PROCEDURE FOR MANAGING INCIDENTS THAT
INVOLVE THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY
Section Content Page
1. Introduction 2
2. Scope 3
3. Initial action following receipt of incident 5
4. Review of serious e safety incidents 6
5. Reporting 7
Appendix 1 Legal definitions and offences 8
Appendix 2 Reporting guidance notes 11
Appendix 3 Flowchart 13
Appendix 4 Prompt List 14
Appendix 5 Contacts 15
Technology and advances in communication provide great opportunities but also
challenges, some of which represent risks for children and young people. Risk can be
grouped into three main categories:
• Content – exposure to inappropriate content
• Contact – exposure to risky contacts
• Conduct – inappropriate conduct by the children and young people themselves
e.g cyber bullying, sexting
In February 2008 BECTA released a toolkit to support the safeguarding of children
in a digital world, it stated that there should be clear lines of communication for
reporting specific incidents, and this should include escalating incidents, involving
other agencies and disclosure.
The Byron Review in 2008 identified that there has been no formal mechanism for
understanding the extent of the problem, or the impact of the solutions in educating
children and young people about e-safety.
Safeguarding children and young people from sexual exploitation guidance issued
in June 2009, is supplementary guidance to Working Together to Safeguard
Children (2006). This guidance states that ‘child sexual exploitation can occur
through the use of technology without the child’s immediate recognition; for example
being persuaded to post sexual images on the Internet/mobile phones without
immediate payment or gain.’
There is lack of visibility on the number and type of e safety incidents taking place
across Dorset, and poor availability of statistics. These procedures have been
developed to help ensure all e-safety concerns are captured.
Compliance with these procedures will help to ensure that incidents involving the
use of technology are dealt with consistently, and inform the ongoing development
of the e safety training/education regime across the County of Dorset.
For the purposes of this procedure the involvement of technology can include the
• Internet technologies – this includes social networking sites e.g Myspace,
Bebo, Facebook, You Tube, blogs, chatrooms, instant messaging (IM) and
online gaming private messaging
• Mobile devices such as phones, tablets, laptops, handheld computers
• Video conferencing / webcam
• Game consoles which have internet capabilities
These procedures apply to adults in all agencies which work with children.
2.1 This guidance should be applied when incidents are reported to people who work
with children (in a paid or unpaid capacity), which have taken place in or outside the
setting that involve:
• Cyber bullying – (please use in conjunction with internal anti-bullying policies)
Bullied via email, chatroom, text message, social networking sites or via
other forms of electronic communication.
the act of sending nude, semi-nude or inappropriate pictures of a minor
(below 18 years old or 25 years old for vulnerable adults) via text
message, e-mail, IM (instant messaging) or other electronic
• Accessing, Creating or Communicating Inappropriate Material (please report
illegal activity to the Police)
As defined within the organisation’s acceptable use policy where misuse
of work time and resources is taking place.
• Receiving inappropriate or illegal content
Action should be taken to report the receipt of inappropriate or illegal
A person commits an offence if illegal content innocently received is then
saved or forwarded.
• Staff harassment by a child/young person via use of technology
The use of staff member’s personal details to create social networking
sites pertaining to belong to that individual without their consent
Inappropriate and/or offensive material relating to a member of staff
posted on social networking sites or other internet based forums
Use of email or text to harass or bully staff.
• Deliberate misuse of network (hacking/virus propagation)
As defined within the organisations acceptable use policy.
• Inappropriate contact with child/young person by a staff member using
technology. This is to ensure members of the children’s workforce safeguard
their professional identity and understand safe use of technology to
communicate with young people once agreed with their parent/carer – (please
use in conjunction with internal e safety policy, safer working practice guidance
and procedure for ‘allegations against people who work with children’)
Use of non-approved photographic equipment to take photos of
Contact with child/young person via a member of the children’s
workforce personal/unapproved digital communication tools such as
personal email, social networking sites or mobile phone.
Practice.pdf - see page 16
• Grooming (experiencing inappropriate or sexualised contact)
Section 15 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 makes it an offence for an
adult who has established contact with a child on at least two occasions
to meet, or travel with the intention of meeting, a child, with intent to
commit a sexual offence against that child. The offence is punishable by
up to ten years imprisonment.
