New campaign aims to stop more encrypted apps

  • A new government-backed campaign calls on tech giants to stop rolling out end-to-end-encryption (E2EE) on apps.
  • E2EE means that only the sender and receiver can read messages, and these can’t be accessed by law enforcement or the app owners.
  • The No Place to Hide campaign maintains that E2EE makes it harder to detect child abuse.
  • Data from the US National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) suggests that 14 million reports of suspected online child sex abuse could be lost every year if further roll out of encryption is not stopped.
  • Full story, here.

Rise in school cybercrime attacks sparks NCA education drive

  • A new initiative has been launched to divert young people away from criminality.
  • This is after cyber-attacks designed to block access to schools’ networks or websites more than doubled during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Data from the National Crime Agency’s National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) showed a 107% increase in reports from the police cyber prevent network.
  • The reports concerned students as young as 9 deploying DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks from 2019 to 2020.
  • The initiative will educate students who search for terms associated with cybercrime on school computers.
  • Full story, here.

New campaign for spotting signs of online abuse and grooming

  • The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is urging parents and carers to spot the dangers as a new Government-backed campaign aims to boost child safety.
  • This follows findings that internet grooming of children surged during lockdown and 2021 was the worst year for online child sexual abuse on record.
  • At least one in 10 children are estimated to experience sexual abuse before the age of 16.
  • The UK Government launched a new campaign and website called Stop Abuse Together, last week.
  • The campaign aims to help parents and carers spot the signs of sexual abuse and keep children safe.
  • Full story, here.

Energy price rises could worsen child poverty

  • The number of UK children growing up in “very deep poverty” has risen to 1.8 million according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF).
  • The figure has increased by 500,000 since 2012 and the soaring energy prices rises could hit more families.
  • Energy prices have increased across the UK and could increase by a further 50% in the next few months.
  • The rising costs have the potential to “devastate” the budgets of low-income families.
  • Full story, here.

Assessing mental health needs of abused and neglected young people

  • Research published by Queen’s University Belfast explored what can be done to improve the understanding of mental health needs for young people who have experienced abuse and neglect.
  • Findings showed that staff successfully measured symptoms in up to three quarters using short, standardised measures before clinical assessment.
  • Nearly three quarters (72.3%) of young people showed signs of possible post-traumatic stress.
  • The young people often had experiences of child protection concerns or had experienced bereavement or loss.
  • Many young people had previous contact with mental health services.
  • Around half also showed signs of anxiety or depression.
  • Full story, here.

Northern Ireland has ‘too many small and unsustainable’ schools

  • According to the Education Authority (EA), there are still too many small and “unsustainable” rural schools in Northern Ireland.
  • The EA maintains that the cost of teaching a pupil in a relatively small school can be from 30 to 80% higher than in a larger school.
  • It is estimated that an additional 2,000 places for pupils in special schools will be needed by 2030.
  • This follows a 25% rise in the number of pupils in special needs schools since 2015.
  • According to EA’s strategic plan, approximately 230 of 800 primary schools in Northern Ireland have fewer than the recommended number of pupils.
  • Full story, here.