Safeguarding
Our Safeguarding Team provides a key contact for support for all our students and employer partners.

Safeguarding at Damar

The welfare of our students underpins everything that we do at Damar.

If you have a safeguarding concern please email our Safeguarding Team safeguardingteam@damartraining.com or call us on 0161 480 8171.

If there is an immediate risk of harm, then please call the appropriate emergency service on 999.

We recognise that student welfare is everyone’s responsibility and expect that all colleagues behave in accordance with our policies and procedures.

Prevent, equality and diversity, radicalisation, online safety and health and safety are just some of the important welfare areas that are linked to safeguarding.

All concerns are taken seriously and we strive to ensure that our students feel safe and supported regarding any report of abuse, sexual violence and/or sexual harassment. We will never discriminate against someone because of a protected characteristic or any other attribute.

We promote the welfare of all our students, placing specific emphasis on children (our under 18s) and vulnerable adults during their learning journey and we recognise our responsibility to promote the right of every individual to:

  • Be healthy (both physically and mentally)
  • Stay safe
  • Enjoy and achieve
  • Make a positive contribution
  • Achieve economic well being

And its importance is embedded in all our training programmes.

Our staff are trained to understand and recognise the indicators that may suggest a risk of abuse, neglect or harm, which we recognise can take many forms, and our robust procedure for managing concerns means that suitable support is provided and referrals to external agencies (where required) are made, appropriately and quickly.

You can view our full policy for Safeguarding and Promoting Student Welfare on our policy page.

In December 2021, the mayor of Greater Manchester launched the “Is This OK?” campaign, aimed at tackling gender-based harassment.

Andy Burnham said men and boys need to “take responsibility” and challenge behaviours. As part of the launch, he tweeted a video of a woman being sexually harassed.

The video tells the story of a young woman being sexually harassed throughout the day, while jogging, on social media, at a coffee shop and on a night out.

UN Women UK found 71% of women of all ages in the UK had experienced some form of sexual harassment in a public space. This number rises to 86% among 18 to 24-year-olds and more than 95% of all women did not report their experiences of sexual harassment.

The video is the first in a series of public engagement activities on the issue and the campaign’s development will be informed by the Greater Manchester Gender-Based Violence Board, Mr Burnham said.

Are you worried about something, or someone you know?

Refuge – Gender-based violence services – Refuge Charity – Domestic Violence Help

If you have a safeguarding concern, please email our Safeguarding Team safeguardingteam@damartraining.com  or call us on 0161 480 8171. If there is an immediate risk of harm, then please call the appropriate emergency service on 999.

Towards the back end of 2021, Inflation hit a 10 year high with the prices for items such as groceries and petrol soaring. As a result of the provisions put in place over the period of the pandemic, we are soon going to see a 1.25% increase in the amount of National Insurance we pay and by April 2022 a significant rise in energy costs is expected. Increases are also expected in respect of train fares, mortgage interest rates and roaming charges. All of these factors are building together to cause a cost-of-living crisis.

Why is everything more expensive?

As a result of the pandemic, factories across the world faced lockdowns and worker absences and as such supply chains were hit with delays to shipping leading to increases in the cost of raw materials. Food prices have also risen as a result of wage increases due to a recent shortage of HGV drivers.

You may not have noticed the increase in cost of living from month to month but in the long term, these increases impact how far your money can go and as things become increasingly more and more expensive, the impact will become clearer.

What can you do to avoid the pinch?

There are number of ways to keep check of your finances. Simply checking bank statements regularly will help you keep a check on spending. Using comparison sites and reviewing any subscriptions that you have but may no longer use will also be useful. Setting a budget is also a great way to keep a check on your finances and The UK Government-backed MoneyHelper service has useful budgeting guides which could help you plan and stick to a household budget here.

During the period of the pandemic, Buy Now Pay Later firms such as Klarna, Clearpay and Laybuy experienced significant growth, particularly among the under 30s and those with tight finances and going forward, with the majority of consumers likely to feel the pinch, those buy now pay later options could look more appealing.

Although, if used correctly, buy now pay later can be a cheap way to borrow it is important to remember that it is still debt. If something goes wrong, you could face charges and even marks on your credit file. These consequences are not always made clear and so use of Buy now Pay later options should always be carefully considered.