• Viewing ‘incitement’/extremist sites – (please report your concerns to the Safe
Schools & Communities team, contact details in Appendix 5)
Websites that persuade or attempt to persuade a user to become
involved in violent extremism/terrorism as part of the belief they follow.
Sites that encourage users to follow a course of action that could
potentially cause harm to another person.
• Identity theft
Stealing the identity of others by using their credit card, drivers licence,
social security or other personal identification numbers, including using
websites to encourage the owner to give up personal information. With
"true name" identity theft, the thief uses the information to open new
Appendix 1 contains details of the legal definitions and offences for the above.
3. INITIAL ACTION FOLLOWING RECEIPT OF INCIDENT
3.1 To do nothing is not an option. People who work with children are the first line of
defence; their observation of behaviour is essential in detecting danger for children
and young people, and in developing trust so that issues are reported. Incidents will
vary from the prank or unconsidered action to occasional extremely serious
incidents that may involve Children’s Services Social Care, the Safeguarding Unit or
3.2 Each agency should have a designated e safety lead and supporting internal
Acceptable Use and e Safety policies2. Commence by gathering the appropriate
information: the type of incident, how it was discovered, the equipment and
technologies involved, who was involved.
3.3 The internal Acceptable Use and e Safety policies should be referred to in the first
instance. Further action will depend upon the nature and seriousness of the
The flowchart in Appendix 3 illustrates the approach to investigating an incident
involving technology and helps to show what can be dealt with using local policies.
The flowchart should be used in conjunction with the Pan Dorset Interagency
Safeguarding Children procedures.
The prompt list in Appendix 4 can be used alongside the flowchart and suggests
questions that should be considered. There are further resources on the internet
providing guidance on what to do when dealing with indecent images3, including a
flowchart by the South West Grid.4
The South West Grid provide best practice templates for acceptable use and e safety
4. REVIEW OF SERIOUS E SAFETY INCIDENTS
4.1 The e-safety subgroup will review all serious e-safety incidents that occur in Dorset
to consider the following questions:
• Why did the incident happen?
• Are there any measures that could have prevented the incident?
• Was the response effective?
• Could/should anything else have been done?
• What lessons have been learnt?
• How will these be disseminated?
• Should local policies and practice be adapted as a result?
A summary of serious e-safety incident reviews will be provided in the regular LSCB
5.1 Services such as Libraries and Youth Centres may prefer to report on an ad hoc
basis using a short form available on the Dorset Safeguarding Children Board
website (https://www.dorsetlscb.co.uk/site/). Please refer to Appendix 2 for the
detail required. This is the preferred method ensuring up to date capture of
5.2 It is recognised that in some settings reporting of incidents involving technology may
be more frequent, and those settings may wish to adapt their existing management
information system to provide quarterly reports on spreadsheets provided by the
LSCB on e safety incidents. An example would be schools where it is good practice
to report bullying of which cyber and sexting is a form. Where allegations are more
serious and investigations are taking place by the Police, Social Care and through
the procedures for managing allegations, this may also be preferred.
5.3 The data from reporting will be used to inform future LSCB e safety action plan
targets and performance indicators, and enable support, resources and training to
be provided where most needed.
There is no formal definition but is covered by the offence below.
2. Child Abuse images
Section 1 of the Protection of Children Act 1978, as amended by the Criminal
Justice and Public Order Act 1994 and Schedule 6 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003,
creates various offences of taking or distributing indecent photographs or pseudo-
photographs of a child under eighteen years of age. It states:
1(1) Subject to sections 1A and 1B, it is an offence for a person -
(a) to take, or permit to be taken, or to make, any indecent photograph or pseudo-
photograph of a child; or
(b) to distribute or show such indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs; or
(c) to have in his possession such indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs,
with a view to their being distributed or shown by himself and others. or
(d) to publish or cause to be published any advertisement likely to be understood as
conveying that the advertiser distributes or shows such indecent photographs or
pseudo-photographs or intends to do so.
1(2) For the purposes of this Act, a person is to be regarded as distributing an
indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph if he parts with possession of it to, or
exposes or offers it for acquisition by, another person.
