WhatsApp criticised for plan to let messages disappear after 24 hours

  • WhatsApp is expanding its disappearing messages feature.
  • Previously, users could opt to delete chats by default after 7 days.
  • The new update will allow users to automatically delete messages after 24 hours or 90 days.
  • Children’s charities, namely the NSPCC, have criticised the change stating that it creates a ‘toxic cocktail of risk’ and makes detection of abuse more difficult.
  • Andy Burrows, head of child safety online policy states that the combination of WhatsApp’s disappearing messages and end-to-end encryption would not pass the risk assessment process in the UK Online Safety Bill.
  • Full story, here.


Hundreds of calls made to UK helpline about sexual abuse in schools 

  • A national helpline has received more than 850 calls since its introduction.
  • It was set up after the Everyone’s Invited website revealed widespread sexism and misogyny in education.
  • The NSPCC, report that 150 of the calls have been referred to the police and other agencies for further investigation.
  • Incidents reported include sexual name calling, unwanted sexual touching, sexual assault, and rape, as well as online image-based abuse.
  • The helpline, launched in April, was only due to run until December. However, due to the magnitude of calls, the NSPCC has said that it will operate ‘for the foreseeable future.’
  • Full story, here.


Government action following murder of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes 

  • A major review into the circumstances leading up to the murder of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes has been launched by the Government.
  • The aim of this review is to determine what improvements are needed by the agencies that had contact with him before he died.
  • Agencies tasked with protecting children at risk of abuse and neglect in Solihull will be subject to a Joint Targeted Area Inspection to consider effectiveness and advise on improvements to be made.
  • Watch our CEO Jim Gamble, discussing the case, here.
  • Full story, here.

Call to halt Edinburgh school inspections until after the pandemic

  • Councillors have called for inspection visits in Edinburgh to not go ahead until the new academic year, in response to the warning that schools are ‘close to breaking’,
  • Education Scotland have said the visits will only go ahead “if COVID-19 conditions allow” and added inspectors will not report on quality indicators or give grades.
  • Following this, Education Scotland have also stated that they will carry out “recovery visits” to support schools as they continue to deal with the pandemic.
  • Full story, here.

Figures reveal vaccine lottery for children in England

  • Figures collated by the House of Commons Library show that children in some parts of England are three times more likely to be vaccinated than others.
  • The figures show that London has the lowest regional vaccination rate with only one in three children having received their first vaccine.
  • Elsewhere, the south-east of England is the only region where at least half of 12–15-year-olds have been vaccinated, with the vaccination rates in the north-west and Midlands sitting at 40%.
  • To ‘turbocharge’ the vaccination programme, Labour have called for better use of community pharmacies, walk-in clinics, and pop-up clinics to make it easier for parents to get their children vaccinated.
  • Full story, here.