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March 21, 2024

Teenage boys targeted as hotline sees ‘heartbreaking’ increase in child ‘sextortion’ reports 

  • Data published by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) showed that in 2023, 176 reports of sexual extortion contained child sexual abuse material – over eight times the previous year.
  • Boys are targeted most often in the reports received by the IWF, and three in five reports involved 16 and 17-year-olds.
  • Most of the reports (93%) came through the Report Remove service run jointly by the IWF and Childline.
  • For more, please visit the IWF website.

Protect children from crime gangs, expert urges 

  • Thousands of children are at risk of being groomed and coerced into crime by organised gangs, according to Prof Alexis Jay, who revealed the extent of sexual exploitation in Rotherham.
  • She reported there was no national plan to deal with child criminal exploitation and has called for new legislation.
  • Prof Jay reported that vulnerable children from poor backgrounds or lacking social confidence were befriended and rewarded for working for the gangs, and children with mental-health problems were at particular risk.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

The following stories may be regionalised:

Children as young as 12 ‘at risk of exploitation’ 

  • A South Tyneside charity has reported a “steady stream” of young people being referred for help after becoming victims of child exploitation.
  • South Shields-based Surt (Stopping Unsafe Relationships Together) stated that most of the cases were sexual rather than criminal exploitation, and victims tended to be girls, some of which are as young as 12.
  • Leeanne Hansen from Surt said that approximately 80% of young people they work with experience mental health issues, but that mainstream services were ineffective.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

‘Knackered’ police team tackling online child abuse expands following government criticism 

  • Avon & Somerset Police has expanded its team tackling individuals who watch online child abuse, amid growing cases and concerns.
  • A report by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary 12 months ago said the force needed to improve how it enforces the law against offenders accessing indecent images of children.
  • Avon & Somerset Deputy Chief Constable Jon Reilly reported that the unit was “perpetrator focused” and took prompt enforcement action on new referrals.
  • For more, please visit the Bristol Post website.

Most parents want under-16s smartphone ban, finds poll 

  • A Parentkind poll of 2,496 in England has revealed that 83% of parents with at least one child aged between four and 18 believe smartphones are harmful to children.
  • The poll also found that 58% back a smartphone ban for under 16s, and among primary school parents, support for a ban for under 16s was 77%.
  • The charity is now urging political parties to add age restrictions on smartphones.
  • For more, please visit the Telegraph website.