SAFE News Archives 2013


48 countries worldwide join forces to fight child sexual abuse online

Source: European Commission published on this site 6th December 2012 by Jill Powell

On 5 December, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström together with US Attorney General Eric Holder will launch a Global Alliance against Child Sexual Abuse Online. The initiative aims to unite decision-makers all around the world to better identify and assist victims and to prosecute the perpetrators. Participants at the launch include Ministers and high-level officials from 27 EU Member States, who are also joined by 21 countries outside the EU (Albania, Australia, Cambodia, Croatia, Georgia, Ghana, Japan, Moldova, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, the Philippines, Serbia, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United States of America, and Vietnam).

The countries of the alliance are committing themselves to a number of policy targets and goals. Thanks to increased international cooperation, the fight against child sexual abuse online will therefore be more effective.

"Behind every child abuse image is an abused child, an exploited and helpless victim. When these images are circulated online, they can live on forever. Our responsibility is to protect children wherever they live and to bring criminals to justice wherever they operate. The only way to achieve this is to team up for more intensive and better coordinated action worldwide", said Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström.

Local MP Dr Dan Poulter visits SAFE Office.

MP Visits SAFE Offices

Local MP Dr Daniel Poulter visited the SAFE office Friday 7 September to discuss the many changes to vetting and barring under the new Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. Dr Poulter kindly offered to work with his Suffolk MP colleagues to raise our concerns with the Home Office

Mother jailed for life for beating son

Source The Independent published on this site January 8th by Jill Powell

A women beat her 7 year old son to death for failing to learn the Koran. She then burned his body to hide the evidence.

To read the story click: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/mother-jailed-for-life-for-beating-son-to-death-because-he-failed-to-learn-koran-by-heart-8441551.html

Children’s Rights International Network (CRIN) annual report published

Source: CRIN published on this site 7th January 2013 by Jill Powell

CRIN Annual Report

From being sentenced to death and life imprisonment, to suffering repression for participating in protests - if the past year has shown us anything, it is that children continue to suffer a wide variety of rights violations across the world. In this context, CRIN continued to identify persistent as well as new and neglected children's rights violations as targets for monitoring and campaigning. Here is another quote from the article:

 'Indeed, at the core of our mission as a children's rights organisation is our resolve to pursue advocacy that enacts change. Fruit of this objective is our new advocacy tool: the “Children's Rights Wiki”. Its purpose is to build a clearer picture of the violations of children's rights that persist in a given country, with the eventual goal of matching these abuses with the available mechanisms as possible avenues of redress. With the new Wiki, we not only seek to inspire collective action in this direction – an ambition we put to the test with a pilot project with partners in Turkey – but also to develop CRIN's role in supporting strong and effective advocacy globally. '

 To read the report click:

http://www.crin.org/violence/search/closeup.asp?infoID=30061

Emergency hospital visits to be logged on child abuse database

Source NSPCC: published on this site 3rd January 2013 by Jill Powell

National database will help medical staff identify children suffering abuse or neglect

Dr Dan Poulter, the Health Minister, has announced that a new £9 million child protection information system is to be introduced. It is hoped that that the system will prevent a repeat of the tragedies such as Baby P and Victoria Climbie who both died at the hands of abusers.

Lisa Harker, head of strategy at the NSPCC, said:

"NHS doctors and nurses are often in the frontline of child protection and play a crucial role in identifying abuse victims as quickly as possible. So this new system for sharing information about children at risk should prove an important aid.

"Of course it's people not databases that can protect children. So, alongside this change, we would like the Department of Health to commit to improving levels of training in child protection across all healthcare settings. The skills of health professionals in recognising early signs of neglect and abuse is key to saving lives. Current levels of training are patchy and the NSPCC is keen to work with the NHS to improve this."

School Caretaker jailed for possessing indecent images

Source BBC online published on this site January 4th 2013 by Jill Powell

A primary school caretaker who admitted possessing nearly 4,000 indecent images of children lived in a cupboard at the school where he worked, a court heard.

Further information from the Article includes:

'Police found 1,749 different indecent images, some of which had been duplicated across the laptop, memory stick and SD card, giving a total of 3,931 images.

Of those, 484 were classified at level four and five at level five - the most serious categories of indecent images.

More than 300 of those pictures showed children under 13.

Ian James, defending, said Clark had split up from his wife three years ago but the couple continued to live together, divorcing in spring last year.'

For the full story click: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-20888174

Online Questionnaire

Source: Office of the Children’s Commissioner published on this site January 2nd 2013 by Jill Powell

The Children’s Commissioner, Maggie Atkinson, is inviting tenders to design and administer an online questionnaire for children and young people to explore child poverty.

To download the invitation to apply click: http://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/content/publications/content_641

Contact the NSPCC if you are worried about a child or need advice

Source: NSPCC, published on this site January 15th 2013 by Jill Powell

Recent media coverage has heightened public awareness of child sexual abuse.In response to an unprecedented surge in willingness to take action, the

'Don't wait until you're certain' national television campaign urges the public to contact the NSPCC helpline and report their concerns about a child.

A poll by the NSPCC and YouGov shows that less than one in five (17 per cent) would report concerns as soon as they arose.

This is supported by the NSPCC’s own findings that almost half of people who contact the helpline have waited over a month to get in touch.

Help spread the word:

            anyone who is worried about a child can contact the NSPCC helpline now on 0808 800 5000

            Ring 101 for the police.

            In an emergency always dial 999 and stop children suffering from abuse. 

New action on female genital mutilation

Source: Home Office, published on this site January 14th by Jill Powell

A panel of experts have come together at the Home Office to discuss ways to tackle female genital mutilation. Crime Prevention Minister Jeremy Browne outlined government action against the 'horrific practice' at a meeting held jointly with the NSPCC. They were joined by other ministers and frontline professionals to examine the issues involved and action needed.

Jeremy Browne said: ‘Female genital mutilation is an abhorrent crime and we are very clear that those found to practice it should feel the full force of the law. The government is working with UK and international agencies and taking action to help prevent women and girls becoming victims. This meeting was a valuable opportunity to discuss the challenges of working with communities affected by female genital mutilation and identify what more we can do to tackle this horrific practice.'

The roundtable event comes after the Home Office announced a new £50,000 fund to support frontline agencies tackling female genital mutilation. Jeremy Browne is also among ministers who have signed a pocket-sized statement against FGM to set out the law, support families and protect those most at risk.

To read more about the subject click: 

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/crime/violence-against-women-girls/female-genital-mutilation/ 

New Guidance, Protecting Children in Wales

Published on this site 10th January 2013

From 1 January 2013, Child Practice Reviews replace Serious Case Reviews in Wales.

The guidance sets out arrangements for CPRs in circumstances of a significant incident where abuse or neglect of a child is known or suspected. It is meant for all Local Safeguarding Children Boards and their partner agencies.

Accompanying the guidance is a 'Guide for Organising and Facilitating Learning Events' to support the CPR arrangements.

To read the Guidance click: http://wales.gov.uk/topics/childrenyoungpeople/publications/safeguard12/?lang=en 

The NSPCC and Metropolitan Police release report into allegations against Jimmy Savile

Source: NSPCC and The Metropolitan Police, published on this site January 11th 2013 by Jill Powell

As Jimmy Savile died in late 2011, criminal prosecutions cannot be brought against him, nor can the testimony of his victims be challenged in the courts. Given the lack of potential justice for the victims, the report is being published in the public domain.

Approximately 600 people have come forward since the beginning of Operation Yewtree to provide information, with about 450 cases referring to Jimmy Savile.

Most of the offences were opportunistic sexual assaults, but there were other cases where grooming or planning occurred. Within the recorded crimes there are 126 indecent acts and 34 rape or penetration offences.

Police and the NSPCC have concluded that Savile was a prolific, predatory sex offender and the scale of his abuse is believed to be unprecedented in the UK. It is believed Savile was able, through his celebrity status, to 'hide in plain sight' while abusing children and adults over six decades.

'It paints a stark picture emphasising the tragic consequences of when vulnerability and power collide,' said Commander Peter Spindler head of the MPS Specialist Crime Investigations.

'Savile's offending footprint was vast, predatory and opportunistic. He cannot face justice today but we hope this report gives some comfort to his hundreds of victims, they have been listened to and taken seriously. We must use the learning from these shocking events to prevent other children and vulnerable adults being abused in the future. They will get a voice' 

Good practice resource - Improving the quality of practice through case audit: Halton Borough Council

Source: Ofsted, published on this site on January 9th 2013 by Jill Powell

This example illustrates how case audit is a powerful driver in improving the quality of front line practice and the management of services for children and families. Recommendations from audit are carefully tracked and outcomes are reported to senior managers and the Halton Safeguarding Children Board.

To read the good practice examples click:

http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/good-practice-resource-improving-quality-of-practice-through-case-audit-halton-borough-council  

New action on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Source; Home Office published on this site 23rd January 2013 by Jill Powell

A panel of experts have come together at the Home Office to discuss ways to tackle female genital mutilation. Crime Prevention Minister Jeremy Browne outlined government action at a meeting held jointly with the NSPCC. They were joined by other ministers and frontline professionals to examine the issues involved and action needed.

The roundtable event comes after the HO announced a new £50,000 fund to support frontline agencies tackling FGM

To read more on FGM the facts, law and multi agency guidelines click:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/crime/violence-against-women-girls/female-genital-mutilation/ 

BASW launches online sex abuse survey with NSPCC & CEOP

BASW is asking all members to take part in a survey, featuring a prize draw for a Carluccio's hamper, aimed at understanding how well equipped social workers feel in dealing with sexual abuse which takes place on the internet and how they would like to be supported in this area.

The survey is a joint initiative between BASW, the NSPCC and CEOP.

This survey contains quick-fire questions and should take no more than five minutes to complete. Your responses will be treated anonymously.

To complete the survey click:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/checkrequest.aspx?aspxerrorpath=/s/CFY7RB8  

A Bill to raise the age of criminal responsibility has its first reading in Parliament

A Bill to raise the age of criminal responsibility has its first reading in Parliament

Source: UK Parliament, published on this site January 18th 2013 by Jill Powell

The Bill had its first reading yesterday. The purpose of the Bill is to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 years to 12 years of age. If this becomes law the Act will be known as the Age of Criminal Responsibility Act 2013.

The Act will only affect England and Wales.

To read the Bill click:

http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2012-13/ageofcriminalresponsibility/documents.html 

National Guidance For Child Protection In Scotland For Health Professionals

Source: Scottish Government published on this January 21st 2013 by Jill Powell

Keeping Scotland's children and young people safe is at the heart of the Scottish Government's vision for the future. Ensuring children and young people are safe is the first step to enabling them to become the responsible citizens, successful learners, confident individuals and effective contributors that they deserve to be.

To download the Guidance click: http://register.scotland.gov.uk/scotland-getting-it-right-for-every-child-girfed-news-alerts/2013/58/17/9ed5f0e8-b38e-42ec-bcda-a14300f84402 

Responding to Forced Marriage: Multi-Agency Practice Guidelines (Scotland) 2013

Source: The Scottish Parliament, published on this site January 17th 2013

These practice guidelines aim to inform frontline practitioners who are responsible for protecting children and adults from the abuse associated with forced marriage.

Executive Summary

The Scottish Parliament passed the Forced Marriage etc. (Protection and Jurisdiction)(Scotland) Act 2011 (referred to in this document as the 'Forced Marriage Act') both to protect people from being forced to marry without their free and full consent as well as those who have already been forced to do so.

These practice guidelines aim to inform frontline practitioners who are responsible for protecting children and adults from the abuse associated with forced marriage.

To read this document click: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2013/01/4056/6 

Message from Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) - Court ruling

Source: DBS, published on this site January 31st January 2013 by Jill Powell

On the 29th January, 2013 Judges at the Court of Appeal (Queens Bench Division) handed down a judgment that stated that the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 infringes Article 8 of the Convention for Human Rights.

We understand that the Home Office sought leave to appeal against this judgement. Therefore until we know the outcome of this appeal it remains business as usual.

When we know more we will keep you informed; information will also be placed on our website for our customers.

To see the DBS website click: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/agencies-public-bodies/dbs/  

Facebook admits it is powerless to stop young users setting up profiles

Facebook admits it is powerless to stop young users setting up profiles

Source The Guardian, published on this site January 29th 2013 by Jill Powell

Director of policy for UK and Ireland admits company 'has not got a mechanism for eradicating problem' of underage users.

Sonia Livingstone, professor of social psychology at the London School of Economics, speaking at the Oxford Media Convention on the 23rd of January 2013 that her research has shown that 34% of UK 9 to 12-year-olds have a Facebook profile.

The world's biggest social network, with more than 1 billlion registered global users, has a rule that under-13s are not allowed to have profiles and also has strict rules for policing explicit content and preventing bullying and grooming. However, there is no stringent verification system to prove the age of Facebook users.

To read the article click: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/jan/23/facebook-admits-powerless-young-users 

Tackling child sexual exploitation

Source Department for Education published on this site on 25th January 2013 by Jill Powell

This article was updated on January 18th 2013

Child sexual exploitation is a form of abuse which involves children (male and female, of different ethnic origins and of different ages) receiving something in exchange for sexual activity. Perpetrators of sexual exploitation are found in all parts of the country and are not restricted to particular ethnic groups.

The national action plan for tackling child sexual exploitation, published on 23 November 2011, brought together actions by the Government and a range of national and local partners to protect children from this largely hidden form of child abuse.

The action plan looks at sexual exploitation from the perspective of the child. It highlights areas where more needs to be done, and sets out specific action that the Government, local agencies, and voluntary and community sector partners need to take, to address this abuse. 

Call for Evidence as part of our major inquiry into the Future of Mental Health Services in the UK.

Source: Mental Health Foundation published on this site 28th January 2013 by Jill Powell

The Mental Health Foundation have issued a Call for Evidence as part of their major inquiry into the Future of Mental Health Services in the UK.

The inquiry is exploring what mental health services might look like in 20–30 years’ time. This will involve anticipating what changes will take place in society, assessing the challenges mental health services may face in the future, and thinking creatively about the ways services can meet these challenges. They hope there findings will help ensure that all mental health services are fit for purpose in the 21st century.

They are therefore releasing a Call for Evidence in order to gather as many people’s views on the future of mental health services as possible.

The Inquiry Panel is chaired by Lord Carlile of Berriew and Professor Dinesh Bhugra.

Over the coming months the Inquiry Panel will be collecting oral and written evidence from a wide range of people. The Panel are particularly keen to hear from people who use mental health services, their carers, and mental health professionals.

Have your say by visiting the Future of Mental Health Services Call for Evidence survey.

Do please help by sending your views. The Call for Evidence will contribute to the Inquiry’s final report, which is expected to be published in Autumn 2013.

To access the survey click: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FOMHS_call_for_evidence

More training to identify and support victims of human trafficking     

Source: Home Office, published on this site January 24th 2013 by Jill Powell

GPs, midwives, youth workers and social workers are among those professionals who will soon benefit from training to identify and help victims of human trafficking, the Home Office announced today.

Training will be rolled out to frontline professionals in major towns and cities across the UK.

The aim is to improve awareness and understanding of trafficking, aid the identification of potential child and adult victims and give information on practical support available including independent legal advice, counselling and help to return to their community / country of origin.

Experienced anti-trafficking practitioners will also provide information on referring suspected victims to support agencies including the UK's victim identification and support system (the National Referral Mechanism).

Immigration minister Mark Harper said: 'Human trafficking is an appalling crime and one which the government is committed to tackling.

'We have already made significant progress in the fight against trafficking with more work than ever before to prosecute criminals and stop organised gangs in their tracks.

'But we are not complacent and training for frontline professionals is vital in order to identify and protect those at risk of harm.

'From next year the National Crime Agency will improve our ability to identify and combat human trafficking activity as it emerges.'  

A National Assembly for Wales Committee has begun a public consultation on the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill.

Source: national Assemble for Wales, published on this site Thursday 7th February 2013 by Jill Powell

The Bill has been proposed by the Welsh Government and its Explanatory Memorandum states:

The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill provides for a single act for Wales that brings together local authorities’ duties and functions in relation to improving the well-being of people who need care and support and carers who need support. The Bill provides the statutory framework to deliver the Welsh Governments commitment to integrate social services to support people of all ages, and support people as part of families and communities.

It will transform the way social services are delivered, primarily through promoting people’s independence to give them stronger voice and control. Integration and simplification of the law for people will also provide greater consistency and clarity to people who use social services, their carers, local authority staff and their partner organisations, the courts and the judiciary. The Bill will promote equality, improve the quality of services and the provision of information people receive, as well as ensuring the right incentives for commissioners to achieve a shared focus on prevention and early intervention.

