SAFE Newsletter: May 2019
I am personally emailing you to see if you may have missed the details of our upcoming conference being held on Friday 12th July, Twenty Years of Safeguarding hosted by our partners West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds IP33 3RL?
It is a very special conference this year as SAFE celebrates its 20th birthday and a lot has happened since 1999 in terms of safeguarding.
We have a fantastic line up of expert speakers who will reflect over what has changed and address the emerging hot topics of safeguarding in 2019 including:
• Policing online offending, Suffolk Constabulary
• Problem gambling, Betknowmore
• Suicide prevention, Papyrus
• Safer recruitment, Safer Business Associates
• Working with victims of sexual assault, The Ferns
• Engaging with young people and transforming communities, Voyage
Priced from £80 a place, including refreshments, lunch and parking, the day promises to be both challenging and thought provoking. I do hope you will be able to join us and network with many other like minded professionals who work tirelessly to safeguard children and young people.
Places are limited so book your ticket today.
A round up of safeguarding news for May 2019
Legislation and Bills
England and Wales
Bill becomes Act: Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act 2019
This Act amends the Mental Capacity Act 2005 for England and Wales in relation to procedures in accordance with which a person may be deprived of liberty where the person lacks capacity to consent, and for connected purposes
Certain enabling provisions come into force immediately, the substance of the Act will come into force on whatever day the Secretary of State appoints by regulations possibly 2020.
Statutory and Non Statutory Guidance
Revised document released: Creating Safety: child protection in the arts updated 2019
Reports Reviews and Inquiries
1. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has published its case studies on the Diocese of Chichester and the response to allegations against Peter Ball, as part of its Anglican Church investigation.
The executive summary states:
“This phase of the Anglican Church investigation has examined two case studies. The first was the Diocese of Chichester, where there have been multiple allegations of sexual abuse against children. The second concerned Peter Ball, who was a bishop in Chichester before becoming Bishop of Gloucester. In 1993, he was cautioned for gross indecency, and was convicted of further offences in 2015, including misconduct in public office and indecent assault.
The Church of England should have been in a place which protected all children and supported victims and survivors. It failed to be so in its response to allegations against clergy and laity.”
2. The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has, on Thursday 30 May, published its findings into residential institutions run by the Sisters of Nazareth (SoN) between 1933 and 1984. They conclude that children did suffer abuse.
During the case study, the Inquiry considered evidence about the nature and extent of any abuse of children in care at institutions run by the SoN in Scotland, with a particular focus on Nazareth Houses in Aberdeen, Cardonald, Lasswade, and Kilmarnock.
The Inquiry also examined any systems, policies and procedures in place at these institutions, and how these were applied.
Lady Smith, Chair of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, said: “The Nazareth Houses in Scotland were, for many children, places of fear, hostility and confusion, places where children were physically abused and emotionally degraded with impunity.
“There was sexual abuse of children which, in some instances, reached levels of the utmost depravity. Children in need of kind, warm, loving care and comfort did not find it. Children were deprived of compassion, dignity, care and comfort.
“It was suggested in evidence that applicants may have colluded to present fictitious accounts about their time in their care, fuelled by resentment towards their families and an appetite for compensation. I reject all such suggestions.”
Lady Smith will take these findings into account when she analyses all the evidence gathered by the Inquiry and decides what recommendations to make within the final report.
The 27-day case study took place from 24 April 2018 to 3 July 2019, during which time the Inquiry heard evidence from 39 witnesses about their experience in Nazareth Houses and two witnesses also spoke to the experiences of their family member. A further 29 witness statements were read into proceedings. The Inquiry also heard audio evidence from a witness who made a recording prior to her death about being abused whilst in care at Nazareth House, Kilmarnock.
Applicants and other witnesses continue to come forward to the Inquiry with relevant evidence about the care provided by SoN and this will be considered as part of the continuing process.
