Child trafficking in the UK

Every Child Protected Against Trafficking (ECPAT) has published a snapshot report providing an overview of the state of modern slavery affecting children in the UK.

The report includes latest statistics and recent policy developments and makes 10 recommendations to the UK Government including: reforming the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) for children to ensure that decisions about whether or not a child has been trafficked are made by trained multi-agency child protection professionals rather than by central government; improving data collection on child trafficking; and providing a comprehensive, rights-based independent legal guardianship (advocacy) service for all separated and trafficked children and young people up to a minimum of 21 years old.

Click here to download the report.

Anti-bullying strategies for young people

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published advice and guidance for schools and education authorities on how to address bullying in schools with a focus on using data to improve anti-bullying strategies. The guide covers four main areas:

  • creating an anti-bullying culture in schools;
  • finding ways for students and staff to report bullying incidents;
  • finding ways to record and review the data on bullying;
  • communicating the anti-bullying messages.

Each area contains a set of questions for education professionals to ask themselves when carrying out steps one to four, above.  The questions aim to help you review the current practices in your school, and identify areas for improvement.

Read the guide for further information.

Teacher say children face mental health epidemic

Teenage mental health charity stem4 have released findings from a survey of teachers looking at children and young people’s mental health issues in schools.

Findings from an online survey of 300 teachers working in primary and secondary schools , and further education colleges in the UK show that:

  • 78% of teachers said that at least one of their pupils has experienced a mental health issue over the past year;
  • 14% said that at least one of their pupils has experienced suicidal thoughts and behaviours over the past year;
  • 66% reported a pupil has suffered anxiety, and
  • 45% have witnessed a student with depression
  • 30% engaged with a pupil who had an eating disorder
  • 28% supported a pupil with self-harm
  • 10% reported a pupil who had an addiction.

Yet the teachers told the survey that just under half (46%) of students are unable to access the mental health services they need to make a recovery, with only one in five (19%) saying all these students were getting the treatment they needed. One in five (22%) say pupils needing specialist treatment typically had to wait more than five months for an appointment, and more than a third (36%) had feared at some point that a pupil would come to harm while waiting for treatment.

Nearly one in ten (9%) described their school’s mental health provision as ‘non-existent’, with 30% saying it was inadequate or very inadequate. Four in ten (40%) of the state school teachers surveyed say the need for mental health services has increased over the past year. Over half (52%) of all respondents believed family difficulties were contributing to their students’ problems while other common causes were exam stress and the emotional impact of bullying, both cited by 41%.

For more information read their full news release.

Growing up in a military family

The report, ‘Kin and Country: Growing up as an Armed Forces Child’ by the Children’s Commissioner for England, explores how primary and secondary school children with parents in the Armed Forces feel about moving school or country, how their lives at home and school change with deployment and whether or not they feel they receive the support they need.

The Children’s Commissioner’s Office spoke to 40 children, aged 8-15 years old, up and down the country whose parents are currently serving in the Army, Navy or RAF, as well as speaking to teachers, parents and members of the Armed Forces to build a clear picture of where there are gaps in provision for children, and why these gaps exist.

The report shows that most children in Armed Forces families are growing up living happy lives, despite the unique challenges they face. It is clear though that the lifestyle can be tough, and that multiple school moves often leave children feeling unsettled and anxious. For children with additional needs or teenagers in the middle of exam courses, moving around adds another layer of complication.

Alongside the impact of mobility, service children describe a range of complex emotional responses to the deployment of their parents, sharing the impact that parental absence has at home, with changing family dynamics and increased responsibility for siblings and household tasks. For children who had both parents deployed at the same time, these issues are exacerbated by the need to move to stay with another family member for a significant period of time.

However, despite the challenges highlighted in this report, many of the children in the study had developed very effective coping strategies. The vast majority of service children the research team spoke to during this project were happy, resilient and incredibly proud to have a parent serving in the Armed Forces.

Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, commenting on the report, said:

“The vast majority of service children we spoke to during this project were happy, resilient and incredibly proud to have a parent serving in the Armed Forces. Belonging to a military family was central to their identity and sense of self, and it is clear that we should celebrate the contribution and the sacrifices made by military families.

“However, more can be done to improve the services that help these children as they cope with the pressures brought about by frequent moves and parental deployment. I want to see a child-focused approach to supporting military families that takes into account the complex challenges that are inevitably part of growing up in an Armed Forces family.”

Read the report, Kin and Country: growing up as an armed forces child.

Do distressed or troubled children need therapy?

Earlier this week I read a fascinating article, We Need to Talk About Children’s Mental Health – and the Elephants in the Room, by Elizabeth Gregory who is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist working with children and families.

