Safeguarding News February 2024 

Dear Colleague,

Welcome to this month's safeguarding newsletter covering essential newsworthy items from February 2024..

This month, due to increased demand,  we have released a  significant number of additional course dates across the SAFE training range. Simply scroll down to see the choice of courses and dates.

Did You Know?
All SAFEcic online courses work very successfully with automatic translation, which can be a tremendous help for people whose primary language is not English. It is very easy to do, just follow these simple instructions.

FREE Safeguarding Consultations
Our free safeguarding consultations are proving extremely popular, with dozens of organisations taking advantage of this limited time offer. This offer must end on 31st March 2024. Don't miss out!

If you or your organisation might benefit from talking to one of our experts, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to arrange your FREE consultation, covering:

  • Safeguarding training
  • Policies and procedures
  • Audits
  • Best practice
  • Safer  recruitment
  • Single Central Record
  • DBS checks
  • and much more



SAFEcic Blended Learning Training Calendar 

Leading on Child and Adult Safeguarding

Safeguarding Training, Leading on Child and Adult. Online course plus Zoom

Thu 25 April 2024

10:30 - 12:00 GMT

Safeguarding Training, Leading on Child and Adult. Online course plus Zoom

Tue 11 June 2024

10:30 - 12:00 GMT

Safeguarding Training, Leading on Child and Adult. Online course plus Zoom

Tue 9 July 2024

10:30 - 12:00 GMT

Safeguarding Training, Leading on Child and Adult. Online course plus Zoom

Tue 6 Aug 2024

10:30 - 12:00 GMT

Safeguarding Training, Leading on Child and Adult. Online course plus Zoom

Wed 11 Sept 2024

10:30 - 12:00 GMT

Safeguarding Training, Leading on Child and Adult. Online course plus Zoom

Thu 3 Oct 2024

10:30 - 12:00 GMT

Safeguarding Training, Leading on Child and Adult. Online course plus Zoom

Tue 5 Nov 2024

10:30 - 12:00 GMT

Safeguarding Training, Leading on Child and Adult. Online course plus Zoom

Wed 4 Dec 2024

10:30 - 12:00 GMT

 Standard Child and Adult Safeguarding

Safeguarding Training, Standard Child and Adult. Online Course plus Zoom

Wed 27 March 2024

10:30 - 12:00 GMT

Safeguarding Training, Standard Child and Adult. Online Course plus Zoom

Thu 16 May 2024

10:30 - 12:00 GMT

Safeguarding Training, Standard Child and Adult. Online Course plus Zoom

Tue 2 July 2024

10:30 - 12:00 GMT

Safeguarding Training, Standard Child and Adult. Online Course plus Zoom

Thu 19 Sept 2024

10:30 - 12:00 GMT

Safeguarding Training, Standard Child and Adult. Online Course plus Zoom

Tue 26 Nov 2024

10:30 - 12:00 GMT

Safeguarding: Trustees’ legal responsibilities

Safeguarding: Trustees' legal responsibilities. Online Course plus Zoom

Wed 17 April 2024

10:00 - 11:30 GMT

Safeguarding: Trustees' legal responsibilities. Online Course plus Zoom

Wed 10 July 2024

10:00 - 11:30 GMT

Safeguarding: Trustees' legal responsibilities. Online Course plus Zoom

Wed 25 Sept 2024

10:00 - 11:30 GMT

Safeguarding: Trustees' legal responsibilities. Online Course plus Zoom

Tue 15 Oct 2024

10:00 - 11:30 GMT

Safeguarding: Trustees' legal responsibilities. Online Course plus Zoom

Tue 3 Dec 2024

10:00 - 11:30 GMT

Safer Recruitment

Safer Recruitment Training. Online course plus 2 Hr Live Online training

Thu 25 April 2024

10:00 - 12:00 GMT

Safer Recruitment Training. Online course plus 2 Hr Live Online training

Tue 4 June 2024

10:00 - 12:00 GMT

Safer Recruitment Training. Online course plus 2 Hr Live Online training

Tue 11 July 2024

10:00 - 12:00 GMT


Safer Recruitment Training. Online course plus 2 Hr Live Online training

Tue 24 Sept 2024

10:00 - 12:00 GMT

Safer Recruitment Training. Online course plus 2 Hr Live Online training

Wed 6 Nov 2024

10:00 - 12:00 GMT

Managing and Leading on International Safeguarding

Managing and Leading on International Safeguarding Training. Online course plus Zoom

Tue 23 April 2024

10:00 - 11:30 GMT

Managing and Leading on International Safeguarding Training. Online course plus Zoom

Tue 10 Sept 2024

10:00 - 11:30 GMT

SAFE Free Resource Hubs

SAFEcic's free hub resources by setting are available through the main menu. Alternately you can bookmark the links below:

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Criminal Justice Bill: Overarching factsheets were updated on 23 February 2024 to provide more information about the Criminal Justice Bill which was introduced in the House of Commons on 14 November 2023.

England and Wales

New law to stop thousands of offenders from changing their name in secret

Thousands of offenders on community and suspended sentences will no longer be able to secretly change their name as part of tough new rules to protect the public. The Community and Suspended Sentences (Notification of Details) Bill will bring the law for those on community orders in line with offenders on licence. The Private Members’ Bill passed its second reading in Parliament on Friday 23 February, after the Government signalled its support. The change will mean all offenders and youth criminals will have to notify their probation officer about any name changes, online aliases or changes to contact details. Offenders who refuse to comply could be taken back to court facing a tougher sentence, including possible prison time.

This Bill comes alongside the Home Secretary’s commitment to restrict the ability of certain registered sex offenders to change their name in specific circumstances, which will be included in the Criminal Justice Bill. These changes will strengthen the Probation Service’s ability to robustly supervise offenders in the community and keep the public safe. Funding for the Probation Service has been increased by an additional £155 million a year since 2020/21 to recruit record levels of staff and reduce caseloads. The number of Probation staff in post has increased by 17% since June 2021.

The Bill will amend the Sentencing Act 2020 to create a duty on offenders to notify probation or Youth Offending Teams of any change of name and/or contact details if they are sentenced to a Community Order, Suspended Sentence Order, Youth Rehabilitation Order or Referral Order.


A consultation has opened on new laws, (Martyn’s Law) to make sure we are better prepared for, and protected from, terrorist attacks.
The new laws will scale up preparedness for terrorist attacks, making sure the public is protected without putting unnecessary burdens on smaller businesses. Martyn’s Law will require premises to fulfil necessary but proportionate steps, according to their capacity, to help keep the public safe. It is named in tribute to Martyn Hett who was killed alongside 21 others in the Manchester Arena attack in 2017.Under the proposed law, premises will be considered ‘standard tier’, meaning they have capacity of 100-799 or ‘enhanced tier’, with a capacity of 800 or more. The consultation will seek views to make sure the new requirements do not place undue burdens on smaller businesses, while still protecting the public. The consultation is open to the public until 18 March. It particularly seeks views from those responsible for smaller premises, especially those in the community and voluntary sector.

The updated requirements for smaller businesses, set out in the consultation, are centred around outcomes rather than processes. For example, it will remove the requirement to complete any specific terrorism training. Instead, those responsible for these premises will be asked to put in place procedures such as evacuation and lock-ins in the event of an attack.

The new ‘reasonably practicable’ approach is better suited to the wide range of organisations that will be within the scope of standard tier because they will assess and implement procedures that are suitable to their individual circumstances. This aligns with other regulatory regimes, such as Health and Safety, which require reasonably practicable steps.

A Martyn’s Law regulator will be established to monitor compliance and advise premises within scope of the legislation. Premises within standard tier will be required to notify the regulator that they are within the scope of this legislation. This revised approach is designed to be low to no financial cost, with associated costs largely driven by the time taken to communicate them to staff.
Following the conclusion of the consultation process, the bill will be introduced as soon as parliamentary time allows.


Children will be better protected from sexual predators under plans being brought forward by the Home Secretary.

There will be a legal requirement for anyone in regulated activity relating to children in England, including teachers or healthcare professionals, to report it if they know a child is being sexually abused.

Those who fail to report child sexual abuse they are aware of, falling short of their legal duties, face being barred from working with young people. Anyone who actively protects child sexual abusers – by intentionally blocking others from reporting or covering up the crime – could go to prison for 7 years.

By making mandatory reporting a legal requirement, the government is delivering on a key recommendation in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) report to protect children from harm and make sure authorities never again turn a blind eye to this kind of devastating crime. In a move to further protect people from sexual predators, the police are being given greater powers to stop registered sex offenders from changing their name if they think they still pose a risk to their communities. This will mean those who commit these despicable crimes face the full force of the law and are managed under tough measures, preventing them from offending again.

The government is also investing in a range of work to strengthen law enforcement capacity and capability to tackle child sexual abuse and exploitation. This includes:
£6.5 million this year for the Tackling Organised Exploitation programme (TOEX), which brings together local, regional and national data to ensure police can effectively uncover and prosecute exploitation
£1.9 million in the new Child Sexual Exploitation Police Taskforce, which is providing practical, expert, on the ground support for forces with a particular focus on group-based child sexual exploitation, including grooming gangs.

The new measures will be introduced as amendments at report stage of the Criminal Justice Bill in the House of Commons and will apply in England and Wales.

Good Practice Guidance

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1. Government has published guidance on mobile phone use in schools and updated Behaviour in Schools Guidance
Mobile phones are set to be prohibited in schools across England as part of the government’s plan to minimise disruption and improve behaviour in classrooms. The guidance backs head teachers in prohibiting the use of mobile phones throughout the school day, including at break times. Many schools around the country are already prohibiting mobile phone use with great results. This guidance will ensure there is a consistent approach across all schools. By the age of 12, 97% of children have their own mobile phone, according to Ofcom. Using mobile phones in schools can lead to online bullying, distraction and classroom disruption which, in turn, can lead to lost learning time.

Last year, Unesco called for smartphones to be banned from schools as evidence showed it was linked to reduced educational performance and that excessive screen time had a negative impact on children’s wellbeing. Schools will be supported to prohibit mobile phone use with examples of different approaches including banning phones from the school premises, handing in phones on arrival at school, and keeping phones securely locked away at school.

The guidance will respond to concerns from parents about mobile phones, with the latest data from ParentKind’s National Parent Survey, revealing that 44% of parents are concerned about the amount of time their children spend on electronic devices, rising to 50% of parents of secondary school children.

Driving high expectations of behaviour is a priority for the government, building on the £10 million investment in behaviour hubs which will support up to 700 schools over three years, as well as the newly updated behaviour in schools guidance. This guidance builds on that work which has delivered 89% of schools rated good or outstanding by Ofsted, up from just 68% in 2010. The latest government data finds around a third (29%) of secondary school pupils reported mobile phones being used when they were not supposed to in most, or all, lessons.

2. Promoting and supporting mental health and wellbeing in schools and colleges: Guidance updated 21 February 2024 helps schools develop a whole school approach to good mental health and wellbeing helps children and young people:

  • develop
  • attend school
  • engage in learning
  • fulfil their potential

Schools and colleges contribute to wellbeing by providing:

  • support for pupils and learners who need help
  • embedding an a safe, calm and supportive learning environment
  • early targeted evidence-based, holistic, whole school or college approach helps achieve this.

Schools and colleges should identify and train a mental health lead. The mental health lead should be a member of staff empowered to develop and oversee their setting’s whole school or college approach.

Research Reports, Consultations and Studies

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1. The Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel has published its Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel: annual report 2022 to 2023

The independent panel of experts reviews local safeguarding incidents when a child dies or suffers serious harm and abuse, or neglect is known or suspected. The panel can also commission a national review where necessary. Work for the report was undertaken by the National Policing Vulnerability Knowledge and Practice Programme (VKPP), in partnership with the panel. The report looks at data gathered from these reviews across 15 months, January 2022 to March 2023, to assist learning and improvement in multi-agency safeguarding practice.
Within its period of focused analysis – April 2022 to March 2023 – the report observes that the panel received 393 serious incident notifications, of which 146 (37%) were in relation to child deaths and 227 (58%) were related to serious harm.

One of the most important findings is that over half of reviews received by the panel featured a child who had experienced neglect. Another was that a high proportion of school-age children who died or were seriously harmed were either not in school (11%) or reported to be regularly absent (29%).

Analysis also shows that, in over three-quarters of cases reviewed, the family of the child was known to children’s social care, and a third of children were either on, or had previously been on, a child protection plan. In addition, nearly a fifth of children were being ‘looked after’ by the local authority, either at the time of the incident or prior to it, while 21% of children were reported to have a mental health condition.

2. Child sexual abuse in 2022/23: Trends in official data published February 2024
The new report collates the latest data across local authorities, policing, criminal justice and sexual assault referral centres to explore how child sexual abuse is being identified and responded to in England and Wales.

It finds that children are the victims in 40% of all sexual offences – including rape and sexual assault – yet make up just 20% of the population in England & Wales. 2022/23 analysis by the CSA Centre highlights that whilst there have been small improvements, the level of child sexual abuse identified by official agencies remains broadly similar to the previous year and some elements of the response, such as numbers of children placed on child protection plans, appears to be getting worse.

Online Safety

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1. Illegal sexual behaviour online including sharing and threatening to share intimate images and cyberflashing targeted in new CPS guidance

Lawyers will consider charging anyone caught sharing deepfakes, downblousing images or cyberflashing as new guidance is launched to help counter predatory online behaviours.

Prosecutors will take those who share unwanted sexual images or videos to court for the first time as a new cyberflashing offence comes into effect.

Cyberflashing typically involves sending an unsolicited sexual or nude image to victims via social media or dating apps but can also take place through data sharing services with strangers such as Bluetooth and Airdrop – something which commonly happens on the transport network. The Online Safety Act has criminalised this behaviour and the Crown Prosecution Service will now be able to hold offenders to account through the court of law.

Those who send or provide unwanted images or films of genitals, will face prosecution and could find themselves on the sex offenders register, fined and or imprisoned for up to two years. Prosecutors will make charging decisions based on whether offenders intended for a victim of cyberflashing to be alarmed, distressed, or humiliated, or whether they as a culprit hoped to receive sexual gratification regardless of whether or not the recipient was alarmed, distressed, or humiliated.

Intimate image abusers who disclose or threaten to disclose private sexual photographs or films of their victims will also be easier to bring to justice under the new guidance, which replaces and goes further than the current guidance on disclosing private sexual photographs, often referred to as ‘revenge porn’.

For the first time it will become a criminal offence to share intimate images or film without consent regardless of whether or not the perpetrator intended to cause the victim any harm.

Prosecutors will have the power to apply the law in three different categories of so-called revenge porn from now on.
It will become an offence to share an intimate photograph or film:

a. without consent,
b. without consent and with intent to cause alarm, distress, or humiliation,
c. without consent and or for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification.

The new guidance also covers any threats to share intimate images where the victim or someone known to the victim fears that the threat could actually be carried out, or the offender is reckless as to whether there are any such fears. Lawyers will also be able to take to court perpetrators of online image-based abuse who share manipulated or computerised images and videos of their victims, commonly known as ‘deepfakes’ for the first time.

The act of ‘downblousing’, where downward facing photos of a woman’s top and chest are shared without her consent, will also fall into the scope of prosecutions for the first time.

The new CPS guidance will also provide support for prosecutors determining whether to bring charges against those encouraging or assisting self-harm, making clear the harmful act does not need to have been carried out for offenders to be prosecuted for the offence. Lawyers will also be able to look to the guidance to consider cases of epilepsy trolling and false communications offences.

2. Trailblazing” partnership takes aim at criminals profiting from child sexual abuse online

Criminals running commercial child sexual abuse ‘brands’ are taking advantage of a ‘loophole’ to remain online. This new partnership aims to shut them down for good. Criminal child sexual abuse ‘brands’ are the target of a new “first-of-its-kind" partnership aiming to stop illegal sites from relying on a practice they exploit to evade detection and remain online.

Public Interest Registry (PIR), the US non-profit that operates the .ORG Top-Level Domain, and the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) have today announced a new partnership which will empower all Domain Name Registries to disrupt sites dedicated to the commercial distribution and exploitation of online child sexual abuse material.

The new partnership includes a “trailblazing” sponsorship agreement through which PIR will sponsor other registries and registry service providers with free access to two important IWF services, Domain Alerts and the TLD (Top-Level Domain) Hopping List.
The increased access to these services will allow for faster, more streamlined disruption to child sexual abuse imagery identified by the IWF and enable quick action to be taken to stop criminals hopping from one domain to another to keep their content online.

Some of the very worst child sexual abuse imagery the IWF sees is found on commercial sites, with criminals attempting to profit from the abusive material. The PIR and IWF partnership seeks to amplify the impact of IWF’s work to protect children online by enabling all TLD registries – organizations that manage domains like .org, .com, and more – with new tools to identify and remove child sexual abuse material more quickly: TLD Hopping Lists and Domain Alerts.

TLD Hopping is a practice by which criminal sites are taken offline, only to reappear, often with the same content and same name, but under a different top-level domain. For example “BadAbuseSite[.]com” is suspended, only for “BadAbuseSite[.]de” to appear in its place. The new program makes the TLD Hopping List – which targets the criminal sites that the IWF identified as recognisable abuse “brands” – available free of charge for the first time to all registries. With more registries having access to the lists, there will be fewer places for criminals running abuse “brands” to try to register their sites.

The IWF Domain Alerts program provides real-time alerts to participating registries if child sexual abuse content is detected on a domain they operate to allow for fast removal of content before it is further spread online. For domains flagged as having sites dedicated to the distribution of the abusive content, the registry can act directly and suspend the domain. Other sites identified as having harmful content possibly added by third-parties, but not dedicated to the distribution of the abuse materials, will be notified and can remove the harmful content to avoid suspension of the domain.

Currently, only a dozen registries receive IWF Domain Alerts. PIR’s sponsorship will extend access to Domain Alerts to over a thousand TLDs at no cost to participating registries. PIR is providing this sponsorship in furtherance of its non-profit mission to serve as an exemplary Domain Name Registry.

To learn more about how your organisation get involved, visit the IWF website. Interested Domain Name Registries can contact the membership team directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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QR Codes - what's the real risk? How safe is it to scan that QR code in the pub? Or in that email?

UK Safer Internet Centre Announces Accredited Filtering Systems for UK Schools and Colleges

The UK Safer Internet Centre (UK SIC) is pleased to announce that Lightspeed Systems, Netsweeper and Smoothwall are the first filtering systems to be accredited under the new filtering accreditation scheme provided by the UK SIC.
As technology has developed, so have Filtering and Monitoring systems. The ever-changing online landscape has made this an increasingly complex area where schools and colleges have evidently needed more support in selecting, deploying and managing their filtering and monitoring systems.

The newly introduced accreditation scheme builds on the appropriate filtering and monitoring guidance provided by the UK Safer Internet Centre since it was first published in 2016. For schools in England, these have been embedded in Keeping children safe in education and subsequently Filtering and monitoring standards for schools and colleges – Guidance  to help schools (and IT providers) comprehend what should be considered as ‘appropriate’ filtering and monitoring.

Using these appropriate filtering standards, the UK Safer Internet Centre, in partnership with the University of Bristol (REPHRAIN), assesses both the technical capabilities of filtering systems as well as verify their suitability for use in schools and colleges, to provide further trust and confidence in what systems schools decide to implement.

Many are used in public spaces (like pubs and restaurants), and so you might be wondering: are criminals placing malicious QR codes to steal money, information, or trick people in some way? Reports of QR-enabled fraud in the UK can be found online (including one from BBC News where a woman was scammed at a railway station), but this type of scam is relatively small compared to other types of cyber fraud. The majority of QR code-related fraud tends to happen in open spaces (like stations and car parks), and often involves an element of social engineering. In the above example, criminals posing as bank staff rang the victim to continue the deception. However, QR codes are increasingly being used in phishing emails (a technique sometimes called ‘quishing’).

From the criminal's perspective, using QR codes in this way makes sense, for a number of reasons. Most people are now suspicious of dubious-looking links in emails and are (correctly) cautious of clicking on shortened links. Criminals are therefore using QR codes to disguise the links to malicious websites that phishing emails contain. Not all security tools designed to detect phishing emails will scan images, so a QR code directing the user to a malicious website might slip through. Users are more likely to use their personal phone to scan the QR code. Personal devices may not have the same security protections as a computer that’s provided by your employer.

To summarise: The QR codes used in pubs or restaurants are probably safe for you to scan. Scanning QR codes in open spaces (like stations and car parks) might be riskier. As with many cyber-attacks, you should be suspicious if you’re asked to provide what feels like too much information, whether that’s on a website or in any follow-up communications (such as a phone call). If you receive an email with a QR code in it, and you’re asked to scan it, you should exercise caution as the NCSC is seeing an increase in these types of ‘quishing’ attacks. Finally, we recommend that you use the QR-scanner that comes with your phone, rather than using an app downloaded from an app store.

For more detailed information, you can refer to the 'How to use QR codes safely' guidance from the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security. This article is reproduced on under Open Government Licence

Worthy of Note

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New visits to understand how well children with SEND are prepared for adulthood
Source: Ofsted published on this website Thursday 8 March 2024

New guidance from Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has been published for the next series of thematic visits looking at how children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are being prepared for adulthood. As part of the area SEND inspection arrangements, Ofsted and the CQC will carry out a series of in-depth ‘Thematic reviews of preparation for adulthood arrangements in local areas’ to explore a particular aspect of the SEND system between spring and summer 2024.

The visits will consider all phases of a child with SEND’s transition to adulthood, from early years settings through to post-16 education, to get an in-depth picture of how preparation for adulthood (PFA) arrangements are working. These arrangements include any support delivered by local area partners across education, health and social care that focuses on the 4 key pathways for preparation for adulthood based on the ‘SEND code of practice’ – employment, independent living, community inclusion and health.

Ofsted and the CQC will explore how local area partners work together to make sure their decisions are focused on young people’s interests and aspirations. Evidence will be gathered from key stakeholders, including children and young people with SEND and their families. Inspectors will consider a range of topics including:

  • how young people with SEND are being supported to achieve their full potential. For example, through further education or supported internships
  • how young people with SEND are empowered to make decisions for themselves and live as independently as possible
  • how children and young people with SEND are supported to participate in society
  • how children and young people with SEND are supported to be as healthy as possible in adulthood
  • how local area partners work together to develop and implement strategies for PFA
  • the enablers and barriers to effectively preparing young people with SEND for adulthood

Reasons to Remain Vigilant in All Aspects of Safeguarding


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1. Swimming coach who secretly filmed children undressing is sentenced

A former sports coach from Portsmouth who supplied videos of naked swimming pupils to an Australian paedophile has been jailed. Terry Neale, 55, from North End, was tracked down and arrested by National Crime Agency officers in January 2021, after the Australian Federal Police (AFP) recovered the videos and shared them with the Agency. Neale had sent the videos to Stephen Porter, who was arrested by the AFP in June 2020 and later jailed for 20 years for child sexual exploitation offences. The pair had known each other for more than 20 years and met up in Australia when Porter was coaching Australian rules football youth players. AFP officers recovered two videos from Porter taken by Neale in 2013 of a young boy getting dressed after bathing at his house. Neale can be seen speaking with the child and providing towels. Other videos shared by Neale showed pupils getting changed at swimming pools in the Portsmouth area. In one video, Neale appears to place a bag on a bench and adjusts a hidden camera. He’s then seen walking around the changing room and talking to naked boys. In further videos of children’s swimming lessons, taken with a hidden camera in August 2013, Neale is wearing wet clothing and goggles, suggesting he has been in the water with pupils.

He was employed by a swimming school at the time and worked as a local amateur youth football coach for various teams. NCA investigators identified all the children in the videos, and they have since been spoken to and safeguarded. Neale pleaded guilty to voyeurism and indecent images of children offences (possessing and making) at Winchester Crown Court on 27 September last year. One count of arranging / facilitating the sexual exploitation of a child under 13 and two counts of possessing extreme pornographic images will lie on file. He was sentenced to three years and six months imprisonment at the same court on 6 February. He was also given an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order and placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life.

2. Mechanic who had secret life running child abuse sites on the dark web is jailed

A mechanic from Cheshire who created and moderated sites dedicated to child sexual abuse on the dark web has been jailed for 16 years. Nathan Bake, 28, is one of three UK-based moderators of a site called ‘The Annex’ who were identified by the National Crime Agency, as part of an investigation targeting those behind the site.
The Annex, which is no longer active, had around 90,000 global members who used it to share and discuss some of the most extreme kinds of abuse material, involving ‘hurtcore’ and the sexual abuse of babies and toddlers. As the head moderator, Bake was second in command of the entire site, which was run by an American man, who was sentenced to life in prison in the US in January.

Bake was responsible for managing around 30 staff members, and worked with them to enforce the site’s rules and ensure it continued to run smoothly. Two such staff members were Kabir Garg, a psychiatrist from London, and a 48-year-old man from Eastbourne, who will be sentenced at Lewes Crown Court next week. The pair were also moderators and sat just below Bake in the site’s hierarchy. Garg was jailed for six years last year.

New users of The Annex would first be held in the ‘gateway’ where they would have to impress and gain the trust of the site’s administrators by posting a certain amount of abuse material, before being granted access to the wider site. Bake and the other moderators would advise members on techniques to evade law enforcement detection and encourage them to keep the site busy by sharing links to child abuse content.

In one post recovered by the NCA, Bake said: ‘Come on people, show us what you’ve got for HAPPY HOUR. Show us the boys and girls that turn you on the most’. NCA officers arrested Bake at his home in Runcorn in November 2022 and seized a number of devices, including laptops, phones, USBs and external hard drives. One laptop was running, with the TOR dark web browser in use and indecent images of children on the screen.

Officers gathered evidence from his devices which proved Bake was co-creator of a second child abuse site and was also the head moderator of a directory-style page, which contained links to further abuse forums on the dark web. Hundreds of thousands of indecent images and videos of children were also recovered from his storage devices, as was 576-page paedophile manual.

Bake pleaded guilty to 12 counts in November 2023, including facilitating the sexual exploitation of children, participating in an organised crime group, possession of a paedophile manual, and distributing and making indecent images of children. He was sentenced at Chester Crown Court to 16 years imprisonment, placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life and given a lifetime Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

3. Dark web child abuse forum administrators jailed

The second moderator of a dark web forum for sharing indecent pictures of children to be jailed within a week has received five years and four months in prison. William Yates, 45, admitted running The Annex, a membership-only forum which hosted a number of areas dedicated to child sexual abuse. The site worked by promoting users from guests to members by live chat participation and sharing imagery.

Investigators in Germany started focusing on The Annex in 2019 and seized servers in Romania and Moldova. From this they were able to identify the hierarchy of the management as well as users. CPS prosecutors have been involved since the early stages of the investigation, providing legal advice to the National Crime Agency as well as liaising with law enforcement bodies across the world. The purpose of this was to ensure all suspects identified in England and Wales would face justice for their roles in the illegal sites and global distribution of images of child abuse.

Lawyers also looked through the evidence collected in order to demonstrate the scale of the offenders’ illegal acts, in order for them to face the appropriate sentence and to protect children in the future from sexual abuse.

One user – “yates704” – acted as a Gateway Assistant Moderator. An investigation by the National Crime Agency found that the user was a 42-year-old man calling himself Martin Yates. Further work helped officers identify Yates’s IP address and his physical address in Eastbourne, Sussex.

The seized server showed Yates had engaged in more than 6,000 private messages with other Annex users between March and September 2020, ranging from fantasy role play to providing advice to users on how to post indecent images of children.

Images that Yates had posted were uncovered by police in Australia and an FBI investigation in the United States of America revealed WhatsApp videos of Yates.

When he was interviewed Yates admitted being an Annex user since 2019. He had been offered a role as a staff member and then as moderator, where he would promote or demote users.

And Finally

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Cowards who kill their partners with sexual violence will face longer behind bars as the government continues to clamp down on domestic abuse against women.

A new statutory aggravating factor will be brought in for offenders who cause death through abusive, degrading or dangerous sexual behaviour – or so-called ‘rough sex’ – meaning killers are handed down tougher sentences than ever before. The measure, announced 14 February 2024, builds upon action taken in the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 to clarify in law that there is no such thing as the ‘rough sex defence’, and comes as the government publishes its latest Rape Review progress report.

To ensure all victims know the support available to them, the government has also launched a Victims’ Code campaign, to raise awareness of the rights everyone can expect to receive as a victim of crime. Through the Victims and Prisoners Bill, police, prosecutors and prison and probation workers will also have a new Code Awareness Duty to make sure victims know their rights - including the right to be referred to a support service, receive updates on their case and the right to make a victim personal statement.