Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and as we have explained within our Safeguarding Policy Statement, we take this responsibility as an operator extremely seriously. Read our message from Ben Forbes, Head of Safety and Compliance UK.
“Safety is at the heart of everything we do, across every journey and every experience. It isn’t just a crucial responsibility of every private-hire operator, but also something that I and every member of the team take very seriously.
This responsibility includes everyone who has a footprint across our platform, and as a driver-partner, your role is incredibly important. This is why we want to take the time to provide you with this important information. I urge every driver-partner to read and save this for future reference and remember during every ride and interaction with our customers, safety is paramount.
Before you will find key information on how you, as a driver partner across Ola’s platform, can spot the signs for key safeguarding concerns. Please read this information, store it and remember, by acting you may be saving a life.”
Child Sexual Exploitation
Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a type of sexual abuse. When a child or young person is exploited they’re given things, like gifts, drugs, money, status and affection, in exchange for performing sexual activities. Children and young people are often tricked into believing they’re in a loving and consensual relationship. This is called grooming. They may trust their abuser and not understand that they’re being abused.
Key potential signs of CSE are:
- Being forced to do something they clearly don’t want to do
- Physical signs of abuse, like visual injuries and bruises
- Alcohol or drug misuse or discussionsHanging out with older people, other vulnerable people or in antisocial groups
- Late night journeys unaccompanied
Call the National anonymous CSE
helpline on 116 000
Report child abuse to the
Police by dialling 101 or
anonymously to Crimestoppers
on 0800 555 111
Act Immediately! – If you spot these signs and have immediate concerns for a young person, you should dial 999 in emergencies. Alternatively, you can speak to our Safety Response Team via the Driver SOS function.
You might have heard of the Home Office’s County Lines campaign created to stop the illegal transportation of drugs by minors who are being exploited across the country. This type of exploitation is run by organised criminals, commonly referred to as gangs and is referenced as ‘County Lines’
County Lines use children, some as young as 10, or those with vulnerabilities, such as disabilities, and/or alcohol and drug addictions, to do their illegal bidding.
The method of County Lines is to transport illegal substances using children or vulnerable people due to their nature and innocent appearance.
Working with CrimeStoppers and the Institute of Licensing, the Home Office has outlined what private hire vehicle and taxi drivers, like yourself, can look out for to help spot these minors and stop their journeys. As an Ola driver you have the power to protect a child’s future by looking out for the following signs:
- A young teen, usually between 10-15 years of age, travelling alone
- Might be adding multiple stop locations during the trip
- They may be from a different area and might look lost
- Might be travelling during school or evening hours
- A clear relationship with controlling older individuals
- Appear neglected or a victim of injury; self harm, physical assault or unexplained injury
- Excessive communication through texts and phone calls, and in-possession of more than one mobile phone
Should you want to obtain further information about County Lines please visit here.
If you have any suspicion that a child may be involved with County Lines, please call the 100% anonymous CrimeStoppers line: 0800 555 111. If you believe a child is in immediate danger please call 999.
While you ferry many passengers around the city each day, we ask you to keep an eye out for those who might be in trouble. Cases of domestic violence have seen a rise and here’s how you can help if you come across a victim of abuse.
You may recognise a victim of abuse through visual cues or through subtle calls for help. Look and listen out for:
- Physical injuries or bruises
- Excessive make-up or clothing to hide injuries
- Appearing afraid or anxious
- Reporting their location out of obligation
- No access to money
- Withdrawn and unwilling to engage in conversation
- Scared or extremely apologetic
- Regular shouting and screaming heard from the same house
- They may discreetly signal or use a code word asking for help. Learn the signs here ‘ANI‘ (Action Needed Immediately)
If you feel a passenger might be in danger from Domestic Violence, immediately Dial 999, act now to save a life.