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Help & Support

Ask Kelly

If there is something on your mind, or something you are a little unsure about and can’t find the answers to on our website, I’m here to try and help you by giving you the information and advice you may be looking for, and to give you an understanding around what other help may be available to you.

I will aim to answer all of your emails as soon as I can, but remember that if it is urgent then there are helplines you can call or 1-2-1 chats that you can contact for an immediate response.

Take care,
Kelly

Ask Kelly Contact Form

Keeping Safe

Online

Keep safe online by being careful not to give out personal information like your address, phone number or passwords to anyone when chatting or posting online.

Remember that not everyone online is who they say they are. Meeting up with someone you have only met online can put you in a very dangerous situation. You should only meet an online friend if you have told a parent or carer and they can go with you.

Make sure you understand how the privacy settings work on different websites, information and photographs you post online are often available to the public, make sure what you post online is shared only with people you know. Make sure you log off websites if you are using a public or school computer.

Follow the SMART rules for keeping safe online www.kidsmart.org.uk/beingsmart

In School

It is important to feel safe in school and to be happy and to be able to get the most of your school experience. Teachers have a duty to look after you in school, it is important that you know you are able to talk to teachers or school mentors if you want to.

At Home

It is important that you feel safe and happy at home, being able to talk to parents or carer’s and those who look after you helps them to keep you safe.

Respect

Having respect for others means thinking good things about who a person is and how they act. You can have respect for others, but also what we must remember is to have respect for yourself. Showing respect for others includes things like being kind, not calling people names or making fun of people. Respecting yourself means that you care for yourself and don’t let yourself or others do things you know can hurt you.

Crime

What is Crime?

A crime is doing something that is against the law. There are many different types of crime which can affect people differently.

Children can be victims of abuse, cruelty or neglect and almost any other type of crime. These crimes can be committed by adults, other children, strangers or people they know.

Children can also be affected by crime, even if they are not victims or witnesses. They may live in a house that has been burgled and are afraid it may happen again. There may be domestic violence in the house where they live, and they may be harmed by what has happened around them.

Reacting to a crime

Everyone reacts to crime in different ways. There are many different things which can affect the way you might react to a crime, these can relate to the incident itself or to you as a person. The way a crime has affected you can change with time day to day and in the longer term.

Emotions & Feelings

There is not a right or wrong way to feel about a crime, feelings such as worry, fear, guilt and anger are only some of the feelings that crime can cause. It can be difficult to understand what has happened and why you may feel the way you do. The important thing to know is that there are no rules to how you should feel, emotions and feelings are a natural reaction.

It can be difficult to deal with your emotions or explain the way you are feeling; some people find that talking about how you are feeling can help. If you are feeling nervous or confused about reporting a crime or going to court, remember that there are specially trained people who are there to help and support you through this difficult time.

Different types of crime

Antisocial behaviour – some antisocial behaviour relates to crimes, whilst others are not directly defined by law as crimes

Bullying – is when someone targets someone else to intimidate them, force them to do something or gives aggressive or unwanted attention.

Burglary – is when someone breaks into a property or home to do a criminal act (e.g. theft)

Domestic violence involves violent or aggressive behaviour within the home, committed by family members/ partners.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) – is when a girl’s vaginal area has been removed, cut or sewn.

Forced marriage – is when either one or both people do not want to get married but are forced to by others (often family members)

Honour based violence – is when a violent crime has been committed in belief of protecting or defending the honour of the family or community

Manslaughter – is when somebody does kills another person without deliberation

Murder – is when somebody intentionally takes the life of another person

Relationship abuse – is when one person behaves in a way to keep power and control over their partner

Sexual abuse – is when someone forces someone else to do something sexually, this can include such things as, rape, unwanted touching and verbal abuse

Social media – Social media is very popular and can result in children and young people who use the internet being targeted and made more vulnerable to cyber-bullying

The Law

The law is there to protect you and keep you safe, a law tells us what we must and must not do to help make sure we keep safe.

It is within the role of the police to maintain law, to protect the community and to keep you safe.

For further information take a look at these useful websites

www.cps.gov.uk/victims_witnesses

http://www.police.uk/information-and-advice/reporting-crime

Why report a crime

The police have a responsibility to put your safety first, they deal with all sorts of crimes every single day, by reporting a crime to the police it allows them to be able to work protect and keep you safe.

By reporting a crime your information could be used to prevent other crimes from happening and help keep other people safe too. If a crime is not reported then there will be no investigation and very little chance that the offender can be caught or brought to justice for what they have done.

How to report a crime

You can report a crime in a number of ways:

If it is an emergency and the crime is still taking place, call 999 and ask for the police

If it is not an emergency do not call 999 (this does not mean that the crime is not important). Instead call the non-emergency number of the police force near you (the number can be found on police force websites)

You can also go along to you nearest police station and report the crime there.

If you are not sure you want to tell the police but you feel you need to tell somebody about what has happened then there are lots of people who will listen and give you advice and support, there are lots of helplines where people will listen and talk to you about what has happened and how they can help you

ChildLine

www.childline.org.uk or 0800 1111

NSPCC

www.nspcc.org.uk or 0800 1111

Victim support

www.victimsupport.org.uk or 08 08 16 89 111

What happens after I report a crime?

When a crime is first reported there will be an initial investigation where you may be asked to give something called a witness statement this is when you say what happened, when and where, you can have an adult stay with you while the police ask you questions about what happened.

If the police find the person who committed the crime there are a number of things that could happen –

They may caution the person, if it is a young person they may take a restorative justice approach, this means that you could be asked to attend a meeting between you and the offender, where the offender is asked to apologise to you. This can help you to move on and for the offender to understand what they did and how you felt about it. If you do not wish to take part in restorative justice you do not have to.

