New ways to access domestic abuse support

July 8th, 2020 by

Safer Futures, a domestic abuse and sexual violence support and recovery service provided by First Light in partnership with Barnardos have launched a Live Web Chat on the saferfutures.org.uk website.

Safer Futures offer a range of support options for both those experiencing domestic abuse and those engaging in abusive behaviour. Support has been available throughout the Covid-19 lockdown and they have launched live web chat as another way for people to access support.

The Live Web Chat is available Monday to Friday 09:00 – 17:00.

 

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Enjoy the re-opened pubs safely

July 8th, 2020 by

Safer Cornwall want to ensure that everyone that wants to, can enjoy the re-opened restaurants and pubs. After weeks of being stuck at home, we know that some people will want to get out and about and have a bevvy or 2 with friends. However, we have seen from other areas, that some aspects of people emerging, have not all been fun.

We support having fun and, for those who choose to, enjoying a tipple, however, it is not compulsory to get in a mess. We can all do this safely and responsibly.

Remember, not everyone drinks, and we want to support those who don’t also having a nice time.

For those of us who do use this legal drug, sometimes, we lose track of what and how much we have had to drink. This can result in a risk of harm to ourselves and to others. Please be mindful of who you are with, what you are drinking, how much you are drinking and make sure you can get home safely. Have a plan for how you are going to do that.

One thing that COVID-19 has demonstrated is that we are actually really good at looking out for each other and making decisions that are in the interest of everyone, not just ourselves. Let’s continue to do this if we enjoy a day or night out.

www.drinksmeter.com

 

 

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Free drinksmeter app can help residents manage concerns around increased home drinking during lockdown stress

June 11th, 2020 by

For those concerned that they might be drinking more alcohol than usual or are finding it a struggle to keep the amount they drink under control during Covid lockdown, Safer Cornwall would urge residents to download the free drinksmeter app to their phones.

The easy to use app is available through the Safer Cornwall website or via the drinksmeter.com website. It is designed to help those who feel they may be at risk of damaging their health through excess drinking to manage and monitor their home drinking habits.

Drinksmeter has already been downloaded by hundreds of residents in Cornwall and is highlighted in Safer Cornwall’s ‘Lockdown Home Drinking’ campaign.

This has been launched following a national YouGov poll which revealed that 20 per cent of the 4,000 adults taking part reported they’d been drinking more alcohol than normal since the country went into Covid-19 lockdown. Added to this, there has also been a reported spike in the sale of wine, spirits and beer.

The drinksmeter app can be downloaded for free to a phone or accessed online via the drinksmeter.com website. It helps keep track of how much you are drinking in relation to the recommended amount, which is no more than 14 units a week. This equates to seven double shots of spirits, five average size glasses of wine or six pints of average strength beer/lager/cider.

It also lets you set your own goals and can even work out how much money you could save if you reduce the amount you’re drinking.  It also gives the details of local contacts if you need to speak to someone for advice or support.

Sally Hawken, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for children, wellbeing and public health said: “It is often so difficult at times like these to cope and manage levels of stress and anxiety.  It is so easy to just pour another drink in the hope it will make us feel better. ‘Lockdown Home Drinking’ aims to alert us all to the many serious health issues that can result from drinking more alcohol than we might do normally.

“Too much is bad for the body in so many ways and can also put an added strain on our health services during this unprecedented crisis.

“The drinksmeter app certainly puts into perspective how alcohol you are drinking, and then helps you to personally manage it before it gets out of hand.

“This is why I would urge anyone who might be concerned that they are consuming more than usual during the pandemic, to make full use of this really helpful and potentially life-saving resource.”

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It does happen here and children need YOU to ‘Speak Out’

June 11th, 2020 by

A new campaign is being launched in Cornwall to help people recognise the signs of child sex abuse.

The ‘Speak Out’ campaign was created by Our Safeguarding Children partnership (OSCP), which includes Cornwall Council, Devon and Cornwall Police, the Council of the Isles of Scilly and the NHS.

The campaign aims to take the responsibility of reporting sexual abuse away from children and young people, because they may not be able to say something for a variety of reasons, and instead ask adults to spot and understand the potential signs of CSA and speak out when they think something’s wrong. Our goal is to protect children and help them begin their recovery.

Cabinet Member for Children and Well Being, Councillor Sally Hawken, said: “Child sexual abuse in the family environment is a very complex area of safeguarding and, as a society, it’s something that we can find incredibly hard to talk about.

“Within families and communities, there remains a disbelief and denial about sexual abuse, which means it is less likely to be identified and discussed.  In addition to this, children are very unlikely to tell someone that they’re being abused – particularly when the perpetrator is known to them.