Children and Families Bill 2013 major reforms to support children and families

Significant reforms to services for vulnerable children and radical proposals to allow parents to choose how they share up to a year’s leave to look after their new-born children have been announced.

The Children and Families Bill, published February 5th, includes reforms to adoption, family justice, an overhaul of Special Educational Needs, reinforcing the role of the Children’s Commissioner and plans to introduce childminders agencies. It also includes the extension of the right to request flexible working to all employees.

The proposed Shared Parental Leave reforms will give parents much greater flexibility about how they ‘mix and match’ care of their child in the first year after birth. They may take the leave in turns or take it together, provided that they take no more than 52 weeks combined in total.

These changes will allow fathers to play a greater role in raising their child, help mothers to go back to work at a time that’s right for them, returning a pool of talent to the workforce. It will also create more flexible workplaces to boost the economy. 

National Care Standards consultation (Scotland)     

Source: Scottish Government, published on this site Monday 4th February 2013 by Jill Powell

The National Care Standards were introduced in 2001. Since then, they've not been reviewed. This consultation will ensure the standards meet the needs of service users as the care sector changes.

To be part of the consultation, email: tbc.draft@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

Action on child sexual exploitation (Scotland)          

Source: Scottish Government, published on this site February 5th 2013 by Jill Powell

A programme of action to tackle child sexual exploitation in Scotland was announced today by Minister for Children and Young People Aileen Campbell.

Speaking a following conference with child protection experts Ms Campbell pledged:

            to pilot improved identification of potential victims, many of whom do not recognise themselves as victims of abuse

            improve the way child sexual exploitation is identified by Scotland’s new single police force to make this form of abuse more visible

            encourage victims to come forward through a new National Confidential Forum, providing a safe space where victims can share their experiences, and

            a new expert group to capture the lessons of sexual exploitation cases elsewhere in the UK, harnessing the expertise of the public and third sector, and make recommendations to the Scottish Government for further action and research. 

Disney plans £3m internet safety campaign around Club Penguin           

Source: The Guardian.co.uk, published on this site on February 1st 2013 by Jill Powell

Disney is launching internet safety campaigns targeting 100m children and parents in Europe, the Middle East and Africa based on its Club Penguin virtual world, capitalising on the recent paedophile scandal surrounding rival Habbo Hotel.

Disney says it will put up £3m of media to support the campaigns: essentially advertising space on its TV channels, websites and magazines across the EMEA region, as well as on Club Penguin and its other virtual worlds. 

To read the full article, go to: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/appsblog/2012/jul/04/disney-club-penguin-child-safety 

Is your organisation’s child and/or adult safeguarding sufficient, compliant and up to date?

Published on this site Thursday 14th February 2013 by Jill Powell

In the light of yesterday's news that the BBC and the estate of Jimmy Savile are being sued by alleged sex abuse victims of the late DJ and presenter, now would be a good time to check that your organisation’s child and/or adult safeguarding systems are in place and you are compliant with your duty of care.

To help you ensure you are compliant, membership of SAFEcic and attainment of the SAFEAward will give you the tools. On line and face to face training, a disclosure and baring service, advice and guidance, all complying with the latest legislation, and best practice guidelines designed and delivered by experts in the field of safeguarding children and safeguarding adults.

Amongst the tools provided are:

            “Whistleblowing”, codes of conduct, data protection, confidentiality statements

            Rigorous recruitment

            Allegation management

            Good Practice guidance

            eSafety policy and leaflets

            Associated policies

            Proformas of policies and procedures for child and adult safeguarding.

            Free expert review of your safeguarding arrangements to attain the SAFE Award

To find out more and become a member just click here!

Ofsted statement on registration and inspection of early years and childcare providers     

Source: Ofsted, published on this site February 13th 2013 by Jill Powell

Following the Channel 4 Dispatches programme ‘How Safe Is Your Child's Nursery?’, broadcast on 11 February 2013, Ofsted has released the following statement:

"We again offer our sincere condolences to Mr and Mrs Malin for the tragic loss of their daughter. Ofsted pays tribute to their tireless campaign work since Rhiya’s death in 2007, which has undoubtedly led to more stringent regulation of nursery settings and more information being made available to parents.

Ofsted has put in processes to ensure that we take quick and decisive action when we have concerns about a nursery setting. We also carry out more rigorous checks at the point of registration to root out unsuitable applicants, including research into previous ownership and management where a re-registration is involved.

The safety of children is our first concern, as it is of every parent. Ofsted has explained to the Department for Education that for a new nursery to be linked more clearly and directly to one that has closed there would need to be changes to the law, and we are pleased the Department is working with us to look at how this could be taken forward.

In the meantime, we have made full details of ‘closed’ nurseries available on our website for three years after their closure.

We have also recently published more guidance for parents on how they can check the quality of prospective childcare providers for their children on the Choosing a childcare provider page. We will continue to listen to feedback from parents and where we can, will act to make further improvements."

To go to Choosing a childcare provider page click: http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/early-years-and-childcare/for-parents-and-carers/choosing-childcare-provider

System failing up to 1.5 million neglected children across UK           

Source: Action For Children, published on this site February 11th 2013 by Jill Powell

Nine out of ten teachers, police officers and social workers are regularly coming into contact with children they suspect are suffering from neglect yet as many as 40 per cent feel powerless to intervene, according to a major report published today by Action for Children.

The State of Child Neglect in the UK reveals that members of the public calling for more support to report rising concerns has almost doubled in the past three years - with studies suggesting up to 1.5 million UK children face the daily reality of neglect.

Today's report is the most comprehensive current review into child neglect, the second in an annual series by the University of Stirling for Action for Children. Almost 6,000 people including the general public, a range of professionals and 27 local authorities took part in the research.

Dame Clare Tickell, Chief Executive for Action for Children, said, "It is of grave concern that one in every ten children could be suffering neglect.

"We know that early help has the potential to transform the lives of children and families, yet today's report tells us that the public aren't being given the know-how they need and professionals' best efforts are being hindered by stretched budgets and a lack of resources. With more and more families struggling, vulnerable children are falling through the cracks of a child protection system that is failing some of those who need it most - sometimes with tragic consequences."

Other key findings from The State of Child Neglect in the UK include:READ MORE: SYSTEM FAILING UP TO 1.5 MILLION NEGLECTED CHILDREN ACROSS UK

Famous Friends front campaign to combat lack of public understanding of dementia

Source: The Alzheimer’s Society, published on this site 12th February 2013

Comedians and actresses Jo Brand and Meera Syal have become two of the first Dementia Friends as Alzheimer’s Society’s trailblazing awareness movement goes live today (Tuesday 12 February 2013).

Dementia Friends is an initiative that aims to give a million people an improved awareness of the condition by 2015, as a new YouGov survey reveals that just under half (48%) of people think they have a good understanding of dementia. From today anyone in England can follow in Jo and Meera’s footsteps and register online for a Dementia Friend session too.

Alzheimer’s Society ambassador Jo, who recently appeared in BBC4 drama series Getting On and the charity’s new supporter Meera, best known for The Kumars at No 42 took part in the first official Dementia Friends session along with other members of the public including a junior doctor and a member of the National Federation of Women’s Institute.

The free volunteer-led information sessions are being rolled out from Bristol to Sunderland today. They aim to improve public knowledge of dementia, by helping people understand what living with the condition might be like, and the small things that they could do to make a difference to people living in their community.

The roll out is being jointly funded by the Department of Health and the Cabinet Office, as part of the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia. As well as encouraging people to sign up as Dementia Friends, Alzheimer’s Society is also calling on people to volunteer to be a Dementia Friends Champion. Dementia Friends Champions talk to people about being a Dementia Friendin their communities. They attend a training course, receive on-going support and are part of a growing network of people creating dementia friendly communities together.

Publication of the final report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry

Source: The Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry, published on this site February 8th 2013 by Jill Powell

On the 6th of February, Robert Francis QC, Chairman of the Inquiry publishes his final report

following consideration of over 250 witnesses and over one million pages of documentary evidence.

The Inquiry has been examining the commissioning, supervisory and regulatory bodies in the monitoring of Mid Staffordshire hospital between January 2005 and March 2009. It has been considering why the serious problems at the Trust were not identified and acted on sooner, and identifying important lessons to be learnt for the future of patient care. It builds on Mr Francis’s earlier report, published in 2010 after the earlier independent inquiry on the failings in the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust between 2005 and 2009.

The Inquiry identifies a story of terrible and unnecessary suffering of hundreds of people who were failed by a system which ignored the warning signs of poor care and put corporate self interest and cost control ahead of patients and their safety.

The Chairman makes 290 recommendations designed to change this culture and make sure patients come first by creating a common patient centred culture across the NHS.  

The State of Child Neglect in the UK

Source Action for Children published on this site Thursday 21st 2013 by Jill Powell

9 out of 10 teachers, police officers and social workers are regularly coming into contact with children they suspect are suffering from neglect yet as many as 40% feel powerless to intervene, according to this report published by Action for Children.

The report reveals that members of the public calling for more support to report rising concerns has almost doubled in the past 3 years - with studies suggesting up to 1.5m UK children face the daily reality of neglect.

Other key findings include:

14% of professionals reported a rise in suspected child neglect over the past 12 months

Of these, many believe deterioration in parenting skills (70%), greater poverty (66%) and more family breakdowns (55%) are contributing factors to the increase in neglect

Half of professionals feel there are barriers which make it difficult to intervene in suspected cases of neglect, in particular because of a lack of available services and resources like time and staffing

A third of the general public who had concerns about a child did not tell anyone, mainly because they did not think they had enough evidence or were uncertain it was neglect

To read more click: http://www.actionforchildren.org.uk/news/archive/2013/february/system-failing-up-to-15-million-neglected-children-across-uk

This is Abuse - new advert launched  

Source Home Office published on this site Wednesday 20th February 2013

A series of three new hard hitting TV adverts have been launched as part of the This is Abuse campaign to raise awareness and challenge abusive behaviour in teen relationships.

This is Abuse shows young people that abuse in relationships is not just about domestic violence but can include controlling and coercive behaviour.

Crime Prevention Minister Jeremy Browne said: 'Sadly, emotional abuse is surprisingly common in teenage relationships with 75 per cent of girls and 50 per cent of boys reporting that they have experienced it.

'We need to challenge and bring out into the open the attitudes and behaviours that foster an acceptance of abuse. The government's This is Abuse campaign has made great strides in doing just that since its launch in 2010.

'The latest campaign adverts launched today will ensure this good work continues, that unacceptable behaviour is challenged and teenagers are helped to recognise abuse when they see it.'

To find out more click: http://thisisabuse.direct.gov.uk/

Coporate Accountability and Safeguarding of Adults from Abuse and Neglect Bill and Report

Source UK Parliament published on this site February 18th 2013 by Jill Powell

In January Paul Burstow, introduced his Bill Corporate Accountability and Safeguarding of Adults from Abuse and Neglect to the Commons.In his speech he described the Bill as having two elements:

1. to improve adult safeguarding and

2. to close a loophole in the criminal law. It would amend the Health and Social Care Act 2008 to include a new offence of corporate neglect.

This new law would act as a deterrent. It would force weak boards of directors to pull their socks up, visiting their services, talking to and, vitally, listening to the people who use those services and listening to and including the families of those whom they are caring for—and, engaging with the staff, being interested in them and in their professional development.

Summary of the Corporate Accountability and Safeguarding of Adults from Abuse and Neglect Bill 2012-13 states:

A Bill to hold corporations criminally accountable for abuse and neglect in care settings; to make provision to compel any person or organisation to supply information to Adult Safeguarding Boards; and to introduce a new offence of corporate neglect whereby a corporate body can be found guilty if the way in which its activities are managed or organised by its board or senior management is a substantial element in the existence or possible occurrence of abuse or neglect.

The Bill is yet to be published but to read Paul Burstow’s report on the subject, click: http://paulburstow.org.uk/en/document/reports-undertaken-by-paul-burstow-archive/care-and-corporate-neglect-report

Committee calls for national standard for action on anti-social behaviour

Source: UK Parliament published on this site Tuesday February 19th 2013 by Jill Powell

The Home Affairs Committee published its Report on the draft Anti-social Behaviour Bill on Friday 15 February 2013.

The Committee finds that:

The rationalisation of the number of anti-social behaviour (ASB) powers is welcome;

Key elements necessary to tackle ASB are missing: good inter-agency working, intelligent information sharing and a network of services;

The move away from automatic criminalisation for breach of an Injunction is positive, but the powers are far too wide: to prohibit or demand almost any kind of action in response to almost any kind of behaviour;

The “Community Remedy” must not “become the modern pillory or stocks”: officers must have the discretion to choose alternative disposals;

The “Community Trigger” will not be effective against persistent ASB unless there is a national limit on the number of complaints that can be made before action is taken. There must be a guaranteed response to ASB and it must not depend on where you live.

The Committee calls on Government to:

Strengthen the Community Trigger so that authorities that do not deal with ASB are identified and held to account and decisive action is taken to deal with the problem;

Set up a new National Anti-social Behaviour Forum—headed by a chief constable, a housing association chief executive, and a local council leader, for a term of two years—to identify “what works” in ASB reduction;

End the arms race against Anti-social Behaviour by setting reasonable limits on the behaviour covered by the new powers.

To read the report click: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmhaff/836/836.pdf

Consultation on proposed changes to child performance legislation, the Government’s response 

Source: Department for Education published on this site Thursday 28th February 2013 by Jill Powell

The Government has published a report of the consultation on proposed changes to child performance legislation. The key purpose of the measures proposed in the consultation was to increase the opportunities for children to benefit from taking part in performances, and to ensure that children in different areas can access them on an equal basis.

The proposals were intended to clarify responsibilities for the safety, wellbeing and education of children when they perform, and to remove unnecessary bureaucracy from the performance licensing framework. The report summarises the views expressed in the consultation exercise.

If you are a parent or production company and wish to make an enquiry about a licence for a performance, you need to contact your local authority. Further information can be found in the 'child employment' pages of the Directgov website.

To access Directgov click: https://www.gov.uk/child-employment/minimum-ages-children-can-work

To read the report click: http://media.education.gov.uk/assets/files/pdf/c/consultation%20response%20final.pdf

The Young Person's Guide to the Children and Families Bill

Source Department for Education published on this site 27th February 2013 by Jill Powell

The Children and Families Bill takes forward the Coalition Government’s commitments to improve services for vulnerable children and support strong families. It underpins wider reforms to ensure that all children and young people can succeed, no matter what their background.

The Bill will reform the systems for adoption, looked after children, family justice and special educational needs. It will encourage growth in the childcare sector, introduce a new system of shared parental leave and ensure children in England have a strong advocate for their rights.

This Guide is a good summary of what young people need to know is in the Bill. It is not the law or the Bill itself. It explains what will change for children and families if the Bill gets agreed.

The Bill’s main ideas

            What the new law would change about adoption

            What the new law would change for looked after children at school

            What the new law would change about family courts

            What the new law would change for children and young people with special educational needs

            What the new law would change about helping parents by caring for children outside school

            How the new law would change the Children’s Commissioner

            What the new law would change for parents when they have a new child

            How the new law would help people fit their work times around other things in their lives

            What next?

 To download the guide click: https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/standard/publicationDetail/Page1/DFE-00020-2013

New Window for Online Safety and Reporting 

Source: CEOP published on this site Monday 25th February 2013 by Jill Powell

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre and Microsoft have teamed up so it’s easier than ever for Windows 8 users to access CEOP’s online safety advice pages or make a report about suspicious or inappropriate contact online.

Through a new app, downloadable for free from the Windows store, parents and children can quickly explore CEOP’s award winning educational videos, see the latest campaigns or follow CEOP’s Facebook page or Twitter feed updates.

CEOP and Microsoft hope the app will offer reassurance to parents and children using Window’s 8 through the ability to report quickly or access support. Reports could be someone acting inappropriately, engaging in sexual chat, asking you to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable or threatened, or may be as a result of someone being insistent about meeting up.

While users are using other Windows 8 applications, such as Internet Explorer, if they come across a website they want to report to CEOP they can use the shared functionality of the app to quickly access e-safety pages and alert the Centre.

CEOP produce a wide range of educational films and other resources through its Thinkuknow programme. These deal with a range of issues experiences by young people online and empowers them with awareness of the risks so they can protect themselves.

To access the app click: http://apps.microsoft.com/windows/en-gb/app/ceop/b9034b99-c621-4467-933c-592c656c9df1

Professionals working with children have highlighted their fears for children’s nutrition in Austerity Britain.

Source: Children’s Food Trust, published on this site Tuesday 26th February 2013 by Jill Powell

The Children’s Food Trust collected views from more than 250 people working with children - including youth workers, childminders, teachers, family intervention workers, doctors, paediatricians, staff from further education colleges and hospitals – on how children’s diet has changed in the last two years.

