Daily Safeguarding Update admin2022-01-10T12:01:04+00:00January 7th, 2022| UN calls for measures to improve cyberspace safety The United Nations Internet Governance forum took place in December to discuss steps needed for an open, secure, and free digital space for all. Since 2019 internet users have increased by 19%, with concerns raised about digital violence during the pandemic. In Europe, 44% of children who had been cyberbullied prior to COVID-19 reported that the abuse had increased during lockdown. Women and girls were 27 times more likely to be harassed online. Calls were made for increased transparency, understandability, and accountability of technologies and in the policies that govern technology. Full story, here. Top school principal calls for young people’s whistleblowing officer Melvyn Roffe, head of George Watson’s College in Edinburgh, is calling for the appointment of a whistleblowing officer. An independent national whistleblowing officer (INWO) would help protect those who come forward with information about children’s wellbeing. Roffe claims that public bodies “close ranks and protect themselves” and that whistleblowers “face blatant intimidation” when neglect or abuse is reported. He proposed extending whistleblower protection powers to the Children and Young People’s Commissioner. Full story, here. Child poverty rises linked to 10,000 more children going into care Rises in child poverty fuelled by benefit cuts was associated with more than 10,000 more children being taken into care between 2015 and 2020. Research conducted estimates that almost 22,000 additional children were placed on child protection plans. Almost 52,000 had been identified as children in need. The findings add to the “growing evidence of the contributory causal nature” between poverty and children’s social care involvement. Between 2015 and 2020, a 1% increase in child poverty was associated with an additional five children entering care per 100,000 population in England. Full story, here. Bolton mother who killed herself and two daughters was ‘fixated on suicide’(The following story contains descriptions of distressing material) A mother who was “fixated” on suicide for more than a decade fatally drugged her two young daughters before committing suicide. Tiffany Stevens feared her 3-year-old and 18-month-old daughters would be placed in care after her death. She had spent five years in care herself as a child and endured a “traumatic” upbringing after her father died of a drug overdose when she was five. Both children were known to social services but there had “been no grounds for removal” of the children. Stevens has been referred to mental health treatment on at least eight separate occasions between August 2011 and April 2017. Full story, here. Mask refusals in England’s secondary schools causing concern Some older pupils in England are refusing to take lateral flow tests and wear face coverings in classrooms. Charities are concerned about the effects this could have on vulnerable pupils. Pupils in England secondary schools have been advised to wear masks and test regularly, but this is not mandatory. The Department for Education (DfE) stressed that pupils should not be “denied education” based on whether they wear a mask. Full story, here. Schools in England ‘teetering on the edge’ with staff Covid absences More than a third (36%) of schools in England are struggling with staff absence rates in excess of 10%. A survey showed that 4% of heads have had to send classes or year groups home for online learning and 7% have combined classes or year groups. Half of school leaders are dependent on supply teachers to cover classes but 37% can’t source the supply staff they require. Full story, here.