Even as lockdowns wane, online ringing is probably here to stay. This new platform has afforded many opportunities for ringing, learning, and meeting up, but obviously raises some concerns about the ways it can make younger ringers vulnerable.
The CCCBR safeguarding officers have been offering advice to people with concerns about specific cases that have occurred in online ringing settings, and there has been at least one case where a serious concern was raised which had to be followed up with the appropriate diocesan authorities and the police. We would therefore encourage everyone in the ringing community to look out for youngsters in online ringing.
After an appeal on Facebook for volunteers, a small working party came together to put together experience-based guidance on the organisation and running of safe online ringing activities plus some short and snappy advice for youngsters. We were very pleased that this group included young ringers, association safeguarding officers, someone from the international ringing community and people who work within safeguarding young people both in and out of ringing.
The document produced and accompanying summary, highlighted on our main safeguarding page here, are a compilation of best practices for safe online ringing activities. We encourage all organisers of online ringing to familiarise themselves with these and to publicise them to all involved in online ringing. We suggest that it would be best practice for associations and societies to build this guidance into both their practice and policies.
The next step for the working party is to start working on some FAQs to add a bit more info to the documents we produced, which we worked hard to keep concise to encourage people to engage with them.
We should also point out that whilst the bulk of the guidance is aimed towards protecting young ringers, this should all also be applied when working with adults at risk.
We would like to express our thanks to all of the people who volunteered to help with this task and gave so freely of their time and expertise. We’d also like to offer our thanks to people involved in creating and running online ringing platforms and the main Facebook group where online practices are organised for their support.
CCCBR Safeguarding Officer