A round-up of news stories about the care and welfare of children.

Child Sexual Abuse, referral and assessment guide

Our Safeguarding Children Partnership has produced a ‘what happens’ guide around reporting child sexual abuse.  The guide aims to help professionals understand and describe the process of referral and assessment to a child or young person who has reported sexual abuse, or to their family, carers or supporters. This is a step by step guide, highlighting that each and every pathway is different and that the child is kept at the centre at every stage.

You can download it from the OSCP website, to be used in whatever way works best for the child at the centre of the investigation.


Increased exclusions in schools

Justice, the law reform group, has called for reform of the law around school exclusions, amid concerns that too many schools do not fully understand their legal duties and that the appeal process available to parents wishing to challenge an exclusion is inadequate.

At present, disproportionate numbers of students with special educational needs and disabilities, and from minority backgrounds, are excluded.  The report says that schools do not understand the requirement to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ and calls for mandatory training for school leaders.

See more about the report in the Guardian, and download the full report on the Justice website.


Warning around fake toys at Christmas

Shoppers are being warned against buying cheap knock-off versions of toys this Christmas, especially ‘must have’ and high-priced items. Counterfeit toys are often unsafe, posing a choking hazard, or exceeding safe decibel levels.  To ensure that toys purchased are safe, look for the CE logo on them.

Find out more on the Guardian website. Cornwall Council  published some good advice about 3 years ago on this issue.


Smacking ban in Scotland

Scotland has become the first UK Country to ban smacking, with Wales on the verge of introducing a similar ban.  At present ‘reasonable chastisement’ is permitted when disciplining your child, or a child in your care, but this will now be classed as assault, as it would if carried out on an adult.

Read more in the BBC article.


Instagram self harm images

Instagram has extended its ban of images of self harm to include drawings, memes and cartoons, and ‘any other method promoting self harm’. “It will take time to fully implement… but it’s not going to be the last step we take,” Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has explained.  You can read more about this issue on the BBC website.


Care homes are too quick to call the police on children

Vulnerable children in care homes across the country are still being taken to court for damaging residential facilities or assaulting care staff, Guardian research shows, with the police being used in effect as a respite service for low-level misbehaviour.

See more on the Guardian website.



A charity Ditch the Label has conducted research into bullying in young people, and discovered that around 20% have been bullied in the last 12 months. Around 75% of those said it affected their mental health.

You can read an article about the issues on the BBC website, and see the full report on Ditch the Label’s website.


Childhood pneumonia

New data revealed by the NHS shows that emergency hospital admissions for children with pneumonia have risen by more than 50% in England over the past decade. Over 56,000 children were admitted between April 2018 and March 2019.

The data reveals the rise to be primarily driven by a large rise in bronchiolitis, with small increases in other diagnoses including viral pneumonia and influenza with pneumonia.

Analysts in Unicef and Save the Children found rates of hospital admissions of children were higher in more deprived areas of England.

Read more in the Guardian’s article, and read the report on the Save the Children website.


Report into childhood gaming

The Children’s Commissioner has published a report into childhood gaming, following research among children aged 10-16 about what they like and dislike about gaming, and how it could be improved for them.