Youth work and social care news from around the world

Links from around the world of youth work and social care:

Number of admissions to hospital of girls under 18 after self-harming has nearly doubled: The Guardian reports that figures provided in response to a written question in the House of Lords, answered by Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health Lord O’Shaughnessy, show that the number of admissions to hospital of girls under the age of 18 in England after self-harming has nearly doubled compared with 20 years ago. NHS Digital figures show that: there were 13,463 admissions of girls under the age of 18 in 2016/17 against 7,327 in 1997/98; the figure for admissions of boys who self-harmed rose from 2,236 in 1997/98 to 2,332 in 2016/17.

Adult survivors of childhood sexual abuseThe University of Suffolk and the charity Survivors in Transition have published research looking at the impact of delayed disclosure and access to services and support for those who experienced sexual abuse in their childhood. Findings from in-depth interviews with 28 adult survivors of child sexual abuse show that: the average time span from the start of abuse to disclosure was over 27.5 years; survivors reported that delayed disclosure resulted in complex issues related to the experience of abuse, which had a detrimental impact on their mental health; and poor experiences of disclosure had acted as barriers to future support services.

Perinatal mental health services are patchyThe Guardian reports that an unpublished report, commissioned by Health Education England, has found that in many areas of England specialist perinatal mental health services are patchy or non-existent.

Answering parents commonly asked online safety questionsChildnet has written a blog answering some of the questions parents and carers most frequently ask about online safety. Topic covered include: teenagers spending too much time online; under 13s joining social networking sites; and playing games that have an older age rating.

Viewing child abuse imagesThe Telegraph reports that the Solicitor General, Robert Buckland, has said that sex offenders who download or share images of child abuse should be dealt with by the court as harshly as those who abuse children themselves. The article also reports that the government is planning to bring child pornography offences under the “unduly lenient sentence” scheme, which enables sentences to be reviewed by the Court of Appeal.

 

Children and young people’s mental health: focus group research

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) in England has published findings from focus group research carried out to understand the views of children and young people, parents and carers, and professionals on the proposals in ‘Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision: a green paper’.

The student insight report, carried out by Young Minds, looks at the views of 55 young people aged 11-18 across England. Findings show that they were broadly in favour of the core three proposals but felt that there needed to be an additional focus within the new approach around causes of ill mental health amongst young people.

Youth Access looked at the views of 11-15 year olds and 16-25 year olds. Findings include: participants were generally positive about the proposals; they had concerns that the needs of many groups of young people would not be met in its current form including those not willing or able to access support in a school setting; many felt that the green paper did not go far enough in acknowledging some of the root causes of young people’s mental health issues.

The National Children’s Bureau reported on the views of over 80 professionals and parents. Findings include: the green paper proposals were broadly welcomed but that further consideration should be given to ensuring children in the early years develop well emotionally and are prepared for the transition into school; and better continuity of care for young people with mental health conditions transitioning to adult services.

Space photos show UK transforming from green to brown after heat waves

The usual verdant grasses surrounding Buckingham Palace and much of the British Open’s 176-year-old Carnoustie golf course have yellowed since May.

A lack of rain combined with near-record heat through the first half of the summer created this situation, and satellites images from the United Kingdom’s Met Office illustrate the expansive reach of the isles’ browning grasses.

Like the UK, much of the world — even Arctic regions — have been hit with extreme heatwaves or hot spells in the last couple weeks or longer.

Heatwaves, say climate scientists, would certainly happen regardless of whether or not human-caused climate change is a factor. But the planet has been warming at an accelerated pace for 40 years now, making heat extremes more likely.

So far this summer, the UK is on track to challenge 1995 as the driest UK summer in recorded history, Alex Deacon, a Met Office meteorologist, explained online. The same can be said for the UK’s heat since early June.

“It’s been quite remarkable if we take 2018 so far. We could be pushing records” he said.

Though it can be challenging to attribute any particular weather event, like a heatwave, to climate change, with improving measurements scientists have begun to a connect extreme weather events to the changing climate.

 

Council for Internet Safety in the UK

The government has announced plans to establish a new UK Council for Internet Safety (UKCIS), which will extend the scope of the current UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS).  It will be a new collaborative forum through which government, the tech community and the third sector work together to ensure the UK is the safest place in the world to be online.

Priority areas of focus for the council will include:

  • online harm experienced by children such as cyberbullying and sexual exploitation;
  • radicalisation and extremism;
  • violence against women and girls;
  • hate crime and hate speech;
  • and forms of discrimination against groups protected under the Equality Act.

