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WhatsApp group joining criteria, rules, and safeguarding

Joining criteria
  • You are the relevant age for the WhatsApp group and live with a muscle wasting or weakening condition in the UK.
  • You consent to sharing your mobile number.
  • This will be visible to others in the WhatsApp network once you have joined. You agree to follow our group rules.

If you don’t meet the joining criteria, we’ll be unable to admit you to the WhatsApp Group. If we have any concerns about your welfare, we’ll follow our safeguarding procedures. We may have to share information and work in partnership with other agencies.

Group rules

All our WhatsApp groups are moderated by staff and volunteers who are trained and have an enhanced DBS check. We’ll remove messages that break these rules, and issue warnings to members. If they’re repeatedly broken, you will be removed from the group. We don’t take the decision to moderate messages lightly, but we will do this if the group rules are broken, or messages are not appropriate within the group context. Please report any messages or concerns you believe are breaking the group rules to us.

Parental consent:

If you’re under the age of 18 you’ll need to have parental consent to join our WhatsApp groups and you’ll need to provide contact details of a parent/guardian who has consented to you joining the group. If parental consent is withdrawn, you will be removed from the group.

Use of technology/ devices:

All members will need to be able to access WhatsApp from their own device rather than that of their parent or guardian’s.  This is to respect confidentiality and to keep discussions private.

Be kind and courteous:

It is everyone’s responsibility to create a welcoming environment. We should all be kind and treat others with respect and equality and group discussions should always be held constructively and respectfully. We don’t allow inappropriate or unpleasant language or content. If you’re unhappy about something that’s been said in your group, please contact a member of staff or a volunteer immediately  so it  can be managed appropriately.

No hate speech or bullying:

All group members should feel safe. Bullying, discrimination and derogatory comments regarding religion, culture, class, sexual orientation, gender, or identity aren’t tolerated.

Don’t breach copyright or permission:

If you’re posting photos make sure you have the person’s permission first. Photos shared in groups by members should not be shared outside the group without the subject’s consent.

Respect the privacy and confidentiality of others:

We want our virtual support networks to be safe and positive communities. Authentic discussions make groups great but may also be sensitive and private. What’s shared in the group must stay within the group. We promote having conversations and sharing ideas to support each other; however, we ask you to be mindful that this is a confidential and private space for people to share aspects of their lives. We ask that you don’t share private details without permission. Please don’t share anyone’s name, contact details, screenshots, or conversations outside of the group. If you’re part of the 18 to 30 young adults WhatsApp support network, please ensure you have clear permission to share contact details before doing so.

WhatsApp age groups:

When a person reaches the age limit of the WhatsApp group they’re in, they will move on to the next group. When a person reaches the age of 65, they will be removed from the 30 to 65 group. The women’s health group has no upper age limit.

We don’t endorse recommendations:

We encourage members to share their recommendations regarding equipment, books, websites and more. However, we cannot endorse recommendations made in this group, we recommend all members do their own research so they’re confident and satisfied with recommendations.

Safeguarding Procedure

Muscular Dystrophy UK is dedicated to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and adults at risk. We are committed to creating a confidential and secure environment, enabling everyone to feel safe when interacting with our services.

Moderation and Training:

Our chat groups are moderated by staff trained in identifying and addressing safeguarding concerns. However, please note that moderation is not continuous. Our core moderation hours are from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday to Friday.

Reporting concerns within office hours:

During office hours, please report any immediate safeguarding concerns through our designated contact channels. Our team is equipped to handle and escalate issues appropriately.

Reporting concerns outside office hours:

If you need to report a safeguarding concern outside of our normal office hours, please use the following resources:

Emergency social work services:

Contact your local council’s emergency services. Find your local council.

For concerns about someone under 18:

NSPCC Helpline: Call 0808 800 5000 or email help@NSPCC.org.uk.

NSPCC’s Report Abuse online form: Available 24/7.

Hopeline UK: Call 0800 068 4141.

Samaritans: Call 116 123.

Shout: Text SHOUT to 85258.

For adults experiencing distress:

Samaritans Helpline: Call 116 123, available 24/7.

Immediate danger:

If you believe that you or someone else is in immediate danger, do not hesitate to call the emergency services on 999.

Confidentiality and information sharing:

Information will be shared only when necessary to ensure the safety and welfare of individuals. We will on share information if:

  • There is a belief of serious harm to someone else.
  • The individual is under 18 and at risk of serious harm.
  • The individual is over 18, has provided their name and location, and there is a belief that they or someone else are at risk of serious harm.
  • We are required by law to do this.

If it is believed that a child or adult at risk is being harmed, we will share this information with the relevant local authorities or police. In cases where there is an immediate risk of harm, the emergency services will be contacted directly.

Commitment to Safeguarding:

Muscular Dystrophy UK remains steadfast in its responsibility to protect and promote the welfare of children and adults at risk. We encourage everyone to report concerns and trust that they will be handled with the utmost seriousness and confidentiality.

For more information about the group rules for our virtual support networks, please contact communitysupport@musculardystrophyuk.org.

Our WhatsApp groups

Join one of our WhatsApp groups and meet new people, share experiences, and get advice in a friendly and supportive environment.

More support groups

We know that talking to people with similar experiences is powerful. Our support groups are safe and welcoming places to talk to others affected by muscle wasting and weakening conditions, share experiences and meet people who understand what you’re going through. Whether you’re looking to find support in-person, or online, we’ve got a support group for you.