One of the results highlights the poor quality of food;

158 professionals who worked in schools gave their views on whether they had noticed a change in the types of products in children’s lunchboxes as household budgets have got tighter. Almost half (47%) said yes. Examples included:

* “Less good quality food”

* “More cheap junk food”

* “More chocolate and crisps; less bread and sandwiches”

* “Some children come in with just a packet of biscuits”

* “Less fruit”

* “Some families only give cold cooked rice or cold chips with fish fingers”

Well known Paediatrician suggests nine measures to help prevent sexual abuse of children

Source: University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-School of Osteopathic Medicine. Published on this site February 22nd 2013 by Jill Powell

Paediatricians know that when they discuss seat belt, bicycle and water safety during annual wellness visits they are helping to reduce a child's risk of harm. Those same visits should include messages about personal space and privacy, says Dr. Martin A. Finkel, an internationally known expert in the prevention and treatment of child sexual abuse, and he is urging paediatricians to begin a dialogue that will help children avoid the physical and mental health consequences of sexual abuse.

"Our failure to incorporate these messages is not because we are unaware of the issue of child sexual abuse, but perhaps because we find the topic unpalatable or don't have the language to address it," said Finkel, medical director and co-founder of the Child Abuse Research and Education Services (CARES) Institute at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-School of Osteopathic Medicine. "It's well overdue that paediatricians add this issue to their prevention repertoire."

In a letter distributed to members of the New Jersey chapter of the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP/NJ), Dr. Finkel highlights the urgent need for this approach. He notes that one in four girls and one in seven boys become victims of child sexual abuse, that 40 percent of the victims are younger than six, and that a perpetrator is most likely to be a family member or someone with easy access to the child. 

Department of Health to build ‘Dementia Village’ at Healthcare Innovation Expo    

Source Department of Health published on this site Thursday March 7th 2013 by Jill Powell

The Department of Health (DH) is hosting a major dementia event at the Healthcare Innovation Expo at ExCeL London on 13 and 14 of March 2013. A dedicated area of the exhibition hall will be devoted to a ‘Dementia Village’ to showcase good practice and innovation in dementia care, dementia friendly communities and research.

The village will contain a main stage for speakers, a village green and bandstand with leisure and entertainment activities to get involved in, and a house demonstrating ways that we can support people with dementia and their carers to live well.

There will be a school hosting workshops and sessions enabling people to become Dementia Friends. A high street will house a number of organisations taking innovative approaches to helping people living with dementia, and a cinema will show dementia-related films. Trevor’s Garden will provide a quiet space for delegates and information on the potential benefits of dementia friendly gardens. This is an artist’s impression of what the village will look like:

Healthcare Innovation Expo is the largest healthcare innovation event in Europe. The main objective of the expo is to encourage the spread of innovations that have a significant impact on improving the quality of patient care and productivity in the UK. There will be a wide range of exhibitors, including DH and many of the new NHS organisations such as the NHS Commissioning Board. There will be a comprehensive seminar programme with more than 100 seminars to choose from. Up to 10,000 delegates are expected to attend over 2 days.

To book a place click: http://register.healthcareinnovationexpo.com/

For a discount quote the code GBNHS761

Castlebeck care homes go into administration following abuse scandal

Source: BBC News published on this site Wednesday 6th March 2013 by Jill Powell

Castlebeck, the company at the centre of a BBC-exposed scandal into physical abuse and neglect at one of its care homes, has gone into administration.

Eleven care workers admitted a total of 38 charges last year after they were secretly filmed abusing patients at Winterbourne View near Bristol.

Administrators Grant Thornton have been brought in to manage the process.

All 214 residents across 20 UK sites will still receive care from Castlebeck while a buyer is found, says the firm.

In a statement, Daniel Smith, one of the company's partners, said the Winterbourne View home had been immediately closed after the abuse was revealed, with the company "promptly undertaking a root and branch internal review of its operations".

He said: "Whilst the board has focused on quality care provision and restoring confidence in the Castlebeck operations, the impact of two further unit closures in 2011 and reducing occupancy has significantly diluted Castlebeck's subsequent trading capabilities. "

 The sale of the entire business to one purchaser was unlikely in the short term, the statement said, and the board had appointed an administrator.

"A number of prospective purchasers have already shown their interest in acquiring the individual Castlebeck operating units, which will continue to operate and trade normally whilst such sales are progressed, and new owners for the operating units emerge," Mr Smith added. He said the company, which is based in Darlington, County Durham, was engaged in discussions with the care regulators, local authorities and other stakeholders regarding the administration processes.

Six out of 11 care workers were jailed after acts of abuse at the home, which looked after people with severe learning difficulties, were uncovered by BBC Panorama. Five others were given suspended sentences. During five weeks spent filming undercover, Panorama's reporter captured footage of some of the hospital's most vulnerable patients being pinned down, slapped, dragged into showers while fully clothed, taunted and teased. The judge, Judge Neil Ford QC said there was a "culture of cruelty" at the care home and if the abuse had not been uncovered by the BBC, it would have continued.

The hospital charged taxpayers an average of £3,500 per patient per week.

For more information on Castlebeck click: http://www.castlebeck.com/media-news/news/statement/

Statistics on children in need include data for Wales for the period up to the end of March 2012.

Source: Welsh Government published on this site 4thMarch 2013 by Jill Powell

The latest statistics produced by the Welsh Government were released on 27 February 2013 according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

Statistics on children in need include data for Wales for the period up to the end of March 2012. The latest release updates the statistics previously released on 29 February 2012.

The key points from this release are:

            there were 20,240 children in need included in the CIN census at 31 March 2012, which was a rate of 320 per 10,000 children aged under 18 years, and 70 who were unborn

            more than a third (36 per cent) of referrals were from local authority departments and a further 29 per cent from the police and primary or community health services

            a quarter (25 per cent) of children in need had a disability

            parental substance or alcohol misuse and domestic abuse were the most frequently recorded parenting capacity factors

            the attainment of children in need at each Key Stage assessment was much lower than the average for all pupils

to read this latest census click: http://wales.gov.uk/topics/statistics/headlines/health2013/wales-children-need-census-2012/?lang=en

New app for young people who are most at risk of being forced into marriage

Source Gov.Uk published on this site Tuesday 5th March 2013 by Jill Powell

Freedom Charity is today launching a new smartphone app designed to provide information about forced marriage with links to where potential victims can get help. The free app, which has been part-funded by the Forced Marriage Unit, is available to download on iPhone.

The free app will be a useful tool for both victims and professionals alike. It is designed to look like a game and offers, among other things, advice on where to go for help, and what the warning signs may be.

Home Office Minister for Crime Prevention, Jeremy Browne, said:

Forced marriage is a devastating form of abuse that is absolutely unacceptable in our society. The new figures show an alarming number of victims, including the young and vulnerable. It is vital we protect them. By criminalising forced marriage the government is sending a strong message that this terrible practice will not be tolerated. But legislation alone is not enough and the new app will also provide a crucial lifeline for potential victims.

Freedom Charity founder, Aneeta Prem, said:

It is more important than ever that everyone in the UK is aware of the warning signs of a forced marriage. By downloading the Freedom app, developed in conjunction with the Government’s Forced Marriage Unit and the Metropolitan Police, the user is just a couple of button presses away from life saving help. It’s the 999 of apps and we urge everyone to download it, for free, today.

The Forced Marriage Unit gave advice or support related to a possible forced marriage in 1485 cases involving 60 different countries across Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America last year. Of the 744 cases where the age was known, over 600 of those involved were young people under the age of 26.

If you are worried about being forced into marriage, or are worried about a friend who you think may be forced into marriage, the Forced Marriage Unit can provide confidential advice and support through its helpline 0207 008 0151 and email: fmu@fco.gov.uk

To obtain the app click: http://www.freedomcharity.org.uk/

Torbay Safeguarding Children Board (TSCB) published in February, the executive summary of a serious case review in to the sexual exploitation of girls by young males.

Source: (TSCB) published on this site March 1st 2013 by Jill Powell

Issues include:

            early sexual activity of the girls;

            two of the girls were in care and had histories of abuse and neglect;

            the male offenders also came from vulnerable backgrounds and were involved in crime from an early age.

Lessons for the review:

            Professionals from all agencies need to be made fully aware of sexual exploitation, including how to identify signs of vulnerability.

            All professionals should have access to a supervisory relationship within which they can reflect on the biases, values and assumptions that may be influencing their assessments and decisions.

            There is a need to identify whether Fraser Guidelines are being implemented correctly along with the Gillick competences.

            There is a need to consider the review of the National guidelines in light of the growing knowledge about sexual exploitation.

            To review local guidelines in the light of growing knowledge about sexual exploitation.

            There is a need to undertake full assessments of the geographic location and an update assessment of the young person when considering placement changes.

            Agencies supervising young people within the criminal justice system need to work with assessment frameworks which enable them to assess fully the potential vulnerability of the individual as well as well as their risk of re offending.

            Disclosures of sexual exploitation/abuse must be dealt with as a serious crime in line with procedures. The victim must be fully supported in order to reduce their future exposure to risk.

Recommendations include:

            raising professionals’ awareness of vulnerabilities leading to sexual exploitation;

            agencies responsible for young offenders being made aware of their vulnerability and

            the risk they pose to other young people as abusers.

 To read the full executive summary click: http://www.torbay.gov.uk/index/yourservices/fis/supportandadvice/tscb-holding-2011/tscb/seriouscasereviews.htm

Minister of State for Care and Support, Mr Lamb, in an interview with the Daily Telegraph proposes that care home staff will be forced to undergo compulsory training for the first time under government plans to protect the elderly from abuse and neglect.      

Source: The Daily Telegraph published on this site Friday March 15th 2013 by Jill Powell

The lack of basic requirements for training care workers is leaving frail pensioners in the hands of staff who have “no idea what they are doing”, Norman Lamb, the health minister, warned.

Proposals expected within weeks will outline national minimum standards for preparing new recruits to work in nursing homes. Carers who help with tasks such as washing and dressing elderly people in their own homes will also be required to undertake the training. The new rules could be extended to hospitals to improve standards among health care assistants and auxiliary nurses in the wake of the Mid Staffordshire NHS scandal. Mr Lamb, the Liberal Democrat care minister, told The Telegraph it was not acceptable that there are no “clear standards of the training that must happen in a care home”. A basic course teaching the essential skills should be “fundamental”, he said. “I would not want a loved one of mine — or indeed myself — to be cared for by someone who has no training.”

Criminal prosecutions must follow in the most “outrageous cases” of abuse but reforms are needed to improve the quality of care more widely in nursing homes and in pensioners’ own homes, he said. Beyond basic criminal records checks, there are no legal requirements for qualifications or training for someone to work in a care home or provide home help services.

Mr Lamb said: "I want minimum training standards to apply across the board. “This is often quite intimate care: dressing someone, getting them out of bed, bathing them, so this is really important."

HMIC expresses serious concerns over why so many victims felt unable to approach the police with allegations against Jimmy Savile during his lifetime  

Source: HMIC published on this site on 13th March 2013 by Jill Powell

HMIC’s review of allegations made against Jimmy Savile during his lifetime finds mistakes were made by the police; and while policies and practices designed to improve the experience of child victims are now available, we raise serious concerns over why so many victims felt unable to come forward and report what had happened to the authorities.

HMIC asked police forces to provide all information relating to sexual abuse by Jimmy Savile recorded before the launch of Operation Yewtree (05 October 2012). The findings are surprising, given what is now known of Savile’s prolific offending over many decades: the police recorded just five allegations of criminal conduct and two pieces of intelligence information during Savile’s lifetime, with the earliest of these records dating from 1964. In stark contrast, since 2012 more than 600 people have come forward with allegations against Savile. It is of serious concern that so few victims of abuse felt able to go to the police at the time in the knowledge that action would be taken.

Although Savile lived in West Yorkshire for much of his life, the seven pieces of information considered in our report were identified by the police in Surrey, Sussex and London. During the course of this review, the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire referred questions relating to the relationship between West Yorkshire Police and Savile to the IPCC.

To improve our understanding of why no specific allegations against Savile were recorded before 2003, HMIC considered policy and practice changes in the police service and the wider criminal justice system over Savile’s period of offending. HMIC found that a child reporting sexual abuse today is likely to be better treated than 50 years ago. But there is still more to do if children are to receive the full protection of the changes that have been introduced since then.

Neglect and Serious Case Reviews A report from the University of East Anglia commissioned by NSPCC

Source NSPCC Inform published on this site Monday 11th March 2013 by Jill Powell

The NSPCC and the University of East Anglia have published a systematic analysis of neglect in serious case reviews in England between 2003 and 2011. Findings include the fact that 59% of children known to social services who died or were seriously injured had been on a child protection plan for neglect at some point in their lives. Recommendations include: an expert social worker in every local authority to advise on child neglect cases.

To read the review click: http://www.nspcc.org.uk/Inform/resourcesforprofessionals/neglect/neglect-scrs-pdf_wdf94689.pdf

To read a BBC report click: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-21714645

Care for people with dementia is not meeting their needs as services are struggling to cope.

Source: Care Quality Commission (CQC) published on this site Tuesday 12th March 2013 by Jill Powell

The CQC’s second Care Update report also highlights concerns around the quality of services for people with mental health issues and learning disabilities.

The report, which updates on the first issue (published in June last year) and our national State of Care publication, draws on information from our inspections and a range of other data. It also builds on the views and experiences of people who use services.

The findings show people living in a care home and suffering from dementia are more likely to go to hospital with avoidable conditions such as urinary infections.

Once there, they are more likely to stay longer, be readmitted or die than those without dementia.

To read the full report click: http://www.cqc.org.uk/public/reports-surveys-and-reviews/reports/care-update-issue-2

Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the Chief Police Officers (ACPO) have announced a package of measures intended to change and improve the criminal justice response to sexual offending, particularly involving children.

Source CPS published on this site Friday 8th March 2013 by Jill Powell

CPS and ACPO have agreed the following measures:

1.There needs to be a radical clearing of the decks in relation to policy and guidance about investigations and prosecuting sexual offences, particularly in relation to offences against children. A swift review by ACPO of existing policies and procedures on child abuse investigation has revealed no less than 19 practice guidelines, dating between 2002 and 2013. Some of these are intended to be national policies, some are specifically for the police and partner agencies. For its part, the CPS has policies covering rape and sexual offences, child abuse, safeguarding, child victims and witnesses, some of which are CPS specific and others of which are intended to be joint ACPO/CPS policy. Notably the CPS has no policy relating specifically to child sexual exploitation. What is needed is one overarching and agreed approach to the investigation and prosecution of sexual offences, applicable in all police force areas and agreed by the CPS. All other existing policy then needs to be cancelled and made inaccessible. Both ACPO and the CPS agreed that this overarching policy should be promulgated by the newly established College of Policing and I am happy to report that the college has not only agreed to undertake the task, but has also undertaken to have draft policy ready for consultation in May this year. This is real progress and both David Whatton and I are very grateful to the College of Policing for their assistance on this matter. For its part the CPS will draft new prosecution specific guidance on sexual offences concerning children within the same timeframe. By this means both ACPO and the CPS hope to introduce a scheme for consistent best practice across England and Wales.

 2.To ensure that there is no gap between policy and practice, I have agreed with ACPO that a training package should be prepared, delivering practical advice and guidance to front line police and prosecutors dealing with child sexual exploitation cases. There will be two elements to this training. First, specific training delivered by my Principal Legal Advisor, Alison Levitt QC, on the lessons to be learnt from the way the Savile allegations were dealt with. This will be delivered to both CPS and police specialists. Secondly, more general advice on the new overarching guidance that we are developing. This training needs to be practical and hands-on. For example, advising police officers and prosecutors to consider carefully whether one complainant should be told about other complaints is helpful, but advising them in practical terms precisely when a complainant can and should be told about other complaints, and how far they can go in providing detail, is far more useful.

 3.In addition, we have proposed the formation of a national scoping panel, which will review complaints made in the past which were not pursued by police and prosecutors, if requested. The proposal is subject to approval by Chief Constables later this week but it is envisaged that the panel will review cases where either the police or the CPS advised that no further action should be taken in the past and alleged perpetrator may pose a continuing risk to the complainant or others. Cases will be referred to the panel by individual police forces where complainants raise questions about past cases with them and the role of the panel will be to advise the relevant Chief Constable whether in the panels view the case should be reinvestigated. Panel membership is yet to be finally decided, but there will be high level representation from senior prosecutors from the CPS, either Chief Crown Prosecutors or Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutors and senior police officers at ACPO rank, and it is hoped that an independent third element can also be added.