3. A report by the Devon Children and Families Partnership into the historical sexual abuse of a young girl identified missed opportunities by agencies that may have prevented the extent of her abuse.
The report traces the experience of a young girl, identified as ‘N’, who lived with her parents and elder sister.
Aged 19, N disclosed to her mental health worker that she had been sexually abused between the ages of 10 and 16 by a man 10 years her senior. That man has since been convicted of multiple offences against her and has received a lengthy custodial sentence.
As a child, N was known to a number of different agencies including health, mental health, police and children’s social care.
But the report found that her sexual abuse, which began more than a decade ago, was not identified or responded to, even when her abuser openly declared their sexual relationship.
It states that as a result of her abuse, N has suffered significant and ongoing mental health problems including previous attempts at self-harm.
The report says that at the time there were failures by the agencies to recognise indicators of neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse and exploitation; that there was a failure to appreciate adolescent risk in the context of neglect; that multiple changes of staff at the agencies prevented N from disclosing her abuse at an earlier age; that staff were not ‘hearing’ disclosure; and that there was poor information sharing and working together in the context of complex and multiple risks.
But the report acknowledges that since that time much has been done across Devon to improve safeguarding of children, with particular attention to neglect and sexual abuse.
It says that the independent inquiry in 2014 into Child sexual Exploitation in Rotherham led agencies across the UK to focus much more on detection and management of CSE. In Devon, the report says, that inquiry led to ‘considerable improvements since the time when N suffered her abuse – in both knowledge about CSE and how to disrupt the perpetrator’s activities in order to protect the victim.’
It says that the Devon Children and Families Partnership, which includes Police, health and children’s social care, now have a well-established CSE subgroup, and that its partners have made significant improvements to practice over the last 2 years. Policies have improved, staff are well trained, and there are multiple independent organisations in the county that provide targeted support and advice for young victims of exploitation and abuse.
This report has not yet been made available to the public.
Worthy of note
1. Pope Francis has made it mandatory for Roman Catholic clergy to report cases of clerical sexual abuse and cover-ups to the Church.
In an Apostolic letter, which is set to become Church law, he makes clear that any sexual advance involving the use of power will now be considered abusive.
The clarification is being seen as a message to the Church hierarchy that no-one will be exempt from scrutiny.
The Pope promised in February to take concrete action to tackle abuse.
2. The government has announced a three-month review of the family courts to see whether they are effectively protecting children and parents in cases of domestic abuse and other serious offences.
The review will build on the draft Domestic Abuse Bill, published in January, and includes an open call for evidence on the efficacy of the family courts in cases where serious offences have been committed.
It will be chaired by a panel of experts, the government announced, and aims to ensure the courts work in “the explicit interest of the child”.
The review will specifically look at:
The courts’ application of Practice Direction 12J, which relates to child arrangement cases where domestic abuse is a factor
The courts’ use of ‘barring orders’, which prevent further applications being made without leave of the court under the Children Act 1989
Gathering evidence of the impact on the child and victim where child contact is sought by someone alleged to have, or who has, committed domestic abuse or other relevant offences.
It comes as responses to the government’s domestic abuse consultation raised concerns around the family courts’ response to potential harm to children and victims, with calls for better protections for children and claims domestic abusers were using the court system to re-traumatise their victims.
Justice minister, Paul Maynard, said he was determined those who come through the courts are offered protection.
“This review will help us better understand victims’ experiences of the system, and make sure the family court is never used to coerce or re-traumatise those who have been abused. Its findings will be used to inform next steps so we can build on the raft of measures we have already introduced to protect victims of domestic abuse,” Maynard said.
The panel – whose members are yet to be announced but will be led by the Ministry of Justice and include senior members of the judiciary, leading academics and charities – will consider how a range of offences including rape, child abuse, assault, sexual assault, murder and other violent crimes are handled by the family courts.
3. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has announced a new investigation into child protection in religious organisations and settings.
The investigation will be thematic and will review the current child protection policies, practices and procedures in religious institutions in England and Wales.