The Government has opened the application process to appoint members of the UKCIS Executive Board (the closing date is 03 September 2018).

Knife crime statistics

The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper summarising the available statistics relating to knife crime in England and Wales. The paper includes Crime Survey of England and Wales data relating to children and young people which shows that for the year ending March 2016 6.2 % of 10 – 15 year olds and 4.2% of 16 – 29 year olds knew someone who carried a knife for their own protection.

Other key statistics include:

  • Recorded crime: In the year ending March 2017, there were 34,700 (selected) offences involving a knife or sharp instrument in England and Wales. This is the highest number in the seven-year series (from year ending March 2011) the earliest point for which comparable data are available.

  • Homicide: In 2016/17 there were 215 homicides currently recorded using a sharp instrument, including knives and broken bottles, accounting for 30% of all homicides – a similar number as recorded in 2015/16 (213).
  • Knife crime by police force area: London recorded the highest rate of 137 offences involving a knife per 100,000 population3 in 2016/17, an increase of 23 offences from 2015/16. Surrey had the lowest rate of 4 offences per 100,000 individuals (down 2 from 2015/16).
  • Proven offences and offenders: In year ending March 2018, there were 21,044 disposals given for possession of a knife or offensive weapon. Juveniles (aged 10-17) were the offenders in 21% of cases.
  • Hospital admissions: There were 4,434 finished consultant episodes (FCE) recorded in English hospitals in 2016/17 due to assault by a sharp object. This was an increase of 7.6% compared to 2015/16 and 21.7% higher than in 2014/15.

Suicide in England and Wales increasing among young people

The Guardian reports on figures that show the overall the number of deaths by suicide among those age 10 to 19 in England and Wales has increased by 24 per cent from 148 deaths in 2013/14 to 184 tickets in 2015/16. The number of deaths by suicide in the same age category increased by 107 per cent from 2013/14 to 2015/16 in London itself.

The Brent Centre for Young People in north London under the 2000 Freedom of Information Act requested the information from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).  The centre called for more investment in mental health services and education to prevent a “needless waste of young lives”.

Dr Maxim de Sauma, the chief executive of the centre, which supports more than 600 young people with mental health problems each year, said: “When young people with crippling or disabling mental health conditions are not given the support they need, it wastes lives.”

Read the full article here.

Redefining the word ‘bully’

Major dictionaries are to stop defining bullies as strong and their targets as weak after a campaign.  Anti-bullying activists persuaded the Oxford, Cambridge and Collins Dictionaries, and online dictionaries, to change their definitions.

Previously, a bully was defined as a person who uses strength or influence to harm or intimidate weaker people.  Now the victim of bullying is described as someone who “they perceive as vulnerable”.

The campaign was led by anti-bullying charity Diana Award and received support from young people.  They lobbied dictionary firms to remove the word weak from their definitions.

Alex Holmes, the charity’s deputy chief executive, said:

“A core part of our work is to educate young people that a bully is not inherently strong and being a victim does not mean you are weak.

“By removing weak from the definition we can instil confidence in those who have or are still experiencing bullying and help future generations better understand bullying behaviour.”

The campaign harnessed the support of young people and social media to urge dictionary companies to remove the word ‘weak’ from their definitions of bully or bullying.  A YouGov poll revealed that 72% of GB children, aged 13-17yrs, agreed that the definition of ‘bully’ should be updated.  The campaign for change also received widespread support from celebrities and key influencers.

Thousands of older teenagers facing serious risks because of a “cliff edge” in support

Thousands of older teenagers facing serious risks because of a “cliff edge” in support

Tens of thousands of older teenagers facing serious risks including child sexual exploitation and mental health issues are missing out on vital support because of a “cliff edge” in support, The Children’s Society has warned.  They said that because there is no statutory requirement for councils to support children in need when they turn 18 they are often left without any help even though they remain vulnerable.

It said that there are currently around 58,000 children and young people aged 16 to 17 designated as children in need, who are in need of support but fall below the threshold for care proceedings.

However, the charity’s report Crumbling Futures found that just three per cent of closed cases involving 16- and 17-year-old children in need are transferred to adult services for support.  Key areas of support, that drop off when they reach 18, cover issues such as child sexual exploitation (CSE), mental health problems, drug and alcohol abuse and domestic violence.

The report states:

“Issues that young people referred to children’s services as 16- and 17-year-olds experience include domestic violence, mental ill health, drug or alcohol abuse and a risk of CSE, and often a combination of these issues”.

 

“In just over 50 per cent of cases of 16- and 17-year-olds referred to children’s services for support, these issues are deemed serious enough by local authorities and young people are assessed as ‘children in need’, recognising that without support from services the child’s health and development may be compromised.”