Both ACPO and I hope that these three measures - overarching single guidance, specialist training and a national scoping panel - will go some way to reassuring victims, and the public more generally, that the CPS and the police have taken the challenges posed by recent cases and reports relating to children seriously, and that we are prepared to take swift and decisive action together

To read more of the background and rational behind the measures click: http://www.cps.gov.uk/news/articles/the_criminal_justice_response_to_child_sexual_abuse_-_time_for_a_national_consensus/

 The Draft Care and Support Bill requires amongst other key recommendations, stronger measures on safeguarding, including explicit responsibilities for local authorities to prevent abuse and neglect.

Source: Parliament UK published on this site March 22nd 2013 by Jill Powell

The Rt Hon Paul Burstow MP, Chair of the Joint Committee on the Draft Care & Support Bill has published a report on the Draft Bill. Following consultation the committee has put forward a number of recommendations for amendment.

Amongst the recommendations for Safeguarding are:

            The safeguarding provisions should include a power of entry for local authority representatives where a third party is refusing access to a person who may be at risk of abuse or neglect.

            The draft Bill should include an explicit power to obtain information relevant to the conduct of safeguarding adult reviews.

            An amendment should be made to the Bill to put beyond doubt the duty of local authorities to make enquires extends to cases where abuse or neglect has occurred in the past but still needs to be investigated.

            Additions of membership, are suggested, to the Local Adult Safeguarding Boards which will now be statutory under the Bill.

 To read the many recommendations and amendments in the full report click: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt201213/jtselect/jtcare/143/143.pdf

Interim Guidance on the Management, Recording and Investigation of Missing Persons 2013

Source: Association of Chief police Officers (ACPO) published on this site Thursday 21st March 2013 by Jill Powell

Police forces are to move towards a new approach to risk assessing and responding to missing person cases that aims to better protect children and vulnerable adults

From April 2013, a new definition will give police forces a tool to identify and direct resources towards those cases where missing persons are most at risk of harm.

ACPO lead for missing people Chief Constable Pat Geenty said:

“Every year there are around 327,000 reports of missing people, nearly 900 a day. Behind these numbers are friends and families undergoing enormous distress and the police service is committed to doing as much as we can to bring their loved ones home safely.

“The police are often the first agency to take a missing person report and our aim is to ensure we get the best possible response to those most at risk of harm. This means identifying these cases early so that policing resources go where they are most needed.

“Safeguarding children and vulnerable adults requires a multi-agency response and both police and partners agree on the need to move beyond a ‘one-size fits all’ response. We have worked closely with partners and the College of Policing to ensure we use their knowledge and expertise in this area. That input has helped to shape the pilot and our implementation plans and we believe the new approach will better protect children and vulnerable adults.”

Chief Constable Alex Marshall, Chief Executive of the College of Policing, said:

"The missing persons pilots show how the College is adding real value by working with partners to evaluate local policing innovations and then using the results to shape national practice. The work of the Reducing Bureaucracy Programme Board is a good example of the police service taking an evidence based approach. By identifying the risks better, the police can focus more on the people most at risk of harm, and work with partners to safeguard the vulnerable."

Under the current definition anyone whose whereabouts is unknown is classed as missing until located. Reviews of the police approach to missing people expressed concern about initial police responses to calls about young people who were regularly reported as missing by children’s homes, in spite of the children’s home knowing where the person was, not having taken steps to return them and not anticipating the person would come to any harm.

Examples may include children’s homes calling the police when a person was half an hour late for a 7pm curfew one evening, when a person regularly went to a friend’s house (though unauthorised to do so) or was seen walking out of the children’s home but not challenged.

Such calls would ordinarily trigger a full police response. Officers are required to attend all missing person reports, conduct a risk assessment, complete detailed records and locate and return the person.

The new definition distinguishes between people who are:

Absent- not at a place where they are expected or required to be.

Missing- not at the place they are expected to be but the circumstances are out of character or the context suggests they may be subject of a crime or at risk of harm to themselves or others.

To read the full the interim guidance click: http://www.acpo.police.uk/documents/crime/2013/201303-cba-int-guid-missing-persons.pdf

 

Child protection: information sharing project

Source: Department of Health published on this site Tuesday 19th March 2013 by Jill Powell

The Child Protection Information Sharing (CP-IS) project helps the NHS give a higher level of protection to children who present in unscheduled health care settings, including:

            emergency departments

            walk-in centres

            minor injury units

            GP out of hours services

            ambulance services

            maternity

            paediatric wards.

Appropriate healthcare staff working in these areas will be able to identify if a child is subject to a child protection plan or is looked after by a local authority.

CP-IS will tackle a long standing problem for NHS staff, the lack of ready access to timely information which would help inform a clear assessment of a child’s risk of abuse or neglect. The information will support the clinician in the decision making process and encourage communication with social care. It will not be there to override the assessment of the child’s needs.

 

New alliance releases tips to help people living with dementia stay at home

Source: Alzheimer's Society published on this site Wednesday 20th March 2013 by Jill Powell

More than one in 10 (nearly 57,000) people currently living with dementia at home will go in to long term care too early due to a lack of support and awareness of where to go for help.

Argos, Homebase, Alzheimer's Society and its sister charities in Scotland and Ireland have joined forces to tackle the problem and help thousands of people stay in their own homes and enjoy life in the community.

Today, the partnership launches a brand new set of tips for living well with dementia at home. With the majority of people (83%) wanting to live in their own homes, the group is calling on people living with dementia to seek support early in order to stay living in the comforts of their own home and their community. The tips cover everything from contacting social services to ways to make everyday life easier.

To read the top tips click: alzheimers.org.uk/hometips.

New study by Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) reveals child sexual abuse content as top online concern and potentially 1.5m adults have stumbled upon it.

Source: IWF published on this site Monday 18th March 2013 by Jill Powell

More people in Britain are concerned about websites showing the sexual abuse of children than other types of illegal, illicit or ‘harmful’ internet content. However, more than half of people in Britain currently say that they either wouldn’t know how to report it if they were to encounter it (40%) or would just ignore it (12%).

The ComRes poll conducted among a representative sample of 2058 British adults for the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) shows the vast majority of people in Britain think that child sexual abuse content (“child pornography”) (91%) and computer generated images or cartoons of child sexual abuse (85%) should be removed from the internet.

83% of people overall say they are ‘concerned’ about child pornography with 74% saying they are ‘very concerned’.

Followed by:

            77% are concerned about computer generated images or cartoons of child sexual abuse;

            73% are concerned about terrorist websites;

            68% are concerned about very extreme/violent pornography;

            62% are concerned about hate websites (racist or homophobic);

            61% are concerned about suicide websites;

            51% are concerned about eating disorder websites.

            4% of men – the equivalent of one million men, and 2% of women, the equivalent of 500,000, report actually having come into contact with it, or have stumbled across it.

            Four times the proportion of men who acknowledged having come into contact with child sexual abuse content (“child pornography”) (4%) say that they would ignore it if they stumbled across it (16%).

 

Care Quality Commission (CQC) finds Mental Capacity Act not well understood across all sectors and calls for more work by providers and commissioners to improve

Source: CQC published on this site Tuesday April 2nd 2013 by Jill Powell

CQC’s report on its monitoring of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards reveals that there is still a widespread lack of understanding of the wider Mental Capacity Act. The Mental Capacity Act is a very important mechanism for protecting the rights of people who do not have the ability (mental capacity) to make certain decisions for themselves.

CQC’s evidence shows that in some care homes and hospitals, people’s freedom to make decisions for themselves is restricted without proper consideration of their ability to consent or refuse.

Some examples showed little or no evidence of any attempt to maximise a person’s decision-making capacity before resorting to restriction or restraint. The use of the phrase ‘best interests’ does not always appear to signal that there has been a process of best interests decision-making in accordance with the MCA.

David Behan, Chief Executive of the Care Quality Commission said: “If someone has dementia or has a severe learning disability they can still contribute to decisions about their care. If this is done properly then people will receive appropriate care; if it is not done then people can be deprived of their liberty. Understanding the Mental Capacity Act and the way it is applied is critical to good quality, safe care. Those providing services, must ensure that their staff understand the Act and what it means for the care and treatment of people.”

The report found:

There is confusion among care staff about the basic MCA requirements especially relating to the use of restraint. The use of restraint is not always recognised or recorded properly. Because of this it is not easy to monitor.

The report identified a lack of training. In some cases it was reported that managers and senior staff had received training, but other types of care staff had not. This variation suggests that while some form of training is being provided it is not consistent.

The use of restraint can become routine when there is a lack of understanding and proper governance. It can also be hard for staff to gauge whether restraint is proportionate and in someone’s best interests.

Another theme identified was poor practice in services where non-detained patients were on wards alongside patients detained under the MHA and their rights were being restricted alongside those of the detained patients. This seemed to be due to a lack of staff knowledge and awareness concerning the differences between the MCA and Mental Health Act

There is very little evidence of the involvement of people who use services and their relatives/friends in the processes of the Safeguards themselves. This is a significant omission: such consultation with the ‘relevant person’ and with their relatives and/or close friends interested in their welfare is a mandatory part of the assessment process.

 

 

Patients First and Foremost

Source: Department of Health published on this site Thursday 28th March 2013 by Jill Powell

The Initial Government Response to the Report of The Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry has been published this week.

In his forward The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP Secretary of State for Health says:

“The Public Inquiry focused on how the wider system responded to failings in one hospital between 2005 and 2009, but the whole health and care system needs to listen, reflect and act to tackle the key challenges of culture and behaviour that the report makes so clearly. This initial response focuses on hospitals, but all of us across the health and care system must challenge ourselves to embrace the lessons of such a failure – including in primary and community care and in social care.

There are four key groups that are essential to creating a culture of safety, compassion and learning that is based on cooperation and openness.

 

1200 avoidable deaths

Source: Mencap published on this site Tuesday March 26th 2013 by Jill Powell

Over 1,200 people with a learning disability die needlessly every year in NHS care Mencap research reveals. This shocking statistic comes from research that Mencap commissioned from Professors Glover and Emerson of the Improving Health and Lives Learning Disabilities Observatory.

The research found that 1,238 children and adults die across England every year because they are not getting the right health care. The research is a national estimate based on the findings of the Confidential Inquiry into premature deaths of people with a learning disability which was published on 19 March 2013.

The three year Confidential Inquiry has been led by academics at the University of Bristol and funded by the Department of Health. It was commissioned in 2010 following various reports by Mencap and other organisations who have been concerned about the unequal healthcare of people with a learning disability.

The Inquiry’s research team found that 37% of the deaths of people with a learning disability were considered avoidable. And compared with the general population, men with a learning disability died on average 13 years earlier, while women with a learning disability died 20 years earlier.

Overall, 22% of people with a learning disability looked at by the inquiry had died under the age of 50 – compared to just 9% of the general population.

The key recommendation from the inquiry team is for the establishment and funding of a National Learning Disability Mortality Review Body in England. This would allow for the continued collection of mortality data for people with a learning disability and investigation of the most serious cases.

Jan Tregelles, Mencap’s acting chief executive, said:

“A scandal of avoidable deaths on the scale of Mid-Staffs takes place every year for people with a learning disability in the NHS. These deaths, caused by poor care and delays in diagnosis and treatment, highlight the scale of discrimination faced by disabled patients in the NHS.

“Mencap supports the Confidential Inquiry’s recommendations and we are calling on the Government to set up a national body to monitor and investigate the deaths of people with a learning disability, so we can learn from mistakes and stop this tragic waste of life.”

Mencap has campaigned for many years against discrimination in the NHS. In 2007, the publication of its landmark report, Death by indifference, led to an independent inquiry, headed up by Sir Jonathan Michael.

The charity has continued to hear from families whose loved ones have died within the NHS. Last year, Mencap launched its report 74 deaths and counting, detailing these cases.

To read the full report click: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/cipold/

 

New working together to safeguard children: A guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children 2013

Source: Department of Education published on this site Wednesday 27th March 2013 by Jill Powell

This guidance sets out how organisations and individuals should work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and how practitioners should conduct the assessment of children.

This guidance replaces Working Together to Safeguard Children (2010); The Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families (2000); and statutory guidance on making arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children under section 11 of the Children Act 2004 (2007). Links to relevant supplementary guidance that professionals should consider alongside this guidance can be found at Appendix C of this guidance.

The guidance will come into effect from 15 April 2013 and includes:

            Chapter 1: Assessing need and providing help

            Chapter 2: Organisational responsibilities

            Chapter 3: Local Safeguarding Children Boards

            Chapter 4: Learning and improvement framework

            Chapter 5: Child death reviews

            Appendix A: Glossary

            Appendix B: Statutory framework

            Appendix C: Further sources of information

To read the full documents click: https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/standard/AllPublications/Page1/DFE-00030-2013

 

 

Care Quality Commission (CQC) takes on regulation of GP providers in England

Source: CQC published on this site April 9th 2013 by Jill Powell

From 1 April 2013, NHS GP providers in England will be regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for the first time.

Changes to regulations mean primary medical care services including GP providers are required to register with the CQC.

Of the 7,607 providers that applied, 99.4% (7,563) have been registered in time for the April deadline.

To date, CQC has proposed to refuse to register a total of eight GP providers.

Of these:

            two providers who have worked with their PCTs and removed themselves from providing primary medical services; the PCT has reassigned patients to alternative practices.

            one provider, in response to CQC’s proposal to not register, has made changes to their legal entity resulting in a new application which has been accepted and registration granted.

            the remaining five are still within the statutory time frame for challenging the Commission’s proposals.

CQC’s Head of Registration, Adrian Hughes said:

“Registration of GP providers has been a tremendous success with just under 100% of those who applied registered in time for the April deadline.

“We would like to thank GP practice staff - their cooperation over the last year has made the process go very smoothly.

“CQC’s purpose is to ensure people receive health and social care services that are safe and of high quality.

“For the first time there will be a register of all GP providers in England held in one place; it can be seen on the CQC website from 3 April. This means patients will be able to check if their practice is providing good quality safe services.”

“GP registration is the final phase of a vast programme spanning the last three years, of registering a range of health and social care services.”

For information on NHS GP providers click: http://www.cqc.org.uk/media/cqc-takes-regulation-gp-providers-england

 

Serious Case Review of the Circumstances Concerning Child P

Source: Bridgend Local Safeguarding Children Board published on this site April 8th 2013 by Jill Powell

Bridgend Local Safeguarding Children Board has published the executive summary of a serious case review in to the death of a 16-year-old girl from a drugs overdose.

Issues include:

            domestic violence

            substance misuse in her family;

            evidence of the girl’s sexual exploitation from the age of 13 by much older men.

Recommendations include:

            interagency training in the management of child sexual exploitation cases

            the need to record as abuse the sexual activity of adults with children and recognise it is never the responsibility of the child

            taking advice on the potential for a manslaughter prosecution of an adult encouraging a vulnerable child over 16 to live with him and encouraging or failing to prevent the child misusing drugs resulting in her death.

 

To read the overview report click: http://www.bridgend.gov.uk/web/groups/bridgendlscb/documents/services/097542.hcsp#TopOfPage

 

 

Code of Conduct and National Minimum Training Standards launched

Source: Skills for Care published on this site Thursday 4th April 2013 by Jill Powell

Skills for Care and Skills for Health have launched the Code of Conduct and National Minimum Training Standards for Healthcare Support Workers who report to nurses or midwives and Adult Social Care Workers in England.

The long awaited Code describes the standards of conduct, behaviour and attitudes that the public and the people who need healthcare, care and support services should expect of workers. The National Minimum Training Standards define the minimum knowledge workers must have, irrespective of individual job role. Both the Code and the Standards were created after extensive consultation with employers and workers across both sectors to make sure they were fit for purpose.

The Code of Conduct describes the standards of conduct, behaviour and attitudes that the public and the people who need healthcare, care and support should expect of workers providing this care and support.

The National Minimum Training Standards define the minimum knowledge workers must have, irrespective of individual job role. Both the Code and the Standards were created after extensive consultation with employers and workers across both sectors to make sure they were fit for purpose.

There is much work to be done with both sectors to ensure that they are implemented effectively to contribute to our ambition for high quality healthcare, care and support.

The new minimum training standards focus on 10 areas that are designed to cover the key knowledge for health and care workers and set out what should be covered during a period of induction in the first weeks of employment:

1. The roles of the Healthcare Support Worker and Adult Social Care Worker

2. Your personal development

3. Effective communication

4. Equality, diversity and inclusion

5. Duty of care

6. Safeguarding

7. Person-centred care and support

8. Health and safety

9. Handling information

10. Infection prevention and control

The Standards correspond to the underpinning knowledge within the Core Competences for Healthcare Support Workers and Adult Social Care Workers in England developed as part of this project - these will be published shortly.

Skills for Health and Skills for Care were commissioned by the Department of Health following the Secretary of State's speech to the NHS Employers conference on 15 November 2011, where he announced that the Government's intention was to commission work to develop a Code of Conduct and minimum standards for education for support workers.

