Dot Com Safety Initiative Launched

A NEW online safety resource for children launched at Holy Cross Catholic Primary School in Daiglen Drive, South Ockendon today (Wednesday, 5 June).

The resource, Dot Com Digital, is the product of a partnership between Essex Police and national charity Dot Com Children’s Foundation.

It has been built by DataArt and aims to prevent children becoming victims of online grooming, radicalisation, exploitation and bullying by giving them the confidence to recognise the signs and reach out to an adult for help.

It also uses clever technology to highlight to teachers children who may be at higher risk of becoming a victim.

The project launched at the school after a group of year six children there took part in a workshop to put forward their ideas and help create content that would appeal to their peers.

During the launch presentation children spoke to the programme designers via a live video link to Russia.

Aimed at children aged four to 11, Dot Com Digital sees pupils take part in online safety lessons before completing their own personal digital journal.

Cartoon character Dot and her friends help children learn about the risks they might encounter in the digital world and teaches them how to recognise their own body signs of danger.

Originally posted on: Thurrock & South Essex Independent


Dot Com Digital Safety Resource goes on trial at schools

Innovative digital safety resource, designed by children for children in collaboration with Dot Com Children’s Foundation and Essex Police, goes on trial at schools, ahead of nationwide roll-out

Dot Com Children’s Foundation and Essex Police will tomorrow (4th June 2019) announce the launch of a trial of a new online safety resource at a primary school in Thurrock, Essex. The resource will be used in six schools, for review and fine tuning by children and teachers, before being rolled out across England and Wales later in the year.

Created for children by children, Dot Com Digital aims to prevent young people becoming victims of online grooming, radicalisation, exploitation and bullying by giving them the confidence to recognise warning signs and reach out to an adult for help. Developed in on-going consultation with children, Dot Com Digital is the result of a collaboration by Dot Com Children’s Foundation and Essex Police. Built by technology consultancy DataArt, a gold affiliate partner of Microsoft, who will provide cloud infrastructure, it uses digital technology to draw a teacher’s attention to children who may be at higher risk of becoming a victim of crime.

Sharon Doughty, founder of Dot Com Children’s Foundation, Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Worron, Head of Public Protection at Essex Police, Jen Housego, Head of Digital Change at Essex Police, and Anton Bagrov of DataArt, will launch the project at Holy Cross Catholic Primary School in Thurrock.

The South Ockendon school was selected to be one of the first to trial the resource as they have been a flagship school for the programme for six years. In June last year, 45 children from year six took part in a workshop to put forward ideas and help create content that would appeal to their peers. Two thousand children at schools in London, Stoke, Birmingham and North Wales will also take part in a pilot before Dot Com Digital is rolled out nationally in October.

The programme is an enhanced, digital version of an education programme Dot Com Children’s Foundation has been using successfully in primary schools nationally for more than 15 years, in which children complete a series of worksheets addressing a range of issues including social values, feelings of worry and how they feel about themselves.

Dorothy Com, or Dot Com to her friends, the friendly cartoon character at the forefront of the original programme, who has gained widespread popularity with children, will now be taken digital and be the “face” of Dot Com Digital.

Aimed at primary school children aged nine to 11, Dot Com Digital takes pupils through online safety lessons recording thoughts and feelings in their own personal digital journal. Dot helps them learn about risks they could encounter in the digital world and gives them the chance to ask their teacher for a ‘Dot Com Minute’ to discuss any worries or concerns they have. It also teaches children to recognise their own signs of danger, and to understand their feelings and how to manage them.

The system alerts teachers to children who have written or drawn material that could indicate they are at risk. As a double safeguarding measure Designated Safeguarding Leads in schools are simultaneously alerted. If concerned, schools are then able to share information with appropriate agencies such as police or social care services.

The project was conceived in 2017, when it was identified an innovative approach was needed to tackle the online threat against young people. A partnership between Essex Police and Dot Com Children’s Foundation was created. Technology company DataArt subsequently joined the partnership offering their expertise. DataArt built the platform, gifting it free of charge, and Microsoft agreed to host the platform on its Azure Cloud at no cost. The trial will be fully funded until the end of the year and will be free for schools to use. Training on how to use the system to its full potential will also be offered at no extra cost.

Sharon Doughty, founder of Dot Com Children’s Foundation, said:
“I grew up in an abusive home where I did not have a voice. This led me 15 years ago to set up the Dot Com Children’s Foundation. This new development, taking a successful programme into the digital sphere, means that with the help of Dot Com more children will be able to talk with their teachers, the police and other professionals about their online worries and are part of building a resource which will help protect them and their friends in the future.

The children in this project were the driving force, and their continued participation is key to this unique programme.”