Martin Lewis, Founder of MoneySavingExpert suggests, before using such options, you should think about how you would answer the following questions:

  • Would you buy the item at all if buy now pay later was not an option?
  • Are you sure you can meet the repayments?
  • Is buy now pay later the best form of borrowing for you?

If you answer no to any of the questions, it is suggested you should not use the buy now pay later option.

If you find you are struggling with the increased cost of living, there is support out there:-

https://debtadviceline.org/

https://www.stepchange.org/how-we-help/debt-advice.aspx

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money/help-with-debt/

https://nationaldebtline.org/

https://www.gov.uk/options-for-paying-off-your-debts

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/loans/debt-help-plan/

On Saturday 15th January 2022, 44 year old Malik Faisal Akram interrupted a morning service at Beth Israel Synagogue in Dallas, Texas. Akram, who was originally from Blackburn in Lancashire, held four hostages including the rabbi. Following a ten hour standoff, all four hostages were released unharmed, however, Akram was shot and killed by police.

Reports suggest that Malik Faisal Akram was known to British police and it is unclear when he flew to the US – having arrived in December – and how he obtained a visa.

It is now reported that two teenagers were arrested in Manchester on Sunday evening by officers from Counter Terrorism Policing North West as part of an investigation into the attack.

An important question raised by these events is the issue of radicalisation and how this happens. A report by the Department of Education from August 2017 outlined the growing concern of radicalisation of children and young people.

Radicalisation can be seen as a two-stage process. The first stage encompasses an attitudinal journey, where a vulnerable individual begins to hold extremist views – vulnerabilities being influenced by background factors (e.g. criminality, troubled family background), experiences and influences (e.g. friends and family), and unmet psychological needs (e.g. for belonging and status). The second stage focuses on behaviours, where extremist views turn into violent actions influenced by social, emotional or experiential factors. Within both stages there are opportunities to proactively and reactively support individuals and families to protect them from the risks of radicalisation.

Radicalisation is recognised as a safeguarding issue by the Department of Education and assessments must be made as to the risk young people are placed at.

Common signs that may indicate someone is being exploited include those listed below.

This not an exhaustive list and warning signs will show differently in each person. It’s important to explore all concerns over someone’s behaviour and personal circumstances and consider whether they could be signs of exploitation.

Appearance and behaviour

  • Becoming isolated from family and friends
  • Becoming more secretive, especially around internet use
  • Centring day-to-day behaviour and activities around an ideology, group or cause
  • Changing appearance and clothing to associate with a group or cause
  • Developing a fixation on a particular subject.
  • Associating with different friends, including friends met online

Thoughts and communication

  • Becoming more argumentative and domineering when expressing viewpoints
  • Being quick to criticise alternative views and opinions, and being closed to new ideas
  • Expressing intolerance or hatred of other people or communities
  • Expressing justification for offending on behalf of a group, cause or ideology
  • Expressing mistrust of mainstream media, belief in conspiracy theories, anger about government policies
  • Expressing sympathy for extremist causes, glorifying violence, or promoting violent extremist messages
  • Expressing thoughts about harming, or using violence towards, others
  • Talking as if from a script
  • Using hate terms to exclude others or incite violence.

Other signs

  • Accessing extremist websites and social media sites
  • Attending meetings held by extremist groups or hosting extremist speakers
  • Possessing materials or symbols associated with an extremist cause
  • Possessing firearms or other weapons, or showing an interest in obtaining them.

What is PREVENT?

Prevent was set up in 2006 by the Labour government as part of the wider counter-terrorism strategy called CONTEST. Prevent’s aim is to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.

The Prevent strategy has three objectives:

  • Challenging the ideology that supports terrorism and those who promote it,
  • Protecting vulnerable people,
  • Supporting sectors and institutions where there are risks of radicalisation.

Holocaust Memorial Day is held on 27th January, marking the anniversary of the liberation of the largest Nazi death camp by Russian troops. During World War II more than 1 million people, by some accounts, lost their lives at Auchswitz-Birkenau and approximately six million in total were deliberately murdered.

It’s absolutely horrific, six million innocent, men, women and children.  Without doubt, the Holocaust marks one of the darkest moments in our collective history. Seven out of every 10 Jews in Europe were murdered as a result of the Nazi’s ‘Final Solution’. Its roots lie in anti-Semitism.

