What happened to child protection during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Earlier this year we reported on predictions about the potential impact of COVID-19 pandemic on child protection and initial reports into the ‘lockdown effect’ on child protection. 

There is now further confirmation of the ‘lockdown effect’ on children in England and Wales. Compared to the same period in 2019, there is in 2020 a marked rise (+27%) in the most serious incidents of suspected child abuse. 

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Data protection and child protection

The Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, recently wrote to the largest social media companies following up on a meeting he had with them before Christmas 2017. He indicated his discontent with the slow progress they were making in areas such as age verification, screen time limits and cyber bullying.  He gave them until 30 April to respond with details of the steps they have taken in relation to those points and their intentions in relation to ‘healthy screen time’ for young users.  Possible legislation was threatened if the voluntary joint approach continued to prove unsatisfactory.  The details of their responses have yet to be made public.

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