In the article she argues that:

the dominant narrative in today’s society is that ‘distressed’ or ‘troubled’ children need ‘therapy’ to fix their problems. This article examines what this belief may be rooted in; and how potentially damaging it is for children; and for society as a whole. It will refer to a number of ‘elephants in the room’, by way of drawing attention to issues we really need to start talking about if we are to stem the tide and begin to address the mental health of future generations.

Gregory goes on to explain a number of ‘elephants in the room’ and in conclusion argues that instead of therapy, professionals who work with children and families need to return to some of the basics:

Helping parents to talk to their children, read to their children, play with their children, show warmth to their children, listen to their children, believe in their children, give hope to their children – all in a context of doing the same for the parents themselves who didn’t receive it in their own childhoods, is far more powerful than any therapy. This doesn’t happen quickly – again it is about being alongside families in their communities and facilitating them to do things differently by providing the most basic of resources, support, consistency and encouragement.

Go check out the full article.

 

Digital Friendships of young people aged 8‐17 years

For Safer Internet Day 2018, the UK Safer Internet Centre commissioned an online survey of 2000 young people aged 8‐17 years, which was conducted by Censuswide.

The findings reveal how central technology is to young people’s relationship and the many different platforms they are using to interact with each other. It also highlights both the positive and negative role that technology can play in young people’s relationships and that whilst they are proactively helping to build a better internet, they also want support from the adults in their lives to do so.

  • Being online is key for many young people’s relationships, and they are using a number of different platforms to communicate.
  • Technology is changing the way young people are interacting with each other as well as their ideas of what constitutes a ‘good friendship’.
  • Young people have strategies to manage their online relationships but also want adults to support them when things go wrong.

Download the Digital Friendships Report and Executive Summary

 

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.

How the food we feed young people affects their brain

How the food we feed young people affects their brain

At work we’ve been reflecting recently on how our young people’s diet affects their brain.

When it comes to what you bite, chew and swallow, your choices have a direct and long-lasting effect on the most powerful organ in your body: your brain. So which foods cause you to feel so tired after lunch? Or so restless at night? Mia Nacamulli has this amazing video which takes you into the brain to find out.

The challenge now is how does this alter the youth work we run – does it change how what food we provide and what treats we offer?  What are you doing in your setting?

View the full lesson here.

FREE online course to help parents talk about the issue of self-harm with their children

SelfharmUK and the Virtual College have worked in partnership to create a free online course designed to help parents talk about the issue of self-harm with their children.

Thousands of children and young people in the UK are thought to be impacted by self-harm each year. Spotting the signs can be difficult, and approaching the subject with your children can be an uncomfortable experience.

‘Talking to your children about emotional resilience and self-harm’, has been designed to provide parents with a basic awareness of the subject to help them approach their children with confidence about the issue.

Learning outcomes

This course will help you to:

  • Know what self-harm is and why young people may do it
  • Know what makes young people vulnerable to self-harming behaviour
  • Understand in what ways you can support a young person is who self-harming

Register for the training here

The Adoptables Toolkit – a free resource for key stages 2 and 3

The Adoptables Toolkit is a free resource for key stages 2 and 3 that enables students to understand the issues faced by adopted children and young people at school.  It will also increase staff awareness of behavioural issues that can affect young people from the care system.

The package for schools includes lesson plans, teachers’ guidance, films and activities. The toolkit is also designed to support and enrich a school’s values, and help children to empathise with others and respect diversity.

Download The Adoptables Kit here.

 

Incredible Photos Of Girls Going To School Around The World

A woman accompanies some students as they wade in the shallow part of a rocky beach to their school to attend the first day of classes in Sitio Kinabuksan, Kawag village, Subic, Zambales Province, north of Manila.

Every child deserves an education. Unfortunately, young girls and women ― half of the world’s population ― are rarely given the same opportunities as boys to learn, study and succeed.

Globally, 65 million girls are not in school. Out of the 774 million people who are illiterate around the world, two-thirds are women. There are 33 million fewer girls in primary school than boys. And education really does save lives: If every woman around the globe had a primary and secondary education, childhood deaths would be cut in half.

To celebrate International Women’s Day this Women’s History Month, HuffPost rounded up 55 photos of girls going to school around the globe – go check it out.

Girls attend a class at their school, damaged by a recent Saudi-led air strike, in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, Yemen 080

Talking to children about terrorism

Megan, who used to belong to one of my youth groups, has written a final year project for her journalism degree course  on how to talk to children about terrorism, particularly after Manchester.

If you have a spare 5 minutes feel free to have a look by clicking on the links below.

Meet Racheal Austin and her two daughters Erin, 10, and Isla, 8. Here, the three discuss the difficult topic of terrorism:

Megan also created a website – https://talkingaboutterrorism.wordpress.com with a number of other stories and articles, and an audio interview with a Mum on children practicing terrorism related drills.