A key aim of the Holocaust Memorial Day is to learn from genocide. Gregory H Stanton, President of Genocide Watch, outlined the 10 stages of genocide. You can watch the following video on the 10 stages of genocide.

Why is it important to remember the Holocaust?

Holocaust Memorial Day encourages remembrance of those who lost their lives and aims to create a safer future away from genocide and hatred.  Shockingly, 2021 saw a record spike in anti-Semitism.  In October, an online religious service hosted by a synagogue in Manchester was interrupted when people began displaying swastikas and shouting racist abuse. In December, it was reported that a bus full of Jewish passengers in London was targeted during Hanukkah.

Hate Crimes

In year ending March 2021, there were 124,091 hate crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales; an increase of 9% from the previous year.

The law recognises five types of hate crime on the basis of:

  • Race
  • Religion 
  • Disability
  • Sexual orientation 
  • Transgender identity

Any crime can be prosecuted as a hate crime if the offender has either:

  • demonstrated hostility based on race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity, or:
  • been motivated by hostility based on race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity

You can report a hate crime online or call 101 to speak to the police. Call 999 if you’re reporting a crime that’s in progress or if someone is in immediate danger.

What does this mean for me?

A crucial aspect of your apprenticeship is understanding what British Values are. British Values in education refers to a government initiative introduced to teach students the values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance, each of which is considered a fundamental British Value.

Mutual Respect and Tolerance of those with Different Faiths or Beliefs is built upon empathy and an understanding of people from different backgrounds.

Learning about and developing an appreciation of different cultures and beliefs helps to reinforce messages of tolerance and respect, allowing us to understand and respect values different from our own and ensure a future where this devastation and tragedy can never be allowed to happen again.

The charity Safeline has reported almost double the amount of calls and texts to their male helpline service in the last year. Neil Henderson who is CEO of the charity has commended male survivors of domestic abuse for coming forward and seeking help and has credited the BBC Drama Four Lives for raising awareness. The three part series which aired at the start of January 2022 tells the stories of Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor. In 2016, Stephen Port was convicted of the murder of these four young men by giving them the drug GHB.

A recent inquiry into the deaths of these men revealed failures by the Metropolitan Police to identify a pattern of behaviour which, the inquiry found, could have prevented the deaths of three of the victims.

In the last year, the BBC have followed several stories highlighting the importance of men speaking up about abuse they have suffered. This has included a documentary on the victims of Reynhard Sinaga who was convicted of drugging and raping 48 men.

As with the increase in reports of violence against women, there is a call by Shout Out UK for Consent to be made a part of the UK curriculum to help remove the issue of shame about reporting abuse.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised above, you can contact:

According to BBC News reports, Mason Greenwood, the 20 year old Manchester United Striker, was recently arrested on suspicion of rape and assault, after Greater Manchester Police “became aware of online social media images and videos posted by a woman reporting incidents of physical violence”. 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-60223802

This is, of course, an extremely serious matter which will be fully investigated.

It’s a shocking report that raises important questions, some of which are around recognising clear boundaries, having mutual respect in relationships and sexual consent.

Please follow the below links for valuable guidance regarding the facts about consent:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGoWLWS4-kU

https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/14_plus/Need-advice/consent-the-facts/

February sees the start of LGBT+ (sometimes referred to as LGBTQIA+) History Month. LGBT+ History Month is a month-long celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and non-binary history, including the history of LGBT+ rights and related civil rights movements and coincides with the 2003 abolition of Section 28.

Whilst this month is designed as a celebration, it is important to note that over the last decade, recordings of hate crimes based on sexual orientation has increased by 328% with numbers rising as high as 18,596 in 2020/21. Despite many efforts to tackle homophobia (and biphobia) there are still far too many stories of discrimination against the LGBTQIA+ community.

Most recently, Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published its response to the Equality Committee’s hearings into banning conversion therapy. Despite conducting a lengthy investigation into conversion therapy and hearing from those who had undergone gay and trans conversion therapy, the watchdog suggested that banning conversion therapy should be delayed so more research could be carried out. Many LGBTQ+ organizations and groups have condemned this move.

