Petition to The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Prof Dame Sally Davies, Dr Duncan Selbie
Provide tests for Group B Strep to prevent any more avoidable deaths of newborn babies
My partner Scott and I should have been sharing our son Edward Gili’s first birthday last month. But instead of having that exciting first year to celebrate and many more to look forward to, we had just 9 precious days to spend with our beautiful son. Edward was cruelly taken from us as a result of contracting group B Strep infection at birth. On average, one newborn baby a day in the UK develops group B Strep infection. One baby a week dies from group B Strep infection. One baby a fortnight who survives the infection is left with long-term disabilities - physical, mental or both. It is the UK’s most common cause of severe bacterial infection in newborn babies, and of meningitis in babies under 3 months. Group B Strep is a normal bacterium carried by around 1/4 women, without symptoms and usually unknowingly. It can be passed from mother to baby around birth with potentially devastating consequences for the baby. But these consequences are usually preventable and that’s why I’ve started this petition with the charity Group B Strep Support. Unlike many other developed countries including Germany and Spain, the UK does not routinely offer tests to pregnant women specifically to check for Group B Strep carriage during late pregnancy. If doctors know a mum is carrying GBS, they can administer simple antibiotics during labour to prevent the infection - over 80% of these infections could be prevented. However the GBS-specific ECM (enriched culture medium) test is rarely available through the NHS. Since 2003, the UK has used ‘risk factors’ to guess which pregnant women might be at risk. Risk factors are poor at predicting which babies will develop the infection -- the number of babies infected is growing, we need to stop guessing and start testing. The ECM test costs the NHS £11 each and the antibiotics used in labour (usually penicillin) cost the NHS pennies. Had we had ECM tests in place, Edward Gili could be here today for us to see his first steps and hear his first words. We can’t afford to lose any more lives, we can’t afford not to do this.
Petition to Tim Cook, Jeff Bezos, Sundar Pichai
Stop cosmetic surgery apps aimed at kids: #SurgeryIsNotAGame
Hi, my name is Holli Rubin and I am the representative for Endangered Bodies London, also known as Anybody UK. This is one of eight linked petitions by Endangered Bodies directed at Apple, Google and Amazon. As a body image specialist , therapist and mother, I have seen firsthand how dangerous the world of plastic surgery is for the mental health of girls and women. Surgery used to be reserved for more serious problems including physical disfigurement for which I can understand from personal experience. As a child, I had an accident that altered my appearance and left me with a scar. As a 5 year old little girl I was worried about how I would look and how others would see me. As hard as it was, I learned to listen to my mother’s words to "stop putting myself under a magnifying glass. " This helped me to accept my scar and it being a part of me. Had it been surgically removed, I would not have had to go through that journey to learn to like how I looked, with or without it my scar. I want my children and all children to feel good about themselves from the inside out. I want them all to feel that how they look is exactly as they should- warts/scars/birthmarks and all. I want them To like how they look but more importantly to like who they are. It is one thing to play with your looks-to have a haircut, get your ears pierced or try a new shade of lipstick but altering appearance through something as permanent as plastic surgery is serious business. Children playing on these apps minimizes that seriousness, and actually condones surgery by inadvertently and unconsciously sending the message that faces and body parts are meant to be changed and can be, simply and easily. I think I speak for many parents when I say that our children should not see plastic surgery as a game. The images above are examples of many available on the Apple App Store, the Google Play Store and the Amazon App Store. These cosmetic surgery apps, which often feature animated characters, are being marketed to kids as young as nine, a target group that is already influenced by our body-toxic culture. Our societies are saturated with images of perfect and unattainable bodies, with over 21 million cosmetic procedures being performed throughout the world in 2015 according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. The dissatisfaction many adults face with their bodies has trickled down to our children. Statistics from The National Eating Disorder Association in the U.S. show 81% of 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat. In the UK, the 2016 Girlguiding Girls’ Attitudes Survey found more than a third of girls aged seven to ten felt women were valued more for their appearance than their abilities. Globally, children deserve to be challenged and inspired by their toys, not to spend their free time worrying about how they look. On January 14, 2014, Endangered Bodies supported the UK-based Twitter account Everyday Sexism in its call to remove plastic surgery apps aimed at children featured on iTunes and the Google Play store. Within 24 hours, both platforms removed the flagged apps. Although neither platform released an official statement, their choice to remove these “games” indicates that they recognize the potential harm they can cause. Deceptively designed as children’s games, the apps encourage users to slice virtual patients apart using scalpels, syringes, and other tools used in surgical settings. By making cosmetic surgery apps available for download, Apple, Google and Amazon are allowing companies to stoke and profit from the insecurities of children. We at Endangered Bodies challenge the toxic culture that promotes negative body image. Cosmetic surgery apps, which promote body dissatisfaction and shame, are not games that should be marketed to vulnerable young people. Although in some cases (where games have age-based ratings) it is possible for parents to limit access to these games through parental controls, we believe that further action is needed. Apple, Google and Amazon need to scrutinise the apps that already feature an age rating to ensure the content isn’t in fact directed at younger children, using the age limit as a way to still offer their app for download. In other words, we don’t want these platforms to use the age rating system as justification to continue to offer these apps, which are clearly designed for children. Please sign this petition to ask Apple, Google and Amazon to implement a policy which is clear to every developer, that they will not accept any such apps that are targeted at children and make a commitment to protect the mental health of their young users.