Organisations falling under the remit of this investigation will include non conformist Christian denominations, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists, Methodists, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism and Buddhism. This investigation is separate from our investigations into the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches.
Religious settings such as mosques, synagogues, churches and temples are in scope. Places of faith tuition such as Muslim madrassahs and Christian Sunday schools and places where children and young people gather in connection with their religious beliefs, including youth groups and camps will also be investigated by the Inquiry.
More than one in 10 survivors of child sexual abuse (11 per cent) who shared their accounts with the Inquiry’s Truth Project reported sexual abuse in a religious institution. Of this group, almost a quarter (24 percent) told the Inquiry they were abused in institutions in scope of this new investigation, including Jehovah's Witnesses, Baptists, Methodists, Judaism and Islam. Not all participants provided details about the religious denomination of the institution or perpetrator.
Organisations and individuals are being invited to apply for core participant status. Core participants must have a significant interest in this investigation and have special rights defined by legislation.
A preliminary hearing will take place at 2pm on 23 July 2019 and public hearings will take place in 2020.
4. The Information Commissioner’s Office has opened a consultation on 16 standards that online services must meet to protect children’s privacy.
Age appropriate design: a code of practice for online services sets out the standards expected of those responsible for designing, developing or providing online services likely to be accessed by children and which process their data.
Introduced by the Data Protection Act 2018, the draft code sets out 16 standards of age appropriate design for online services like apps, connected toys, social media platforms, online games, educational websites and streaming services. It is not restricted to services specifically directed at children.
The draft code says that the best interests of the child should be a primary consideration when designing and developing online services. It says that privacy must be built in and not bolted on.
When finalised, it will be the first of its kind and become an international benchmark.
5. The Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse has held a public hearing in the Internet investigation from 13-24 May.
It focused on the response of the internet industry to child sexual abuse, including online platforms, social media sites and software companies. It also investigated the effectiveness of government policy in protecting children from sexual abuse facilitated by the internet.
Representatives of Facebook, Google, Apple and Microsoft were among those who gave evidence, as well as the police and government.
6. Video hearings tested in domestic abuse cases. The study by HM Courts and Tribunal Service at Manchester Civil Justice Centre means vulnerable people can appear before the court using a video link from a computer in their solicitor’s office, avoiding the distress of appearing in court at an already difficult time.
This has been used in six cases so far and feedback from those involved has been positive. Testing will continue in the family and civil courts during the coming months and is being independently evaluated.
Justice Minister, Lucy Frazer, said:
We are hearing that, even in the early stages, testing fully video hearings are having a positive effect and ensuring the justice system is supporting people at one of the most difficult times in their lives.
I look forward to seeing the evaluation of this work and ensuring we continue to improve access to our courts through new innovations.
Injunction applications are often made by victims of domestic abuse, in cases of intimidation or threat of violence. Currently, those asking to be made safe are required to travel to court to appear before a judge. Participants in the tests can instead join a fully-video hearing from their solicitor’s office, using a laptop, which can also allow the injunction to be heard more quickly.
Jane Campbell, a partner at Makin Dixon, a legal firm representing a female client said:
Accessing the hearing has made a real difference to our client, she was a referral from victim support who commented how convenient it was for the client. The victim was too scared to go home last night and doing this over video has really made a positive impact
The video hearing has the gravitas of a court room. The interview suite is set up with all the necessary tools to swear in a witness and the client gets to see the judge and observe the process.
The testing is part of HMCTS’ £1bn Reform Programme, which is bringing new technology and modern ways of working to the justice system, with more than 150,000 people using new online services in 2018 alone. The current pilot follows successful trials in the tax tribunal and relates to cases in the family and civil jurisdiction.
Suitable cases are dependent on judicial discretion and those taking part in the tests must have legal representation. HMCTS is committed to publishing independent evaluations of all fully video hearings pilots.
7. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is calling for an independent review of every person who is being held in segregation in mental health wards for children and young people and wards for people with a learning disability or autism. These reviews should examine the quality of care, the safeguards to protect the person and the plans for discharge.
CQC makes the recommendation in the interim report published today; in which it shares early findings from its review of restraint, prolonged seclusion and segregation for people with a mental health problem, a learning disability or autism.
The review, which was commissioned by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, also highlights the need for a better system of care for people with a learning disability or autism who are, or are at risk of, being hospitalised and segregated.
From an information request sent to providers CQC was told of 62 people who were in segregation. This included 42 adults and 20 children and young people – some as young as 11 years old. Sixteen people had been in segregation for a year or more - one person had spent almost a decade in segregation. The longest period spent in segregation by a child or young person was 2.4 years.
CQC has so far visited and assessed the care of 39 people in segregation, most of whom had an autism diagnosis.
Reasons for prolonged time in segregation included delayed discharge from hospital due to there being no suitable package of care available in a non-hospital setting. For some, the commissioners had found it difficult to find a suitable placement.
The safety of other patients or staff and inability to tolerate living alongside others were the most common reasons providers gave for why people were in segregation. In some cases, staff believed that the person’s quality of life was better in segregation than in the less predictable environment of the open ward.
Some of the wards were not suitable environments for people with autism and many staff lacked the necessary training and skills to work with people with autism who also have complex needs and challenging behaviour.
Around half of the people in segregation were in wards managed by the independent sector and half were in the NHS. Twenty-four of the places were commissioned by a clinical commissioning group, 30 by NHS England specialised commissioning, three by local authority commissioning, two by Welsh commissioning and three did not specify the commissioning arrangements.
8. The government is to spend £15m on a new scheme to prevent children being taken into care by strengthening the expert support available from social workers, addiction specialists and psychiatrists, the Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi has announced.
The new programme, Supporting Families; Investing in Practice, is intended to help families work on issues together, including those impacted by domestic violence, substance misuse or addiction, in order to help create stability in the home for young people and prevent them being taken into care, where that is in their best interests.
And the reason to remain vigilant in all aspects of safeguarding:
1. A paedophile already serving 10 life sentences has admitted more child abuse charges.
Michael Emerton, 34, admitted two charges of conspiring to rape a child and two counts of conspiring to have sexual activity with a child.
St Albans Crown Court heard the crimes came to light after further police investigation of chat rooms and websites he used.
Emerton, of Berkhamsted, was jailed in 2017 for operating a paedophile ring.
Judge Michael Kay gave him jail terms of 12 and four years to run alongside his existing sentences.
The judge said: "The sense of shock one feels is beyond words."
Emerton was given life sentences in December 2017 after admitting 20 offences related to running a paedophile ring that saw him organise abuse with other men via dating apps.
He arranged the live streaming of abuse via a video link and, on other occasions, arranged to meet men and take part in sex acts in front of children.
During his previous sentencing, Judge Michael Kay QC said the case was "so shocking" it "undermines one's faith in humanity".
"Never before have I read a police summary of a case which begins with a warning that the reader should be very wary of the content due to the abhorrent nature of the offending," he said.
2. A music teacher has been jailed for five years for plotting to sexually abuse young girls in the Philippines.
James Alexander, 42, was caught by the National Crime Agency after he sent money to known facilitators who had live-streamed child sexual abuse from Illigan City.
He was arrested on 30 June 2018 at Manchester Airport as he flew into the UK from Thailand where he lived since 2017.
NCA investigators seized his electronic devices.
Forensic analysis showed Alexander, of Beeston, Leeds, sent at least 15 money transfers to abuse facilitators between August 2017 and Jun 2018.
It also showed that Alexander - who served as a reservist in the Parachute Regiment from 1999 to 2003 – tried to arrange with abuse facilitators over Skype and WhatsApp to travel to the Philippines to abuse little girls himself.
