News 2021: 10 items (Safeguarding)

30/09/2022: Molly Russell: Social media a factor in teenager’s death, coroner says

The “negative effects of online content” were a factor in the death of a girl who took her own life, an inquest has found. Coroner Andrew Walker said material viewed by 14-year-old Molly Russell on social media “shouldn’t have been available for a child to see”. Molly, from Harrow, viewed thousands of images of self-harm and suicide before she died in November 2017.

Read: BBC

29/09/2022: Instagram and Pinterest were ‘ignorantly blind’ and contributed to the death of 14-year-old Molly Russell, inquest hears

Schoolgirl Molly Russell liked more than 2,000 images about depression, suicide and self-harm before taking her own life but Instagram and Pinterest were ‘ignorantly blind’ to their part in her death, an inquest heard today. The 14-year-old from Harrow, northwest London, died in 2017 after hiding her ‘demons’ from her family while viewing thousands of harrowing posts and videos.

Read: Daily Mail

27/09/2022: Psychiatrist ‘unable to sleep’ after seeing material viewed by Molly Russell

A child psychiatrist has told the inquest into Molly Russell’s death he was unable to sleep well for “a few weeks” after seeing social media content viewed by the teenager before she killed herself. Dr Navin Venugopal told North London coroner’s court the self-harm content viewed by Molly before her death was “very disturbing” and “distressing”.

Read: Guardian

26/09/2022: Why language matters: “hidden” in plain sight

“Hidden men” and “invisible fathers” are terms often used in response to the idea that male caregivers in a child’s life can sometimes be excluded from services or overlooked by professionals working with children and their families.


21/09/2022: Online Safety Bill to return as soon as possible

The Online Safety Bill will return to Parliament “quickly”, Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan has said. “We want it in law as soon as possible to protect children when they’re accessing content online,” she said. The bill requires technology companies to protect their users from illegal content such as child-abuse images.

Read: BBC

30/08/2022: Investigation into alleged child grooming gang in Hull reopened to look at ‘number of lines of inquiry’

Operation Marksman was launched in spring 2019 and wound down two years later after 34 arrests, none of which led to any charges.

Read: Sky

15/08/2022: Record number of children referred as victims of trafficking

The number of children suspected as being victims of child trafficking has reached record levels, according to Home Office figures. Between April and June this year, 1,630 children were identified as potential victims of modern slavery through the government’s National Referral Mechanism (NRM), an increase of almost 20 per cent on the previous quarter and the highest level since the NRM was launched in 2009.

Read: Children and Young People Now

09/08/2022: Huge rise in self-generated child sexual abuse content online, report finds

Incidents of children aged between seven and 10 being manipulated into recording abuse of themselves have surged by two-thirds over the past six months, according to a global report. Almost 20,000 reports of self-generated child sexual abuse content were seen by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) in the first six months of this year, compared with just under 12,000 for the same period this year.

Read: Guardian

08/08/2022: 20,000 reports of coerced ‘self-generated’ sexual abuse imagery seen in first half of 2022 show 7- to 10-year-olds

New data released by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) shows almost 20,000 webpages of child sexual abuse imagery in the first half of 2022** included ‘self-generated’ content of 7- to 10-year-old children.

Read: Internet Watch Foundation

31/07/2022: Impact of family safeguarding model hailed as council improves to ‘outstanding’

Inspectors praise group supervision and specialist services delivered through model for improving quality of social work at Bracknell Forest and keeping more children with families

Read: Community Care

28/07/2022: Latest Research Shows Impacts of Online Abuse – Why Minerva Is Needed

New research has shown family and friends have been identified as the first port of call for help when a victim is being abused online, while alarmingly, stranger danger resulting in online abuse has increased. Added to this, one in three victims report online abuse to social media moderators, while one in four will never report to anybody.

Read: South West Grid for Learning

19/07/2022: IWF data fuels report aimed at ‘turning tide of online child sexual abuse’

A new report by an independent think tank looks at what can be done by police and government to help “turn the tide of online child sexual abuse”. The research by The Police Foundation draws extensively on Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) data to highlight the “industrial scale” of child sexual abuse material on the internet. 

Read: Internet Watch Foundation

14/07/2022: Concerns over online safety bill delay

Critics have described government plans to delay the online safety bill until the autumn as a “devastating blow” for child protection. The bill, which includes measures to safeguard children from online harms, is in its final stages and was due to be discussed in parliament next week.

Read: Children and Young People Now

13/07/2022: Online Safety Bill put on hold until new prime minister in place

Plans for new internet safety laws have been put on hold until a new prime minister is in place in the autumn. The Online Safety Bill aims to lay down rules in law about how platforms should deal with harmful content.

Read: BBC

12/07/2022: Online grooming crimes have risen by more than 80% in four years

We may see even higher levels of online child sexual abuse, as record levels were reached during the pandemic, and have not subsided, meaning there may be a long-term increase in risk. Exclusive figures we’ve obtained show that online grooming crimes recorded by the police continue to climb and have jumped by more than 80% in four years. Data from 41 UK police forces shows an 84% rise since 2017/18, taking the total to more than 27,000 offences since 2017.


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