Wednesday 2nd of June 2021

Taskforce to help stop child sexual abuse images being shared online using ‘digital fingerprints’

  • A new task force will take “digital fingerprints” of child sexual abuse images in a bid to stop them being shared online. 
  • Analysts will assess, hash and grade two million images from the UK government’s Child Abuse Database (CAID) by creating a unique code like a digital fingerprint. 
  • The illegal images comprise category A and B material – the most severe images and videos of child sexual abuse. 
  • The task force was set up by UK charity the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and is funded through a grant from international child protection organisation Thorn. 
  • IWF will distribute the hashes to tech companies across the globe so they can be blocked or removed if users try to share the images.
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Young people fear being target by police if they complain about their conduct 

  • Young people are concerned about being “targeted in the future” if they complain about police conduct, a charity boss has warned. 
  • Campaigners have called for an independent watchdog to review all police complaints after iNews’s FOI investigation revealed UK police forces received more than 7,800 complaints about racist conduct over five years. Of this number, just 181 complaints led to formal action. 
  • Concerns about officers’ behaviour when carrying out stop and search and missing bodycam footage have led to the creation of smartphone apps such as Legal Lifelines and Y.Stop, which enable people to film stop and searches and save recordings in a secure cloud that solicitors can download.
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Officers accused of sexual abuse must face investigation, says police chief 

  • All serving police officers accused of domestic or sexual abuse should face misconduct hearings as well as criminal investigations, according to the most senior police officer for domestic abuse in England and Wales. 
  • Last month it emerged that nearly 150 women have come forward with claims of rape, sexual assault and domestic abuse by ex-partners in the police force.  
  • Louisa Rolfe, the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s lead on domestic abuse, said she was “horrified” by the allegations and “doubly horrified” at reports they had not been properly investigated. 
  • She said forces must ensure there was “no conflict of interest [and] investigators have no connection with the perpetrator” if a report of abuse was made against a serving officer. 
  • Asked if officers should also automatically face an internal investigation, she replied: “Yes, they should, they absolutely should.”
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Child mental health year-long waits at record high 

  • The number of children waiting at least a year for mental health treatment has almost trebled since the pandemic hit. 
  • In March 2020 there were 695 young people waiting at least 52 weeks for their first appointment with Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). 
  • New figures show that by March this year the figure was 2,012. 
  • The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition (SCSC) said the figures were the “worst on record”. 
  • It has raised concerns over a potential “lost generation” of vulnerable children and young people whose mental health is being impacted by Covid-19.
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Pupils to be offered 100m hours of tuition in Covid catch-up plan 

  • Pupils will be offered an extra 100m hours of tuition under post-pandemic catch-up plans unveiled today – but the government faced immediate criticism of the £1.4bn programme, with its own Tsar warning “more will be needed”. 
  • After months of unprecedented school closures, £1.4bn will be spent on up to 6m sets of 15-hour tutoring courses for disadvantaged pupils as well as an expansion of an existing fund helping 16- to 19-year-olds with subjects such as English and maths, the Department for Education (DfE) said. 
  • There is also provision for extra training and support for teachers, and funding to allow some year-13 students to repeat their final year if it was badly affected by the pandemic.
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