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March 13, 2023

Need for children’s advocate in Online Safety Bill, urges charities

  • Five of the UK’s leading children’s charities are urging the Government to consider independent online advocates to promote and protect young people’s interests.
  • The charities calling for an advocate include the NSPCC, Barnardo’s, 5Rights, the Molly Rose Foundation and the Breck Foundation.
  • This advocate would represent the interests of young people to online regulator Ofcom.
  • This could force companies to make changes that might be causing harm to children and young people.
  • Ofcom will have the ability to fine companies up to 10% of their global turnover and jail bosses for failure to protect children and young people from online harms.
  • Baroness Newlove is leading the amendment to the Online Safety Bill, stating “Companies have unleashed poorly designed products that have contributed in no small part to online child abuse spiralling to record levels.”
  • For more on this story, please visit the Telegraph’s website.

‘Holiday hunger’ payments not guaranteed for Easter break

  • The Department of Education have not yet confirmed whether “holiday hunger” payments can be made during the Easter break.
  • These £27 payments are usually made fortnightly and help the families of over 96,000 children with the cost of meals during holiday times.
  • Funding for this holiday food grant is only in place currently until the end of March.
  • The department have said that a decision regarding this grant will be “made once 2023/24 budgets are known.”
  • For more on this story, please visit the BBC News website.

Strip searches of under-18s by PSNI to be reviewed

  • Concerns by the Children’s Law Centre (CLC) has led to a review of strip search procedures used by Police on young people in custody.
  • Data obtained by the CLC highlighted that in 2021-2022 there were “more than 50 strip searches of under 18s” and in “almost all cases” nothing was found.
  • An appropriate adult was only present in one of 27 searches as waiting on them creates delays.
  • “Items of interest” such as mobile phones and drugs were only found on three occasions.
  • The PSNI have welcomed the review and claimed searches were justified and only done to check individuals had no items which could cause harm.
  • A report will be published by the Police Board once the review has been completed.
  • For the full story, please visit the BBC’s website.