Petition to Oxford University Press, Michael Gove
Nature related words should be reinstated in the Junior Oxford English Dictionary.
By removing many words to do with nature from the Oxford Junior Dictionary, Children will, rather than caring for the earth and everything on it will be more insular and lead less healthy lives. This is alarming at a time when there are more and more species approaching extinction and more and more children suffering from mental illness and obesity. Some of the replacement words are also questionable choices. For example Blog must surely easier to spell and discover the meaning of than say hedgehog or cygnet. A group of authors have written to OUP and point out "“When, in 2007, the OJD made the changes, this connection was understood, but less well publicised than now. The research evidence showing the links between natural play and wellbeing; and between disconnection from nature and social ills, is mounting.” They also said, “There is a shocking, proven connection between the decline in natural play and the decline in children’s wellbeing,” Research reveals that a generation ago, 40% of children regularly played in natural areas, compared to 10% today, with a further 40% never playing outdoors. “Obesity, anti-social behaviour, friendlessness and fear are the known consequences,” they say. This petition echos their request to the Publishers: “that a deliberate and publicised decision to restore some of the most important nature words would be a tremendous cultural signal and message of support for natural childhood”, and ask it to “take that opportunity, and if necessary, bring forward the next edition of the OJD in order to do so”. We understand that the Oxford Primary Dictionary does include a variety of nature words of use to Primary age children and that this is a more encompassing dictionary than the Oxford Junior Dictionary, but are concerned that some very basic words for the very young are being supplanted by words that they are probably quite familiar with anyway. We do NOT condone any abusive comments and these will be removed from the discussion if spotted.
Petition to The Government, Public, courts
Animal abuses should be treated like child abuses
In today's society many animals are being mistreated, whether its' beaten, starved or neglected. Animals can not speak like humans, they can not tell us how they are feeling or if something is happening to them, this is why we as a country need to speak up for them, to get them the rights they deserve. Anybody that mistreats an animal should go to prison for a minimum for 4 years and banned from having animals for a further 5 years. Courts, the government, us as the public, we can all help to make this happen.
Petition to Mary Hardie, Jeremy Hunt MP, Sheralee Turner-Birchall
Save Calderstones Hospital from closure! Turn it into a specialist autism medical centre!
Calderstones Hospital, more recently known as Specialist Learning Disability Division at Mersey Care Whalley, is threatened with closure. At present, Calderstones is a secure facility in Lancashire for people with learning disabilities and autism. While our charity does not in any way support long-term hospital care for people with learning disabilities, we feel it would be a waste of resources to close the site down. In view of the massive increase in the rate of autism in recent years, we would like to see Calderstones converted into a specialist centre dedicated to the investigation and treatment of the medical conditions associated with autism. To date, there is no such facility in the United Kingdom. Research shows that there are a large number of medical conditions, such as seizure disorders, acid reflux or migraines, which are far more common in autism than in the general population. However, these conditions may be difficult to diagnose in people with autism, especially those who are non-verbal. People with severe autism may express pain in an atypical way, for example, through aggression or self-injury. Our charity has received numerous reports of such symptoms being attributed, without investigation, to 'autism behaviours'. The consequences can be devastating. For example, children later found to have painful—but treatable—acid reflux have been prescribed antipsychotic medication, which is totally inappropriate, and has serious potential side-effects. And who knows how many families have taken the agonising decision to put their child into residential care due to behaviours that may have been caused by treatable medical conditions? The human cost of such needless suffering is incalculable. What is more, some of the medical conditions associated with autism can be life-shortening. Shockingly, the average life expectancy for a person with severe autism is only 39.5 years. When professionals dismiss symptoms of medical issues as 'autism behaviours', they are failing this vulnerable group of people. In light of the statistics, this failure could, in some cases, prove to be a death sentence. It is for these reasons that we call for Calderstones Hospital to be converted into the first national specialist centre for comorbid medical conditions associated with autism. Given the diversity of such conditions, the centre could bring together specialists in gastroenterology, immunology, neurology, allergies, errors of metabolism, mitochondrial disorders and endocrinology to assess and prescribe