Reading Time: 3.6 mins

November 23, 2023

Discord steps up bid to rid internet of ‘appalling’ child sexual abuse imagery

  • Discord has stepped up its efforts to prevent the spread of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) by joining the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF).
  • Being an IWF member, means Discord will be able to deploy IWF’s services including their URL List and Keywords List, as well as its Non-Photographic URL and Hash Lists.
  • Discord will also join a group of “trusted flaggers” for the IWF, meaning they can fast track any suspected CSAM they discover straight to the IWF’s hotline for a rapid assessment.
  • In their latest Transparency Report from the second quarter of 2023, Discord revealed they have removed servers for Child Safety concerns proactively 95% of the time, and servers with suspected child sexual abuse material 99% of the time.
  • John Redgrave, Vice President of Trust & Safety at Discord Inc. reported: “Safety continues to be one of our most important investments, and we are grateful to work together with the IWF to help combat child sexual abuse material online and create a safer internet for all.”
  • For more, please visit the IWF website.

WhatsApp messages show teachers mocking vulnerable pupils

  • Teachers used swearing and poo emojis to criticise vulnerable primary school pupils in a WhatsApp group chat, with messages dating back to 2018.
  • The existence of the chat between staff was first revealed last year, but the affected pupils’ parents were not informed.
  • The local authority has apologised for the situation and said the incident was dealt with through the council’s disciplinary procedure.
  • An independent review ruled some of the messages were “disparaging” but did not put the children at harm and the council was right not to tell parents about them.
  • It is understood that the independent reviewer of the council’s handling of the situation did not speak to the commissioner’s office during their investigation.
  • The director of education and children’s services at the council said he was sorry the incident had occurred and reported it was both “unprofessional and unfortunate.”
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

The following story may be regionalised:

Troubled children’s services ‘slowly improving’

  • Ofsted has reported that Solihull Council, which has been under scrutiny by the watchdog since the lockdown murder of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, is showing early signs of improvement in keeping children safe.
  • The latest report was published on Wednesday, which was a monitoring visit conducted by Ofsted in October, the second inspection of this type since they were judged to be inadequate in November 2022 in the wake of the murder.
  • Inspectors said the levels of protection being provided to children in need was slowly beginning to improve, but from a low base.
  • The report stated that social work practice across the borough continued to be inconsistent, negatively impacting children and families.
  • Ian Courts, leader of Solihull Council said children’s services remained to the borough’s top priority, and said social workers were developing better relationships with parents and children, helping them understand concerns.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

Hundreds facing abuse and neglect contact Childline over last year

  • Childline has delivered 554 counselling sessions to children and young people from Scotland about abuse and neglect over the years.
  • The service, ran by the NSPCC, reported that of those sessions in Scotland, 35% had a child say that Childline was the first place where they had spoken about their abuse.
  • The NSPCC is releasing these figures as it launches its Christmas appeal.
  • They have highlighted that on average, a child will call Childline every 45 seconds and that for these children, Christmas can be the worst time of year.
  • With children being off school for Christmas, the charity has warned there will be many children at home facing increased risks.
  • December last year was the second highest month in the year for children from across the UK reaching out for support on emotional abuse.
  • Shaun Friel, Childline director reported “In the run up to this festive season, it is essential that the service continues to be here as a lifeline for those children who are in desperate need of support from our trained counsellors and those in immediate danger.”
  • For more, please visit the STV News website.