Displaying items by tag: Children

In 2023, the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) reported a 27% increase in 'self-generated' child sexual abuse images and videos, marking a disturbing trend involving very young children, including those as young as three years old. The foundation particularly noted a significant rise in the most severe imagery, which involves the worst forms of sexual abuse. Perpetrators are targeting children within the safety of their own homes, manipulating them into producing abusive content through devices commonly found in family settings. Most imagery was captured in children’s bedrooms, often surrounded by innocent items like toys and cartoon-themed bedding. The IWF stresses that 'self-generated' does not imply the child is at fault, but rather highlights the grim reality of grooming and coercion by online predators. It has urged early education about online dangers for children under six and called for significant protective measures from tech companies.

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 18 April 2024 22:10

Protect children from smacking, say doctors

Children's doctors have called for the prohibition of smacking children in England and Northern Ireland, decrying current laws as 'unjust and dangerously vague’. They argue that physical punishment inflicts lasting mental and physical harm on children. While Scotland and Wales have already banned corporal punishment, England and Northern Ireland still allow parents to justify smacking as 'reasonable punishment’. Professor Andrew Rowland says, 'Changing the laws in England and Northern Ireland will give us absolute clarity and ensure there are no instances where it is acceptable or lawful to smack a child’. Challenging the Government’s reluctance, Joanna Barrett has said, 'All children deserve the same protection from assault as adults’.

Published in British Isles
Friday, 05 April 2024 09:38

Myanmar: landmine casualties triple

In Myanmar, the devastating impact of landmines is exemplified by Nyien, a four-year-old who lost both legs in an explosion while collecting plums. In 2023, 188 people were killed and 864 wounded from buried bombs - compared to 390 casualties in 2022. Children constitute over 20% of the victims. Unicef has described the use of landmines as ‘reprehensible and illegal’, urging all parties to prioritise civilian safety. Their use has surged since the 2021 military coup, especially in regions where resistance groups have been most active. Three countries - Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen - had higher mine casualties in 2022, and the long-term dangers posed by undetected landmines, often many years after a conflict, are considerable. Meanwhile, the opposition has claimed responsibility for a drone attack on Naypyidaw, Myanmar’s capital city: see

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 01 March 2024 09:43

USA: Alabama ruling that embryos are children

The Alabama supreme court has ruled that frozen embryos are children, which has sparked controversy and cast uncertainty over the future of IVF treatments in the state. Medical experts and reproductive advocacy groups are warning of adverse effects on fertility treatments, while some anti-abortion groups have hailed the decision for granting embryos legal protection. Despite not banning IVF, the decision raises concerns about its legality in the state, potentially limiting options for individuals seeking to build families. The ruling intersects with broader debates on reproductive rights, especially in the context of the US supreme court's decision in 2022 to strike down a nationwide right to abortion. Since then, Democratic-controlled states have expanded access and Republican ones restricted it. Anti-abortion activists view the decision as a victory for life, yet acknowledge complexities regarding IVF ethics. Overall, the ruling intensifies discussions on embryo rights and the regulation of reproductive technologies.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 07 September 2023 21:12

A generation of children’s mental health

Shelter states that two-thirds of families living in temporary accommodation (TA) have been there for over a year; some families have lived in TA for more than ten years. TA is usually overcrowded and of very poor quality. Children share beds with siblings or parents, with little to no space for belongings. Youngsters have no room to play safely or even learn to walk. Older children have no privacy, nowhere to do homework or have friends over. Parents struggle to feed their children nourishing meals without suitable cooking facilities, relying on expensive, unhealthy takeaways or what they can heat up with a kettle or a microwave if they have one. Children attend school tired, or late, or hungry; many travel long distances from their TA. Families are cut off from support networks. Families live in limbo. They move frequently. Uncertainty and insecurity hang over them. Their children’s mental health suffers.

Published in British Isles
Friday, 28 July 2023 10:14

Record number of children homeless

Many are made homeless from ‘no-fault’ evictions when their landlord decides to sell. The Government promised to ban these types of evictions in 2019 but has not done so yet. Evicted families are placed in temporary accommodation. On 31 March almost 105,000 households, with over 131,000 children, were in such accommodation (hotels or bed and breakfast). This latest figure is the highest since records began. Sitting outside a hotel in Plymouth earlier this month, the BBC found several homeless families keeping each other company. When people are in temporary accommodation, there is nowhere for them to move to. The root of the problem is lack of housing, exacerbated because local housing allowance rates have been frozen for the past three years. Amid soaring rents, that choice has left much of the country unaffordable for any household needing housing benefit to help pay their rent.

Published in British Isles
Friday, 28 July 2023 09:26

Yemen: portraits of resilience

They fled war and violence to find safety. They lost their homes, family members, neighbours and friends. They live in makeshift shelters, not knowing when they’ll be able to return home. In Yemen, millions are trapped in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, hoping for a better future. Abidah said, ‘We fled Hudaydah because the war was affecting my daughter. The sounds of rockets hitting the port terrified her. She screamed and could not stop. Now we’re in Aden, she has started talking again.’ An elderly father of ten said, ‘The war made us lose our humanity and value. Life in Aden’s camp is tiring. But complaining to someone other than God is humiliating. We have no future, it’s gone. I hope for a future for our children.'Thousands of children have been killed or maimed since the conflict began. Thousands more have been recruited into the fighting. Years of conflict, misery and grief have left millions in need of mental health and psychosocial services.

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 09 June 2023 09:59

France: four children stabbed

On 8 June, in a shocking incident, four children, aged between one and three, were stabbed in a playground in Annecy.  Police overpowered and arrested the knifeman, who also stabbed two adults.  The victims are in hospital; three are in a critical condition.  The suspect is a 31-year-old Syrian who had refugee status in Sweden. He has no criminal or psychiatric record, and there is no sign of terrorist motivation. When applying for asylum in France in 2022, he said he was a Christian, and seemingly invoked the name of Jesus during the attack.  In recent years, France has become accustomed to knife attacks, often carried out by solitary young men with backgrounds in petty crime and some Islamist connection. It is clear that this attack is of a different nature. So far, most politicians are being careful not to leap to conclusions, but it is inevitable that the attack will feed into the debate on immigration.

Published in Europe
Thursday, 25 May 2023 23:47

Ten men charged with 76 crimes

Ten Rochdale men charged with 76 crimes appeared in court on 19 May as part of an investigation into child sexual exploitation between 2003 and 2008. Jurors heard that the victims were 'mere objects' to be groomed, humiliated and sexually abused by the defendants. But on 23 May judge Tina Landale dramatically discharged the jury of seven men and five women. The trial, which will resume once a new jury has been sworn in, is scheduled to last up to 12 weeks. See All the defendants have pleaded not guilty, and deny all the charges brought against them.

Published in British Isles

Texas has passed a bill that would allow public schools to hire chaplains in addition to school counsellors. A version of the bill sailed through the state Senate last month, and the House passed an amended version on 9 May in a vote to give school districts all the help they can muster to combat mental health problems and other crises. The Democrats' amendments to require parental consent was rejected, as was barring schools from using public funds for religious services. The School Chaplain Association believes the bill will increase school safety without intruding on students' religious beliefs. Schools will provide a representative of every denomination. To be eligible for the programme, chaplains must be endorsed by an organisation recognised by the US authorities.

Published in Worldwide
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