treatment for children and adults on the basis of the underlying medical causes of their behavioural symptoms. This could potentially improve the quality of life of thousands of people with autism, and would establish the site as a world class centre of excellence for autism-related medical conditions. Autism has recently been shown to cost the country a staggering £32 billion per year, more than cancer, heart disease and stroke combined. These costs are likely to rise even higher in the future, due to the skyrocketing autism rates. Much of the economic impact arises from the cost of the high level of care required by many adults and children with challenging behaviours. This means that there is scope for enormous savings to be made by providing appropriate treatment which could potentially reduce some of the most disabling and difficult to manage symptoms associated with autism. We believe that, in the long run, these savings would easily cover the cost of setting up and running the specialist autism centre. It is time for people with autism to be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve, and to be provided with the timely and appropriate medical treatment to which they are entitled. A specialist centre at the Calderstones Hospital site would be an important first step towards this goal. Further reading: Medical Comorbidities in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 2014 https://issuu.com/treatingautism/docs/medical_comorbidities_in_autism_spectrum_disorders Health and service provision for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, 2016 http://treatingautism.org.uk/new-report-health-and-service-provision-for-people-with-autism-spectrum-diso/ Autism is the most costly medical condition in the UK, 2014 http://www.lse.ac.uk/website-archive/newsAndMedia/news/archives/2014/06/Autism.aspx Hirvikoski T, Mittendorfer-Rutz E, Boman M, et al. (2016) Premature mortality in autism spectrum disorder. Br J Psychiatry. Mar;208(3):232-8. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.114.160192. Schendel DE, Overgaard M, Christensen J, et al. (2016) Association of Psychiatric and Neurologic Comorbidity With Mortality Among Persons With Autism Spectrum Disorder in a Danish Population. JAMA Pediatr. Mar;170(3):243-50. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015. 3935.
Petition to Damian Hinds, Robert Goodwill MP
Time to stop pushing KS1 into our reception classes and extend "Early Years" to 7!
What are the essential skills for life in the 21st century? What do our children really need to know? What do they need to understand? Does the current English system give them this? Unfortunately...it does not. Our children need communication skills, personal, social and emotional development, physical skills, embedded literacy and maths skills, an understanding of their world and the people in it. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/03/21st-century-skills-future-jobs-students/ They need characteristics such as resilience, perseverance, creative thinking, the ability to solve problems, think outside the box, independence, risk taking, make connections. They need confidence and the ability to learn from mistakes as they grow in a world which is a challenging place to be...and becoming more so by the day. The irony of all of the above is that we currently have a curriculum in England that delivers much of the above and more. It is the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum. The only problem is it ends when children leave Reception classes. For many children, it is ending in the Reception classes due to pressures to be so called "National Curriculum" ready! This notion of moving children towards KS1 during their Reception year was highlighted in OFSTED's recent report into the Reception year: (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reception-curriculum-in-good-and-outstanding-primary-schools-bold-beginnings). It was seen as positive that Reception teachers were starting KS1 learning in their Early Years classes in a bid to make children ready for Yr1 expectations, expectations that are developmentally inappropriate! How can this be right? Many of these children are still 4 years old. Every child in reception is entitled to an early years education, not a watered down pale imitation. Surely its time to stop pushing the flawed and inappropriate KS1 curriculum into our Reception classes and time to push up a curriculum that is tried, tested and proven. A curriculum with relationships, environments and child development at its core. The early years of life do not end at age 4 or 5. They end at 7 or 8..and that is the age when learning should become more formal. This is when most children are developmentally ready for such approaches. Look abroad at nations like Finland where this is just what happens. Their children are thriving and out performing ours. Our children (and their families and teacher's) are tired, stressed, pressured and fed up. Children as young as 4 are switched off and see learning as boring.... Time to stop the testing our over tested children. Time to stop making children do things they are not ready for. Time to make a change for our children, their families and our educational workforce. Let's stand together to make a change for the future. WB Yeats stated that: "Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire". It's time to find the matches...