To download the standards click: http://www.skillsforcare.org.uk/codeofconductandtrainingstandards/

Consultation on proposed changes to the role of the local authority in early education and childcare

Consultation on proposed changes to the role of the local authority in early education and childcare

Source: Department for Education published on this site April 5th 2013

The Government values local authorities’ important role as ‘champions’ of disadvantaged children and their families. We want local authorities to focus on ensuring that all two, three and four-year olds, particularly the most disadvantaged, take up their entitlement to funded high-quality early education. This consultation seeks your views on the specific reforms to the role of local authorities in early education and childcare. It offers you the opportunity to influence the secondary legislation and statutory guidance, which will implement changes to the local authority role.

To read the paper and take part in the consultation click: https://www.education.gov.uk/consultations/index.cfm?action=consultationDetails&consultationId=1889&external=no

Filtering of old and minor convictions and cautions

Source: Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) published on this site Wednesday 3rd April 2013 by Jill Powell

Certain old and minor cautions and convictions will no longer be disclosed on a DBS certificate.

The Home Office has started the legislative process (subject to agreement by Parliament) so that certain old and minor cautions and convictions will no longer be disclosed on a DBS certificate.

This action is in response to the Court of Appeal judgement in January this year which stated that the disclosure of all cautions and convictions on a DBS Certificate was incompatible with Article 8 of the Convention for Human Rights.

Since the judgement, we have been working very closely with the Home Office to develop a set of filtering rules that would remove certain old and minor convictions and cautions from a DBS certificate. The filtering rules which are now before parliament for consideration are:

An adult conviction will be removed from a criminal record certificate if,

(i)             11 years have elapsed since the date of conviction

(ii)            it is the person’s only offence and

(iii)           it did not result in a custodial sentence.

Even then, it will only be removed if it does not appear on the list of specified offences. If a person has more than one offence, then details of all their convictions will always be included. An adult caution will be removed after 6 years have elapsed since the date of the caution - and if it does not appear on the list of specified offences.

For those under 18 at the time of the offence:

            a conviction received as a young person would become eligible for filtering after 5.5 years - unless it is on the list of specified offences, a custodial sentence was received or the individual has more than one conviction

            a caution administered to a young person will not be disclosed if 2 years have elapsed since the date of issue - but only if it does not appear on the list of specified offences

The changes will not come into force until after the legislation has completed its passage through Parliament.

 

The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has published a report on slavery of adults and children in the UK

Source: CSJ published on this site on Tuesday April 16th 2013 by Jill Powell

It Happens Here, Equipping the United Kingdom to fight modern slavery- A policy report by the Slavery Working Group was published in March 2013.

In the reports introduction it says:

“The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has seen a shocking variety of ways in which innocent adults and children are being exploited in modern slavery in the UK. Every case is different, involving a range of pressures on the individual and varying forms of coercion and force. This section defines human trafficking and modern slavery, and gives an overview of the problem in the UK, describing the forms of trafficking and modern slavery that are taking place and drawing on case studies that the CSJ has gathered. In all case studies used in this report all names have been changed. The hidden nature of this crime means that building an accurate picture of the problem and its scale is a serious challenge. For this reason the CSJ decided not to estimate the number of victims of modern slavery in the UK since any number will be misleading and inaccurate. Current figures on the size of the problem are already ambiguous, with government figures reporting a small percentage of cases and some organisations portraying poorly calculated estimates as fact.2 The Working Group has instead provided a snapshot of the problem, with verified case studies, to highlight the dreadful reality of modern slavery and the suffering it causes.”

To read the full report and its recommendations click: http://www.centreforsocialjustice.org.uk/

Some concern as Government’s welfare benefit cap rolls out from today 15th April 2013

Source: Family Law Week published on this site 15th April 2013 by Jill Powell

The Government's welfare benefit cap begins in four London boroughs from the 15th April. Couples and lone parents in Haringey, Enfield, Croydon and Bromley will receive no more than £500 per week. A £350 limit applies to single people.The cap will be imposed across England, Scotland and Wales between July and September 2013.The benefits affected by the cap include jobseeker's allowance, income support, child and housing benefit.The Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned that a

"possible behavioural impact is for fewer people to cohabit, since the benefits cap is to apply at the household level, and hence living apart could split benefits across households and mean that neither is subject to a cap. This 'couple penalty' is presumably something the Government would not be keen on, as it has said that it wishes to reduce couple penalties in the tax and benefit system."

For more details on the benefits cap click: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/adviser/updates/benefit-cap/

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report reveals a generation of UK teens ignored by government

Source UNICEF published on this site 11th April 2013 by Jill Powell

A new UNICEF report, Report Card 11, puts the UK in 16th position – below Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Portugal – in a league table of child well-being in the world's richest countries.

An earlier report in 2007 put the UK at the bottom of 21 developed countries for overall child well-being, so there has been minor improvement.

However there are still areas in which the UK ranks significantly low, especially among young people aged 15 to 19.

Teenage pregnancy rates continue to be high, as do the numbers of young people under 19 not in education, employment or training. The UK also has one of the highest alcohol abuse rates in 11 to 15 year olds.

Report Card 11 also shows that cuts to services for young people are having a negative effect.

More than £300 million has been cut from services for young people in the Department for Education's 2011-12 budget, a 26% drop from the previous year. In addition, 400,000 more children are projected to be in poverty by 2015-2016 because of cuts to services.

"With the UK ranking near the bottom of the league table on teenage pregnancy and young people not in education, employment or training, we know that many are facing a bleaker future," said Anita Tiessen of UNICEF UK.

She added: "The government needs to acknowledge this and act now. While children and young people will be the first to bear the brunt if we fail to safeguard their well-being, over time society as a whole will pay the price."

To read the report and UNICEF’s recommendations click: http://www.unicef.org.uk/Latest/Publications/Report-Card-11-Child-well-being-in-rich-countries/

A single inspection framework for children's services

Source: Ofsted published on this site Friday 12th April 2013 by Jill Powell

The Chief Inspector of Ofsted today announced plans to inspect local authority child protection and services for children who are looked after under a single, combined framework.

Sir Michael Wilshaw said that following discussions with local government representatives and after assessing the results of initial pilots, he had taken the decision to defer the proposed new multi-agency child protection inspections involving a number of other inspectorates, that had been planned for launch in June. He also said Ofsted would no longer be going ahead with plans to inspect services for looked after children separately. 

The number of people who are on the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Children's Barred list and the DBS Adult’s Barred List for England Wales Scotland and Northern Ireland.

As a result of a request for information the DBS, who are responsible for maintenance of both the DBS's Children's Barred list and the DBS's Adults' Barred List,  have provided the following:-

The DBS barred lists for end of February 2013 stand at;

            Adults List – 45,242

            Children List – 49,101

            This represents 51,333 individuals, on one or both lists.

These lists replaced the POVA and LIST 99 lists. 

 

Executive Summary of a Serious Case Review published by Somerset Local Safeguarding Children Board (SLSCB)

Serious Case Review: Executive Summary

Source SLSCB published on this site Wednesday 24th April 2013 by Jill Powell

Twin babies aged six and a half weeks were admitted to a Somerset hospital and found to have serious head injuries and body bruising. The babies had moved to Somerset from Nottingham with their parents eleven days previously and were living with family in the area. Both parents were arrested and charged with Grievous Bodily Harm. The result of the criminal trial was that Father was convicted of unlawfully and maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm and received a sentence of 45 months’ imprisonment. Mother was found not guilty of any offence.

To read the Executive Summary click: http://www.somersetsafeguardingchildrenboard.org.uk/

100,000 child sexual abuse webpages have been actioned thanks to the work of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF)

Source Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) published on this site on Tuesday 23rd April 2013 by Jill Powell

100,000 child sexual abuse webpages have been actioned thanks to the work of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF).

And in the past two years 12 children have been rescued from their abusers as a direct result of IWF actions.The charity was formed in 1996 with the aim of eliminating online child sexual abuse content.

            Four in five child victims in online content appear to be 10 years old and under;

            Most of the content dealt with by the IWF (53%) is the worst on the scale, showing the rape and sexual torture of the child victim.

In 1996, before the IWF was formed, the UK hosted around 18% of the known child sexual abuse content. Since 2003, the IWF, working with the online industry, has reduced this to less than 1%.

54% is hosted in North America and 37% in Europe and Russia.

 

The Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill is published today.

Children and Young People Bill for Scotland Published Today.

Source: Scottish Government published on this site Thursday 18th April 2013 by Jill Powell

Three and four year old children will, for the first time in Scotland, be entitled to 600 hours of funded early learning and childcare through the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill, published today.

The Bill proposes a range of measures which also include:

            Looked after two year olds and those with a kinship care order will receive the same entitlement as three and four year olds

            A named person for every child and young person from birth to safeguard and support their wellbeing, working with other bodies as required

            Providing kinship carers with more support from local authorities to increase family stability.

Minister for Children and Young People Aileen Campbell also announced an extra £10 million on top of the £20 million third sector fund to be shared between 45 organisations working closely with children, young people and families, as part of wider investment in prevention and early intervention. This lifts the total budget for the fund to £30 million over two years, an increase on the funding available over the previous two years.

 

The Quality Care Unit (QCQ) strategy for 2013 to 2016

CQC Changes to Inspection and Regulation Services

Source CQC published on this site Monday April 22nd 2013 by Jill Powell

CQC are making radical changes to the way they  inspect and regulate services to make sure they provide people with safe, effective, compassionate and high-quality care, and to encourage them to make improvements.

They will make sure that above all else, they are always on the side of people who use care services and always put their interests first.

The changes include:

            appointing a Chief Inspector of Hospitals, a Chief Inspector of Social Care and Support, and considering the appointment of a Chief Inspector of Primary and Integrated Care.

            developing new fundamental standards of care.

            making sure inspectors specialise in particular areas of care and lead teams that include clinical and other experts, and Experts by experience (people with experience of care).

            introducing national teams in NHS hospitals that have specialist expertise to carry out in-depth reviews of hospitals with significant or long-standing problems.

            improving our understanding of how well different care services work together by listening to people’s experiences of moving between different care services.

            publishing better information for the public, including ratings of services.

            strengthening the protection of people whose rights are restricted under the Mental Health Act.

The changes will come into effect in NHS hospitals and mental health trusts first. This is because CQC recognise there is an urgent need for more effective inspection and regulation of these services. They will then extend and adapt our approach to other sectors between 2014 and 2016.

To read the strategy and business plan click: http://www.cqc.org.uk/public/about-us/our-performance-and-plans/our-strategy-and-business-plan

 

 

School nurses will play a bigger and more important role in improving the health of children and young people, according to plans announced today by the children’s Health Minister, Dr Dan Poulter.

Source: Department Of Health published on this site Wednesday 17th April 2013 by Jill Powell

England’s 1,200 school nurses and their teams will lead a new, strengthened and more tailored school nursing service which means better care and support for children, including those with disabilities and complex emotional needs.

For the first time ever, children who are carers will themselves train school nurses in how to provide the best support for young carers. As part of the plans, school nurses will:

            Get more training to make sure their skills are constantly improved and updated so they can support children with more complex health needs;

            Become local leaders in children’s health and be given the expertise to improve what school nurses offer to children. This could mean being available outside of school hours; and

            Be champions for children who care for others to make sure they get the right support. Young carers themselves will train school nurses so they know exactly what support to provide.

The best school nurses will also be rewarded for their work through a new, national school nurse award.

Children’s Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter who is responsible for the Government’s programme for improving children’s health said:

“School nurses play a crucial role in improving health and supporting young people. I want them to have an even bigger role and provide even better support for more young people with different health needs and conditions.

Young carers are often under incredible pressure both at home and at school. School nurses can do a lot to give young carers a voice and help ease that pressure. Our plans will help them do just that.

We continue to lead work with the NHS, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and local authorities to do everything possible to improve children’s health and to give each and every child the very best start in life.

There are as many as 700,000 young carers in the UK, and their caring responsibilities – which could be as intense as 50 hours a week – are often a hidden cause of health problems, bullying, truancy and not doing well at school. School staff can sometimes be unaware that children are carers, and school nurses are in a perfect position to provide the right support that young carers need to help them be happier and do better at school.”

 

 

Children’s views reported by the Children’s Rights Director for England.

Children’s Views Reported

Source: Ofsted Press Release, published on this site Tuesday 30th April 2013 by Jill Powell

For this report children and young people were asked for their views and experience about what can keep a child or young person from getting into trouble with the law. Children and young people who had been in trouble with the law and those that had not were incuded. This report therefore gives the children’s view of what makes the difference for a child.

To read the report click: http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/filedownloading/?file=documents/surveys-and-good-practice/k/Keeping%20out%20of%20trouble.pdf&refer=1

Wales child abuse: Operation Pallial inquiry finds evidence of 140 claims

Operation Pallial: Evidence of 140 claims

Source; BBC online Wales published on this site Monday April 29th 2013 by Jill Powell

An independent investigation examining claims of historical child abuse at children's homes in north Wales has found "significant evidence of systemic and serious sexual and physical abuse".

Home Secretary Theresa May ordered this inquiry following a Newsnight report in November, that as well as leading to a Tory peer being falsely accused of paedophilia, alleged that child abuse in north Wales in the 1970s and 1980s was far more widespread than had previously been investigated.

The investigation involves police officers and staff, primarily from forces in north-west England, supported by members of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP Centre).

To read the report published today click http://www.soca.gov.uk/news/546-national-crime-agency-director-general-to-lead-further-investigations-into-historic-child-abuse-in-north-wales

Information: When to Share or not to Share. The Information Governance Review April 2013

To Share or Not to Share

Source Department of Health published on this site April 26th 2013 by Jill Powell

Following a request from the Secretary of State for Health, Dame Fiona Caldicott carried out this independent review of information sharing to ensure that there is an appropriate balance between the protection of patient information and the use and sharing of information to improve patient care.

Every citizen should feel confident that information about their health is securely safeguarded and shared appropriately when that is in their interest. Everyone working in the health and social care system should see information governance as part of their responsibility.

To read the full report click: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-information-governance-review

Local children's services hampered by short-term financial planning in Westminster

Short-term Financial Planning in Westminster Hampering Local Children's Services?

Lack of long-term central funding is the major barrier preventing local authorities from shifting children’s services towards early intervention and prevention, according to our new report.

The report ‘Early intervention – where now for local authorities?’ highlights the constraints that local authorities in England face, despite the Government’s commitment to the ‘localism’ agenda.

Matthew Downie, Head of Campaigns and Public Affairs at Action for Children, said, “Far too often, we see children and families facing severe and complex issues which could have been prevented if the right support had been in place for them at an earlier stage.

“The short-term funding that is currently handed down to local authorities means that a children’s service has barely enough time to be set up and begin delivering support before its staff have to plan for reconfiguration or even worse, face closure. This has a damaging effect on young people; many will have just learned to trust their key workers, only to suddenly find themselves with new people to work with, or with no help at all.”

 

How safe are our children? NSPCC Research

NSPCC Research: How safe are our children?

Source: NSPCC published on this site Thursday 25th April 2013 by Jill Powell

This report compiles the most robust and up-to-date child protection data that exists across each of the four nations in the UK.

It sets out 19 different indicators and each indicator looks at the question from a different perspective. These indicators will be regularly updated as new statistics are published.

The report allows us not only to understand how many children are being abused and neglected, but also to track progress so that society can be held to account for its responsibility to children. Only by monitoring the extent of child abuse and neglect in the UK can we judge whether efforts to prevent maltreatment and to protect children are working.

To read the report and the indicators click: http://www.nspcc.org.uk/Inform/research/findings/howsafe/how-safe-2013_wda95178.html

 

Latest news on the Corporate Accountability and Safeguarding of Adults from Abuse and Neglect Bill 2012-13

Corporate Accountability and Safeguarding of Adults

Source: UK Parliament published on this site Thursday 9th May 2013 by Jill Powell

The Bill was proposed to hold corporations criminally accountable for abuse and neglect in care settings; to make provision to compel any person or organisation to supply information to Adult Safeguarding Boards; and to introduce a new offence of corporate neglect whereby a corporate body can be found guilty if the way in which its activities are managed or organised by its board or senior management is a substantial element in the existence or possible occurrence of abuse or neglect.

However it failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress.

Care Inquiry report, "Making not breaking: building relationships for our most vulnerable children".

Building Relationships for our Most Vulnerable Children

Source: Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) published on this site 8th May 2013

Every child needs positive, stable relationships in order to prosper. At its best, the care system supports the development and continuation of relationships with family members, friends, foster parents, social care and other support staff. SCIE’s own research backs up many of The Care Inquiry’s recommendations. For example, we advise that multi-disciplinary teams, led by experienced social workers, should support the whole family. Children can achieve stability and permanence through adoption, long-term fostering or returning home, when these decisions are carefully made and well supported. The best option is the one that works for each individual child.

