Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse
Professor Alexis Jay, Chair of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), has set out her strategy for ensuring the Inquiry delivers against its terms of reference. Key points include: the Inquiry will continue to look at past and present failings by institutions in England and Wales; the Inquiry will focus on four major themes: cultural, structural, financial, professional and political.
Source: IICSA Date: 17 October 2016
Further information: Statement by the Chair (PDF)
Resettlement of unaccompanied child refugees
The Guardian reports on the start of the resettlement programme for unaccompanied refugee children living in the Calais refugee camp. Key points include: Citizens UK has drawn up a list of 387 child refugees with a legal right to come to the UK which the French authorities agreed to verify; a group of 14 children arrived in the UK from Calais on 17 October, who the Home Office said were among about 100 to be resettled in the UK.
Source: Guardian Date: 17 October 2016
Further information: Guardian
Police contribution to safeguarding children
Sir Michael Wilshaw, Chief Inspector of Ofsted, has written to Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Sir Tom Winsor, raising concerns about the effectiveness of the police in protecting children. Areas for improvement found during Ofsted’s inspections of local authority children’s services in 2015/16 include: sharing information about domestic abuse cases in a timely way; notifying social workers quickly when children go missing; carrying out joint child protection visits with social workers.
Source: Ofsted Date: 18 October 2016
Further information: Letter on the effectiveness of the police in protecting children, based on evidence from Ofsted’s inspections of local authority children’s services 2015/16 (PDF)
Tackling child trafficking in the UK
The Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) has published a report on steps being taken by the UK authorities to combat human trafficking. Recommendations include: take steps to address the problem of children going missing from local authority care; improve the exchange of information on missing unaccompanied children between police forces and local authorities; train all professionals working with child victims of trafficking to recognise and respond appropriately to their individual needs and the best interests of the child.
Source: Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings Date: 20 October 2016
Further information: Action against trafficking in human beings: United Kingdom
Report concerning the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on action against trafficking in human beings by the United Kingdom: second evaluation round (PDF)
Stigma around young people’s mental health
YMCA has published a report on the stigma faced by young people experiencing mental health difficulties. Key findings from interviews with young people aged 11-24 from across England and Wales include: 38% of the young people who identified as having mental health difficulties had felt the negative impact of stigma; of these 70% said they have been subject to prejudice, 54% were left out of activities, 36% experienced verbal abuse, and 56% said it made them less likely to seek professional help.
Source: YMCA Date: 10 October 2016
Further information: I am whole: a report investigating the stigma faced by young people experiencing mental health difficulties (PDF)
I am whole: a collection of stories from young people about their experiences of mental health difficulties (PDF)
Children’s Commissioner for Wales annual report
The Children’s Commissioner for Wales has published her Annual Report for 2015-16. Recommendations for the Welsh Government include: work with the NHS to promote evidence-based, whole school approaches to healthy relationships, mental health and wellbeing; introduce a bill to remove the ‘reasonable punishment’ defence as soon as possible.
Source: Children’s Commissioner for Wales Date: 05 October 2016
Further information: Children’s Commissioner for Wales: annual report and accounts 2015/16 (PDF)
Unaccompanied children and parental responsibility
The Migrant children’s project at Coram Children’s Legal Centre has published a factsheet on unaccompanied children who have nobody exercising parental responsibility for them in the UK. This gives information about circumstances in which an unaccompanied child may be placed under a care order so that social services will hold parental responsibility.
Source: Coram Children’s Legal Centre Date: 28 September 2016
Further information: Support for separated children and young migrants turning 18
Unaccompanied children & parental responsibility (PDF)
Girls’ mental well-being
Girlguiding has published a report on the mental well-being of girls. Key findings include: girls of all ages face compounding pressures across all areas of their lives including sexist pressures; girls tend to dismiss or play down the issues they face and feel they should be able to cope alone. Recommendations include: all decision-makers need to listen to girls’ voices and engage them in the decisions that affect their lives; schools should take a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment; Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE) should be a statutory entitlement for all young people.
Source: Girlguiding Date: 29 September 2016
Further information: Girls’ wellbeing explored: understanding pressures and resilience (PDF)
The Department for Education has published statistics for looked after children in England for the financial year 2015-2106 (this includes adoption). Key figures include: there were 70,440 looked after children at 31 March 2016, an increase of 1% compared to 31 March 2015; in 2016 the number of looked after unaccompanied asylum seeking children was 4,210, an increase of 54% compared to 2015.
Source: Department for Education Date: 29 September 2016
Further information: Children looked after in England (including adoption) year ending 31 March 2016 (PDF)