Grooming cases increase in Wales 

  • Children may have been left at increased risk from sexual grooming during the lockdown, with scores of cases reported in Wales last year.
  • Charities warn more time online during the pandemic, and less time with teachers and friends who might pick up on worries has left children more at risk from online grooming. 
  • Victims reported 353 cases to police in Wales in 2020. While this was down from 373 in 2019, numbers have increased rapidly in recent years, following the introduction of the offence of sexual communication with a child in April 2017, according to Home Office figures.
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More than 250 convicted of child sexual abuse in UK and Ireland while in Scout movement 

  • More than 250 people in the UK and Ireland have been convicted of child sexual abuse offences committed while they were Scout leaders or in other positions of responsibility within the Scout movement since the 1950s, according to analysis that raises questions about the organisation’s safeguarding procedures. 
  • For decades, the Scout movement has been promoted as offering the chance to experience adventures and gain life skills, but a review of offenders shows that for scores of children it has led to abuse at the hands of someone entrusted with their welfare. 
  • The 255 cases include convictions for rape, indecent assault, voyeurism and the possession, creation, and distribution of indecent images.
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National Adoption Strategy: £48m to improve services in England 

  • A new £48m National Adoption Strategy seeks to improve adoption services and help place more children with families as it launches in England 
  • Thousands of families will benefit from better support when adopting children – ending a postcode lottery that many face, the government said 
  • Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “There is no substitute for a loving, permanent family” 
  • Adoption support groups have welcomed the new approach 
  • Charity Adoption UK said there were nearly 3,000 children waiting to be adopted in England – the average wait is now 15 months from the point they are taken into care.
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Pupils with poor mental health are three times more likely not to get five GCSE passes 

  • Children experiencing poor mental health while at secondary school are three times more likely not to pass five GCSEs including maths and English, research has found.  
  • The study by the National Centre for Social Research, published in BMJ Open, linked an assessment of the mental health of 1,100 children in England at age 11-14 to their subsequent GCSE results at age 16.  
  • Poor mental health and lower grades at GCSE were more common for pupils from poorer backgrounds, but mental health difficulties affected young people’s GCSEs regardless of their background. 
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