SCIE's Chief Executive, Andrea Sutcliffe

To read the report click: http://thecareinquiry.wordpress.com/

Alzheimer's Society response to Sussex police introducing GPS tracking for dementia patients

Sussex Police Introducing GPS Tracking for Dementia Patients: Alzheimer's Society Response

Source: Alzheimer's Society published on this site May 3rd 2013 by Jill Powell

It has been reported in the media that police in Sussex will become the first police force to monitor local people with dementia using GPS tags.

They have bought six GPS tags to be fitted on people with dementia to save them money searching for older people who go wandering or missing.

Chief Inspector Tanya Jones said:

'The GPS will be very cost-effective to the police. It will Alzheimer's Society response to Sussex police introducing GPS tracking for dementia patients

reduce anxiety for the family and really reduce the police time spent on this issue.'

The scheme has been criticised by the general secretary of the National Pensioners Convention and an investigation is being launched.

Alzheimer's Society comment:

'In some circumstances and when appropriate consent is given, GPS tracking can enable a person with dementia to remain independent for longer, providing them and their carer with peace of mind. But we must balance the potential advantages to the individual and the protection of a person’s civil liberties. Any tracking system must support and never replace good quality care.

'Alzheimer's Society understands the safety of people with dementia is an important issue to address and people with dementia and carers have told us that they welcome technology like this if used in the right way. We’re working with organisations such as the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Missing Persons Bureau to ensure people with dementia feel secure and included in their communities wherever they live.'

Jeremy Hughes

Chief Executive

Alzheimer’s Society

 

Adult safeguarding and domestic abuse : A guide to support practitioners and managers

Adult Safeguarding and Domestic Abuse : A Practicioners Guide

Source Local Government Association published on this site 7th May 2013 by Jill Powell

Safeguarding adults is a developing field of practice nationally and for all councils and their partners, bringing with it many layers of complexity and challenge. The Local Government Association (LGA) and Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) wish to support learning and development about what is best practice as much as possible. Making the connections between adult safeguarding and domestic abuse is just one key area of development to address. This guide is for practitioners and managers in councils and partner agencies engaged in working directly or indirectly with people who have care and support needs, whose circumstances make them vulnerable, and who may also be victims of domestic abuse. Its purpose is to help staff to give better informed and more effective support to people who need an adult safeguarding service because of domestic abuse.

To read the report click: http://www.local.gov.uk/web/guest/publications/-/journal_content/56/10171/3973717/PUBLICATION-TEMPLATE

Not yet good enough: personal, social, health and economic education in schools

Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education in Schools: Not Good Enough

Source: Ofsted published on this site Thursday May 2nd 2013 by Jill Powell

Sex and relationships education required improvement in over a third of schools, leaving some children and young people unprepared for the physical and emotional changes they will experience during puberty, and later when they grow up and form adult relationships. This is a particular concern because as recent research conducted by The Lucy Faithfull Foundation indicates, failure to provide high quality, age-appropriate sex and relationships education may leave young people vulnerable to inappropriate sexual behaviours and exploitation, particularly if they are not taught the appropriate language, or have not developed the confidence to describe unwanted behaviours, do not know who to go to for help, or understand that sexual exploitation is wrong.1

 

In just under half of the schools, pupils learnt how to keep themselves safe in a variety of situations but not all had practised negotiating risky situations or applied security settings to social networking sites. Most understood the dangers of substance misuse but not always in relation to personal safety, particularly with regard to alcohol. These deficiencies in learning result in part from inadequacies in subject-specific training and support for PSHE education teachers, particularly in the teaching of sensitive and controversial issues.

 

Government publishes New Care Bill part of which will make Adult Safeguarding Boards Statutory

Adult Safeguarding Boards to be Made Statutory

Source: Parliament, published on this site Thursday 15th May 2013 by Jill Powell

The Bill makes provision to reform the law relating to care and support for adults and

the law relating to support for carers; to make provision about safeguarding adults from abuse or neglect; to make provision about care standards; to establish and make provision about Health Education England; to establish and make provision about the Health Research Authority; and for connected purposes.

When the bill becomes an Act it will be sited as The Care Act 2013 and will cover England and Wales in the main but Scotland and Northern Ireland in parts.

To read the Bill click: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/lbill/2013-2014/0001/lbill_2013-20140001_en_2.htm

Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), comment on Operation Bullfinch.

Operation Bullfinch - ACPO Comment

Source: ACPO, published on this site Wednesday 15th May 2013 by Jill Powell

Tackling child sexual exploitation is a top priority for the police service. Nothing is more important in policing than protecting vulnerable people

ACPO lead on child protection and child abuse investigation Peter Davies said:

“Firstly, I would like to thank the young women who have bravely come forward to report these crimes, given evidence in this trial and enabled the conviction of these dangerous sex offenders.

“Today’s verdict sends a strong message to offenders: the police and prosecutors will work together to find you and bring you to justice. We hope it also sends a message to victims: we will listen to you, support you and do all we can bring about a prosecution. Our awareness and understanding of child sexual exploitation has increased huge amount in the recent years and we are investing resources to fund major investigations leading to outcomes like today’s.

“All chief constables have committed to an action plan that aims to raise the standards in tackling child sexual exploitation in all forces so that the police service is providing a consistently strong approach and protecting vulnerable young people. As part of the plan, all forces have identified a lead in this area to act as a single point of contact and drive forward the action plan locally, and each force is proactively looking for potential victims and creating a problem profile for their area.

“ACPO is currently working jointly with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the College of Policing on a fundamental review of investigative guidance on child sex offences that will be released for public consultation in coming weeks. It aims to deliver truly practical guidance to police officers and prosecutors on improving victims’ journeys through the criminal justice system.

“In addition, chief constables have agreed to the formation of national panels to review past allegations of child sex abuse. These panels will look at cases that have previously been investigated by the police or reviewed by the CPS and a decision to take no further action was made but the perpetrator may still pose a risk.”

To read about the case click: http://www.bbc.co.uk/search/?q=operation%20Bullfinch

Managing allegations against foster carers and approved kinship carers - How agencies should respond (Scotland) May 2013

Managing Allegations Against Foster Carers

Source: The Scottish Parliament published on this site May 13th 2013 by Jill Powell

Foster carers and approved kinship carers look after children who will all have experienced trauma, abuse or neglect in their early years which has led to them being placed away from their birth family.

Caring for these children is challenging for carers and children may find living with another family difficult and this may lead them to try to find ways to break up the placement. This may be through making an allegation that the carer has abused or neglected them or through complaining about things being wrong in the placement.

As looked-after children are in public care it is vital that services respond appropriately when children or young people, their parents or others raise concerns about the child's safety or well-being when in the care of foster carers or approved kinship carers. This document aims to describe good practice in managing and responding to allegations, concerns or complaints.

It is recommended that the areas covered in this good practice guidance are incorporated into local child protection and fostering services procedures. Child Protection Committees will be central to ensuring that the particular considerations that are required in responding to allegations or concerns where the child is looked-after by a foster carer or kinship carer are addressed and that opportunities for familiarisation with the guidance are provided.

Interim guidance has been used across Scotland for a number of years and a parallel guidance document is available for managing allegations in residential care settings.

 

To download the full document click: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2013/05/2524/0

Withdrawal of the subsidy for enhanced criminal records checks

CRB Subsidy Withdrawal

Source: Department for Education published on this site Tuesday 14th May 2013 by Jill Powell

The Government subsidy for enhanced criminal records checks from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS – which took over in 2012 from the former Criminal Records Bureau) will cease from 1 July 2013. From this time, individuals and providers will be required to pay the full cost of obtaining a DBS check in order to be registered with Ofsted and to be employed in a registered childcare setting. DBS checks will still be required for people aged 16 or over living in the same household as a childminder. Applications for DBS checks will be honoured under the existing subsidy if received by 28 June.

The subsidy was introduced in 2002 to the early education and childcare sector only. The school and social care sectors are also subject to DBS checks but do not benefit from the subsidy so this decision brings childcare in line with them. The removal of this subsidy should be seen in the context of the substantial investment the Government continues to make to support early years and childcare and alongside reforms that best ensure funding is deployed in the most efficient way, allowing as much money as possible to be targeted to the front line.

You may also be aware that from later this year, all employees working with children or vulnerable adults, including volunteers, will no longer have to apply for a new criminal records check each time they apply for a job. They will only have to apply once to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) for a certificate, and their employer can then go online for an instant check to see whether their certificate is still up to date. There will be a small annual subscription fee, which will be considerably less than the cost of a new criminal record check.

The update service will be managed by the DBS, which went live in December 2012 following the merger of the CRB and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA). This will avoid the need for individuals to apply for multiple checks to work with different organisations, or to apply for repeat checks every few years. The change to the current system will also speed up the recruitment process for public and private sector employers, saving organisations time and money. The updating system will also make it easier for individuals to change jobs in the same sector, whilst ensuring robust safeguarding measures are in place.

For detailed guidance updated on the 10 May 2013 by the Disclosure and Barring Service click: https://www.gov.uk/disclosure-and-barring-service-criminal-record-checks-referrals-and-complaints

Action on Elder Abuse (AEA), have produced a short briefing paper on Adult Safeguarding and the draft Care and Support Bill.

Draft Care and Support Bill

Source AEA published on this site on Friday 10th May 2013 by Jill Powell

John Beer Chair of the AEA writes: “The Queen's speech this week included the draft Care and Support Bill as expected, and this includes several Adult Safeguarding clauses. To coincide AEA have produced this short Briefing Paper to highlight several areas requiring improvement. These include:

            powers to stop abusers imprisoning victims in their own homes

            a duty on agencies to notify the local authority if they believe an

adult to be at risk

            a criminal charge of elder/adult abuse

            adequate funding for adult safeguarding”

 

 

New Guidance for criminal records checks for overseas applicants

New Guidance for criminal records checks overseas

Source: Home Office published on this site Thursday 23rd May 2013 by Jill Powell

The application process for criminal records checks or ‘Certificates of Good Character’ for someone from overseas varies from country to country.

The New Guidance details who can apply, how to apply and contact details. There are three separate documents detailing countries A-F, G-P, Q-Z

To access these documents click https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/criminal-records-checks-for-overseas-applicants

Governors’ Handbook for governors in maintained schools, academies and free schools published this month.

Governors’ Handbook

Source: Department for Education published on this site Wednesday 22nd May 2013 by Jill Powell

This handbook provides information about the role and legal duties of governing bodies in maintained schools and academies (including free schools).

To access the handbook click https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/governors-handbook

 

Chief Social Worker for Children and Families appointed

Appointment of a Children's Chief Social Worker

Source Department for Education published on this site Monday 20th May 2013 by Jill Powell

Education Secretary Michael Gove today announced the appointment of a children's chief social worker and a new fast-track training programme for top graduates.

The Chief Social Worker for Children and Families, Isabelle Trowler - a social worker for many years who transformed children’s services in Hackney - will lead reform of the profession to deliver the best for children and families. The Frontline training scheme will recruit the highest-achieving graduates and train them as social work leaders in a specially tailored programme.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said:

Good social workers literally save lives; the bad can leave them in ruins. I am delighted that Isabelle Trowler has agreed to lead our reform programme, to challenge as well as to champion the profession so that vulnerable children and families are better protected.

To read more click https://www.gov.uk/government/news/first-ever-chief-social-worker-for-children-and-fast-track-training-to-lead-social-work-reform

Planning for Child Safety Week next month?

Child Safety Week

Source: Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) published on this site Tuesday 21st May 2013 by Jill Powell

The Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) is calling on all professionals working with children and families to Be a Safety Hero this Child Safety Week (24-30 June 2013).

Professionals working with children can download free Child Safety Week resources. The resources provide practical and fun ways of using the Safety Hero theme to engage with children and families about accident prevention.

To access these resources click http://www.childsafetyweek.org.uk/2013/04/be-a-safety-hero-and-download-free-child-safety-week-resources/

 

Hidden from View report reveals impact on young carers

Source Children’s Society published on this site Thursday 30th May 2013 by Jill Powell

Census data published today reveals the number of five to seven year old young carers in England has increased by around 80% over the last decade to 9,371.

And a staggering 166,363 children in England are caring for their parents, siblings and family members. This is up by a fifth from when the last Census was conducted in 2001.

Nearly 15,000 children up to the age of 17 are providing more than 50 hours of care every week.

Despite this being the first official statistic to be published in ten years, it is likely to massively under represent the true picture, according to the Young Carers in Focus (YCiF) partnership, led by The Children’s Society and funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

The Children’s Society’s own analysis also reveals that young carers are one and a half times more likely to have a long-standing illness or disability or special educational need than their peers.

This is backed-up by the new census, which reveals that more than 2000 young carers have 'bad' or 'very bad' health.

The Hidden From View report analyses government data tracking 15,000 children across England. It reveals the significant long-term impact that caring has on a child’s life, confirming The Children’s Society’s experience of working with young carers and their families throughout England.

 

Changes made to Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) application for criminal checks form

DBS will be removing certain specified old and minor offences from criminal record certificates

Source DBS published on this site Wednesday 29th May 2013 by Jill Powell

Because of legal changes made to the filtering and disclosure of convictions and cautions there is a change made to the application form for criminal checks to be made.

The original form should still be used, but in line with these changes, Question e55 has been amended on the DBS application for a criminal record check. To ensure the law is followed correctly, these changes must be applied by applicants when filling in the form.

Question e55 asks the applicant:

'have you ever been convicted of a criminal offence or received a caution, reprimand or warning?'

Applicants should now ignore this question and instead treat this question as if they were being asked:

'do you have any unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings?'

 To understand the changes and find out more about filtering click https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/disclosure-and-barring-service

See news posted today, “From 29 May 2013, the DBS will be removing certain specified old and minor offences from criminal record certificates issued from this date.”

NHS is still not serving all patients with learning disabilities well, says Ombudsman

Source: Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman published on this site Tuesday May 28th 2013 by Jill Powell

The Health Service Ombudsman has published a report which highlights service failure and lost opportunities to save the life of a young woman with physical and learning disabilities in 2009 which led to injustice for her family.

The failure to make a requested home visit by an out-of-hours GP service and to effectively plan and deliver the young woman’s care and treatment once she reached hospital are identified as service failings by the report.

The publication of this report is timely as next month the Department of Health is due to publish its response to a 2009 Health Service Ombudsman and Local Government Ombudsman report Six lives: the provision of public services to people with learning disabilities. The Six Lives report included cases illustrating significant and distressing failures in service across both health and social care, leading to situations in which people with learning disabilities experienced prolonged suffering and inappropriate care.

The Ombudsman, Dame Julie Mellor said:

“The experience of this young woman and her family is another example of the NHS having further to go in serving patients with learning disabilities well. The challenge of ensuring that all health and social care services improve the day to day experience and outcomes of patients with learning disabilities remains central to delivering a patient-centred NHS.

“The NHS must treat the most vulnerable members of our society better and we will continue to publish cases where the NHS has failed to serve people with learning disabilities so that this issue remains the focus of attention and improvement across health and social care.”

The young woman’s parents complained about a number of issues. The Ombudsman Service’s investigation found service failure on the part of South Essex Emergency Doctors Service and Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and that this service failure had resulted in missed opportunities to save the woman’s life and caused distress to her parents.

You can read the full report click www.Ombudsman.org.uk

 

 

From 29 May 2013, the DBS will be removing certain specified old and minor offences from criminal record certificates issued from this date.

DBS will be removing certain specified old and minor offences from criminal record certificates.

Source Disclosure and Baring Service (DBS) published on this site Wednesday May 29th 2013 by Jill Powell

Changes to the legislation were introduced today to allow changes being made to convictions and cautions being filtered.

NB In line with these changes, question e55 has been amended on the DBS application form for a criminal record check. These changes will be outline on the following news item.

Details on what is filtering and the rules in place now are:

What does ‘filtering’ mean?

Filtering is the term that the DBS is using to describe the process which will identify and remove convictions and cautions which should no longer be disclosed on DBS certificates due to changes to legislation.

What will be shown on a DBS certificate?

Standard and Enhanced DBS certificates will include details of convictions and cautions (including youth cautions, reprimands and warnings) recorded on the Police National Computer (PNC).

In addition to information from the PNC, an Enhanced certificate may also include information taken from police records that a chief officer of a police force considers relevant to the application and/or details of whether an individual is included on one or both of our two lists barring people from working with children and/or vulnerable adults.

Some PNC information will now be filtered and will not appear on the certificate. Cautions and convictions filtered out are set out in legislation.

What PNC information will be filtered from inclusion on a certificate?

