Arthur Labinjo-Hughes – A life cut short by cruelty

(Please note this story contains graphic descriptions and sensitive material that readers may find upsetting)

  • A father and his partner have been found guilty of the killing of six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes.
  • Arthur was tortured by Thomas Hughes and Emma Tustin, eventually dying of a head injury in Solihull in June 2020 while in the care of his stepmother.
  • Arthur was subjected to abuse, neglect, starvation, coercive control, and severe punishment regimes.
  • Serious questions are being asked of the authorities which could have intervened to save Arthur.
  • A review by social services is currently under way and the Independent Office for Police Conduct is also examining whether opportunities were missed by police.
  • Watch our CEO Jim Gamble, discussing the case, here.
  • Full story, here.

Social media a ‘conveyor belt’ for child abuse images

  • NSPCC reveals that more than 100,000 images has been recorded by the police in the last five years for the UK.
  • The charity claims that “social media is being used as a conveyor belt to produce and share child abuse images on an industrial scale”.
  • NSPCC urges Culture Secretary, Nadine Dorries, to strengthen the Online Safety Bill to disrupt offending.
  • NSPCC has drafted a 5-point plan for the Bill including more risk assessments to spot cross-platform activity, interrupt grooming, and stop abusers organising online.
  • Full story, here.

TikTok launches new transparency centre

  • TikTok has launched a new ‘Transparency Centre’ which will contain all future transparency reports.
  • All the reports will be easily accessible and can be cross-checked against reports from previous years to help identify trends.
  • This follows the release of TikTok’s ‘Content Removal Requests Report’.
  • This details actions taken against content due to violations of community guidelines or legal requests.
  • Full story, here.

Child abuse image crimes pass 2000 in five years

  • The PSNI has recorded over 2000 child abuse image offences in the last five years.
  • The number of offences relating to possessing, taking, making, and distributing child abuse material in Northern Ireland reached 2,217 between 2016/17 and 2021/21.
  • The NSPCC adds that the issue of young people being groomed into sharing images of their own abuse has become pervasive.
  • The pandemic offered “the perfect storm” for grooming and abuse online, with offence rates increasing by 18% across the UK.
  • Full story, here.

Up to 23,000 people in Northern Ireland pose risk to children

  • The director general of the National Crime Agency (NCA), Graeme Biggar reports that there could be up to 23,000 people who pose a sexual risk to children living in Northern Ireland.
  • Biggar warns that “children are now more at risk in their bedrooms than they are on the streets”.
  • The NCA believes that there is a realistic possibility there are between 16,000 and 23,000 people who pose varying degrees of sexual risk to children.
  • This follows an analysis showing that are between 550,000 and 850,000 people who pose varying degrees of sexual risk to children in the UK.
  • Full story, here.

‘Closing of schools must be avoided’

  • Schools have been urged to avoid further closures at all costs by the Commissioner for Children and Young People, Koulla Yiasouma.
  • This is due to children having already missed too much time out of the classroom due to the pandemic.
  • The commissioner urges schools to explore all avenues so that sending pupils home from school does not become normal practice.
  • However, as the growing number of staff absences due to COVID-related issues continues to rise across Northern Ireland, this poses a serious health and safety concern.
  • Full story, here.