Petition to Human Rights Campaign, Theresa May MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Birmingham City Council
Let my son be with his family
Where to begin. First and foremost Birmingham Children's Services have themselves stated my son has NEVER come to ANY harm in the care of his mother/myself. My son was placed on a child protection register at birth due to me having convictions for violence 4 years previous, he was kept on child protection aged 3 months due to the fact he was "a very advanced baby" and this "may have led his mother to expect to much of him which might cause significant emotional harm". From July 2014-September 2014 my son , his mother and myself lived a happy peaceful life the days were spent loving,nurturing and enjoying our cheery,happy perfect baby ,however we made the grave error of reporting the fact social worker NADINE REDSHAW was turning up clearly intoxicated and had pictures on her Facebook of her friends babies drinking cans of carling, after that Children's Services embarked upon a smear campaign with the aim of stealing our son for adoption. We were branded "bizarre and paranoid" for refusing to strip our son naked in front of a room full of 10/12 strangers, his mother was labelled as "having a learning difficulty she struggled with" - she has genius level IQ (Children's services declined her offer to take an IQ test), we were branded "tremendously defiant" for refusing to sign our son over to my abusive mother , his mother simply asking for the law to be adhered to meant she had "personality difficulties" and quiet unbelievably our next door neighbours were asked to sign a statement "telling a little white lie" - the "little white lie" being that my son's mother had gone out and left our son in the house unsupervised. Back in December 2014 my son was illegally and viciously seperated from his mother by Birmingham Children's Services and my own mother who has a history of abusing children. 2 days before Christmas his mother went to collect him only to have my own mother refuse to hand him over whilst screaming PPO (police protection order) at my son's mother so his mother rung the police to retrieve our son only for the social worker SYEDA TAHERAH AHMED to lie to the police and claim my mother had custody. The reason Social Services gave for so brazenly breaking the law was "the child may be harmed" due to the fact that his mother and myself had had a verbal disagreement when our son wasnt in our care. His mother wanted to take our son to her fathers home in a different city without me. She kept trying to get our son back for the same thing to keep happening until we were taken to court. My mother made up a pack of lies to try and keep our son for herself. Social Services advocated for her relentlessly and the courts put our son in the care of this woman despite the fact at the time she was under police investigation for serious child abuse allegations perpetrated against her own children (me). Thankfully an independent social worker highlighted what a danger this woman was and my son was removed. Me and his mother PASSED a parenting assessment, we proved all allegations against us to be lies and his mother offered to take our son upon him being returned to her care to live at her fathers home away from myself (the "problem"). However Children's services decided to press for adoption due to facts we are still unsure of. At the Final Hearing the social worker was proven to have lied repeatedly about his mother and so had the guardian ELAINE BENNETT. After a 5 day hearing and a 2 week wait we were told our son would be placed for adoption due to the fact his mother had "drawn a malicious picture" of the social worker and because his mother had asked the social worker SYEDA TAHERAH AHMED and manager RUTH EVELYN HILL to apologise for the fact she had been told she could not care for him as a vunerable single parent. Barbara Carter of Barbara Carter Solicitors was the judge behind this scandalous decision she made findings on things his mother was not even questioned about,falsely claimed my sons mother accepted threshold and felt it appropriate to describe him as 'a very attractive baby to adopters' (one of the reasons the order was given according to Barbara Carter). Legal Aid solicitors CARTWRIGHT KING and BLAIR ALLISON colluded with BCS to remove our son for 'potential risk of emotional harm'. My son has until March to be rescued from the clutches of strangers, strangers who follow a completely different religion to him, strangers who are ripping a child from a loving mother to help fill a void in there own lives. My son is not your baby to have, He has a family who love and want him, he is the centre of the whole family and without him it is pointless. His mother says her home feels like someone has died without him in it. He doesn't deserve to be punished for my actions, his mother doesn't deserve to be punished because of my actions and he definitely doesn't need ripping from his family until he is 18 for things his mother "may or may not do" based on MY past. His mother due to Birmingham Family Courts decision to refuse to process her appeals for some unknown reason now has to wait to oppose the adoption order. Enough signatures will get my son's voice heard and just maybe if his voice is heard loud enough he might just might be returned to where he belongs and the courts might stop ignoring applications put before them and see justice done. If the family courts weren't secret he would have NEVER been removed. I quote Paul Pennington-Wilson (independent social worker) : "The parents present as loving parents who's lives revolve around their son" and finally i quote judge Barbara Carter "the mother is clearly a very bright,intelligent,engaging and fiesty young woman with much to offer those around her including her son." Tom Latimer
Petition to Theresa May MP
Better nurseries for all children
A child’s future chances depend on the support they get in their early years. But in the UK now, children are arriving for their first day of school struggling to speak in full sentences or understand simple instructions. Good nurseries are crucial if we’re going to fix this. My name is Dr Elizabeth Kilbey and I took part in Channel 4’s The Secret Lives of 4, 5 & 6 year olds. The programme followed children at nursery as they learnt to make their way in the world. It was amazing to see just how much children learn in their first five years. That’s why I want the government to invest in better quality early learning, like nurseries and why I’ve started a petition calling for the government to ensure there’s an early years teacher in every nursery in England by 2020. Save the Children’s research has found that 1 in 5 children starts primary school behind in basic language skills, rising to 1 in 3 of the poorest children. If a child starts school behind, they tend to stay behind -- meaning struggling at school to keep up and not achieving their potential. Going to a good quality nursery with well qualified staff can make a huge difference. Please take a moment to sign the petition now, to give every child the support to thrive in their first vital years, so there’s nothing stopping them from getting the most out of life.