1(3) Proceedings for an offence under this Act shall not be instituted except by or
with the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
1(4) Where a person is charged with an offence under subsection (1)(b) or (c), it
shall be a defence for him to prove -
a legitimate reason for distributing or showing the photographs or pseudo-
photographs or (as the case may be) having them in his possession; or
(b) that he had not himself seen the photographs or pseudo-photographs and did
not know, nor had any cause to suspect, them to be indecent.
1(5) References in the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 (except in sections 15
and 99) to the offences mentioned in Schedule 1 to that Act shall include an offence
under subsection (1)(a) above.
There is no formal offence but comes within the offence below.
1(1) A person must not pursue a course of conduct-
(a) which amounts to harassment of another, and
(b) which he knows or ought to know amounts to harassment of the other.
1(1A) A person must not pursue a course of conduct-
(a) which involves harassment of two or more persons, and
(b) which he knows or ought to know involves harassment of those persons, and
(c) by which he intends to persuade any person (whether or not one of those
(i) not to do something that he is entitled or required to do, or
(ii) to do something that he is not under any obligation to do.
1(2) For the purposes of this section, the person whose course of conduct is in
question ought to know that it amounts to or involves harassment of another if a
reasonable person in possession of the same information would think the course of
conduct amounted to or involved harassment of the other.
1(3) Subsection 1(1) or (1A) does not apply to a course of conduct if the person who
pursued it shows-
(a) that it was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime,
(b) that it was pursued under any enactment or rule of law or to comply with any
condition or requirement imposed by any person under any enactment, or
(c) that in the particular circumstances the pursuit of the course of conduct was
Section 1 of The Computer Misuse Act 1990 legislates against unauthorised access
to or modification of computer material.
1(1) A person is guilty of an offence if -
(a) he causes a computer to perform a function with intent to secure access to any
program or data held in any computer or to enable any such access to be secured;
(b) the access he intends to secure, or enable to be secured, is unauthorised; and
(c) he knows at the time when he causes the computer to perform the function that
that is the case.
1(2) The intent a person has to have to commit an offence under this section need
not be directed at -
(a) a particular program or data;
(b) a program or data of a particular kind; or
(c) a program or data held in a particular computer.
Section 3 of the Computer Misuse Act 1990 is about offences committed through
unauthorised acts with intent to impair, or with recklessness as to impairing the
operation of a computer.
3(1) A person is guilty of an offence if -
(a) he does any unauthorised act in relation to a computer;
(b) at the time when he does the act he knows that it is unauthorised; and
(c) either subsection (2) or subsection (3) below applies.
3(2) This subsection applies if the person intends by doing the act -
(a) to impair the operation of any computer;
(b) to prevent or hinder access to any program or data held in a computer, or
(c) to impair the operation of any such program or the reliability of any such data;
3(3) This subsection applies if the person is reckless as to whether the act will do
any of the things mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (c) of subsection (2) above.
3(4) The intention referred to in subsection (2) above, or the recklessness referred
to in subsection (3) above, need not relate to -
(a) any particular computer;
(b) any particular program or data; or
(c) a program or data of any particular kind.
3(5) In this section -
(a) a reference to doing an act includes a reference to causing an act to be done;
(b) 'act' includes a series of acts;
(c) a reference to impairing, preventing or hindering something includes a reference
to doing so temporarily.
3(6) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable -
(a) on summary conviction in England and Wales, to imprisonment for a term not
exceeding 12 months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or to both;
(b) on summary conviction in Scotland, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six
months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or to both;
(c) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years
or to a fine or to both.
15(1) A person aged 18 or over (A) commits an offence if -
a) A has met or communicated with another person (B) on at least two occasions
and subsequently -
(i) A intentionally meets B,
(ii) A travels with the intention of meeting B in any part of the world or arranges to
meet B in any part of the world, or
(iii) B travels with the intention of meeting A in any part of the world,
(b) A intends to do anything to or in respect of B, during or after the meeting
mentioned in paragraph (a)(i) to (iii) and in any part of the world, which if done will
involve the commission by A of a relevant offence,
(c) B is under 16, and
(d) A does not reasonably believe that B is 16 or over.
REPORTING GUIDANCE NOTES
Reporting through the DCSB website form provides instant data and is the preferred
method. For organisations using internal management information systems to report data,
please supply quarterly on the spreadsheet provided. Quarters commence at April for Q1
and data should be supplied to the DSCB Business Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the
month following the close of Quarter.
