School abuse claims could be the ‘next national scandal’ 

  • Sexual harassment and assault claims made by school pupils on a website may be the “next child abuse scandal that engulfs the nation”, police have said. 
  • A police helpline is to be set up to report incidents after thousands of allegations were posted, most of them about the behaviour of other pupils. 
  • The National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on child protection said the issue presented a huge challenge to society.
  • Ministers say anyone making allegations will get support and protection.
  • The website, ‘Everyone’s Invited’ was set up last year as a place where victims can post anonymous accounts of the abuse they had suffered. 
  • It has now received more than 6,000 testimonies – including accounts from children as young as nine.
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     Body editing apps are creating eating disorders 

    • Body-editing apps advertised on social media platforms TikTok and Instagram are “triggering” young people with eating disorders, campaigners fear. 
    • Adverts show how the apps can be used to alter body parts, including making waists slimmer and adding muscles. 
    • Eating disorder charities have said technology firms should consider the impact on vulnerable people. 
    • The platforms said the apps did not break advertising guidance, but TikTok added it does review its policies. 
    • It said it is “continually looking to enhance” its framework to “support a body-positive environment”. 
    • The social media platform, popular with teenagers, banned adverts for fasting apps and weight loss supplements last year.
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      County Lines gangs targeting younger children  

      • A new report shared exclusively with Sky News says young people are at risk of exploitation from criminals more than ever, as the country marks a year since the first national lockdown. 
      • the National Youth Agency says county lines child criminal exploitation is taking on a new meaning, thanks to changing trends seen through the pandemic. 
      • Gangs are increasingly targeting vulnerable young people who are stuck at home during lockdown via social media platforms. Grooming young people in more rural areas that lack sufficient support for children to seek help. 
      • They also highlight the changing profile of a typical victim – more affluent, more female – and many youth workers also report victims getting increasingly younger. 
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      • To learn more about County Lines, read our recent article here 


        Doctors warn against cuts to youth drug and alcohol treatment 

        • Cuts to addiction services for young people with drug and alcohol problems in England mean many are missing out on specialist help, according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists. 
        • It says eight out of nine regions in England have made real terms reductions in funding since 2014, and 37% overall. 
        • The situation has only been made worse by the pandemic, which has badly disrupted services. 
        • A plan to support people with mental health issues has been announced.
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