The Bishop of Derby received the following written answer on 17th May 2023:
The Lord Bishop of Leeds asked His Majesty’s Government how many children are being held on remand in the most recent period for which data is available; and whether they are taking steps to reduce this.
Lord Bellamy (Con, Ministry of Justice): As at 31 March 2023, there were 244 children and young people remanded to custody in the Youth Secure Estate (this figure includes 18-year-olds). Remanding a child to custody must always be a last resort, however that option must remain open to the courts where it is necessary to protect the public.
On 27th April 2023, the House of Lords debated the Online Safety Bill in committee. The Bishop of Guildford spoke on behalf of the Bishop of Derby on amendments to the bill that she had tabled concerning protection of children from exploitation and trafficking:
The Lord Bishop of Guildford: My Lords, I will speak to Amendments 128, 130 and 132, as well as Amendments 143 to 153 in this grouping. They were tabled in the name of my right reverend colleague the Bishop of Derby, who is sorry that she cannot be here today.
The Church of England is the biggest provider of youth provision in our communities and educates around 1 million of our nation’s children. My colleague’s commitment to the principles behind these amendments also springs from her experience as vice chair of the Children’s Society. The amendments in this grouping are intended to strengthen legislation on online grooming for the purpose of child criminal exploitation, addressing existing gaps and ensuring that children are properly protected. They are also intended to make it easier for evidence of children being groomed online for criminal exploitation to be reported by online platforms to the police and the National Crime Agency.
Research from 2017 shows that one in four young people reported seeing illicit drugs advertised for sale on social media—a percentage that is likely to be considerably higher six years on. According to the Youth Endowment Fund in 2022, 20% of young people reported having seen online content promoting gang membership in the preceding 12 months, with 24% reporting content involving the carrying, use or promotion of weapons.
The Bishop of Derby received the following written answer on 17th March 2023:
The Lord Bishop of Derby asked His Majesty’s Government when the pilot trial changes to Youth Rehabilitation Orders with Intensive Supervision and Surveillance will commence; and when they will report on their findings.
The Bishop of Derby asked a question on targeted funding to aid support and integration for Afghan women being resettled in the UK, following a government statement on the Afghan resettlement scheme on 30th March 2023:
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I share many of the concerns that have been expressed about the routes into this country and the nature, safety and appropriateness of the accommodation for those who make it here—those to whom, as we have already noted, we have a moral obligation to extend sanctuary and welcome in this very particular circumstance.
The Bishop of Derby asked a question on the use of depleted uranium shells by British armed forces, during a debate on the supply of these shells to Ukraine on 30th March 2023:
The Lord Bishop of Derby: Does the Minister agree that, whatever legitimate concerns people may have about the health and environmental impact of uranium-depleted shells, which I personally share, President Putin’s claim that he is looking to store tactical nuclear missiles in Belarus because the West is collectively beginning to use weapons with a nuclear component is utterly bogus, given that British forces have been using these armour-piercing shells legally for several decades, in accordance with Article 36 of the 1977 protocol additional to the Geneva conventions?
Lord Harlech (Con): I completely agree with the right reverend Prelate.
The Bishop of Derby asked a question on the issue of criminalisation of children during a debate on the government’s anti-social behaviour plan on 29th March 2023:
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I declare my interest as vice-chair of the Children’s Society. I read the Anti-Social Behaviour Action Plan with real interest. Criminalising young people through tackling anti-social behaviour is counterproductive, not least given the pressures on the criminal justice system. I am therefore pleased to see a focus on preventive work with at-risk and vulnerable children with expanded funding for youth offending teams, for example. Can the Minister commit to look again at a definition of child criminal exploitation that recognises the abuse and manipulation of vulnerable children, which catches them up into what can become quite horrific spirals of crime? Such a definition would offer them greater protection.
The Bishop of Derby asked a question on companies being held to account for gambling harms on 29th March 2023, during a debate on breaches of player protection by betting companies:
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, given this further evidence of companies serially failing to take care of their customers, what steps are the Government taking to ensure that individuals can hold companies to account for gambling harms?
The Bishop of Derby asked a question on safeguarding and support for border staff at ports and airports, during a debate on conditions at entry points to the UK on 28th March 2023:
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, whatever the causes may be for queues as they arise at ports and airports, the people working there can come under great pressure as those queues and stress levels rise. Can the Minister say what support is being given to those who work at our borders to safeguard their well-being in the midst of all this pressure?
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