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Woman in distress appeal

Police are appealing for information following reports of a women in distress near Gotts Park near Stanningley road in Leeds shortly before 9pm on New Year's Eve.

The woman is described as having light coloured hair. 

She was with a man who was described as olive skinned possibly an Asian male wearing a dark coloured hooded top. 

Paralympian hero takes on New Year's Day cyclocross

Gold medal-winning Paralympian cyclist Steve Bate is set to take part in the popular New Year’s Day Novacross cyclocross event, at Conynham Hall in Knaresborough.

Paralympic champion Steve Bate

Steve, who is visually impaired, won two gold medals in this year’s Rio Paralympics, and will be competing on a tandem with renowned cycling journalist and mountain bike tester Guy Kesteven in today's race to raise funds for sight-loss charity Henshaws in Harrogate.

The duo will be competing in the novice Go-Cross race which is being introduced for the first time in the 2017 event by the organisers, the Harrogate Nova Cycling Club, as a way of encouraging complete beginners to try cyclocross.

Steve’s participation is particularly fitting as the club has partnered with Henshaws in Harrogate for the event, to help raise £1,000 for a new bike rack and shelter for students at the charity’s Specialist College

The Go-Cross race gets underway at 10am with laps of a two and a half kilometre course through the grounds of Conynham Hall before the children’s races at 11am and then the headline cyclocross races from midday onwards.

Since the first event in 2014, the New Year’s Day cyclocross race has virtually doubled the number of entrants to become one of the largest fixtures in the UK, attracting a strong field of nearly 700 competitors and over a thousand spectators.

“Having Steve competing in our event is a real coup as he is an absolute legend in British cycling and an inspiration to anybody who is facing a challenge in sport or life in general.

"Steve has just an 8% field of vision, and I think we can all take inspiration from his participation in NovaCross.

“One of our key aims is to encourage newcomers into the sport. "This is why we’ve introduced the race for novices so they can find out just how much fun and excitement there is in cyclocross racing which is one of the fastest growing cycling disciplines in the UK.

“Hosting an event that sits on the sport’s international calendar is a real coup for Knaresborough and we hope to see the race’s stature grow in years to come. "Hopefully the race will support tourism in Knaresborough and bring many visitors to the town.”

– Steve Smales, race director

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More young people urged to give blood

The young widow of a man who died from cancer is urging people to become blood donors.

Deborah Wilkinson who is from Barnsley says her husband Peter received several transfusions and had a better life because of people who gave blood.

The blood donation service is appealing for more young people to make a New year resolution to join their register.

Click below to see a video report by Katie Oscroft:

Parents urged to talk about online safety when giving internet devices as Christmas gifts

The NSPCC is urging parents to talk to their children about online safety if they buy them internet devices as Christmas presents, following a huge rise in contacts to Childline about online sexual abuse.

NSPCC warns about online sexual abuse

In 2015/16 there were 3,716 Childline counselling sessions about online sexual abuse, a 24 per cent increase from 2014/15 (2,994 contacts on the issue). This issue has also increased by 250 per cent (1,061 sessions) over the past three years.

Online sexual abuse can take the form of grooming, child sexual exploitation, sexting, being made to perform sex acts on webcam, meet up in person, and viewing distressing sexually explicit content.

With tablets, smart phones, and games consoles appearing on many children’s Christmas list, it is vital that parents talk to their children about being safe online, spotting the signs of inappropriate behaviour, and how to report it.

Online sexual abuse was such a big problem for children last year that it took up a third of all contacts about online issues, including bullying and safety.

In 2015/16 the NSPCC’s service received 1,480 contacts about online child sexual exploitation; an increase of 18 per cent from 2014/15 (up from 1,252).

Some children contacted Childline because they felt trapped by their situation because they felt guilty and ashamed, were frightened to talk to an adult about the issue, were being blackmailed, or were considering meeting up in person. Some wrongly feel that they are to blame because they have participated in their abuser’s actions, and are afraid to speak out.

NSPCC warns about online sexual abuse

“I met this guy through social media and he was really nice; he told me I was beautiful and I felt that I could talk to him about everything.

"He asked me for some topless photos which I didn’t think was a big deal, so I sent him a few. But now he’s turned really nasty and is threatening to post them online if I don’t send him more.

"I’m really worried and embarrassed and I don’t know what to do.”

– 14-year-old girl calling Childline

The NSPCC has a host of simple tips and advice on its website. Tips include:

· Exploring sites and apps together

· Ask about things they might see online which make them feel uncomfortable

· Talk about being Share Aware and what is, and is not, ok to share online

· Reassure them that you won't overreact – you're just looking out for them

“The web can be a fantastic place for children and young people to socialise, explore their interests, and learn, but every parent buying an internet device should be aware that there are risks, too and think about installing parental controls.

"In the last year we’ve seen a staggering rise in online sexual abuse, with many children turning to Childline when the situation has escalated.

"Often groomers will use devious tactics to lure in young people and manipulate them into situations that leave them feeling frightened and ashamed.

"The NSPCC has lots of resources to help parents talk about online issues so that they can help keep a child safe and happy online.”

– Peter Wanless, NSPCC CEO
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