24/01/2022: Sex trafficking: Children groomed in Romania sent to UK

The BBC has found that children as young as 10 are being groomed in Romania, to be trafficked to the UK. Once they arrive as teenagers, they’re kept captive and pimped out for sex. With police struggling to stop this brutal trade, BBC correspondent Jean Mackenzie has spent two years travelling between Romania and the UK. She uncovers why this industry is thriving, as she meets the girls being bought and sold.

Read: BBC

22/01/2022: NCA says end-to-end encryption poses challenge for law enforcers on child abuse

The National Crime Agency has said that end-to-end encryption risks “turning the lights out” for law enforcers trying to prevent child abuse, after the UK data watchdog said failure to introduce strongly encrypted messaging poses a risk to children. The NCA said referrals from social media companies led to 500 arrests and safeguarded 650 children every month in the UK, but that will become “much more challenging” to achieve under widespread use of end-to-end encryption.

Read: Guardian

19/01/2022: Child sexual abuse prosecutions and convictions roughly halve in 4 years

Our latest research finds child sexual abuse (CSA) prosecutions and convictions are falling and young people are facing increasingly long and distressing court delays. Distress includes sleeping and eating problems, depression, panic attacks and self-harm due to a lack of support in the criminal justice system.

Read: NSPCC

13/01/2022: Surge in online sexual abuse of young children

Online sexual abuse of young children aged between seven and 10 increased three-fold last year, new research shows. The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has warned that younger children are being targeted by online groomers “on an industrial scale”.

Read: Children and Young People Now

13/01/2022: 2021 was worst year on record for online child sexual abuse, says IWF

Internet grooming of children has surged during lockdown, according to new research that found a threefold increase in online sexual abuse imagery featuring seven to 10-year-olds.

Read: Guardian

13/01/2022: Three-fold increase of abuse imagery of 7-10-year-olds as IWF detects more child sexual abuse material online than ever before

Last year was the worst year on record for child sexual abuse online as lockdowns saw younger and younger children being targeted “on an industrial scale” by internet groomers. New figures show that, in 2021, the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) took action against 252,000 URLs which it confirmed contained images or videos of children being raped and suffering sexual abuse.

Read: Internet Watch Foundation

10/01/2022: Calls to male sexual abuse helpline double in 2021

More than 7,000 calls, texts and emails were received by Safeline’s male helpline in 2021 – more than double the number of 2020. It’s one of several services the charity runs for survivors of sexual abuse, and has seen a huge rise in people reaching out for help. The charity’s Chief Executive Neil Henderson tells Radio 1 Newsbeat there was a 110% increase last year.

Read: BBC

09/01/2022: UK data watchdog seeks talks with Meta over child protection concerns

The UK’s data watchdog is seeking clarification from Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta about parental controls on its popular virtual reality headset, as campaigners warned that it could breach an online children’s safety code.

Read: Guardian

05/01/2022: ‘Working in partnership with families is crucial to safeguarding the interests of children’

This month, a local child safeguarding practice review into the horrific killing of 16-month-old Star Hobson is expected to publish its findings. By May, the government’s review into the circumstances behind six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes’s murder is due to make recommendations around improvements to local and national child safeguarding practice.

Read: Community Care

05/01/2022: Fix ‘fundamental’ social care flaws that place teenagers at exploitation risk, report urges

Teenagers placed at risk of criminal and sexual exploitation by “fundamental” failures in the children’s social care system deserve a “brand-new offer”, a study has concluded. The report from the Commission on Young Lives, chaired by ex-children’s commissioner Anne Longfield, argued that while many children benefit from going into care, adolescents are too often let down by “piecemeal, uncoordinated and underfunded” services. Black boys are at particular danger both of being criminally exploited and of being treated as offenders rather than victims, it warned.

Read: Community Care

20/12/2021: Arthur inquiry must consider Covid context of social work practice

Interrogating the complexity of safeguarding professionals’ sensemaking against the backdrop of the pandemic is key to understanding what might have gone wrong in Arthur’s case, writes Kellie Thompson. Earlier this month we learned of the tragic death of six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, who died on 16 June 2020 at the hands of his stepmother Emma Tustin and father Thomas Hughes, who were convicted of murder and manslaughter for 29 and 21 years respectively.

Read: Community Care

18/12/2021: Vulnerable children in UK face their ‘most dangerous Christmas yet’

Charity says ‘toxic cocktail’ of financial pressure, disrupted festive plans and strained relationships create unsafe environment for youngsters. Many children are facing their “most dangerous Christmas yet” as uncertainty over Covid and the cumulative pressures of the pandemic heighten internal family tensions, the NSPCC has warned.

Read: Guardian

16/12/2021: The tragic deaths of Arthur and Star must lead to a more humane and supportive social care for families

Amid the blaze of publicity surrounding the appalling murders of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and Star Hobson there have been calls for more intervention and less aversion to taking children into care. Social workers have been told – by those both inside and outside children and families social work – they must not be fooled by manipulative and deceitful parents.

Read: Community Care

16/12/2021: National review of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes murder to recommend changes by May 2022

The government’s national review into the circumstances behind Arthur Labinjo-Hughes’s murder will report by May next year and recommend improvements to local and national child safeguarding practice.

Read: Community Care

16/12/2021: The IWF partners with the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children to launch portal to report child sexual abuse material

The online portal, hosted on ICMEC’s website, allows concerned internet users who do not have access to their own national reporting mechanism to easily and anonymously report child sexual abuse material on the internet.

Read: Internet Watch Foundation