1. Serial killer Levi Bellfield was part of a child sex gang that has not been brought to justice, according to a council report. The report, by Hillingdon Council in west London, looks at previously unreported links between Bellfield, whose victims include schoolgirl Milly Dowler, and a group of paedophiles accused of grooming at least 17 vulnerable girls under the age of 16 for sex.
The document, obtained by The Sunday Times, is by a senior social worker who specialised in child sexual exploitation and it has been handed to the Metropolitan Police.
2. Hundreds of vulnerable people choke to death every year in care homes and hospitals, with official figures concealing the true scale of the problem.
More than twice as many deaths result from choking as was previously thought, according to analysis of figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This is despite repeated warnings from coroners that the same mistakes are costing lives.
Two thirds of those who choke to death are over the age of 65. Care home staff do not legally require first aid qualifications, but ministers insist that existing training standards should be enough to deal with choking.
Regular figures from the ONS show that each year, 200 to 250 people die from choking on foods or other objects, which in 2016 included 24 in care homes and 156 in hospitals.
However, it has emerged that these figures do not include cases where, for example, a patient with Alzheimer’s choked on a meal. Such a death would be classed as resulting from the immediate cause of a lack of oxygen and an underlying cause of dementia.
Once all deaths to which choking contributed are included, the toll rises to more than 500 a year. Last year this included 70 who choked to death in care homes and 291 in hospitals. Campaigners suspect that many of the cases of those who died in hospital were likely to have begun in care homes.
Although such cases must be reported to the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the regulator has admitted that its paper-based systems means that regional alerts cannot be compiled into a comprehensive national picture.
3. Pope Francis vowed justice for victims of clerical sex abuse, describing paedophilia as one of the "vilest" crimes ahead of a historic global meet on the crisis.
"I cannot refrain from speaking of one of the plagues of our time, which sadly has also involved some members of the clergy," he said in his annual address to ambassadors to the Holy See.
"The abuse of minors is one of the vilest and most heinous crimes conceivable. Such abuse inexorably sweeps away the best of what human life holds out for innocent children, and causes irreparable and lifelong damage," he said.
Francis swore to "render justice to minors", and said a meeting of the world's bishops in February was "meant to be a further step in the church's efforts to shed full light on the facts and to alleviate the wounds caused by such crimes".
A litany of child sexual abuse scandals has rocked the Catholic church, which has 1.3 billion followers around the world.
In December the pontiff had vowed the church would never again treat abuse allegations without "seriousness and promptness", calling on abusers to hand themselves in to police.
4. From 9th January 2019 , companies that make unsolicited phone calls to people about their pensions will be liable to enforcement action, including fines of up to £500,000.
The ban has been introduced in a bid to prevent people falling victim to cold call scams that can lead to them losing their life savings.
As many as eight scam calls take place every second - or a whopping 250 million calls a year – according to research from the Money Advice Service (MAS).
Reports made to Action Fraud show how highly sophisticated fraudsters have tricked people into transferring their pensions into fraudulent schemes.
5. Victims of forced marriage will no longer have to meet the cost of being repatriated when helped by the Forced Marriage Unit. Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, has confirmed the change of policy in a letter to Tom Tugendhat, the Chair of the House of Commons Foreign affairs Committee.
The Times had reported that British victims of forced marriages overseas were required by the Foreign Office to pay the costs of their rescue. UK officials would help them to access their own funds, and contact friends, family or organisations that could assist them. If, however, they could not meet the costs of flights, food and shelter, they were asked to sign emergency loan agreements before returning home.
In his letter of 8 January Mr Hunt acknowledged that forced marriage victims will often have travelled abroad against their wishes, or under false pretences and "may have endured particular suffering". The Government has agreed that those victims who have outstanding loans will have no further cost fall to them. Their passports will be unblocked.
The Government will continue to seek payment of any costs from the perpetrators by means of Forced Marriage Protection Orders.
6. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse launched a landmark television public awareness campaign to ensure victims and survivors of child sexual abuse have the opportunity to be heard at the Truth Project.
Created in consultation with victims and survivors, the Truth Project campaign aims to encourage people to share their experience in writing, on the phone or in person, as well as create a public discussion around the impact of child sexual abuse.
The awareness raising campaign comprises a TV advertisement and supporting activity across social media networks and will run from 14 January until the end of February.
The advertisement shows blank speech bubbles floating above people in various locations across England and Wales. These represent the difficulties many victims and survivors face in being able to talk about their experiences of child sexual abuse.
Alongside the campaign, the Inquiry is also publishing a number of new anonymous experiences from the Truth Project, with accounts from across a range of institutions.
To date, over 2,000 experiences have now been shared with the Truth Project.
7. The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) surveyed more than 10,000 people and found sexual violence in films, to be among parents' main concerns.
Any film showing sexual violence will now get at least a 15 rating rather than a 12 or a 12A. The BBFC also wants its ratings to appear on all streaming services.
8. Luke Hart's father spent "most of his time belittling" his family.
He would use money as a way to control them, stop his wife going for coffee, call his daughter stupid and say his sons were not real men.
Then, after years of abuse, Lance Hart killed his wife Claire, 50, and daughter Charlotte, 19, with a sawn-off shotgun in Spalding, Lincolnshire.
Now his son Luke is backing a Welsh Government campaign to raise awareness of the effects of coercive control.
Luke, 28, said his father spent 26 years exerting control on his family.