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Khulisa works therapeutically with young people in schools, prisons, and the community.

This guide looks at how to put safeguarding at the centre of your planning when designing online services for young people. It shows how Khulisa decided that Zoom is the safest platform for them to use.

Steps to developing safeguarding policies that help you use Zoom safely with young people

If you are:

  • new to working with young people

  • new to working with young people online

  • starting to work with groups of young people who may be more vulnerable or at risk than those you have worked with before

you will need to work through all the safeguarding risks working online may bring.

Need help? Use Catalyst’s DigiSafe guide.

Khulisa work with therapeutically with excluded or marginalised young people whose behaviour others find challenging or antisocial.

They decided to do a full RAG (Red, Amber Green) audit of all the possible safeguarding risks of moving their services online.

This included group sessions and 1-to-1’s. They work also work with parents, carers and professionals who support young people.

They used NSPCC guidance and support to feel confident that they understood everything they needed.

They came up with a list of needs that would help them choose a video calling platform that could work for them and their young people.

List your safeguarding needs as well as any other needs for how your software must work.

NCVO have a guide to video calling software, that comes with a downloadable blank template that covers many of the things you might think about.

Khulisa were particularly interest in these elements:

  • Being able to control who joined meetings

  • Protecting access with passwords

  • Making it possible to lock rooms

  • Making it easy to remove participants if necessary

  • They wanted to be able to run full group sessions where everyone can speak and webinar style sessions where only text chat discussions are possible.

They needed a tool that would easily connect with the technology and tools they use as an organisation. They use Google Workplace.

They compared Zoom, Google Meets, Skype and Microsoft Teams. They chose Zoom.

Successful online safeguarding online is just like successful face-to-face safeguarding. It requires your staff to have the confidence and knowledge to implement your policies well.

Online delivery also comes with a learning curve as staff get used to using new tools. They need to become familiar with how interactions change, and how this affects making safeguarding judgments.

Khulisa trained and supported their staff in 2 ways:

  1. They set aside time for staff to practice by running calls with each other before they ran calls with young people

  2. They developed steps to take when something happens in a video call that puts a user at risk. Then they created a guide and video instructions explaining the steps, and added it to their safeguarding training.

If you already have procedures for face-to-face work, adapt them so that they are helpful on video calls. If you don’t already have procedures then you will need to create them from scratch. In the further information section, you’ll find links to help.

Once you have created procedures, you should review them regularly.

Zoom activity in progress

Khulisa focused on these procedures:

  • Finding simple ways for people to consent to taking part in calls

  • Using the beginning of calls to make behaviour agreements with the young people taking part. Agreements on the idea of protecting yourself and others.

  • Making sure people understand the purpose of calls and activities. This work starts before the call and continues during it.

  • Recognising that the risk is not just between the staff member and participant. There is a risk between group participants themselves. This increases as group size increases.

Khulisa review their digital safeguarding as part of their annual safeguarding reviews.

Further information

New to safeguarding? Try NSPCC’s starting point for voluntary groups.

See how Barnardo's Guide to how they use Facebook Messenger safely.

See Scope’s Guide to getting consent on a call.