BJ Harrington, Chief Constable of Essex Police, said:
“Children can be among the most vulnerable in our community but sadly, it is a reality that online threats against them are increasing. This is not an issue that one single agency can tackle effectively and I am proud to be part of a partnership that is so passionate about doing all it can to protect young people.

Dot Com Digital takes an innovative approach, using the latest technology and the imagination of a group of children to help them and their peers recognise the signs of grooming, exploitation and bullying and have the confidence to seek help.”

Anton Bagrov, Senior Account Executive at DataArt, said:
“Over the past few months we have worked in consultation with children from Holy Cross Primary to create the Dot Com Digital platform and it’s exciting today to see everyone’s hard work come to life.

The resource is based on the “Dot Com” programme, which has been running as a paper-based resource for fifteen years, and we are proud to support the digitisation of the platform that will give children across the UK access to the programme. It has been an incredible and important project to be part of and demonstrates how technology can be used for good.”

About Dot Com Digital
Dot Com Digital is based on the tried and tested Dot Com education programme which has been used in primary schools for more than 15 years. The programme helps children learn how to manage risks and empowers them to ask for help if they are frightened or worried. Since it began, the Dot Com programme has been delivered by teachers to nearly a million children across England and Wales.

Dot Com digital will roll out to all schools nationally in October 2019 and a pilot will launch to a small number of schools in June 2019.

About Dot Com Children’s Foundation
The Dot Com Children’s Foundation was founded in December 2013 with a simple goal: to reach every child in the United Kingdom.

The programme is a universal safeguarding tool. It is taught in schools using high quality paper-based Dot journals to help every child realise their potential. The journals also help highlight children who need more targeted intervention. With the support of the Home Office, the foundation works in collaboration with teachers, parents and the Police to tackle the structural problems that can have far reaching effect on families and communities.

About Essex Police
Essex Police is led by Chief Constable BJ Harrington and operates across an area of 1,405 square miles. The county of Essex is home to large urban towns and small villages linked by a number of key roads and has one of the largest coastlines in Essex. There are two airports, two major ports and the Dartford River Crossing which is used by more than 51 million vehicles a year. The county of Essex has an estimated population of 1.72 million, making it the fifth most populous county in England.

About DataArt
DataArt is a global technology consultancy that designs, develops and supports unique software solutions, helping clients take their businesses forward. Recognised for their deep domain expertise and superior technical talent, DataArt teams create new products and modernise complex legacy systems that affect technology transformation in select industries.

DataArt has earned the trust of some of the world’s leading brands and most discerning clients, including Nasdaq, Travelport, Ocado, Betfair, Regus, Meetup and Apple Leisure Group among others. DataArt brings together expertise of over 2,600 professionals in 22 locations in the US, Europe, and Latin America.

About Microsoft
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Dot Com Joins Essex Police to Discuss Hothouse 2

Dot Com went to Essex Police HQ today (29th May 2019) to meet with the Chief Constable BJ Harrington and industry partners discussing the success of the BT Hothouse event and contribute ideas for Hothouse 2. 

It was 2017 when the Dot Com Children’s Foundation was invited to participate in the Hothouse bringing together partners to discuss the current digital threat. The Chief said he was proud that one of the successes of the first BT Hothouse, held by Essex Police, is the new Dot Com Digital journal for safeguarding primary school children from the current digital threat. The journal starts pilots next week in Thurrock and was created by children for Children with the support of the police and DataArt with free hosting from Microsoft. 

This is a very powerful use of partnership by Essex Police to protect children. 

Dionne Warwick Global Ambassador for Dot Com

Singing Legend Dionne Warwick is the global ambassador for Dot Com and is keen to spread the news around the world about

the programme which empowers children to speak up about issues which frighten or worry them.

Dionne heard about Dot Com from Maddie Ingoldsby, who is a young ambassador for Dot. Maddie, is the daughter of music producer Denis Ingoldsby a long time friend of the singer and her UK manager. Maddie wrote to Dionne with her Dad’s help and told her how Dot Com helps children to learn to ask for help and to know how to stay safe. She asked Dionne if she would fly to London and put on a show to raise awareness of Dot and Dionne said yes immediately.

The special dinner was put on at Banqueting House and Dionne recorded a special interview with Maddie for the charity. Dionne said: “Dot Com is quite a girl and if she needs a friend she only has to call me and I’ll be there!” 

Dionne is pictured here with Maddie and her sister Anaiyah, along with Joshua and Amelia, the children of the founders of the programme Sharon Doughty and Neil Evans and the children of sponsors of the event including India Adams.

