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Safety advice for children and young people

Worried about yourself or a friend?

If you've got a problem or are worried about a friend, it can be hard to know what to do to make the situation better. You don't have to manage on your own.

Talking to someone can make you feel better and help you find a solution. You can try talking to your friends or an adult you can trust, like a parent or teacher. There are also other people to help you. 

Who to contact

If you've got a problem or are worried about a friend, talking to someone can make you feel better and help you find a solution. 

Children and Families Social Care

0191 424 5010 (Monday - Friday 8.30am - 5pm)

0191 456 2093 (outside of the above time)


0800 1111 (call for free 24 hours a day - this number will not appear on a telephone bill)

Visit Childline


If you are in any danger or feel unsafe, get in contact with the police on 999 or talk to an adult you trust immediately.

Online safety resources

National Online Safety

This site offers a range of information for parents and professionals which includes guides on subjects such as:

  • sexting
  • social media
  • protecting data
  • use of Netflix
  • Disney
  • online bullying

The guides can be downloaded and printed free of charge.

National Online Safety: Guides


The NSPCC has updated their online safety guidance to include everything from sexting to online gaming and setting up parental controls. There is also advice for parents and carers on talking to young people about online safety and an online chat hub specifically for parents and carers to get further information and discuss their worries.

Visit: NSPCC: Online safety

Internet Matters - Online advice hub

This offers a facility for parents to access help online, get age appropriate support, set up devices safely and access resources for schools.

To find out more visit: Internet Matters

Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP)

CEOP is a law enforcement agency which aims to help keep children and young people safe from sexual abuse and grooming online. They can provide advice and guidance to everyone as well as offering a direct reporting facility if something has happened online which has made a child, young person or adult feel unsafe, scared or worried. Read more at:

WhoRYA - Mate crime web resource

The WhoRYa website has been designed specifically for those with Special Educational Needs but can be accessed by everyone. It is a mate crime web resource with a range of downloadable information about mate crime and online grooming through the use of gaming.

It including social media guides for applications such as Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.

Find out more at: WhoRYa

SWGfl - Safe, Secure, Online

They make sure that children can access technology free from harm. The site provides an easy to use facility with a downloadable resources for everyone

Please visit: SWGfl - Safe, Secure, Online 

ICT in schools - Online safety at home

Spending more time online during the current coronavirus pandemic means for many parents and carers, online safety may be more of an issue than usual. It is hard trying to work from home as well as occupy children and keep them safe online.

Lots of families will be looking to online learning tools to help educate and entertain their children and young people.

Further advice and useful tips can be found at:

Social media safety

Stay safe on social media by using these checklists

Online bullying - Stop, Speak, Support

For advice about what to do to if you or someone you know is being bullied online, go to

Bright Futures Personal Safety App

South Tyneside young women's charity Bright Futures and Northumbria Police have developed an app called 'Bright Futures Personal Safety App'. The purpose of the app is to provide a range of information, advice and sources of support for children, young people and parents around a range of issues.

The app contains information around substance misuse and former legal highs, confidence and self-esteem, mental health and self-harm, healthy relationships, grooming, online and e-safety, consent and exploitation.

The app also provides information on how to access further information and support locally (across Tyne and Wear) and nationally.

Download the app:

Think - before you go out

  • Where are you going?
  • How are you getting there?
  • Who are you going with?
  • Who needs to know?
  • Take only the money you need and keep it in a safe place.
  • How are you getting home?
  • Is your mobile charged and got credit?
  • Who will you contact in an emergency?

Stay alert - while you're out 

  • Arrange to meet up with friends and avoid travelling on your own
  • Be confident and look like you know where you are going
  • Where possible, stick to busy and well-lit pathways and places.
  • Pay attention to what is going on around you
  • Keep your mobile handy but out of sight
  • Take notice of people you see on your daily journeys - report anything you think is strange to a teacher or someone you trust.

Stay safe - at all times

  • If you have a problem or feel unsafe, don't panic and don't stop!
  • If you suspect you are being followed by a person or vehicle, let people know you are in trouble by shouting for help
  • Get away as quickly as you can - go into the nearest shop or busy place or join a group of people to make it look like you aren't alone
  • Ask people to phone the police for you or if you can, phone them yourself (101 OR 999)
  • Try to remember descriptions of people and car registrations numbers - but don't worry if you can't.
  • Never arrange to meet up with people you don't know!

