Online child abuse crimes surge 78% in 4 years

  • A new analysis of police reports shows that children being sexually abused online has increased by 78% in four years across England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Channel Islands.
  • The reports show that 9,724 online child sexual offences were recorded by 41 police forces in 2020.
  • These findings come as the government plans to regulate social media through the Online Safety Bill.
  • The NSPCC identified areas of weakness and outlines 5 areas of consideration to strengthen the Bill’s approach to children’s safety.
  • These include suggestions to tackle cross-platform grooming and the introduction of a dedicated advocate for children.
  • Full story, here.

Children face agonising waits for mental health care

  • A BBC investigation has found that children struggling with mental health problems during the pandemic are facing agonisingly long waits for treatment in England.
  • Specialist care is provided by a network known as Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
  • Data from half of England’s specialist child mental health services found that one in five children seen since the COVID-19 pandemic waited more than 12 weeks.
  • The investigation highlighted doctor accounts where children were admitted to general wards even though they could not be provided with specialist mental health support there because services are stretched.
  • During 2020-21, CAMHS services saw 420,000 children and young people. However, an estimated 1.5 million under-18s are thought to have a mental health disorder.
  • Full story, here.

Calls for a ‘new deal’ for children in England among mental health concerns

  • A report by the Children’s Commissioner for England, Dame Rachel de Souza, follows the BigAsk survey with over half a million responses from children and urges greater investment in catchup for schools.
  • The surveys shows that one in five children aged 9-17 are unhappy with their mental health, with girls aged 16-17 experiencing the worst rates.
  • Dame Rachel de Souza calls for a comprehensive three-year catchup package for schools including improved services for children struggling with attendance, faster implementation of tutoring support and a voluntary extension of the school day for sport and enrichment.
  • Goals for the ‘new deal’ include a rapid expansion of mental health support teams and community mental health hubs for children.
  • Full story, here.

Review into child harms by male carers

  • The Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel published a review of circumstances involved in cases where children under 1 were harmed or killed by male carers in England.
  • Common risk factors in male carers included having abusive, neglectful, or inconsistent parenting experiences, a history of impulsive behaviour, previous substance misuse, low self-esteem and becoming a parent at a young age.
  • The review also identified that a lack of information sharing among practitioners prevented risk to children from being identified early and responded to rapidly.
  • Services were also reported to primarily focus on mothers instead of fathers.
  • The panel goes on to recommend that the government should pilot and fund more programs for male carers and integrate these into current family-focused interventions.
  • Programs should focus on increasing the engagement of male carers with services and improving assessment of fathers/carers.
  • The full report can be found here.
  • Full story, here.