Most Women and Girls Have Experienced Abuse Online 

  • Most girls and young women using social media have experienced abuse that has driven them offline and left them traumatised, according to a new global survey
  • More than half of the 14,000 15- to 25-year-olds interviewed by Plan International said they had been cyberstalked, sent explicit messages and images, or abused online
  • Plan said it is a global problem and that social media companies had left girls to deal with online violence on their own
  • “These attacks may not be physical, but they are often threatening, relentless and limit girls’ freedom of expression,” said Plan’s CEO Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen. “Driving girls out of online spaces is hugely disempowering in an increasingly digital world, and damages their ability to be seen, heard and become leaders.”
  • Plan, which promotes girls’ rights, echoed the call, urging governments to create laws that hold social media companies to account for abuses on their platforms, as well as ensuring their own harassment laws are enforced against online violence

Government Buys 100,000 Laptops for Self-Isolating Children 

  • The government has added another 100,000 laptops to the reserves intended to support remote learning for pupils required to self-isolate
  • The machines come in addition to the 220,000 devices distributed to disadvantaged pupils during the early summer – primarily those in year 10 or preparing for exams –and a further tranche of an additional 150,000 that were added in August
  • With children having returned to school across England at the beginning of last month, the extra 100,000 laptops will be used to help those who need to continue their education during a period of enforced isolation
  • The Department for Education said: “The extra devices will be available to support: disadvantaged children in Years 3-11 who do not already have access to a device; disadvantaged, clinically extremely vulnerable children of all year groups who are unable to return to school; and children in all year groups unable to access remote education whilst attending a hospital school.”

Report Highlights Need to Tackle Child Poverty Immediately 

  • The Scottish government needs to display “bolder ambition” if it is to meet targets for tackling child poverty, a new report has warned
  • The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) said about a million people in Scotland were in poverty “living precarious and insecure lives” even before COVID hit
  • In many cases the pandemic will “have swept them deeper into poverty, as well as dragging others under”, it added
  • The government said it was committed to tackling and reducing child poverty.
  • Financial support is available to eligible families including Best Start Grants, Best Start Foods and the new Scottish Child Payments
  • A government spokesman said the grants meant that some families could receive more than £5,200 of support by the time their first child turned six

Calls to Change UK Law to Stop Child Marriages 

  • IKWRO Women’s Rights Organisation is speaking out against child marriage in the UK and alongside survivors is supporting a 10-minute rule bill due to be presented in parliament this week, which will call for the removal of what has been called a loophole that allows 16- and 17-year-olds to marry in England and Wales with parental consent
  • It comes as charities warn that coronavirus is exacerbating the hidden scandal of child marriage in the UK, after new data revealed that referrals from professionals plummeted during lockdown
  • While reports of “honour” abuse and forced marriage surged during lockdown, the charity Karma Nirvana said that calls relating to children fell dramatically, sparking concerns that girls were struggling to seek help without support from teachers
  • Referrals to the call centre dropped by 59% in the second quarter of this year compared with the same period last year. Since schools returned, however, the charity recorded 49 contacts from 7-25 September about seven children, including a girl under 10