The case could go to court if the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decides there is enough evidence to prosecute the person. It is not the police that decide the outcome of a case, it is there job to collect all the evidence and pass it on to the CPS. You can find out more about the CPS on their website – www.cps.gov.uk

If the CPS goes ahead with a prosecution you do not have to attend the trial if the defendant pleads guilty, but the police should still keep you informed about the outcome of the case. If the defendant pleads not guilty or denies an important part of the offence, it is likely you will be called to give evidence at court.

The Courtroom

Who’s who in the courtroom

The defendant – also called the accused is the person charged with an offence. Sometimes there can be more than one defendant in the case

Lawyers – depending on the type of court (magistrates court or crown court) one lawyer or a team of lawyers will speak for the prosecution and one lawyer or a team of lawyers will speak for the defence. They present their case to the magistrate or jury to let them decide if the defendant is guilty or not guilty

Witnesses – this can include you. Evidence given from witnesses is important because it is used to find the truth. Evidence is used from both sides, the prosecution and the defence.

Magistrates/ district judges/ judges – depending on the type of court these people may ask you questions about your statement. If the defendant is found guilty they will decide the sentence

The jury – Juries are only found in a crown court, they are 12 people who are chosen at random to represent the general public. Their role is to discuss all the evidence they have heard and decide whether they are convinced that the defendant is guilty or not guilty.

Court clerk – makes sure that everyone who should be in court is there they keep records of evidence and court proceedings

Court usher – the usher makes sure that everything runs smoothly, when somebody is called as a witness it is the usher’s job to go outside and calls them in. they will be the person who will come and call you when it is your turn to give evidence.

Other people that you may see in court are police officers, probation officers and members of the witness service. In some courts members of the public are allowed to come in and watch what happens, this can include friends and family of people involved in the case.

Being a witness

If you go to court as a young witness you may be able to use “special measures” these are things that help to make it easier for you to tell the court about the crime.

They include things like

Having a screen around the witness box so you don’t have to see the suspect or anyone else in the court room when you are answering questions

Using a live video-link to give evidence so you don’t have to be in the court room

The judges and lawyers can remove their wigs and gowns (their ‘uniform’) so you feel more comfortable

You can also have somebody called an intermediary with you in court, they can help you to understand the questions you are being asked.

You can watch a video about being a witness at www.gov.uk/going-to-court-victim-witness

Court meanings

Appeal – a request for a higher or more senior court to change a decision made by a lower court

Bail – temporary release of the suspect awaiting trial, sometimes with the condition that a sum of money has to be paid

Barrister – a type of lawyer who gives advice and presents cases in court

Case – an investigation that involves a report about a criminal offence

Charge – when a suspect is formally accused of committing a crime

Conviction – a decision by magistrates or a jury that the defendant is guilty

Courtroom – the room where court cases are heard

Criminal justice system – the set of agencies and processes responsible for controlling crime and prosecuting, defending, sentencing and punishing those who are suspected or convicted of criminal offences

Cross-examination – challenging or questioning the evidence given by a witness in court

Crown court – a court where criminal cases are dealt with by a judge and a jury of 12 members of the public

Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) – the prosecuting body which decided if cases brought forward by the police should go to court

Defence – the reason the defendant says he or she is not guilty of the charge

Defence team – the defendant’s lawyers

Defendant – a person charged with a criminal offence

Defence witness – a person who gives evidence at court to support the defence

District judge – a lawyer sitting as a judge

Evidence – the information given to the court to help make the decision whether the defendant is guilty

Guilty– a defendant is guilty of a crime when he or she admits it or when the magistrates or jury after hearing the evidence decide they committed the offence

Initial investigation – the first stage of the police investigation – involving a review of witnesses, the crime scene, and all other available evidence

Intermediary – a person trained to help children understand and answer questions

Judge – the person in charge of what happens in court, they make the decision and decide the sentence when a defendant is guilty

Jury – in the crown court the jury is made up of 12 members of the public who listen to the evidence and decide whether the defendant is guilty

Lawyer – the general term for solicitors and barristers

Magistrate – an unpaid person who acts as a judge in a magistrate’s court

Magistrates court – a court where criminal cases are dealt with by magistrates or district judges, they deal with less serious cases and send more serious cases to the crown court (all cases start in the magistrates court)

Not guilty – a defendant pleads not guilty if he or she denies the charge (say they didn’t do it). They can be found not guilty if the magistrates or judge decides the prosecution has not proved the case

Offender – Someone who has been found guilty of a crime

Plea – when a defendant says he or she is guilty or not guilty

Prosecutor – the person who presents the case against the defendant

Restorative justice – gives the chance for victims to meet with offenders to explain the real impact of the crime

Sentence – the punishment given when the defendant is found guilty of a crime

Solicitor – a type of lawyer who gives advice and presents cases in court

Special measures – the court can offer help for witnesses to give their evidence in court

Trial – when the magistrates or jury hear what happened and decide their outcome

Victim – a person who has had a crime committed against them

Witness – a person who gives evidence in court

Witness statement – the evidence given by the witness in court

The judgement

If the suspect is found guilty you will be told the details of their sentence. Sometimes they are allowed to appeal the sentence; this is when they ask for the case or sentence to be looked at again. If this happens you should be told where and when the court will hear the appeal.

Throughout all of this you will not be on your own, there are people whose job it is to make sure that you know what is happening, and that you understand what is happening. It is important that you know that there will be somebody with you in the court room one you reach this stage, if you wish. At any point if you feel worried or nervous, this is OK; there are people to talk about these things with.