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September 7, 2023

Thousands of children sexually abused to order on encrypted video calls with western customers

  • According to a new report by the University of Nottingham and the International Justice Mission (IJM), the UK is the third largest consumer of live-streamed child sexual abuse.  
  • The researchers ran a national household survey covering 150 municipalities, asking local residents if they were aware of child victims or of adults selling such content.  
  • The new report indicates that Western consumers are also guilty of directing child sexual abuse in the Philippines. 
  • The IJM also found that over half the children abused were 12 years or younger, with the youngest being only a few months old.  
  • The executive director of IJM’s Center to End Online Sexual Exploitation of Children John Tanagho, has said it is “clear that digital spaces and internet-connected, camera-enabled devices pose growing opportunities for offenders to sexually abuse children with ease, anonymity, and impunity”.  
  • The UK’s online safety bill, which is set to become law later this month, should have a big impact on such crime.  
  • For more, please visit the Telegraph’s website.  

More than one in 10 women and girls across UK have faced online violence

  • A new UK-wide online YouGov survey of 7,500 people aged 16 and over has found that more than one in 10 women and girls in each of the UK’s four nations has experienced online violence. 
  • 17% of women and girls surveyed in both Scotland and Wales, 15% in England and 12% in Northern Ireland have reported experiencing online violence.  
  • Online violence can include abuse, threats, trolling, unwanted sexual remarks and non-consensual sharing of intimate images and messages.  
  • The most commonly perceived reasons for why people commit such online violence were perceived anonymity by being online (49%), ease of getting away with it (47%) and misogyny (43%). 
  • Researchers said that their findings suggested men and boys (50%) in England were less likely than women and girls (69%) to support making online violence against women and girls a criminal offence.  
  • Professor Lynne Gabirel, president of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy has said that the research will “provide valuable evidence for many, including counselling and mental health professionals, policy makers, educators, researchers and social media platforms.” 
  • For more, please visit the Independent’s website. 

School avoidance: ‘I was crying, screaming and shouting in the car’

  • School avoidance is when a child or young person refuses to attend school or has difficulty staying all day. 
  • The NI Commissioner for Children and Young People has called for more support for vulnerable school children. 
  • According to The School Avoidance Alliance, it can affect about a quarter of pupils at some point in their school lives. 
  • In NI, there is no way of measuring if a pupil is absent because of school avoidance. 
  • Despite this, the Education Authority (EA) reported the “estimate would be nationally about 1 to 2% of children who aren’t attending school”. 
  • Anna, aged 12, became so stressed upon attending school, that it caused distress and affected the entire family. 
  • Anna reported that she wanted to socialise with her friends but couldn’t deal with the anxiety attending school caused her. She has now been diagnosed with separation anxiety. 
  • Earlier this year it was reported there had been a significant rise in absences since the pandemic, with NI statistics showing that in 2021/22 that almost 10% of school days were missed by pupils. 
  • The office of the NI Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY) said it has raised concerns with the Department of Education. 
  • Elaine Craig, from the EA, stated it had multiple services that are “well placed to support our schools and our children and young people to resolve key issues and work towards increasing school attendance”. 
  • However, she acknowledged that NI attendance figures are at 90% which is the lowest in the UK. 
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website. 

Asthma attacks on the increase as Northern Ireland children return to school, charity warns

  • Asthma and Lung UK Northern Ireland says a lack of preventer medicine routine during the summer holidays and being exposed to colds and viruses, could be the cause. 
  • The Department of Health data shows the number of children being hospitalised for asthma attacks in September more than triples (234%) after starting the school year, compared to August. 
  • Asthma and Lunch UK NI are urging parents to be aware of signs that their child’s asthma may be worsening, such as wheezing, chest tightness and breathlessness. 
  • They urge all parents to take immediate action, and ensure their child knows where to locate their inhaler. 
  • They further report that it is important to have an asthma action plan, regularly check their child’s reliver inhaler is with them at all times and arrange for their child to have an annual asthma review with their GP. 
  • For more, please visit the Belfast Live website. 

Check out our Online Safety Training for Schools! Head on over to our Safer Schools NI website for more information and to get signed up!