Despite great progress for the LGBTQ+ plus community, those who identify as LGBT+ still face discrimination and this can be seen in news stories every day. Here are just some of the stories reported within the last year:

Gay couple refused south London house viewing and purchase – BBC News

Dr Gary Jenkins’ haunting last words played in court after brutal killing (pinknews.co.uk)

Council of Europe condemns ‘virulent attacks on LGBT rights’ in the UK (msn.com)

Appeal for witnesses after fatal suspected homophobic attack | Bradford Telegraph and Argus (thetelegraphandargus.co.uk)

Media watchdog Ofcom quits Stonewall diversity scheme – BBC News

Are you interested in learning about different ways to reduce homophobia in your community, within your organization, among your friends and family, or even within yourself? Or are you wondering what efforts already exist to combat homophobia at a national or international level? Below are some things that you could do to help and also initiatives to know about.

Institutional Homophobia

  • Make yourself aware of issues relating to legislation and homophobia and support change
  • Learn about prominent historical figures who were homosexual to promote understanding and inclusion
  • Report discrimination that you encounter through businesses

Cultural Homophobia

  • Participate in events such as the Gay Pride Parade to bring awareness to differences and the importance of acceptance
  • Spread awareness about homophobia by sharing media campaigns
  • If you are in a position of creating media, be sure to include images reflecting varying sexual orientations

Interpersonal Homophobia

  • Post on social media about important observances such as LGBTQ+ History Month or the International Day Against Homophobia (the very first day was May 17, 2005)
  • If you are a parent, understand the role of bullying in schools in spreading homophobia and teach your children how to treat others
  • Be willing to listen and learn about the experiences of those in the LGBTQ+ community
  • Be open to understanding the challenges that those in the LGBTQ+ community face on a daily basis. Understand that their experiences are different from yours and that they face different problems from you
  • If you are a teacher or school official, promote a positive school environment that encourages respect to be shown towards all students
  • Include information relevant to LGBTQ+ students when discussing health issues or other relevant topics at school
  • Report harassment and call for help if you feel that you or someone else is in danger

Internalized Homophobia

  • Make sure that you have a strong social support system to help combat the impact of homophobia. Surrounding yourself with people who love and understand you will help to build your confidence in yourself
  • Work on your self-esteem and spend time with people who make you feel comfortable being who you are rather than those who expect you to behave in a way that makes them feel comfortable

British Values

An important aspect of your apprenticeship is understanding what British Values are. British Values in education refer to a government initiative introduced to teach students the values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance, each of which is considered a fundamental British Value.

Tolerance and Acceptance

These two terms are used identically by many people but actually represent two different viewpoints. To be tolerant is to understand and this isn’t going away regardless of your views on it, and not lashing out at the person or group. To be accepting is to embrace these differences and to be supportive of others, regardless of their gender or sexuality.  The latter shows respect.

WARNING: This post discusses sensitive topics, which some may find upsetting

According to the World Health Organisation (2021), more than 700,000 people die by suicide every year.

For a long time, it was suggested that for every person who dies by suicide, six people will be potentially directly affected by their death. However, this number has been shown to be a gross underestimation.

Many suicides happen impulsively, often in moments of crisis when the ability to deal with life stresses breaks down. Experiencing violence, abuse, or loss and a sense of isolation are strongly associated with suicidal behaviour. Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15–19-year-olds and is the second cause of death among 15-29-year-olds.

In the UK in 2019, 6,524 people took their own lives and men are three times more likely than women to die by suicide. However, women are more likely to report suicidal thoughts.  

In 2021, Andy Airey, Mike Palmer and Tim Owen raised more than £500,000 during a 300-mile walk for suicide prevention charity Papyrus after their daughters (all under 35 years old) took their lives. Now they are aiming for suicide prevention to be taught in the national curriculum.

Suicide can affect anyone as demonstrated recently when a 12-year-old trans student in Milton Keynes took her own life due to bullying.

Myths about suicide

Many years ago, not only was suicide rarely talked about, but it was infrequently discussed openly in families, communities or workplaces.  Arguably, this has contributed to the stigma and the reinforcement of the many myths surrounding suicide.

Here are just a few myths that have surrounded suicide in the past:

  1. Those who talk about suicide are not at risk of suicide
  2. All suicidal people are depressed or mentally ill
  3. Suicide occurs without warning
  4. Asking about suicide ‘plants’ the idea in someone’s head
  5. Suicidal people clearly want to die
  6. When someone becomes suicidal, they will always remain suicidal
  7. Suicide is inherited
  8. Suicidal behaviour is motivated by attention-seeking
  9. Suicide cannot be prevented

Not only are these myths untrue but can be damaging to those experiencing suicidal thoughts and those wanting to help. Understanding the facts can help you when someone is struggling to cope.