 

“Unfortunately, for many of these children the issues they struggle with are not going to improve or get resolved once they reach adulthood.”

The Children’s Society has called on government to broaden its review of children in need, which launched earlier this month, to include a focus on improving support into adulthood:

“While the review is focusing on improving how well children in need do in education, the charity wants it to look at all aspects of their lives where help is falling short”.

Other recommendations include ensuring that children in need and child protection plans for 16- and 17-year-olds last until the age of 18.  The charity’s report found that four in 10 child in need plans for the age group last for less than three months.

Councils should also be required to plan for young people’s transition from children’s services to adult services and take into account the possibility that support may be needed up to the age of 25.

Children’s Society chief executive Matthew Reed said:

“Approaching adulthood can be a difficult, awkward, time for many teenagers, but it can be even tougher if young people don’t get the help they need to deal with serious issues in their lives”

 

“Help for vulnerable 16- and 17-year-olds who are not in care too often falls short then disappears from the age of 18 as they continue to struggle with issues including mental health, sexual exploitation, poverty and homelessness.

 

“The Children’s Society wants to see better support for children in need as they prepare for adulthood and a comprehensive package of help after they turn 18 – with councils given the additional money they need to deliver this.

 

“Only then will more young people get the vital support they need to ensure problems arising from their childhood are addressed and do not blight their chances of thriving in the future.”

Klopp: Brewster will get all the support he needs

Jürgen Klopp has insisted Liverpool will offer Rhian Brewster ‘all the support he needs’ after the young striker this week spoke out about the racial abuse he has faced during his fledgling career.

In an interview with the Guardian published on Thursday, Brewster detailed instances where he has been targeted by fans and opponents while representing Chelsea, Liverpool and England at youth level.

Speaking in his pre-Leicester press conference on Friday, when asked about Brewster’s comments, Klopp said:

“He will get all the support he needs and wants and we can give.

“I’m really long in this sport and I’ve never faced a situation like that but obviously it happens all the time.

“I’m really happy that he is brave enough to do what he did. It’s such an important thing – I can’t believe people still have these thoughts in their minds.

“Obviously, we needed a 17-year-old boy to shout out, to say, ‘it’s still happening and it happens all the time – I need help, we need help and we have to stop that’.

“It’s not a situation that you want a 17-year-old boy (to be) in but, if it is like this, then he needs help and we will give it to him, of course.”

Top 10 Google searches of 2017

Google has released its Year in Search 2017 report which shows the top 10 most searched topics overall as well as the top 10 searches in 20+ categories.

Musicians and politicians featured heavily in last year’s top search terms, with both David Bowie and Prince appearing in the top 10 following their deaths. Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and the word election were also in the lower end of the top 10.

Actor Meghan Markle topped the top Google searches in the UK this year, followed by the iPhone 8 (second), Hurricane Irma (third) and the words fidget spinner (fourth), as the BBC reports. The term Manchester bombing was the fifth most searched term of the year, following the terror attack on an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena.

No musicians made it into the top UK Google searches, however Tom Petty and Chester Bennington were in the top 10 global searches. The Linkin Park frontman, who died in July, was the ninth most searched term worldwide, while Petty, who passed away in October, was the seventh.

Not only are the top 10 lists themselves interesting but there are also some things we can learn from them which can help bring more visitors to our websites.

Top 10 Searches Overall

  1. Meghan Markle
  2. iPhone 8
  3. Hurricane Irma
  4. Fidget Spinner
  5. Manchester bombing
  6. Grenfell Tower
  7. 13 Reasons Why
  8. Tara Palmer Tomkinson
  9. Shannon Matthews
  10. iPhone X

Some of the other top 10 lists Google provides include

  • Top10 people searched
  • Top 10 news stories searched
  • Top 10 consumer tech searches
  • Top 10 how to searches

You can see the rest of the lists in the Year in Search 2017.

Scarlett Moffatt has a selfie warning for young girls

Scarlett Moffatt, who came to fame through Gogglebox, is getting real about filtered pictures of women on social media.

The 2016 winner of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here and now presenter of dating show Streetmate, posted two selfies side by side on Instagram showcasing two very different looks, along with a warning for young girls.

In one picture a natural-faced Scarlett smiles into the camera. The other shows the TV personality in full make-up with her features accentuated by a Snapchat filter.