The rules as to when a conviction or caution will be filtered are set out in legislation. This states that a certificate must include the following:

• Cautions relating to an offence from a list agreed by Parliament– link at end

• Cautions given less than 6 years ago (where individual over 18 at the time of caution)

• Cautions given less than 2 years ago (where individual under 18 at the time of caution)

• Convictions relating to an offence from a prescribed list – link at end

• Where the individual has more than one conviction all convictions will be included on the certificate (no conviction will be filtered)

• Convictions that resulted in a custodial sentence (regardless of whether served)

• Convictions given less than 11 years ago (where individual over 18 at the time of conviction)

• Convictions given less than 5.5 years ago (where individual under 18 at the time of conviction)

The list includes a range of offences which are serious and which relate to sexual offending, violent offending and/or safeguarding. It would never be appropriate to filter offences on this list. A list of offences which will never be filtered has been derived from the legislation.

This is not the complete list as the legislation also extends to cover similar offences committed under the law of Scotland and Northern Ireland or under laws relevant to the armed services.

To access the list click https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dbs-list-of-offences-that-will-never-be-filtered-from-a-criminal-record-check

To see the full details of what has changed and what has not changed click and is available here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dbs-list-of-offences-that-will-never-be-filtered-from-a-criminal-record-check

See news “Changes made to Disclosure and Baring Service (DBS) application for criminal checks” form posted today

 

 

Two important changes coming to Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) on June 17th

Source DBS published on this site Thursday 6th June 2013 by Jill Powell

The DBS is reminding us all of two important changes to their service that will come into force from 17th June 2013. One of these changes relates to how you complete the position applied for field (x61) on the application form. This is form changes should already be in place to avoid delay in applications and enable the police to make relevant checks You can now use both lines when answering question x61. The first line must be used to tell us the workforce the individual will be working in and then you can complete the second line with the actual position applied for.

This change is really important, as from 17 June, the police will use the workforce to determine whether to release any non-conviction information on an Enhanced DBS certificate and it will allow an applicant who has joined the Update Service to reuse their DBS certificate for another position, in the same workforce.

For information on the Update Service see our news item on 17th June 2013

 

For those of you who are unsure, you now need to complete x61 - the position applied for field as follows:

            X61 Line 1: Write one of the following form of words to indicate the relevant workforce(s):

            Child Workforce - Use this for any position that involves working/volunteering with children.

            Adult Workforce - Use this for any position that involves working/volunteering with adults.

            Child and Adult Workforce - Use this for any position that involves working/volunteering with children and adults.

            Other Workforce- Use this for any position that does not involve working/volunteering with children or adults e.g. security guard.

            X61 Line 2: Enter a description of the ‘position applied for’ up to 30 characters. Such as

Child Workforce

Primary School Teacher

To read the guidance click https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/201209/Employer_guide_v2.0.pdf

Record number of children safeguarded by Child Exploitation Online Protection Center (CEOP)

Source CEOP published on this site Wednesday 5th June 2013 by Jill Powell

A record number of children have been safeguarded from sexual abusers in the past year, figures from the UK’s leading child protection agency reveal today.

In 2012/2013, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre safeguarded and protected 790 children – an increase of 85 per cent on the previous year, and the highest yearly figure since the Centre launched in 2006. It now brings the total number of protected children to 2,255 in its seven-year history.

Figures in its Annual Review and Centre Plan also reveal that CEOP dealt with 18,887 reports of abuse from the public and industry - a 14 per cent increase on the previous year with an average of 1,600 reports per month.

However, the Centre has warned that new trends in child sexual offending, and the growing availability of high-speed internet around the globe is likely to increase the threat to children.

As part of its Centre Plan, CEOP has set out four key threat areas where it will focus its activity in the forthcoming year as the organisation moves into the National Crime Agency (NCA) in October 2013.

They are:

            proliferation of indecent images of children – particularly the production of still, moving and live streaming of child abuse images;

            online child sexual exploitation – with a focus on the systematic sexual exploitation of multiple child victims on the internet;

            transnational child sexual abuse – including both transient and resident UK nationals and British citizens committing sexual offences abroad; and

            contact child sexual abuse – particularly the threat posed by organised crime-associated child sexual exploitation and the risks around missing children.

These key threats are expected to be outlined in further detail in CEOP’s Threat Assessment of Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (TACSEA) to be published in the coming weeks.

To read the full report click http://ceop.police.uk/Documents/ceopdocs/AnnualReviewCentrePlan2013.pdf

 

Tackling child sexual exploitation

Source Scottish Government published on this site Monday 3rd June 2013 by Jill Powell

A new approach to identifying children at risk of sexual exploitation – including those in care – will be piloted in the Forth Valley area.

The pilot will test new ways of identifying, recording and preventing the sexual exploitation of children and young people.

Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire councils, in partnership with the Scottish Government, will trial recently developed methods to identify young people who have been sexually abused and ensure that appropriate support services are available to them.

Minister for Children and Young People Aileen Campbell said:

“We are determined to crack down on the criminals who seek to exploit children in care. These are among the most vulnerable young people in our communities and we have a duty to protect them.

“The truly heart-breaking part of so many of these cases is that the young people often don’t realise they are being exploited.

“They can be so in thrall to these criminals and to the drink and drugs they ply, that they don’t see themselves as exploited. That can make it hard to identify those at risk and those already caught up in exploitation.

“The University of Bedfordshire has developed new ways to identify a child or young person has been sexually exploited. This builds on work elsewhere in the UK and three councils – Clackmannanshire, Falkirk and Stirling - will help us to see how effective they could be used across Scotland.”

The Scottish Government is currently refreshing the National Child Protection Guidance and working closely with Barnardo’s Scotland, we are paying particular attention to the sections on sexual exploitation. These improvements are expected to be complete by December.

Margaret Anderson, Chair, Falkirk Child Protection Committee and George Hunter, Chair, Clackmannanshire and Stirling Child Protection Committee welcomed the pilot, and said:

"Falkirk and Clackmannanshire and Stirling Child Protection Committees welcome the opportunity to take a proactive approach to identifying where child sexual exploitation may be occurring and to take action to address this.

“The recent cases in Oxford highlight how vulnerable young people can be targeted by unscrupulous adults. All of the agencies who work together to protect children across the Forth Valley want to take positive action to try to prevent our young people being targeted in this way and we are delighted to be working with the Scottish Government to find more effective ways of preventing such abuse of children and young people.”

In 2012 the Scottish Government commissioned research into the scale and nature of child sexual exploitation and established the first national working group to consider this and a range of important issues.

Responding to the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee, which is looking at how Child Sexual Exploitation is tackled in Scotland, Ms Campbell said that the updated guidance would take account of the Committee’s work before being finalised.

 

Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) comments on the use of Taser on children

Source ACPO published on this site Tuesday 4th June 2013 by Jill Powell

On a number of occasions Taser has safely resolved situations where a person has been intent on serious self harm.

ACPO lead for armed policing, Deputy Chief Constable Simon Chesterman said: "Officers are trained to consider the vulnerability of the person and factors such as age and stature form part of this assessment. Ultimately if an individual is acting violently and presents a risk of serious harm to a member of the public, the officer, or themselves, then Taser is a considered option.  "On a number of occasions Taser has safely resolved situations where a person has been intent on serious self harm."Independent medical experts have said the risk to the heart from electricity during the use of Taser is very low.

"The use of Taser on those aged 16 or under represents only a tiny percentage of overall use. Similarly, those under 16 are much less likely to encounter Taser when you compare the number of teenagers that officers deal with every day. "It is not correct to say Tasers use 50,000 volts to stun people, that is not how they operate. A Taser works not by power, but by the way it sends the current into the body and how the muscles respond. “Individual officers are accountable in law for the amount of force they use and every Taser deployment is subjected to scrutiny and if necessary independent investigation. In the UK before they deploy with Taser, police officers are selected for the role and subjected to comprehensive training. This training deals with the technicalities of handling and using the device and also the circumstances under which it can be lawfully used. Of significance is the fact that in around 75% of Taser deployments the device is not discharged".

For guidance on the use of Taser click:

http://www.acpo.police.uk/ThePoliceChiefsBlog/201302TaserBlog.aspx

 

Child Abduction Report Reveals Need For A Revamped ‘Stranger-Danger’ Alert

Source Child Exploitation and Online Protection Service (CEOP) published on this site Friday 31st May 2013 By Jill Powell

Nearly half of all child abduction cases reported in the UK between 2011-12 were committed by strangers, according to police figures published in a unique report today.

‘Taken – a study of child abductions in the UK’ brings together, for the first time, academic expertise and a sample of police data to provide a snapshot of the extent of child abductions in the UK.

The report, commissioned by the charity Parents and Abducted Children Together (PACT) and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre, comes just days before International Missing Children’s Day this Saturday (25 May).

The report re-ignites calls for a revamp of ‘stranger-danger’ warnings in the wake of findings which show that in 42 per cent of police reports studied, the abductor or would-be abductor was not known to the child. It also reveals that 17 per cent were abducted (or attempted) by a parent, two per cent by another family member and 35 per cent by someone known but not related to the child (four per cent were unknown offenders).

The report calls for the creation of a national child abduction ‘hub’ to give a clearer picture of the problem across the UK and provide data and support to improve how agencies deal with abductions.

It warns that at present the true extent of child abductions is “impossible” to calculate with the necessary accuracy because of inconsistencies in the recording of offences. It highlights how details of different types of child abductions are held by police forces, government, legal bodies and voluntary agencies, but that this information is not always published or made routinely available.

The report sets out 14 recommendations: from agreeing a UK-wide definition of child abduction, through improving how police record and respond to incidents, to revamping current ‘stranger-danger’ warnings for children and learning from why so many attempted stranger abductions fail.

To read the full report click http://ceop.police.uk/Documents/ceopdocs/TAKEN_Final%20Cop

 

Economic benefits of providing social care to disabled people

Source SCOPE published on this site Thursday 11th June 2013 by Jill Powell

New research shows massive economic benefits from providing social care to disabled people

Every pound spent on preventative and community services generates benefits to people, carers, local and central Government worth an average of at least £1.30.

Five leading charities have revealed that investing in social care prevents disabled people falling into crisis, and as a result, leads to substantial economic benefits.

The in-depth study conducted independently by Deloitte establishes that every £1 spent on services like support in the community, housing and communication support generates benefits to people, carers, local and central Government worth an average of £1.30.

The experts analysed four distinct services used by disabled people who need a lower level of care – which is often just a few hours a week and could be help with budgeting and timekeeping.

Totalling up the costs in comparison to the benefits and savings, the ‘returns’ ranged from 18% to 53%. Modelling those findings nationally produces benefits to the Exchequer, local health and care commissioners and individuals of at least 30%.

The benefits come from preventing people's needs for escalating and relying on more costly public services. Advice and support for everyday activities from budgeting, and communication to help in the home increases quality of life and engagement with society. Reduced dependency on family members and carers can enable them to return to employment.

The research - Ending the Other Care Crisis: Making the case for investment in preventative care and support for disabled adults – was commissioned by The National Autistic Society, Mencap, Scope, Sense and Leonard Cheshire Disability. The charities warn that these benefits to the individual and society will be lost if the Government sets the bar on who receives care too high.

Earlier this year, the same five charities lifted the lid on the scale of the crisis revealing that care for disabled people was underfunded by £1.2 billion.

They found that more than 100,000 disabled people will be left without essential support to get up, get dressed and get out of the house if the Government fails to underpin its social care reform by making sure all those who need support get it; and then back that up with an injection of funding.

To read the report click http://www.scope.org.uk/sites/default/files/Ending_the_other_care_crisis.pdf

An anonymised serious case review has been published highlighting issues of the law and artificial insemination of vulnerable adults and children as well as safeguarding children who are home educated.

Source Association of Independent LSCB Chairs published on this site Wednesday 12th June 2013 by Jill Powell

The Introduction to the Executive Summary of the Overview Report states:

“That a Serious Case review has been undertaken by a Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) and the matters under review are unusual.”

The review covers a period of 16 years and includes issues of:

            Adoption from abroad, including one illegal adoption

            Social Isolation, neglect, emotional abuse and the physical abuse of the youngest child

            Home education as a means of further isolating the children

            Artificial Insemination of the oldest child by her mother

            The birth of a child to the oldest child with the mother assuming responsibility for the baby.

To read the review and other and associated reports click http://www.lscbchairs.org.uk/Events_and_Publications

National Carers Week June 10th- 16th 2013

Source: Carers Week 2013 published on this site Monday June 10th  2013 by Jill Powell

Carers Week launched today with research that revealed that carers are being woefully let down by a lack of support when they first take on a caring role. The findings from the report, Prepared to Care? show that support is not being made available to new carers with often devastating consequences.

The research of over 2,100 carers, showed that 75% of carers were not prepared for all aspects of caring and 81% were not aware of the support available to them from the outset and 35% believe they were given the wrong advice about the support on offer.

With around 6.5 million carers in the UK and 6,000 people taking on a new caring role every day, the charities within the Carers Week partnership are calling for the government, GPs and health and social care professionals to ensure that more support is given to carers from day one of their caring role.

The research also outlines the huge emotional, physical and financial effects that caring can have as people are not prepared for the impact of their caring role.

Helen Clarke, Carers Week Manager, commented: “The impact of caring for a loved one or friend is an issue that we simply cannot ignore. Every day across the country, 6,000 people take on new caring responsibilities and too often they face the challenges of caring without support. Becoming a carer can happen overnight and without information and guidance, carers can be left feeling isolated and alone.

“The figures clearly show that many carers aren’t being offered support and if they are, it can often be wrong or not the full information. The consequences for carers are huge, so it’s vital that GPs, health and social care professionals and the government all play a role to ensure that carers are offered the support they deserve from day one.

Carers Week provides the ideal opportunity for people to find out about the support available to them locally and from the campaign’s charity partners and supporters.”

To find out more and where you local activities are taking place click http://www.carersweek.org/news-and-media/latest-news/uk-carers-suffering-due-to-lack-of-support

Preventing and tackling bullying: Advice for headteachers, staff and governing bodies June 2013

Source Department for Education published on this site Tuesday 11th June 2013 by Jill Powell

This document has been produced to help schools prevent and respond to bullying as part of their overall behaviour policy, to understand their legal responsibilities in this area, and to understand the Department’s approach.

This document replaces previous advice – “Safe To Learn: embedding anti-bullying work in schools”. It outlines, in one place, the Government’s approach to bullying, legal obligations and the powers schools have to tackle bullying, and the principles which underpin the most effective anti-bullying strategies in schools. It also lists further resources through which school staff can access specialist information on the specific issues that they face.

To read the document click https://media.education.gov.uk/assets/files/pdf/p/anti-bullying%20advice%20june%202013.pdf

Serious case review panel established

Source Department of Education published on this site Friday 7th June 2013 by Jill Powell

Education Secretary Michael Gove has established a new independent panel to help ensure          that lessons are learned when a child dies or is seriously harmed and there are signs of abuse or neglect.

Independent panel members Peter Wanless, Nicholas Dann, Elizabeth Clarke and Jenni Russell will advise and challenge local safeguarding children boards (LSCBs) to initiate and publish high-quality serious case reviews (SCRs) in order that, nationally, lessons can be learned to drive up the quality of child protection services and avoid mistakes being repeated.

Announcing the panel members, Education Secretary Michael Gove said:

We must ensure that in the most tragic cases the right lessons are learned so the same mistakes do not happen time and time again.

 

Too many of England's poorest children continue to be let down by the education system

Source Ofsted published on this site Thursday 20th June 2013 by Jill Powell

The Chief Inspector of Ofsted today put forward a series of radical and far-reaching recommendations to make a lasting difference to the prospects of thousands of ‘unseen children’ from low income backgrounds who are being let down by the education system.

The recommendations aimed at closing the attainment gap between England’s poorest children and those from better off backgrounds were contained in a lecture delivered by Sir Michael Wilshaw in central London.

The speech at Church House in Westminster and the accompanying report, entitled Unseen children, marked 20 years since Ofsted first published a report into the achievements of the poorest children in the education system and 10 years since a follow-up study in 2003.

For the full Access and Achievement evidence report, local authority league tables and the ‘No Excuses’ video click: www.ofsted.gov.uk/accessandachievement

Inspection of services for children in need of help and protection, children looked after and care leavers

Source Ofsted published on this site Wednesday 19th June 2013 by Jill Powell

There is a consultation document on proposals to inspect services for children in need of help and protection, children looked after and care leavers. Ofsted seeks the widest possible range of views from those who have an interest in, or expertise relating to, child protection and provision for children looked after in order to ensure that the changes proposed take proper account of the needs and circumstances of all interested parties. There is also a guide for children and young people: News for children and young people(130167).

To download the consultation document and the guide for children and young people click http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/inspection-of-services-for-children-need-of-help-and-protection-children-looked-after-and-care-leave

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) have today launched their “Update Service”

Source DBS published on this site Monday 17th June 2013 by Jill Powell

This service enables individuals to subscribe to an annual fee, currently set at £13 (free for volunteers), to keep their criminal record certificates up to date. This will mean that the DBS will regularly search any changes to the information on a DBS certificate and update the status. The frequency of the search will depend on the level of certificates and the work being undertaken.

