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.

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.”

NSPCC warns of ‘blurred boundaries’ between YouTube stars and fans

NSPCC warns of ‘blurred boundaries’ between YouTube stars and fans

“Blurred boundaries” between prominent YouTube stars and their young, often impressionable viewers can put young people at risk, the NSPCC has warned.

They have created a helpline for victims and have urged those who watch YouTube videos to:

  • Never share your personal information online
  • Do not accept friend requests from people you don’t know in real life
  • Have conversations with your parents about where you are going and what you are doing online

Many people have come forward in the last few years to accuse a wide range of YouTubers, ranging from popular big names like Toby Turner to smaller creators like Alex Carpenter. Most of these accusations have not resulted in criminal complaints, but they remain archived in the pages of internet history.

Emily Cherry, of the NSPCC, told the BBC in an interview that YouTubers have a “responsibility” to make sure relationships with young fans are appropriate.

Ms Cherry warned that online stars have huge power and influence on young people and the way they think about the real world.  She told BBC Radio 5 live:

“One child told me that checking their social media accounts and what their favourite YouTube stars are up to was as important to them as eating”

If young people have been affected by any issues or need advice on staying safe online, on protecting your children, or as an Internet personality, the NSPCC has a helpline you can call on 0808 800 500 2.

Children’s Society research paper

Too old too young

The Children’s Society have recently published a very helpful paper on Too old, too young?: Theology on the ambiguity of adolescence and the impact of neglect’.

As the foreword by Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester says:

In order to deal with the practical issues around how to protect and nurture children and young people as they grow, we need a better understanding and a fuller vision of what it means to be a teenager. Furthermore, it is vital for the church to wrestle theologically with the issues of what it means to be a young person in relation to family life, community membership and participation in wider society. Thus, this collection of essays is both timely and important.

The first section takes a fresh look at what the issues are including new analysis of how young people are neglected within the home. The second looks at these issues through a theological lens with a reflection on what Scripture might tell us, and the final section takes on the urgent task of how we might constructively act within families, communities and at the legislative level. These essays aim to provoke both hearts and minds and is a prophetic call to respond.