The campaign focusses around a number of key messages. They are:

  • Child sexual abuse in the family environment is a hidden crime.
  • Most children and young people who are sexually abused are abused by someone they know.
  • Knowing the signs and reporting cases of child sexual abuse is everyone’s responsibility.
  • You don’t have to be certain it’s happening – If you’re concerned a child is being abused or their safety is at risk, speak to someone.
  • The OSCP and MARU are there to help protect all vulnerable children and young people at risk of abuse.

Sally added: “When a child or young person is sexually abused, they may not understand that what’s happening is abuse, or that it’s wrong. Therefore, parents, professionals and the public must understand the signs and symptoms of child sexual abuse and know how to respond.”

This campaign is particularly important at a time when social distancing rules mean that more children than ever will be staying at home, sometimes in unsafe environments. With this comes the risk that the signs of sexual abuse may go even further unnoticed and so it is vital that we start to raise awareness of the signs of CSA and clarify how people can report their concerns.

Independent Chair of the Safeguarding Partnership, John Clements, added: “All of us have a responsibility to know the signs and to speak out against child sexual abuse.  You don’t have to be completely sure; anything you tell us could help us to protect a child or young person at risk from sexual abuse.

“Together, we can help to stop child sexual abuse from happening and give children and young people in Cornwall a voice.

If you suspect something is not right, please contact the Multi Agency Referral Unit (MARU) on: 0300 123 1116 or speak to the police. If you are located on the Isles of Scilly, please telephone the Children’s Social Care Team on 01720 424483.

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Trading Standards warning – Latest Covid19 telephone scam reaches Cornwall

June 11th, 2020 by

Telephone scammers pretending to be from Cornwall Council are targeting vulnerable residents and asking for their financial details, the Trading Standards team has warned.

As more Covid19-related scams are uncovered across the UK, one Cornwall resident narrowly avoided becoming a victim after she received an unannounced call on 2 June.

The unexpected call was from a withheld number and the caller introduced themselves by saying they “were from Cornwall Council” or were “working with Cornwall Council”.

They claimed that they were phoning to check how the household was coping with the Covid-19 situation and went on to ask financial status questions, general health questions and questions such as “are you retired?”

But when the caller asked for the ages of everyone living at that address, asked if they had a mortgage and asked for the resident’s name, the intended victim grew suspicious and ended the call.

Cllr Rob Nolan, Cornwall Council Cabinet Member for Public Protection, said he was relieved that in this case the homeowner was wary enough to end the call.

“This incident again illustrates the shocking tactics that will be employed by scammers and fraudsters trying to persuade us to make payments or to hand over our financial information. Taking advantage of the Covid-19 outbreak is simply appalling behaviour,” he said.

Scammers will often pretend to be calling from any one of a number of official organisations – Cornwall Council, HMRC, NHS, telecoms and utilities companies, etc., but Trading Standards’ advice is as clear as it is when dealing with doorstep cold-callers:

NEVER deal with anyone who calls you out of the blue.

NEVER give your financial details, nor make any payment, to anyone who calls you unexpectedly.

And in these unusual times, if you have any concern that the call may not be genuine, you should insist they send you an initial letter with their full contact details so you can satisfy yourself that they really are who they say they are.

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We Are With You provide lockdown support

June 3rd, 2020 by

Natalie Gyll-Murray manages the volunteer service at We Are With You and during lockdown they have had 12 volunteers offering phone support to service users that have been very isolated. Over 100 service users have been contacted, some with weekly contact, and this has been hugely helpful with great feedback from service users and staff.

Additionally Natalie created a lockdown survival guide with the help of the volunteers, who gave tips about what they have been doing to get through lockdown and their favourite places to go. If you would like some ideas have a look at it!

Download PDF File WAWY Lockdown Help Sheet

 

 

 

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Safer Cornwall reminds communities to support each other during pandemic

May 5th, 2020 by

Safer Cornwall is calling on residents to support each other during the pandemic and avoid confrontations over social distancing.

The partnership, made up of Cornwall CouncilDevon and Cornwall Police and other agencies, has received reports of verbal abuse, abuse on social media, and criminal damage to personal property as a result of people being mistaken for breaking social distancing rules.

Devon and Cornwall Police and Cornwall Council’s Anti-Social Behaviour Team have warned that they will not tolerate behaviour causing harassment, alarm or distress and will take action against those responsible.

Safer Cornwall strongly discourages anyone from approaching another person to confront them about social distancing, or if they have concerns that a business is open that should not be.

Instead, the partnership is reminding residents to treat one another with respect at this difficult time and to report their concerns to the correct agencies so they can carry out the appropriate investigations.

Anyone concerned about social gathering should contact the Police by calling 101 or email 101@dc.police.uk and call 999 in an emergency.

If a business is suspected of flouting closure orders reports should be made to Cornwall Council on 0300 123 1118 or by emailing covid19@cornwall.gov.uk.

