‘Discord’ promises zero tolerance after non-consensual images of irish women found on server

  • The online site Discord has promised a “zero-tolerance approach” to image-based sexual abuse after one of its servers was used to share explicit content of Irish women without their consent
  • The server, which is similar to a group chat, was shut down and more than 500 users involved were banned by management, who confirmed to the Irish Examiner that it will co-operate with Gardaí on the matter
  • “Discord has a zero-tolerance approach to nonconsensual pornography and child sexual abuse material, and we work aggressively and proactively to keep it off of our service,” said a spokesperson for the instant messaging platform
  • The news has sparked an online movement to pressure the Irish Government to make Image-based abuse illegal and a petition currently has over 73,000 signatures

Man found guilty of grooming child on social media 

Children’s hospital porter charged with string of sex offences

  • A porter at Great Ormond Street Hospital has been charged with scores of child sex offences alleged to have been carried out over the course of three decades
  • Paul Farrell, who has reportedly worked at the world-renowned children’s hospital in London since the 1980s, is accused of 84 sex offences, 52 of them relating to children
  • These include 20 counts of sexually assaulting a child younger than 13, paying for sexual activities with a child, and creating indecent images of children, Scotland Yard said
  • The 55-year-old, of Castle Road in Camden, is alleged to have committed these offences against seven individuals between 1985 and 2018
  • A spokesperson for Great Ormond Street Hospital — which cares for children from across the UK and overseas — said that Mr Farrell had been dismissed and that they were working closely with the Metropolitan Police

Northern Ireland Schools told not to use new money for counselling

  • Schools cannot use additional funding for mental health and wellbeing to pay for counselling for pupils, according to new guidance
  • Schools are to receive an additional £3,200 to £14,000 depending on size
  • According to Education Authority (EA) guidance, the funding cannot be used to “support a small group of pupils or individuals e.g. counselling”
  • Post-primary schools currently receive limited counselling for pupils through the EA, but primary schools do not
  • Just prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, 800 post-primary school pupils in Northern Ireland were on a waiting list to receive counselling
  • In October, a study commissioned by the Health and Social Care Board suggested high levels of anxiety and depression among children and young people in Northern Ireland

Charity warns of lockdown loneliness for parents

  • Loneliness among parents of young children has “dramatically increased” during the pandemic, suggests research from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Royal Foundation
  • The charity gathered views from half a million people in the UK on bringing up children under the age of five
  • It found parents increasingly worried about feeling cut off from support, particularly in more deprived areas
  • The Duchess said it had been a “hugely challenging” year for families
  • “It’s very tough,” says Emily Wingrove, mother of three-year-old Franklin and Denis who had his first birthday this month, in celebrations muted by the lockdown