1. Name of Organisation
This is the name of the organisation completing the return / reporting the incident to
2. Name of Person Reporting Incident
This is the name of the person completing the return / reporting the incident to the
3. Date of Incident
This is the date the incident was reported to the Children’s Services worker.
4. Location Type of Incident
Choose from list: School, Youth Centre, Nursery, Library, Childminder, College,
Leisure Centre, Playscheme, Church, Shopping Area, Recreation Ground, School
Transport, Public Transport, Residential Dwelling, Internet, Other please state.
5. Geographical Area of Incident
Choose from list (towns from the Dorset Data Book 2010) detailing:
a) the area the victim resides,
b) the area the Instigator resides and
c)the area the incident took place:
Weymouth, Portland, Dorchester, Christchurch, Ferndown, Wimborne, Bridport,
Sherborne, Beaminster, Blandford, Chickerell, Gillingham, Lyme Regis, Lytchett
Minster/Upton, Shaftesbury, Stalbridge, Sturminster Newton, Swanage, Verwood,
Wareham, Poole, Bournemouth, Out of County, Unknown.
6. Type of Incident (multiple selection)
Choose from the list in section 2.1.
7. Victims Age
Record age or select from banding: 0-5 , 5-10, 11-15,16-18, 19-24, 25+
8. Victims Gender
Record gender of victim. Male/Female
9. Victims Ethnicity
Choose from list.
10. Instigators Age
Record age or select from banding: 0-5 , 5-10, 11-15,16-18, 19-24, 25+
11. Instigators Gender
Record gender of Instigator. Male/Female
12. Victims Ethnicity
Choose from list.
13. Relationship of those Involved
Pick from a list of options:
• Student to teacher
• Student to student same school
• Student to student different school
• Child/Young person to professional worker
• Child/Young Person to Adult
• Adult to Child/Young person
• Professional worker to child/young person
• Teacher to child/young person
• Other please state
14. Description of Incident
It is helpful to record here brief details of the incident. Please do not enter any
personal data of the individuals involved.
The form to report incidents involving the use of technology on an ad hoc basis can
be found on the following website: https://www.dorsetlscb.co.uk/site/.
Was the incident resolved satisfactorily – Yes/No/Not Applicable option
Have you referred the incident - Yes or No option.
If yes pick from list that the referral has been made to: Social Care, Safeguarding
Unit, Dorset Police, Safe Schools and Communities team, South West Grid, CEOP
FLOWCHART – INCIDENT INVOLVING THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY
The flowchart should be used in conjunction with the Pan Dorset Interagency Safeguarding
PROMPT LIST FOR INCIDENTS INVOLVING THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY
The following is a list of prompts that will support staff in working through the
flowchart. It should be used in conjunction with the Pan Dorset Interagency
Safeguarding Children procedures.
If the instigator is an adult,
1) How serious is the incident?
2) Has a crime been committed?
3) Do I need to preserve evidence?
4) Does the nature of the incident suggest that the individual may pose a risk to
children in general or specific children?
5) Has the person breached the Code of Conduct?
6) Should the Disciplinary Procedures apply?
7) Does the following situation require a Risk Assessment of circumstances
surrounding the individual?
8) Should the individual be referred for counselling?
If the instigator is a child,
1) How serious is the incident?
2) Do the Child Protection Procedures apply in respect of the instigator?
3) Has a crime been committed?
4) Do I need to preserve evidence?
5) When should the parent/carer be informed?
6) Should there be a Risk Assessment of circumstances surrounding the child?
7) Should the child be disciplined or provided with guidance/advice/support?
8) Should the child’s access to technology be monitored /curtailed in the
If the victim is an adult,
1) Does the victim require support/counselling?
If the victim is a child,
1) Do the Child Protection Procedures apply in respect of the victim?
2) Have the parents/carer been informed?
3) Should the victim be referred to Social Care as a Child in Need?
4) Should a CAF be done to provide support services to the child?
5) Does the child need counselling?
Safe Schools and Communities team
Telephone: 01202 222844
South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL)
Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP)
Professionals Online Safety Helpline
Telephone: 0844 381 4772
Internet Watch Foundation
Dorset Safeguarding Children Board (DSCB)
Tel: 01305 221196