Rob Nolan, Cornwall’s Cabinet Member for environment and public protection, said: “It is with sadness that we have received reports of families being targeted online and face-to-face about not following social distancing guidelines, when the perception may be wrong.

“We have seen second homeowners and businesses put themselves forward to offer accommodation for key workers and local families, who need this vital accommodation, to maintain the work commitments that allow them to keep their families safe.

“Please do not assume that anyone in a motorhome, holiday home or driving is breaking the social distancing guidelines. Continue to be compassionate and understand that where applicable that Cornwall Council and Devon and Cornwall Police will undertake the enforcement needed.”

Simon Mould, Cornwall Council’s Head of Communities, said: “We continue to see amazing support across all of our communities where those most vulnerable are being supported by voluntary groups and individuals giving what they can to help those most in need. We ask that residents show compassion and understanding during this difficult time.”

A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said: “We have seen over the Easter holidays that communities are following the social gathering restrictions and only in limited cases have we had to respond and enforce against large groups gathering.

“We are however seeing an increase in neighbour nuisance and reports of non-compliance. If you are experiencing any form of hate crime or harassment please report this to us so that we can take action to support you.”

If you are being targeted and experiencing any form of alarm, harassment or distress please report this to the police by calling 101 or email 101@dc.police.uk and call 999 in an emergency.


For more information on support during the pandemic see our Covid-19 and community safety page

 

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Protecting businesses from COVID-19 scams

April 23rd, 2020 by

Malicious email attachments, false government grant phone calls and CEO impersonation scams are among a raft of scams undermining businesses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The increasing risk has led National Trading Standards to launch Businesses Against Scams – a free online training tool to protect businesses, employees and customers from costly scams.

With remote working and many businesses having to stop or diversify their trading practices, criminals are seizing the opportunity to target employees who are isolated from colleagues. Scams include criminals impersonating government officials or a senior member of the business in order to put pressure on employees to give out sensitive information or make payments.

Criminals will also try and gain access to businesses devices and networks, and everything stored on them. They can do this by:

  • Sending emails with malicious attachments;
  • Exploiting vulnerabilities in your operating systems if they are not up-to-date;
  • Trying to get you to click links or visit malicious websites.

Once they have access to your device and your data, they may try to steal your data or extract money from you by getting you to pay a ransom.

At a time when businesses are already facing challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, the proliferation of related scams are adding further strain on businesses. This includes scams directly targeting businesses – such as tax refund frauds – which can lead to significant financial losses for businesses.

Scams targeting customers also undermine businesses, as criminals often impersonate businesses to defraud their customer base, causing reputational damage and potential loss of business. The emotional and mental impact on employees and business owners who have fallen victim to a scam can also be devastating and long-lasting.

The increased risk for businesses has led National Trading Standards to encourage more businesses to join Businesses Against Scams. The initiative provides free tools for businesses to help upskill and train their workforce, through free online training modules that will help staff identify and prevent potential scams. Businesses can take the training and sign up at https://www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/BAS.

Louise Baxter, Head of the National Trading Standards Scams Team, said:

“Criminals will use every opportunity they can to defraud innocent people. They will continue to exploit every angle of this national crisis and we want businesses to be prepared. We’ve launched Businesses Against Scams as a free tool for organisations to help them protect their business, their staff and their customers.”

Lord Toby Harris, Chair of National Trading Standards, said:

“COVID-19 has presented new opportunities for businesses to be exploited. Criminals are expert at impersonating people, businesses and the police. They spend hours researching a business for their scams, hoping an employee might let their guard down just for a moment. Business must be vigilant at all times. Never rush, act cautiously and always challenge.

“The Businesses Against Scams initiative empowers businesses and their employees to take a stand against scams by equipping them with the advice and knowledge on how to identify and prevent a scam.”


Four common scams targeting businesses include:

Government grant/tax refund scams – A business is contacted by phone, email or post by government imposters suggesting the business might qualify for a special COVID-19 government grant or a tax refund. Variations on the scheme involve contacts through text messages, social media posts and messages.

Businesses should be cautious about unexpected urgent communications offering financial assistance. Check that the information is genuine by using official government websites.

Invoice/mandate scams – A business may be contacted out of the blue by someone claiming to be from a regular supplier. They state that their bank account details have changed and will ask you to change the payment details.

Never rush a payment. Use contact details that you have used before to check that it is genuine.

CEO impersonation scams – A sophisticated scam that plays on the authority of company directors and senior managers. An employee receives a phone call or email from someone claiming to be a senior member of staff – they ask for an urgent payment to a new account and instil a sense of panic. Scammers may even hack a staff email account or use spoofing software to appear genuine.

Be cautious about unexpected urgent requests for payment and always check the request in person if possible.

Tech support scams – With more people working remotely and IT systems under pressure, criminals may impersonate well-known companies and offer to repair devices. Criminals are trying to gain computer access or get hold of passwords and login details. Once they have access, criminals can search the hard drive for valuable information.

