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September 28, 2023

Gardaí investigate if schoolgirl (14) died after taking part in ‘TikTok challenge’

  • Gardaí are investigating if a teenage girl has died after taking part in a viral social media ‘challenge’.
  • The 14-year-old took ill over the weekend and was rushed to a Dublin hospital.
  • It was believed she became very ill after inhaling aerosol after seeing a ‘challenge’ on TikTok.
  • The trend is commonly known as ‘chroming’.
  • She was pronounced dead on Monday morning and an investigation is taking place.
  • TikTok has said in a statement that their sympathies are with the family and content of this nature is “prohibited” on their platform and “will be removed if found’.
  • For more please visit the Independent’s website.

UK and US pledge to combat AI-generated images of child abuse

  • The US and UK have committed to developing and funding new capabilities to prevent the spread of AI-generated images of children.
  • The Home Secretary, Suella Braverman travelled to Washington this week, where she visited the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), the US-based child protection organisation.
  • The NCMEC’s work includes reporting online child sexual abuse cases to global law enforcement agencies.
  • The two countries have issued a joint statement pledging to work together to innovate and explore development of new solutions to fight the spread of this imagery and have called other nations to join them.
  • The Home Secretary’s visit comes a week after launching a campaign calling on Meta not to roll out end-to-end encryption on its platforms without robust safety measures to ensure children are protected from sexual abuse and exploitation.
  • The UK Government looks forward to collaboration with tech company leaders. Industry experts and other nations in ensuring the safe use of technology.
  • For more, please visit the UK Government website.

Our Covid-19 Inquiry Report

  • Save the Children have released a report in partnership with the Children’s Rights Alliance for England and Just for Kids Law and backed by the former Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield.
  • The report found that there are clear lessons to be learned and better systems put in place to protect children if a pandemic was to occur again.
  • They conclude that the loss of children’s freedoms could have been prevented if political leaders had better considered children’s rights and views.
  • They recommend that the UK Government to appoint a cabinet minister for Children and Young People, and make sure in times of crisis they are involved in key decisions.
  • The report further provides recommendations that the government should pass a law to make schools “essential infrastructure”, so MPs have more oversight before any closures.
  • Lastly, they state that the government should properly fund a Children’s Recovery Plan to tackle the long-term effects on children’s social, emotional and educational needs.
  • For more, please visit the Save the Children website.

New law in Northern Ireland grants anonymity to sex offence suspects until charged

  • From Thursday, people who are being investigated by the police on suspicion of sexual offences will have their anonymity protected unless they are charged.
  • They cannot be identified until 25 years after their death.
  • The change to the law on who can attend sexual offences cases in the Crown Court means that access will be restricted to people directly involved, and to “bona fide” journalists.
  • The alleged victim will also be able to nominate one friend or relative to attend, and the accused will be able to do the same.
  • NI is the first in the UK to put these measures into law.
  • Sir John Gillen said: “One of the most unforgiving consequences of a complainant coming forward in a serious sexual offence has been the utter humiliation of being obliged to recite the most intimate and distressing details of their experiences before, potentially, a packed courtroom” however, this “fear has now been removed”.
  • Permanent Secretary Richard Pengelly, the most senior civil servant at the Northern Ireland Department of Justice, said the exclusion of the public from court was “an important step in giving greater protection and support to victims.”
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

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