Youth Organisations are required by law to have a system in place for everyone involved to be able to report any concerns they have regarding the welfare of a child or young person. This system should also be open to the children and young people themselves to be able to report concerns they have about themselves or their peers. The same applies when it comes to reporting concerns for online interaction.
The reporting system for offline concerns should be able to receive concerns resulting from online behaviour too. Youth Organisations that work with children and young people online should have their Designated Liaison Person in place to receive all protection and welfare concerns that are related to the online work and be familiar with the type of online work that is taking place there.
Children First Act 2015 requires that Mandated Persons as described in Schedule 2 of the Act report protection and welfare concerns directly to Tusla. This includes concerns relating to online issues. If any professional or volunteer is unsure whether to report please seek advice from Tusla and from their DLP within their organisation.
If young people are aware of who to contact when they have a concern and particularly if they can contact them online then the organisation has done well to reduce the barriers that can often prevent young people from reporting concerns they may have.
External Reporting of Online Behaviour
There are some websites that have been designed to facilitate anyone to report a concern that they have come across online. Some of these have been designed by the providers of social networking sites as part of their reporting structures while others are stand-alone sites that investigate inappropriate and/or illegal online behaviour. The following chart provides an outline of some of the services that currently exist.
|The hotline.ie service provides an anonymous facility for the public to report suspected illegal content encountered on the Internet, in a secure and confidential way. Whilst the primary focus of the Hotline remains Child Pornography, other forms of illegal material do exist on the Internet and may be reported using this service.||Please do not ignore Internet content that you suspect to be illegal, report it so action can be taken – otherwise we may never know it is there. The image may display a crime scene and may need to be investigated.|
|Childline Online provides an online service where young people under 18 years of age can send a message of help to a trained person who will support them to access supports if necessary but most of all will provide a listening ear by leaving a message, chatting with someone live, sending an email or text.||24-7 service that provides access to trained people who can respond to any concerns. Promote this to young people.|
|Social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter have report functions built in to their products. Check out the help function on their menu for guidance on how to report abuse or inappropriate content.||Sometimes they are slow to remove offensive remarks or comments so it is important to be persistent with them to ensure they are removed if deemed offensive.|
|Webwise.ie provides useful information on what to look out for and how to report it.||This is written as a youth friendly resource so it should be promoted to young people.|
|Be Safe Online is the Government’s campaign to highlight ways to help you stay safe online.
This webpage provides access to a wide range of Online Safety resources, to support online safety for all.
While Government has an important role, it alone cannot effectively address Online Safety issues.
Industry, educators, parents, and children and young people must all play their part.
|There is very useful advice and guidance categorised for various stakeholders providing links to credible sources of information.|
Please do not ignore Internet content that you suspect to be illegal, report it so action can be taken – otherwise we may never know it is there – Hotline.ie