New Online Safety App For Schools & Families Launches In Dumfries & Galloway

A free mobile App, offering vital safeguarding information, training and resources for schools and families, is launching today (Thursday 24 September) in Dumfries and Galloway. Dumfries and Galloway is the first region in Scotland to launch The Safer Schools Partnership App.

The App provides support on sexting, bullying, mental health, media literacy, gaming and sexual exploitation online.

In the past 5 years, crimes against children in Scotland have risen by 30% with Police Scotland recording 1694 online sexual offences against children (Apr 19- Feb 20).

The App is led by child protection expert Jim Gamble QPM (CEO of Ineqe Safeguarding Group and founder and former head of CEOP) in partnership with insurer Zurich Municipal. The App is available to all schools insured by Zurich Municipal.
The launch comes at a time of unprecedented risk to children and young people online as they continue to spend longer in digital spaces as lockdown measures continue.

Over 4 in 5 (83%) 12-15-year-olds now have their smartphone, and almost three quarters (74%) are allowed to take it to bed with them.

Chair of the council’s Education and Learning committee, Jeff Leaver, said “two of our council’s priorities are providing the best start in life for all our children and protecting our more vulnerable people. To be the first council is Scotland to launch this app shows how proactive we are being to try and ensure that all our children and young people are safe. With information for our education staff and parents, we can help raise awareness of the issues young people face online.”

Vice Chair of the Education and Learning committee, Ros Surtees, said “Reducing online risk can sometimes be challenging. The Safer Schools App is a contemporary safeguarding app which will help keep children and young people safe. One of the things this app does is help keep adults and young people up to date and well- informed, so that they can make the most of the digital world in a safe way.”
Anne Norrie, Regional Manager at Zurich Municipal Scotland, said:
I am absolutely delighted that we are launching the Safer Schools App for schools within Dumfries & Galloway Council – the first virtual launch in Scotland. The app is available at no additional cost to children, teachers, schools staff, safeguarding practitioners, parents and carers at every school in the area. “
“We, at Zurich Municipal, recognise that safeguarding children and young people is one of the most important issues facing parents, carers and those responsible for educating and empowering them. With more children spending time online in these unprecedented times, it is incredibly important that we support school communities in raising awareness of the unique risks in the digital space and how we can protect our children from them.”
Colin Stitt Head of Safer Schools at Ineqe Safeguarding Group said:
Technology plays an even more significant role in our lives than ever before. Members of Our Safer Schools’ network regularly tell me about the transformational impact of the App on their school communities.
In these uncertain times, education professionals and parents/carers want confidence in knowing they have the right information to keep their children and young people safe.
The Safer Schools App does exactly that. It helps us educate, empower and protect the children and young people in our care as they face pressure to remain socially connected in a digital world.”

Advice for parents on talking to their children about online risks:
1. Do your homework
Before talking to your child, do your homework with the Dumfries and Galloway Safer Schools App. Research the issue or platform yourself, so you have at least a basic knowledge to facilitate a conversation.

2. Have the conversation and discuss support
Open questions help keep conversations open and clear – ask ‘have you heard of this new app’ rather than ‘do you use this app’. Use these conversations to talk about staying safe and exploring what a child would do if they needed help (who could they talk to?).
3. Agree on boundaries and check-in regularly

Agree on boundaries and apply safety settings together (depending on age and understanding) you should check-in with your child regularly.



• Information about how you can download and access the App is available on our website
• Follow or Tweet us at @Ineqegroup
About Ineqe Safeguarding Group
Ineqe Safeguarding Group is a specialist safeguarding company that uses technological innovation and decades of safeguarding expertise to educate, empower and protect vulnerable children and adults. Notable clients include Oxfam, Safeguarding Board NI, HSCT, the Charity Commission and the Irish Football Association.

About the Safer Schools App
The App provides expert support on topics including sexting, bullying, mental health, media literacy, gaming and sexual exploitation online. The App gives school communities the information they need to combat abuse and protect children. Crucially teachers have access to CPD courses to enhance their response to online risks and keep them ahead of the curve.

The App is available free for schools insured by Zurich Municipal. For more information visit: www.oursaferschools.co.uk

Trial access to the App for press review is available upon request.

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