Child Abuse Laws to be Strengthened in England and Wales  

  • New legislation is set to increase the protection of children and young people from adults in positions of trust. 
  • Sports coaches and faith leaders who have sexual relationships with 16–17-year-olds in their care will be breaking the law under the planned legislation. 
  • This would bring them into alignment   with other professions such as teachers, social workers or medical staff, where it is illegal to have sexual relationships with any child under 18 in their care.  
  • There has long been a legal loophole concerning positions of trust, with the NSPCC saying it was ‘a landmark step’ for protecting children and young people.  
  • The legislation will also strengthen sentencing for the premeditated murder of a child.  
  • The NSPCC in Northern Ireland has renewed their call on the NI Executive to implement the same change to protect children in Northern Ireland.  

School Heads Pleased with First Day of Return

  • Millions of children have begun their staggered return to schools across the UK
  • Reports suggest that there has been a ‘high level’ of take-up in COVID testing and compliance with safety measures within schools. 
  • A snapshot of more than 700 secondary schools suggested that the use of COVID testing was between 90-100% for more than half of schools. However, in around 1 in 20 schools the take-up rate for testing was below 60% for pupils.  
  • This follows previous warnings that parental consent would create difficulties for the mass testing roll out.  
  • To find out more about the guidance on schools returning in your region, check out our recent article here 

Trainee Paramedic Admits Sex Offences Against Four Young Children  

  • The Trainee paramedic confessed his guilt to the 12 charges against him, which included (among others) inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, taking indecent images and distributing indecent images of children.
  • The offences were committed in May 2017.  
  • It was reported that the defendant ‘blackmailed’ his victims into sending him naked images.  
  • Sentencing is due to be passed in April, and he must now sign the sex offenders register.  

Former Radio DJ Faces Child Sexual Abuse Charges 

  • Mark Page, 62, is facing two counts of attempting to incite a female child into sexual activity and a further two counts of arranging or facilitating sexual exploitation in the Philippines.  
  • The defendant must now wait a year before his trial begins due to a backlog caused by the pandemic.
  • Mr Page worked for Radio 1 in the 1980s and reportedly had business, military and charitable interests in the Philippines for a number of years.