Children at risk through ‘multiple dangers’

Findings from a survey conducted by the charity Barnardo’s has revealed that 58.6% of their service managers had supported a young person involved in crime in the past year. Of those, 72.3% thought the young person had been ‘coerced, controlled, deceived or manipulated by others into criminal activity.’ The emerging threat of ‘Multiple dangers‘ includes exploitation such as young people being forced to carry weapons, forced to carry and sell drugs, or be subjected to sexual exploitation and abuse. More than half of service managers (63.4%) said that in their experience children who were criminally exploited were also the victims of sexual abuse and 79.6% thought that technology played an important role in enabling criminal exploitation. Last year 301,100 children, young people, parents and carers were supported by Barnardo’s.

Trial Mental Health Assessments

The Department for Education has announced that their plans to trial mental health assessments for children entering the care system, delayed due to the election, will get underway in 2018. The scheme will identify a child’s mental health and wellbeing needs and if referral to more specialist services is needed. Current statistics indicate that 50% of all children in care meet the criteria for a possible mental health disorder, compared with one in 10 children outside the care system. The pilot areas, yet to be announced, will benefit from a share of £650,000 to deliver the programme. £150,000 has also been awarded to carry out an independent evaluation to look at the effectiveness and impact of the pilot schemes. The University of Huddersfield is to carry out a survey of 10,000 children and young people across the UK in a major study to investigate whether being a victim of child abuse can lead to mental health problems. Professor Daniel Boduszek, a co-director of the project, has stated ‘We strongly believe that (child abuse and neglect experiences) can link not only to anxiety, depression and self-harm, but also to development of psychopathic traits.’ The UK survey is one of five taking place across the world, with the research team carrying out similar-scale exercises in China, Uganda, Jamaica and India and the team hope to complete their analysis of the 50,000 responses in 2019.

DFE Report on Bullying

A DFE report has shown girls are much more likely than boys to be bullied at school, with almost twice as many on the receiving end of cyberbullying and social exclusion by other pupils. Whilst the figures revealed a decline in reports of bullying overall, particularly incidents of violent bullying which mainly affects boys, girls reported a rise in bullying with more than one in three telling researchers they had been affected in the previous year. For girls the most common form of bullying was name calling and social exclusion, where one in five girls reported being a victim. Only one in four boys said they had been victims of bullying in any form. Other key findings include:

  • 10% of the children reported being affected by cyberbullying;
  • SEND children reported much higher incidents of bullying than other pupils. This supports the focus of the revised KCSIE 2018 direction for staff to consider safeguarding on an equal footing with SEND;
  • pupils who were victims of bullying received lower GCSE results than peers who hadn’t been bullied however, as the researchers state ‘this simple correlation does not demonstrate causation between bullying and lower GCSE performance; there are likely to be many other factors involved’.

Prevent retained by HM Government

HM Government retains Prevent anti-radicalisation programme HM Government’s anti-radicalisation initiative Prevent is to be retained as part of the revised counter-terrorism strategy. Home Secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed it will remain a ‘vital part’ of the government’s counterterrorism work stating ‘I recognise the criticisms, but I absolutely support it. Misapprehensions around Prevent are often based on distortions. They are based on a lack of understanding about the grassroots work that is involved, and the efforts by civil society groups and public-sector workers to protect vulnerable people. We have a moral and social obligation to safeguard vulnerable people from the twisted propaganda of those seeking to radicalise them. And Prevent is about doing just that.’ The counter-terrorism strategy, Contest is informed by latest research and secret intelligence, incorporating lessons learned from and response to the 2017 terror attacks. Under the new proposals announced for Contest, three new multi-agency centre (MAC) pilots will be held in London, Manchester and the West Midlands involving a wide range of partners, including government departments and local authorities, to help improve the government’s understanding of those at risk of becoming involved in terrorism.