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October 17, 2023

Child sexual abuse material online ‘has doubled since 2019’

  • According to international campaign group WeProtect Global Alliance, there has been an 87% increase in reported cases of child sexual abuse material (CSAM)
  • This figure has risen to more than 32 million globally.
  • The campaign group calls for a co-ordinated international response to protect children online and warns that the number of self-generated sexual images of seven to 10-year-olds has quadrupled between 2020-2022.
  • The report highlighted the risks of social gaming environments where adults and children are able to interact.
  • It found that conversations with children on social gaming platforms could escalate to grooming situations within 19 seconds in the most extreme cases.
  • NSPCC chief executive Sir Peter Wanless commented on the report, stating the impending arrival into law of the Online Safety Bill will be crucial in helping stop online abuse.
  • For more, please visit the Yahoo News website.

Harberton: New Belfast special needs school to be built

  • The Department of Education’s permanent secretary has approved a plan to create almost 450 more special school places in the city.
  • Under the Education Authority’s (EA) proposal, Harberton which has currently 330 pupils, will rise to 500 and will admit young people up to the age of 19, rather than 11.
  • Despite the uncertainty over funding, Dr Mark Browne’s decision has been welcomed by James Curran, the principal of Harberton: “This is a very welcome and significant decision and has been needed for such a long time”.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

Belfast mum spotted son’s developmental language disorder during lockdown home-schooling

  • Sue McBride’s 11-year-old son has been known to speech and language therapy since he was two years old.
  • However, during lockdown school sessions she noticed he had difficulty following the language and retaining information.
  • When he was reassessed, he was diagnosed with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) which affects how children understand and use language.
  • Ahead of Developmental Language Disorder Day (20th October), Sue is speaking out alongside the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists to raise awareness about the condition.
  • Ruth Sedgewick from the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists stated that if a parent or teacher has a concern, they should seek a referral to a speech and language therapist for support.
  • For more, please visit the Belfast Live website.