Phone 020 7799 5000



Communicating Safely Online

Highlight the online risks that victims face and supporting them to safeguard themselves online.

Technology has become an even more integral part of life. Although it can be a source of safety and support, it’s also important to highlight the online and virtual risks that victims face; and support them to safeguard themselves online.

There have been recent reports of a rise in hacking activity which seeks to disrupt online activities and spread harmful or abusive material. This is especially important as Churches are finding new online ways to connect with their congregations. You can:

  • Follow and remind staff and volunteers of your safe working practices advice and safeguarding policy.
  • Avoid engaging with your community over social media and always use an organisational email address.
  • Risk assess any online platforms for meetings especially those discussing confidential information.
  • Review your lone working policy to ensure that online communication guidance is provided to mitigate against the risks of unavoidable 1:1 contact.

Read or download the new guides from the URC about Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, written for those who have never used them before but are thinking about doing so to stay in touch with their church or community. Also available is guidance about the recording of podcasts, using Facebook Live, YouTube and Zoom.

Even at the best of times, it can be challenging for parents, carers and other adults to keep children safe when they are online. Although the lockdown restrictions may add to those difficulties, the core messages remain the same. We all need to know the risks and signs of inappropriate content and online abuse, and we all have a role to play in helping children and young people to understand the dangers of online grooming, exploitation and abuse. There are the settings that a parent can change on each of their child’s devices, in effect they control what, who and how much the child does online. The NSPCC runs a free advice line for parents with questions about keeping children safer online. It’s on 0808 8005002.

There are several resources to support victim survivors protect themselves:

The Good Practice guidance also has some information in this area as well as an online policy which can be downloaded from here:

P3: Model church online safety policy (PDF | 289kb) (Word | 43kb)

Are you concerned about online sexual abuse or the way someone has been communicating with you online?

Make a report here:

URC Thames North Synod St Paul’s United Reformed Church Newton Road London W2 5LS

Phone 020 7799 5000

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