As we approach the holidays, the Safeguarding Team wanted to highlight that sadly not all of our students are looking forward to the break. For some of our students Christmas can be a difficult time of year for various reasons and their worries can display as negative behaviours.
-Some of our students are in foster care and find Christmas upsetting and stressful as they do not get to be with their families.
-Financial strain on parents. This is likely to have increased this year due to the impact of Covid-19, some parents have lost their jobs, may be facing eviction and are having to rely on benefits.
-Parental alcohol/drug addiction, this often increases over the festive period.
-Domestic abuse- we tend to get an increase in police notifications over the holidays of domestic abuse callouts. Alcohol/drugs is often a factor.
-Bereavement-Christmas time can be difficult for anyone that has lost a loved one, sadly some of our students are affected by losing a parent or other family members and sadly some are experiencing this for the first time this year.
-Parental and students' mental health. We have seen an increase this year in students and parents suffering with poor mental health and wellbeing, this is likely to be heightened over the Christmas period.
-Family members in prison-sadly we do have students affected by this.
-Young carers often have increased responsibilities during holidays. They may also be experiencing anxiety of family members with medical conditions contracting Covid-19.
-The lack of structure and routine can be challenging for those that have neurological disorders such as Autism and ADHD.
-Health anxiety has increased this year for obvious reasons.
-Students who may be experiencing any of the above issues are considered vulnerable. They are at increased risk of being targeted and groomed online or by gangs. They may be sexually exploited or used to deal drugs/carry weapons. The holidays are a ‘prime time’ for this to happen. Although the holidays may be different this year, it is typically a time where there is an increase in drug use. Young people are more likely to take drugs and drink alcohol over new year and this puts them at risk of harm. This DOES happen in our local community. Please keep an ear out for any concerning information from students that could indicate they are at risk of harm.
It is normal for us to see a rise in the number of students that seek support from staff as this time of year, but it is even more so this year. The impact of Covid has been overwhelming for some of our students and their families. We are having more contact with students, parents and carers that have not previously been on our radar that are now struggling for various reasons.
If you do notice changes in behaviour, please consider that they may be worrying about the next few weeks. If you do have concerns for a student, please do let us know so we can support them.
Many thanks for your continued understanding and support of our vulnerable students.
The Safeguarding Team
Health and Wellbeing Support