3. Thirty-eight men and two women are being investigated by the National Crime Agency in connection with serious child sexual abuse and exploitation offences in Rotherham.
As part of the latest investigation, which falls under Operation Stovewood, the individuals aged between 29 and 53, from Sheffield, Rotherham, Leeds, Dewsbury and Maidstone (Kent), have been arrested or interviewed by appointment over the last two months.
The offences relate to 13 victims who came forward alleging abuse between 1997 and 2015 when they were aged between 11 and 26.
All have been released under investigation or bailed while enquiries continue.
4. A bogus psychiatrist who treated hundreds of patients in Scotland may have referred some for needless electro-convulsive therapy, Scotland's chief medical officer has warned.
Dr Catherine Calderwood said others may have been detained under the Mental Health Act or "groomed" to gain access to their finances.
Zholia Alemi worked in the NHS for 22 years despite having no qualifications.
One health board confirmed 24 of her patients were detained or "sectioned".
Alemi was jailed for five years last October for defrauding patients.
A court in Carlisle heard she faked a patient's will in an attempt to inherit her £1.3m estate.
After her conviction, it emerged that Alemi had dropped out of medical school in her first year in New Zealand but was employed by the NHS after moving to the UK in 1995.
She worked at a number of locations across the UK, including six Scottish health boards which have now been asked to check their records about patients she treated.
Dr Calderwood has now written to these boards, saying she expects the review to identify some patients who were significantly affected by Alemi's activity through "prescription of drugs, electro-convulsive therapy, treatment or diagnosis, or in the use of the Mental Health Act".
In the letter, obtained by the Herald newspaper, she also warns: "She is known to have befriended and 'groomed' vulnerable people that she came into contact with through working as a psychiatrist, with the ultimate aim of accessing their financial affairs."
Another concern is that she may have played a role in determining outcomes for patients while sitting on mental health tribunals, she said.
One health board - NHS Ayrshire and Arran - has confirmed that Alemi treated 395 adults while working as a locum for 18 months from 2007 During this time 24 of these patients were detained by Alemi under the Mental Health Act.
NHS Ayrshire and Arran medical director Dr Alison Graham said the health board would be contacting all those affected.
She added: "We would like to apologise for any distress this situation may have caused. If patients were treated by this individual and have concerns, we would advise them to contact our mental health services team."
NHS Tayside said Alemi was employed as a locum psychiatrist for a "short period" in 2009 while NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said she worked in the former NHS Argyll & Clyde area between May 2005 and July 2006.
It is understood that Alemi also worked in the NHS Borders, NHS Highland and NHS Grampian areas.
The General Medical Council (GMC) has said Alemi was allowed to join the UK's medical register under a section of the Medical Act which has not been in force since 2003.
This allowed medical graduates from certain Commonwealth countries to register on the basis of qualifications obtained at home, without sitting tests that most foreign doctors have to pass before working in the UK. The GMC said the checks were now more "rigorous" and it is reviewing records of up to 3,000 doctors who were allowed to work under the same rules as Alemi.
The GMC has created a web page with advice for anyone who is concerned that they were treated by Alemi.
5. A sex offender has been banned from wearing shorts on trains after series of incidents against women.
Brian Heywood, 58, would wear short silky running shorts and purposely sit next to the terrified women on trains while wearing the revealing gear.
He also sexually assaulted one victim when he sat next to her in revealing shorts, spread his legs and shuffled over - almost squashing her against a train window.
In each case he would stare intently at the victims, who were aged from their 20s to 50s. He later admitted he would get a "sexual kick" out of the encounters.
He was brought to justice after the sex attack, which happened in May 2018. He was tracked on CCTV and later identified when his image was released to the public.
He was then linked to several other complaints in the Nottingham and Leicester area.
Heywood was eventually cornered on a train at Derby railway station in June where he was dressed in running shorts.
They searched his home, his car, and a hotel he was staying at and found 31 pairs of small shorts alongside multiple train tickets and train timetables.
