This is a project briefing and safeguarding protocol for working with young people on sensitive research topics.
Ground rules (to issue at project start meeting)
- You are not required or expected to disclose personal information to the group – you do not need to validate your view with your experience if you do not want to – entirely your choice.
- You may use the third person if you wish to give an example – some people are here through direct (or personal) and indirect (family and friends) experiences – all are important
- Respect one another
- Reassure non-judgmental space
- Everyone has own/different experiences – all valid and important
- Respect that we have individuals with different backgrounds, identities and recognise that our intentions should be good
- If you feel concerned or uncomfortable at any point please use the private chat function – select the researcher in the group
- Avoid jargon or overly scientific language/acronyms
- Researchers will also avoid this too.
- No question or response is silly – we want to make sure everyone understands and feels able to contribute and have a range of different ages and levels of understanding
- In the breakout sessions, the researchers will be off camera and largely non-participatory – we are there purely for support but the YP facilitators can ask if there is something ‘technical’ they need clarifying
- Everyone in the ‘room’ is equal, there are no hierarchies
- We want you to feel as comfortable as possible – our young facilitators are here to guide you through too. The researchers are here to learn from you! If you would prefer to communicate in a different way, please let us know.
- Take as many breaks as you want but let a member of staff know if you’re leaving the meeting for good and that you are ok. We are covering a sensitive topic so if you do find you need to take a break that is fine BUT it is very important that you let us know you are OK and taking a break. Equally if you are NOT OK please message the following number: [add contact number to chat – See safeguarding protocol] This is very important to ensure everyone is safe. If you drop off because of a connection we will give you 5 minutes and then drop you a message to check you are ok.
Use of Zoom
- Interaction – raise hand, chat function, YES/NO function
- Will have breakouts – led by young facilitators – they may also want to check everyone feels they have had an opportunity to speak so may check with you – you can say nothing to add too
- Researchers – camera off and not contributing to discussion – but if you want them just ask.
- Will get a warning to return to main session – 30 seconds
- Background noise – go on mute for a bit?
- Camera’s on/off – what you feel comfortable with but can make some others feel more comfortable too
- Links to padlets or google sheets will be provided in chat function when we get into breakout rooms
- Any problems/worries/need support please use the private chat function
Virtual meeting’ safeguarding protocol
- If someone drops out and says NOT OK, or if they drop out and are gone for more than 5 mins with no explanation, researcher to contact [Designated person?] and ask to follow up with message.
- [Designated person?] will message and ask if OK. Or if they require any help. Clarify IT/rejoining issue or distress/safeguarding.
- If distress/safeguarding: assess nature and ask if they have help/support. If YES support, check support, state that you will forward some contact numbers in case they need additional support and agree plan to seek support. If NO support, assess risk/plan, listen and communicate non-judgmentally, give information [message signpost list below] and encourage to get additional local and professional support – signposting/agree safety plan (what they will do and who they will contact). Immediate risk to life: call 999 – contact other researcher for support. This safety plan available on-line to talk through if participant suspected to be at serious risk of harm or self-harm or mentions suicidal thoughts or intent (if you click in List of Contacts the help numbers come up): https://stayingsafe.net/ST/
Disclosure of harm/abuse
Regarding disclosure indicating risk of harm, we are fully aware of our duty of protecting YPAG safety. Therefore, if a risk of harm of any kind (e.g. abuse) is disclosed, we would take measures to reassure the individual, assess their current safety and either contact the NSPCC Helpline to discuss concerns or if more urgent, immediate risk, emergency services would be called.
Young people should also be informed of this obligation at the start of the project – see Ground rules, keeping young people safe and use of Zoom document (for young people).
Key signposting numbers to provide
ChildLine: call 0800 1111 (9am to midnight)
The Mix: call 0808 808 4994 (under 25s: 4–11pm)
Text Shout for support on 85258