Focus Group At Holy Cross School in South Ockendon

Year Five pupils at Holy Cross School in South Ockendon carried out focus group testing on the new Dot Com Digital journals with a senior executive from the software development company DataARt who are carrying out the project as part of their CSR.

Anton Bagrov joined Sharon Doughty and Neil Evans the founders of the Dot Com programme at Holy Cross School in South Ockendon in Thurrock . The journal will be launched in a pilot starting with the whole of year 5 after half term.

The journal has been created in a unique partnership between Essex Police, the Internet Intelligence and Investigations division of the National Police Chief Council, The Dot Com Charity and DataArt.

Discussions with the children even spread over lunch and pupils were excited by the journal and the prospect of playing cartoons and games as part of learning how to stay safe in the digital world.

Civil servants and police launch Dot Com Charity at the Home Office with celebrity support

The Dot Com Children’s Foundation was launched at the Home Office by volunteers from the civil service lead by the Chief Accountant to the Home Office, Mark Wilson.

More than 30 volunteers signed up to support the charity to help founders Sharon Doughty and Neil Evans to reach more children around the country.

Kathryn Blair, Chair of the trustees, attended the event with Len Goodman’s son who was also a trustee and the audience was treated to the most fantastic Strictly display by Kristina Rihanoff and Robin Windsor. The event raised the first funds ever put into the charity and Chief Constable Sara Thornton who was then Chair of the National Police Chief Council participated in the fun and even the dance lesson!

Children from Croydon who were ambassadors for the Dot Com programme made a speech to tell the adults why all children should have access to the programme.

Challenge 1000

In 2016 the Dot Com Charity introduced the Challenge 1000, which is our challenge to raise £1,000 in six months in any way that seems like fun. This can be done as a company, as a team or as an individual.

Schools have also very successfully participated and the first company that took on the challenge was Forever Living. Many of their business owners took on the challenge and did everything from an 80’s disco to coffee mornings, formal balls and mountain climbing and cycle rides.

The first school to participate was Fairchildes School in Croydon who raised the amount in one day! Pupils went out into the community to fundraise and help out and they also paid to dress up as their hero. It was an amazing effort. 

Forever Business Owners and Challenge 1000

Forever is committed to supporting Dot Com and many of their Forever Business Owners have already
committed to raising £1,000 (and beyond!). Here are the stories from some of those who have taken part:

Jason Yates and Sarah Aspinall: On May 28th 2016 a team of eighteen climbed Snowdon as part of the Challenge 1000.

Jason: “Some people wanted to kill us for organising it but people did get more and more enthusiastic during the climb! Everyone on the team was different; for some people it was the first time they’d climbed a mountain, but for others they’d done it a few times. Some people were already doing Challenge 1000 and so they were climbing Snowdon alongside other things, but we collected sponsors wherever we could.

To see how confident Myles was speaking up on stage at Success Express was fantastic, and to think that some of the children that Sarah teaches could also experience this change in their lives – that would be amazing. We have two young boys ourselves so it’s important for us to do anything we can for the younger generation.”

Sarah: “I work in a school so I put up a sponsorship form in the staff room and loads of people from school decided to sponsor me. I’m hoping to get Dot Com into my school and Sharon from Dot Com has given me materials to help do this. If we can get them to the school we would see the good they do first-hand. The school is in the middle of a council estate and there are lots of under-privileged children who could benefit.”

Ellie Cooper: “I was at February Success Express when I first heard about Dot Com and it really struck a chord with me. My background is primary school teaching and I’ve worked in schools in deprived areas; I’d see children coming to school with burns on them, somethings they’d have no socks, no underwear, holes in their shoes, things like that, so when I heard about Dot Com I immediately felt like I needed to get involved. It’s one thing to know that abuse and neglect happens, but it’s another to see it first-hand! I pledged the £1,000 and I’ve raised about £1,200 so far – I did a spin-a-thon at my local gym (three hours on a spin bike), and I climbed Mount Snowdon. But I want to keep raising money for the charity.”

Jason Ward: Jason organised an 80’s charity night and managed to collect over £900 on the night. He personally rounded it up to £1,000 for Dot Com.

Kat Massey: Kat cut as many people’s hair as she could in one day (haircut-a-thon) for free – all she asked for was a donation for Dot Com. She managed to raise over £475 that day.

Teresa Clark: “After Success Express in February I decided to take on Challenge 1000 as I felt very passionate about the ethics behind Dot Com. Unfortunately, as a child, my three siblings and I were places in a children’s home and as teenagers we moved into a permanent foster care home. Having a programme like Dot Com’s would have been extremely beneficial to us, and the thought of helping even one child is amazing. I got to work and organised various events including a summer ball – we raised £2,000.”