Always be suspicious of cold callers. Genuine companies would never call out of the blue and ask for financial information.

If a business believes they have been the victim of a scam they must contact their bank immediately and report any suspicious activity to Action Fraud https://www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Businesses Against Scams is a new element of the successful Friends Against Scams initiative, run by National Trading Standards to provide free online training to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/


 

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Finding drug packets in West Cornwall

April 21st, 2020 by

Following a number of findings of similar drugs packets, a high number of used and partially used packets of Clonazepam tablets have been found in a cemetary in West Cornwall. It is a known site for young people to congregate so YZUP have issued the below information around use of Clonazepam which will be included on their social media pages.

 

 

 

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Lockdown Home Drinking: 5. What to do if you struggle to cut down

April 16th, 2020 by

Higher Risk drinking is scored at 16 or above on the AUDIT checklist in the Drinksmeter app, but an even higher score of over 20 could indicate some degree of alcohol dependence. It’s possible to become dependent on alcohol without realising. This would make reducing drinking more difficult, and needs to be done very carefully.

Depending on the level of dependence, someone reducing their drinking may start to experience withdrawal symptoms. To keep the process as safe as possible, services that help people with this process recommend reducing slowly, starting with keeping a diary to record what you normally drink. This can be done with the help of the Drinksmeter app, but don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice too.

At this lockdown moment, when getting out to see and talk to someone about your drinking is impossible, the Drinksmeter is a perfect self-monitoring tool. For most people it’s all that’s needed, but if you find you need to talk to someone for advice, the right contact details are within the app, based on the region where you live.

In Cornwall, the alcohol support service is provided by ‘We Are With You’, who you may have heard of before as ‘Addaction Cornwall.’ Their contact details are found in the app, and their advice can also be found on their website.

They normally recommend getting professional support before trying to cut down your drinking, but these lockdown conditions aren’t normal. They advise cutting down slowly, over a few weeks, rather than just stopping suddenly. They recommend keeping a drinking diary for a week, to find out exactly how much you drink each day.

Again, the Drinksmeter will help you do this.

They also advise starting by reducing by 10% for a few days. At this stage, if you start to have any withdrawal symptoms, it means you’re cutting down too fast. Withdrawal symptoms could be sweating, headaches, confusion, sickness, blurred vision, lack of sleep, or imagining seeing or hearing things. At their most severe, withdrawal symptoms can lead to fits, which are dangerous. This is why a very gradual process is the safest approach.

Right now, we all need to do everything we can to avoid giving the Ambulance service and the NHS more work. So take it steady.

If you start to experience any withdrawal symptoms, even mild ones, slow down how much you are reducing what you drink. Keep drinking at your most recent safe level for another week, then start cutting down again. Consider cutting down by 5% instead of 10% each week.

They also give some other tips for this stage of the process

  • Ask a loved one for help. They could help you measure your drinks, record your intake or look after your alcohol for you.
  • Having someone going through this with you makes it both easier and more safe.
  • Gradually switch to a lower-strength drink. For example, replace a can of super-strength lager with a standard-strength can.
  • Add water or a mixer to your drinks.
  • Consider alternating, so that you drink one non-alcoholic drink for every alcoholic drink you have.
  • Try to eat healthily: avoid sugar, and try to eat plenty of brown rice and wholemeal bread. These are good for your vitamin B12 (thiamine) levels.
  • Take a vitamin B12 (thiamine) supplement. Ideally you should have 100mg of thiamine, three times a day. You can buy it from health stores online if you don’t already have it.
  • Keep hydrated with plenty of non-alcoholic drinks – but avoid coffee and energy drinks as these can cause sleep problems.

It may be best to keep reducing gradually all the way to zero, but at the point that you have reduced to a lower risk level and decide it’s safe to stop drinking altogether, make sure that someone knows you are about to do this, because you may still need support in an emergency.

Ask the people you live with to be ready to call an ambulance if you:

  • Have a fit or a seizure;
  • Become confused;
  • Develop double vision;
  • Become unsteady on your feet, or
  • Experience hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t really there).

These symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous.

In addition, don’t stop drinking entirely if you have previously experienced had any of those symptoms around drinking or stopping drinking. If any of this describes your experience, please feel free to call ‘We Are With You Cornwall’ (Addaction) on 0333 2000 325.

Again, at this lockdown moment, when getting out to see and talk to someone about your drinking is impossible, the Drinksmeter is a perfect self-monitoring tool. For most people it’s all that’s needed, but if you find you need to talk to someone for advice, the right contact details are within the app, based on the region where you live.

If you have any comments, questions, problems or feedback, please email us at daat@cornwall.gov.uk

 

 

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Safer Cornwall are a working partnership involving: