- Molly Russell and the impact of social media
The inquest into the death of Molly Russell, 14 year old school concluded on 30th September 2022. The Senior Coroner sitting at North London Coroner’s court found that Molly died from an act of self harm whilst suffering from depression and the negative effects of online content.
This was an unusual case as both Meta and Pinterest were required to give evidence on the part they played in this tragic death. They produced evidence of what Molly had scrolled and pinned which was of a very disturbing nature and should not have been available to children.
Following the conclusion of the inquest, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Michelle Donelan said:
“The inquest has shown the horrific failure of social media platforms to put the welfare of children first. We owe it to Molly’s family to do everything in our power to stop this happening to others. Our Online Safety Bill is the answer and through it we will use the full force of the law to make social media firms protect young people from horrendous pro-suicide material.”
Sir Peter Wanless, NSPCC CEO, said, “Tech companies must expect to be held to account when they put the safety of children second to commercial decisions. The magnitude of this moment for children everywhere cannot be understated.” Everyone has an important part to play in keeping children safe, and it’s vital that tech companies are held accountable for children’s online safety on their platforms.”
2. Practical Guide for care leavers starting university
The Children’s commissioner has published a practical guide with helpful tips and links for care leavers starting university.
The help at hand offers support, advice and information on issues regarding accommodation and financial support and can be accessed by clicking here:
The service is free and confidential for young people and may be a very helpful resource to sign post young people to and may also be a helpful resource for personal advisors, and children social workers supporting young people considering going to university.
3. Bill of Rights placed on pause.
We previously reported that the government was introducing a Bill of Rights to repeal the Human Rights Act 1998 and to replace it with a new legal framework to implement the European Convention of Human Rights in the UK.
There were concerns expressed by Ministers about the drafting of Bill, the present government stated in September 2022 that the Bill has been removed from the parliamentary timetable and its legislative passage paused. The government has announced it will reassess ways to deliver this agenda. We will update you once further information is available.
4. National Deprivation of Liberty (Dols) Court (for Children)
This new court was launched in July 2022, based at the Royal Court of Justice by the President of the Family Division. This court will deal with all new applications seeking authorisation to deprive children of their liberty under the inherent jurisdiction and will initially run for a 12-month pilot phase.
The reason for this new court is so that specific expertise can be developed in dealing with these sensitive and at times very complex types of cases
Data is being collated by the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory which records that in the first 2 months, there have been 237 applications made by 96 different local authorities, and 5 hospital and mental health trusts.
July 2022 – 101 applications
August 2022 – 136 applications
The majority of applications (56.8%) related to children aged 15 years and above, with genders between male and female being almost equal.
5. Cameras in the Criminal Court to increase transparency.
- A first happened at the Central Criminal Court on 28 July 2022 when broadcasting for the first time of the sentencing of a high profile manslaughter case involving a young man, Ben Oliver 25 who pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his grandfather.
- This can be viewed on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUxrgS2hNpQ
- There are strict rules regarding broadcasting in the criminal court which are that:
- The senior judge must give permission for the broadcast;
- it must not breach any reporting restrictions and
- only the judge will be visible on any broadcast.
- The broadcasting is permissible further to the passing of The Crown Court (Recording and Broadcasting) Order 2020, which was delayed due to the pandemic. This has been introduced to support the promotion of open justice, increase transparency and reinforce confidence in the justice system. It will help the public to see, hear and understand the judge’s reasons for the sentence imposed.
- The limitation in the current process does question whether just the broadcast of the sentencing really increases transparency and confidence in the justice system as the broadcast will not include any of the information and the interpretation of the evidence the judge has heard and had for the purposes of sentencing.
How we can help
We are specialists in providing legal and social care training. If you require bespoke and practical skilled or legal training, please contact us for a no-obligation discussion of your training needs.
Copyright: The content of this legal briefing is the copyright of Kingsley Knight Training. It can be printed and downloaded free of charge in an unaltered form temporarily for personal use or reference purposes. However, it is prohibited for any content printed or downloaded to be sold, licensed, transferred, copied, or reproduced in whole or in part in any manner or in or on any media to any person without the prior consent of Kingsley Knight.
Disclaimer: The contents of this guide are for information and are not intended to be relied upon as legal advice