Officers charged Heywood, of Cayton in Scarborough, Yorkshire, with four counts of outraging public decency and one count of sexual assault. He was jailed for three years at Nottingham Crown Court on May 7.
He was given a five-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order which stops him wearing shorts of any form on trains, or travelling on any train without telling the police two days beforehand.
He has also been added to the sex offender register indefinitely.
6. An ex high school associate head teacher has been jailed after he admitted collecting more than 2,000 sexual abuse images of children and possessing class A drugs.
Paul Newbury, 50, from Wood Green, London was sentenced to two years and four months at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday 23 May.
In October 2017, Newbury, was in an online video conferencing room where the live sexual abuse of a 10-year-old girl was shown.
He was using the username ‘north London’ which National Crime Agency investigators linked to his home in Wood Green, London.
In February 2018, NCA officers arrested Newbury – who at the time was working at Acland Burghley School, Camden, London – and found drugs at his home which included 717 milligrams of cocaine.
In interview Newbury admitted possession of class A controlled drugs for personal use, which he used while in the video conferencing platform. He also admitted making, possessing and distributing indecent images of children.
A review of his digital devices identified more than 2,000 child sexual abuse images and videos ranging from category A (the most severe) to category C.
There is no evidence to suggest he was in sexual contact with any children and no evidence to link his offending to the school which sacked him on 7 March 2018.
Newbury admitted four counts of making indecent images of children, one of distributing indecent photographs of children, two counts of possessing class A drugs, possession of a prohibited image, showing an indecent photograph of a child, and possession of an extreme pornographic image at a hearing in March.
A Court of Protection judge has strongly criticised media reporting of a case involving whether a woman had the capacity to consent to sex with her husband.
Mr Justice Hayden said in the case brought by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets that much of the media reporting had been “sententious and, in some instances, irresponsible” and had frightened the man involved sufficiently for him to disengage from the proceedings.
In NB, Re (Consent to sex)  EWCOP 17 the judge said he would reserve judgment and wished to give the man AU a further opportunity to participate.
A woman NB, who has a general global learning difficulty and a communication impairment, became the subject of a safeguarding review after she made remarks to her dentist about her relationship with her husband, which caused concern that she might be vulnerable to sexual exploitation.
An assessment by a clinical psychologist concluded that NB was unable to demonstrate an appreciation of why people got married, separated or divorced and lacked an understanding of the association between sexual intercourse and pregnancy.
It was also considered that she was unable to communicate the concept of refusal of sex to her husband.
But the judge said: “There is also evidence that indicates that NB very much enjoys the status of marriage, is affectionate to her husband and, on occasion, initiates sexual relations.
“The primary issue before the court is whether NB truly has the capacity to consent to sexual relations.”
After a hearing in March, Hayden J had encouraged the Official Solicitor to secure AU legal representation and a solicitor was appointed.
“Unfortunately, the case attracted a great deal of media coverage, this notwithstanding that no argument had been heard and no judgment delivered,” the judge said.
“A great deal of the comment was sententious and, in some instances, irresponsible. It is considered, by the Official Solicitor and the applicant local authority, that the impact of that publicity frightened AU very considerably, leading him to believe that he was likely to be sent to prison.
“He has left the party's flat and disengaged with these proceedings. It seems that he visited a solicitor, local to where he lived, who may have given him poor advice.”
The judge said it “seemed entirely artificial” to try to assess NB’s ability to consent to sex in general when in reality AU was the only person with whom she would have sex.
He reserved judgment so “that I can take the time to look carefully and in some detail at the case law and its applicability to the facts of this case.
“It would appear, that it requires to be said, in clear and unambiguous terms that I do so in order to explore fully NB's right to a sexual life with her husband and he with her, if that is at all possible.”
He added: “I also want to afford [AU] the opportunity to make submissions, through counsel, if he wishes to do so.”
Rosie Carter M.A.(Ed)
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