Tips for staying safe

Tips to keep yourself and your friends safe:

  •  Do not talk to strangers
  •  Walk to and from school in groups
  •  Do not take gifts from people you do not know
  •  Never accept a ride from strangers
  •  Tell someone you trust if someone is making you feel uncomfortable
  •  Report all suspicious behaviour and 'new adult friends' to parents/carers
  •  Never leave home without telling your parents/carers where you are going
  •  Shout loudly if someone is asking you to do something you are not happy about
  •  If you go out with your friends make sure you stay together even if you fall out
  •  Never take shortcuts. Always stick to routes selected by parents, and stay on the main roads

For more information visit Think U Know

What is abuse? 

  • Physical abuse - When an adult hurts a child on purpose, such as hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, drowning or suffocating.
  • Emotional abuse - For example when a child is being unfairly blamed for everything, or told they are stupid and made to feel unhappy.
  • Neglect - Where a child is not being looked after properly, for example, not getting enough to eat or being left alone in dangerous situations.
  • Sexual abuse - For example where a child has been forced to take part in sexual activities, or in the taking of rude photos.
  • Child sexual exploitation
  • Bullying - Some examples are; calling names, damaging property, stealing, spreading rumours, cyber bullying, hurting, getting people into trouble
  • Domestic violence - When one adult in a family or relationship threatens, bullies or hurts another family member, either physically, psychologically, emotionally, sexually or financially. Find out more about Domestic abuse.

Child sexual exploitation

Sexual exploitation can be hard to recognise because you often believe you're in a good relationship with the person - or people - who want to abuse your trust in them. It's not okay for someone to make or manipulate you into doing sexual things for the benefit or enjoyment of others.

It is a form of sexual abuse and it is against the law.

For example, someone may try and get you to do sexual things by:

  • offering you money
  • hurting or threatening to hurt you
  • humiliating or threatening to humiliate you
  • buying you presents
  • taking you out to places
  • giving you a place to stay
  • telling you that they love you

It's not always easy to know when you are being sexually exploited, especially if it is your friend, boyfriend or girlfriend that is exploiting you. Learn how to spot the signs. There are lots of different types of child sexual exploitation, which is why it can be hard to tell if it is happening to you, or for your parents and carers to spot that something is wrong. 

These are just some examples:

  • An abuser may pretend to be your friend and earn your trust before trying to get you to have sex. This is called grooming.
  • A group of young people might gang up you to get you to carry out sex acts. This might be in return for friendship or so you can join the gang.
  • An abuser may try and become your friend online - perhaps pretending to be someone your age - getting you to carry out sex acts using a web cam.
  • A new boyfriend or girlfriend might start to expect you to have sex with them in return for gifts or favours, or try to get you to have sex with their friends.
  • Abusers might try and lure you to parties with promises of free alcohol and drugs, but then expect you to have sex with people while you are there.

Relationship abuse

Abuse is not normal and never ok. If you are in a relationship with someone, you should feel loved, safe, respected and free to be yourself.

Abuse in relationships isn't always physical, it can come in many different forms, but it's mainly when someone tries to control, intimidate or hurt their partner. It can happen to anyone regardless of age, race, gender, sexuality, disability, wealth and lifestyle.

For more information, see Disrespect Nobody

Are you under 16 years old and living with another family?

Sometimes your parents or guardian who you live with may need to ask someone to look after your for a while.

If you are under 16 years old (or 18 if you have a disability) and are looked after full time for 28 days or more by someone who is not a parent or close relative, then this is classed as private fostering.

Find out more about private fostering.

Working Together to Safeguard Children - A guide for young people

Working Together to Safeguard Children (usually called Working Together) is a document which tells different professionals - like teachers, doctors, school nurses, health visitors, social workers and others, and organisations working with you and your family, what they should be doing to improve your life and to keep you safe from abuse and neglect. In Working Together, 'children' are defined as anyone who is not yet 18 years old.

A Young Person's Guide has been written to help explain the Working Together guidance. It might be useful if you have questions about help that you think you, or someone you are worried about, should be getting.

Working Together to Safeguard Children: A Young Persons Guide2.27MB

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