What to do if you are concerned about yourself or someone you know

There are several factors to be aware of when you are concerned about someone at risk of suicide. These include experiencing mental health and/or drug and alcohol problems, a past suicide attempt, experiencing family difficulties or violence, or family history of suicide, loss of a friend or family member and/or social and geographical isolation

Behaviours which may indicate that a young person is at imminent risk of suicide include:

  • Threatening to hurt or kill themselves
  • Planning ways to kill themselves and/or trying to access the means to kill themselves
  • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide
  • Expressing feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, that life is not worth living
  • Engaging in reckless or risky behaviour without concern for their safety
  • Talking or writing about being a burden to others
  • Increasing their use of drugs or alcohol
  • Withdrawing from friends, teachers and family
  • Noticeable changes in mood including increased levels of anger or agitation
  • Taking less care in their appearance (not washing, appearing dishevelled, etc.)
  • Giving away possessions
  • Saying goodbye to loved ones

In his book ‘When It Is Darkest’, Rory O’Connor talks about the three principles of talking to someone about suicide. These are:

  1. Listen
  2. Show Compassion
  3. Build trust and collaboration

Important Links

Papyrus UK Suicide Prevention | Prevention of Young Suicide

Samaritans | Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy | Here to listen

CALM Homepage – Campaign Against Living Miserably | CALM, the campaign against living miserably, is a charity dedicated to preventing male suicide, the biggest single killer of men aged 20-45 in the UK

Childline | Childline

YoungMinds Textline | Free 24/7 Mental Health Support Via Text | YoungMinds

Hello, My Pronouns are . . .

Although pronouns affect us all, they can be particularly important when we are talking about gender.

What is a pronoun?

Pronouns are short words like she, he, you, we, they, us and them. They are used to describe either individuals or groups of people, rather than using their name/names.

Everyday society typically assumes that those who present as female use she/her pronouns, and those who present as male use he/him. However, for gender non-conforming, non-binary, and transgender people, these pronouns may not fit or can create discomfort and cause stress and anxiety. In fact, a recent study showed that the use of correct pronouns and names reduced depression and suicide risk in transgender youth.

Having trouble understanding why this would upset someone?

Think about your pronoun (it’s probably “he” or “she”). Now imagine someone calling you the one you don’t think of yourself as. Imagine them doing it over and over and over, even after you’ve corrected them.

A key aspect of British Values is Tolerance. Tolerance means to understand that everyone in society is different, regardless of your own personal views.

Gender expression versus Gender identity

Gender expression refers to the ways that people present their gender identity to the world. This may be through clothing, haircuts, behaviours, and other choices. However, Gender identity is a person’s understanding of themselves as male, female or another gender. For many people, there is a “mismatch” between what society expects from their gender and how they choose to present.

It is important to know the difference as someone’s gender expression may not necessarily match the assumptions of gender you expect. Therefore, it is not safe to assume someone’s gender identity through their gender expression.

Being inclusive

The key elements necessary for creating a culture of inclusion include acknowledging differences amongst individuals, empowering others to thrive and prosper, and valuing and respecting others for who they are and what they contribute.

A good way of demonstrating inclusivity is using gender-neutral pronouns. Gender-neutral pronouns are words that don’t specify whether the subject of the sentence is female or male. ‘They’, for instance, is a third-person pronoun that is gender neutral.

What else can you do?

As it is LGBT+ History Month, here are a few tips to using more inclusive pronouns:

Simple acts such as not guessing a person’s pronoun is a great start. Guessing a person’s pronoun is telling that person how we view their gender even though we could be mistaken.

You may also want to start sharing your own pronouns to show you are open to others sharing theirs with you as well.

Asking which pronouns a colleague or friend prefers to use is also important as it helps the person feel seen and empowered.

You may also want to amend your email signature to include your own preferred pronouns to demonstrate your respect for inclusivity by acknowledging gender diversity.

Useful Links:

Understanding Pronouns – LGBT Life Center

International Pronouns Day (stonewall.org.uk)

Have a safeguarding concern?

If you have a safeguarding concern please email our Safeguarding Team using the button below or call us on 0161 480 8171. If there is an immediate risk of harm, then please call the appropriate emergency service on 999.

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