-operation. Whilst this should not be happening at all, (in line with the most recent instruction from the Government to “Stay at home”), if you are still worried you can telephone your local council and ask to speak with a childcare social worker for expert advice. This should be done well before the children are due to visit.

What should I do? A lady down the road is a bit of a recluse - she keeps her curtains pulled and never speaks to anyone. I have noticed that she has not put her bin out which she always does. I tried knocking on her door but got no reply.

You are right to be concerned and this could indeed be a situation which requires an immediate response. The Police are the only service in these circumstances that can gain entry without the occupant’s permission so dial 101 and explain the situation. They can escalate to a ‘999 response’ if they feel this is required.

Here to help: The following charities have both useful resources and all offer welfare advice and support:

Adults

Age UK  Advice: 0800 169 65 65

The Silver Line: 0800 470 80 90

Freephone 24hr Domestic Abuse  0808 2000 247

Children:

NSPCC  0808 800 5000

Childline: 0800 1111

IF YOU HAVE AN URGENT CONCERN ABOUT THE SAFETY OF A CHILD OR ADULT AT RISK,
DO NOT DELAY: DIAL 999

FOLLOW THE GOVERNMENT INSTRUCTION: STAY ALERT & STAY SAFE.