She posted:

“To all all you young girls (and older ladies) out there don’t believe all you see on social media.  This goes to show what make-up and a filter can do. Love who you are and don’t compare yourself to anybody else. As Dr Seuss once said…. Today you are You, that is truer than true . There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

The 27-year-old’s post has been liked more than 180,000 times on Instagram with many praising her decision to share the photos.

“You are such a great role model for young women. I am a mum of 2 girls and think it’s great seeing this, thanks,” commented one Instagram user.

Another mum who also responded to Ms Moffatt’s Instagram post commented: “Brilliant post… I’ve shown my 13-year-old daughter this … so important for our young girls to know what real life looks like and not life through a filter. Thank you.”

On Twitter there was similar reaction when the image was posted to Ms Moffatt’s Twitter page where the post has been liked almost 2,000 times.

Another tweet read: “Thank you – my daughters confidence is so low due to pressure from peers & her idols as they look ‘perfect’ – just shown her your tweet to inspire her!”

Others who were also inspired by the post shared their own make-up free selfies.

It’s not the first time celebrities have shared images on social media of themselves without make-up.

Holly Willoughby, Susanna Reid, and Kirstie Allsopp are just some of the other TV presenters who have posted make-up free images on Instagram.

The trend to post natural images is also popular among artists in the US. Celebrities stateside posting unfiltered photos include Alicia Keys, Tyra Banks, and Cameron Diaz.

A popular hashtag often accompanying these make-up free images is #NoFilter, although model and TV presenter Tyra Banks warned in a post she shared in 2015 about the use of the term.

“You know how people say #nofilter but you know there’s a freakin’ filter on their pic? Or maybe there’s a smidge of retouching going on but they’re lying and saying it’s all raw & real? Well, this morn, I decided to give you a taste of the really real me,” she said in the post that has been liked more than 216,000 times.

Last year Star Wars actress Daisy Ridley also issued a warning about the pressure to look perfect on social media when she posted a photo and the words, “I woke up like this #nofilter #nomakeup” written on it.

She said: “Social media is great but also a bit scary ’cause what people post is the most filtered, most carefully chosen and cleverly edited moments of their lives.”

Christmas feel good story

In 2013 a teenager collected hundreds of supermarket vouchers to buy £600 worth of shopping for 4p so he could give the food to families:

Jordon Cox, 16, scoured endless websites and magazines and gathered hundreds of coupons for dozens of products.  After spending hours each day searching the internet for coupons, he managed to collect 470, which he took to his local supermarket, and filled three trolleys with food and household items.  The bill came to £572.16, but once the coupons were factored in the bill was reduced to just 4p – a saving of 99.81 per cent.  The teenager, of Brentwood in Essex, donated all his food to the charity Doorstep which gives food to disadvantaged families.

He said:

“I read an article that said a thousandth of the UK population are unable to eat this Christmas because they don’t have any money.  I decided wanted to help as many people as I can, and to also show that it’s possible to shop very cheaply, if you know how.  It’s not an exact science, so you can never really work out ahead of time how much the total is going to be. I was stunned when it came up as just 4p.”

He started his Christmas shopping project on December 1 and scoured hundreds of in-store magazines and websites for money off and cash back coupons.  His shop, at Tesco Brent Cross, ended with an hour stop at the checkout to unload his items which included 200 packets of biscuits and 60 packs of butter.

He said:

“The lady at the checkout had worked at Tesco for 19 years, and she said she’d never seen anything like it before. I had a big crowd. I felt like a celebrity.  My heart was pounding and the adrenaline was pumping when we got to the till. So much could have gone wrong.  I could have left some coupons at home, or not read the terms and conditions properly. Some of them might have expired too.”

Vicky Fox, who works at Doorstep, said families who he had helped out were overwhelmed by the donation. She said:

“I’d call his gift a great and generous act of a young man and what he did made a real difference.  He’s made a really difference to families who work with us to survive on extremely low incomes and do need the help.  He made such a different to people living on the breadline.”

He bought:

  • 20 packs of frozen Yorkshire puddings
  • 20 jam roly polys
  • 80 packs of butter
  • 23 packs of Quorn mince
  • Four Gressingham poussin.
  • 40 black puddings
  • 200 packets of biscuits
  • 23 blocks of hard cheese
  • 20 pots of Yeo Valley organic yoghurt
  • 19 bottles of fruit juice.
  • 10 boxes of Paxo stuffing
  • 40 bottles of Anchor whipped cream
  • 15 bags of frozen Brussels sprouts
  • 4 packs of After Eight mints
  • 15 Covent Garden Soups.
  • 10 bags of Florette Salad
  • 36 packs of Cauldron tofu, vegetarian sausages and falafel
  • Crumble mix
  • Haribo sweets