With this service an individual will be able to take their DBS certificate with them from role to role, provided that the same level and type of check is required and the work is similar. This may mean that employers can avoid filling out DBS application forms for individual employees.

With an individual’s permission, an employer will be able to check online whether there has been a change to the DBS certificate without incurring a cost. Employers will need to ensure that the new employee has produced their certificate at the outset.

People using this service will have the opportunity to challenge the contents of their certificates before being seen by potential employees.

Whilst it is not necessary for individuals to subscribe to this service it is open to employers to make it a condition of employment that they do so.

To read the guidance for employers click https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dbs-update-service-employer-guide

To read the guidance to applicants click https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dbs-update-service-applicant-guide

The Residential Holiday Schemes For Disabled Children (England) Regulations 2013

The Residential Holiday Schemes For Disabled Children (England) Regulations 2013

Source Gov.UK published on this site Tuesday 18th June 2013 by Jill Powell

Holiday schemes for disabled children (“schemes”) are currently subject to the same degree of regulation as children’s homes, which are regulated under the Children’s Homes Regulations 20011 (“the 2001 Regulations”). In order to achieve the policy objectives of enabling multiple sites to be registered as one scheme, application regulations have been made allowing Part 2 of the Care Standards Act 2000 (“the Act”) to be applied to proprietors of the schemes, so that they can be regulated through separate regulations which can apply to more than one site, rather than regulating them as previously as a type of children’s home.

These substantive regulations therefore set out the requirements for the registration and conduct of schemes. They are based largely on the 2001 Regulations, but include the provision that enables schemes to operate across a number of sites under one registration.

These Regulations apply to England only

To read the full legislation click http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/1394/made

Ofsted consults on a single inspection framework for local authority children's social care services

Source Ofsted published on this site Friday 14th June 2013 by Jill Powell

Ofsted has today launched a consultation on the way it inspects services for vulnerable children. Inspection of services for children in need of help and protection, children looked after and care leavers proposes a single framework for inspecting local authority child protection and services for looked after children, including those leaving or who have left care.

The single framework replaces previous plans to implement separate inspections for child protection and services for children looked after. It proposes an evaluation of help, protection and care for children including the arrangements for local authority fostering and adoption services.

Two other consultations, also launched today, are Good voluntary adoption provision and Good independent fostering provision. The frameworks evaluate adoption and fostering services provided by voluntary and independent providers respectively.

To take part in the consultation on the inspection of services for children in need of help and protection, children looked after and care leavers click http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/inspection-of-services-for-children-need-of-help-and-protection-children-looked-after-and-care-leave

 

Whistleblowing rights amended on 25th June 2013

Sources UK Parliament and ELAS published on this site Thursday 27th June 2013 by Jill Powell

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 amends s.43B of the Employment Rights Act 1996. A disclosure is not protected unless the employee reasonably believes that the disclosure is made in the public interest. Further, a disclosure no longer needs to be made "in good faith". Where a disclosure is not made in good faith, the employment tribunal will be able to reduce compensation by up to 25%. Section 19 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 also prescribes that an employer will be liable where a worker or an agent of the employer subjects a colleague to a detriment for whistleblowing.

Peter Mooney Lead Consultant at employment expert ELAS explains

“On June 25th, UK whistleblowing law changed to encourage the disclosure of a problem that is in the public interest, rather than one that is shouldered by one person alone.

 

Three new consultations published by Department of Education (DfE)

Source Department for Education published on this site Wednesday 26th June 2013 by Jill Powell

Three consultations have been published yesterday, which will run until 17 September 2013:

            changes to the Care Planning Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010

            changes to the Children’s Home Regulations 2001 and the Care Standards Act 2000 (Registration) (England) Regulations 2010

            statutory guidance on children who run away or go missing from home or care

 

To read more and take part in the consultations click: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultation

  

Free 24-hour advice and support to protect UK children from Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Source Home Office and NSPCC published on this site Monday 24th June 2013 by Jill Powell

The Home Office is supporting the launch of a new NSPCC helpline to help protect more children in the UK from mutilation.

FGM is illegal in Britain

Information gathered from calls to the NSPCC helpline will provide police and child protection agencies with intelligence so action can be taken against those who facilitate FGM against young girls.

Crime Prevention Minister Jeremy Browne said:

We need to ensure victims of female genital mutilation get the support they need and the new NSPCC helpline is a vital step towards eradicating this horrendous crime.

It builds on the work we have already undertaken through our violence against women and girls action plan to raise awareness, identify potential victims and prevent this form of child abuse.

The government has renewed its focus on protecting potential victims in the Violence Against Women and Girl’s Action Plan, placing prevention at the heart of its work.

The government has also launched a statement against FGM leaflet which outlines what FGM is, the legislation and penalties involved as well as information on the help and support available to victims and potential victims.

Thelpline will give advice, information and support for anyone concerned that a child's welfare is at risk because of female genital mutilation.

Though callers' details can remain anonymous, any information that could protect a child from abuse will be passed to the police or social services.

The Metropolitan Police force is also supporting the FGM helpline as part of its crime prevention work and has provided training to the NSPCC.

If you are worried that a child may be at risk of FGM, you can contact th 24 hour helpline anonymously.

The new helpline number is 0800 028 3550 or email

10 summer hazards to be aware of during and after Child Safety Week 24th to 30th June 2013

Sources Child Accident Prevention Trust and Mumsnet published on this site Tuesday 25th June 2013 by Jill Powell

A quarter of parents (24%) say their child had a close call before leaving school. Two-thirds (67%) say they’ve had to save the day to prevent a serious accident. But parents play down their life-saving role and seriously underestimate the rescue service they provide.

The top hair-raising accidents that parents have saved their children from are:

            stepping in front of traffic (54%)

            falling down the stairs (29%)

            suffering a serious fall from a highchair (20%)

            falling out of an open window (12%)

            drowning in the bath, in a pool or pond or in the sea (11%)

            being badly scalded by a hot drink (11%).

Parents whose children had a close call with danger revealed an alarming number of near misses. 80% recalled around five narrow escapes. 20% reported up to ten close scrapes.

But the new research reveals parents seriously underestimate themselves and fail to recognise their actions as heroic. Most (94%) agree that rescuing a child from danger makes someone a hero and parents protect children from serious accidents every day. However, they are far more likely to see fire officers (64%) or paramedics (49%) as heroes than themselves or other parents (9%).

Mumsnet have published a 10 point summer hazard guide for parents and carers of children.

 

Consultation on changes to the way we inspect, regulate and monitor care services

Source Care Quality Commission (CQC) published on this site Thursday July 4th 2013 by Jill Powell

We want your feedback on the plans we have developed to help ensure that people receive high-quality care.

About this consultation

Our strategy for 2013 to 2016 sets out a clear purpose for us - to make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and to encourage care services to make improvements.

This consultation is an important step towards making the changes needed to deliver our purpose.

We want your feedback on our plans to:

inspect all care services, NHS trusts and foundation trusts and independent acute hospitals.

develop clear standards of care that health and social care services must meet.

make better use of information and evidence we receive to decide when, where and what to expect.

introduce Chief Inspectors to lead national teams of expert inspectors which will include people who receive care, clinical experts and others.

develop a ratings system to help people choose between services and to encourage services to make improvements.

make sure that directors or leaders of organisations have made legal commitments to provide safe and high-quality care, and are personally held to account for it.

You’ll also find our plans for delivering changes that specifically relate to the NHS. These changes include:

indicators that we will use to trigger action in NHS acute hospitals.

longer, more thorough hospital inspections.

a programme for failing hospitals that makes sure immediate action is taken to protect people and to hold those responsible to account.

to see the consultation click http://www.cqc.org.uk/public/sharing-your-experience/consultations/consultation-changes-way-we-inspect-regulate-and-monito

National panel of independent experts on serious case reviews

Source Gove.UK published on this site on Wednesday 3rd July 2013 by Jill Powell

The government announced in Working Together to Safeguard Children in March 2013, that a national panel of independent experts would be established to give Local Safeguarding Children's Boards (LSCBs) access to expert advice from an independent source to help them make the right decisions about conducting and publishing serious case reviews (SCRs).

The panel members are Peter Wanless, Nicholas Dann, Elizabeth Clarke and Jenni Russell. The panel is independent of Government and will provide advice to LSCBs drawing on their own individual areas of expertise.

It will be fully operational from 1 July 2013 and will advise and challenge Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) to initiate and publish high-quality SCRs. This is so that lessons can be learned locally and nationally to drive up the quality of child protection services and avoid mistakes being repeated.

Disclosure and Baring Service (DBS) give notice they are withdrawing the workaround for field x61 on the application forms

Source DBS published on this site Monday 1st July 2013 by Jill Powell

The DBS recently told us about changes that came into force on 17 June 2013 to the way we all must complete field x61 on the application form. To help to adopt this change the DBS developed a manual, short-term process, whereby the DBS would add the information where it had not been supplied by using the information provided by your responses to fields x64 and x65. This process ended on the 27 June and all incorrectly completed application forms will be rejected and returned to for completion as per current procedures.

The changes were made to give the police the information they need for their relevancy test, which is now applied against the new prescribed purpose of child and/or adult workforce. This helps applicants to take their DBS certificate from job to job within the same workforce, and is used to check for updates when they join the Update Service.

To do this, it is vital that Field x61 Line 1 MUST contain the relevant workforce, and in addition field x61 Line 2 MUST contain the position applied for. The accurate completion of this information is the responsibility of the Registered Body, and is a mandatory requirement for all applications for DBS checks.

To summarise, the accurate completion of both of these fields is critical because they are required for the consideration of relevance by the police, and will allow the applicant to use the Update Service if they choose to do so. They are referenced in the declaration which the countersignatory signs before submitting the application.

The relevant workforces are described as:

            Child Workforce

            Adult workforce

            Child and Adult Workforce

            Other Workforce

Statutory guidance on children who run away or go missing from home or care consultation

Source Gov.uk published on this site Tuesday 2nd July 2013 by Jill Powell

The current statutory guidance on children who run away and go missing from home or care was published in July 2009. The guidance needs to be updated to reflect: widespread concerns about children in care being sexually exploited; changes in policy, such as the requirement of national indicator 71 which no longer applies; and recent changes in statutory guidance (Care planning and Working Together).

The government has therefore decided to produce a new version of the statutory guidance on children who run away and go missing from home or care to reflect these changes. The guidance will also include flow charts to make clearer the actions required of local agencies and carers when a child goes missing from home or care.

This consultation seeks the views of local authorities, representative bodies and other interested parties on the content of the guidance and flow charts.

Ends 17th September 2013

To see the consultation

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/statutory-guidance-on-children-who-run-away-or-go-missing-from-home-or-care

 Advice to parents and carers on gangs

Source The Home Office published on this site Thursday 11th July 2013 by Jill Powell

A leaflet has been produced by the Home Office to provide information to help parents identify and respond if their children are affected by gangs.

To access the leaflet click https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/211573/Advice_to_parents_and_carers_on_gangs_v13_single_page__2_.pdf

New proposals to improve care for vulnerable older people

Source Department of Health published on this site Wednesday 10th July 2013

The health secretary has announced he is seeking views on a set of proposals to radically improve care for vulnerable older people.

The proposals set out improvements in primary care and urgent and emergency care. They look at establishing ways for NHS and social care services to work together more effectively for the benefit of patients, both in and out of hospital.

Comments are being sought from NHS, social care and public health staff, carers and patients. People can discuss and comment on the proposals through the better health and care site.

Proposals

The proposals include every vulnerable older person having a named clinician responsible for their care outside of hospital, ensuring accountability is clear and care packages are personalised and tailored around individual needs.

The other proposals include:

            better early diagnosis and support to stay healthy by improving the role GPs play in supporting people to stay healthy and taking an active role in managing the health of their local populations

            improving access to primary care through new types of services such as rapid walk-in access services, helping patients connect with their GP in different ways through new technology, making booking appointments easier and building on existing services and opening hours

            providing consistent and safe out-of-hours services

            enhancing choice and control by rolling out the friends and family test to general practice by December 2014, giving more choice about location and type of service such as seeing a preferred GP or nurse and the option of doing this face-to-face or by email and telephone

            better sharing of information and joining up services so care can be provided in a coordinated way

 

Private Fostering Week 08-12 July

Source Private Fostering website published on this site Monday 8th July 2013 by Jill Powell

Private fostering is when a child under the age of 16 (under 18 if disabled) is cared for by someone who is not their parent or a 'close relative'. This is a private arrangement made between a parent and a carer, for 28 days or more. Close relatives are defined as step-parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles or aunts (whether of full blood, half blood or marriage/affinity).

Are you a private foster carer? To help us keep children safe and support families, all parents and private foster carers must notify the local council. If not, they miss out on essential welfare checks for the children, plus other support services.

These include:

            Advice on claiming benefits and possible funding for some essential items

            Parenting support and advice

            Help in bringing families in crisis back together

If you know of a child being privately fostered please don’t ignore it. Speak to the child’s carer or inform your local council's private fostering team.

It is an offence not to notify the local council of a private fostering arrangement.

For more information click http://www.privatefostering.org.uk/

The Jillings Report: Joint Press Release on behalf of the six North Wales Councils

Source Wrexham County Borough Council published on this site Tuesday 9th July 2013 by Jill Powell

Successor Councils to the former Clwyd County Council have yesterday (8 July) released a redacted copy of the Jillings report into historic child abuse.

Following independent legal advice and discussions with the Police acting on behalf of the Operation Pallial investigation into recent allegations of historic child abuse in North Wales, the report has been redacted, but not abridged, with some names and detail blanked out.

The North Wales Councils recognise that the release of the report may bring distress to those affected by historic abuse and they encourage anyone who is affected by its release to call one of the numbers below if they need support.

All councils have and will continue to support anyone affected by abuse. In North Wales, the safeguarding of children and young people is a high priority for today’s Councils.

Very few children are now placed in residential care and when they are, safety, quality of care and individual outcomes are carefully reviewed and monitored.

Since the publication of the Waterhouse report, Lost in Care, significant new statutory legislation and guidance has been implemented for Looked after Children.

In particular, within all new legislation and guidance are the rights of the child. This is evident in legislation and guidance around safeguarding, care planning and within the role of the Independent Reviewing Officer.

There has also been the development of the corporate parenting role within all North Wales councils to ensure improved results for Looked after Children.

Some significant areas of performance and protection are:

            Wales has an independent Children’s Commissioner.

            In North Wales we commission advocacy services to ensure children in care have a voice.

            Every Social Services department has an appropriately qualified Children’s Complaints Officer.

            We have clear whistle-blowing procedures in place, enabling members of staff to make complaints and raise matters of concern affecting a Looked After Child.

            Children are regularly visited; they’re also seen alone, at intervals, away from their residential or foster home.

            Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) organise a variety of specialised training for staff working with children.

Local agencies work closely together on safeguarding issues, particularly in relation to children who are missing from home.

Rigorous procedures are in place for recruiting foster care and residential staff.

All councils remain vigilant and continue to monitor and review procedures and practices

To read the report part one click http://7acdffdc682396080ae6-df8bc385e018ac757acdd54508ce5af3.r63.cf3.rackcdn.com/jillings-redacted_part1of2.pdf

To read part two click http://7acdffdc682396080ae6-df8bc385e018ac757acdd54508ce5af3.r63.cf3.rackcdn.com/jillings-redacted_part2of2.pdf

Standards of care for people who self-harm must be improved, says National Institute for health and Care Excellence (NICE)

Source NICE published on this site Friday 5th July 2013 by Jill Powell

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published a quality standard to improve the quality of care and support for children, young people, and adults who self-harm.

The term self-harm is used to refer to any act of self-injury or self-poisoning carried out by a person, irrespective of their motivation. This commonly involves self-injury by cutting or self-poisoning with medication. Hospitals in England deal with around 220,000 episodes of self-harm by 150,000 people each year [i].

A wide range of mental health problems are associated with self-harm, including borderline personality disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and drug and alcohol use disorders. People who self-harm are 50 to 100 times more likely to die by suicide in the 12-month period after an episode than people who do not self-harm [ii].

The NICE quality standard on self-harm is designed to improve the management and longer-term support of people who self-harm. In summary:

People who have self-harmed should be treated with the same compassion, dignity and respect as everyone else using healthcare services. Judgemental or negative staff attitudes towards those who have self-harmed can contribute to poor experiences of care, and may also lead to further self-harm.

People who have self-harmed should have an initial assessment of physical health, mental state, social circumstances and risks of repetition or suicide. This can identify if a person is at immediate physical risk, so that steps can be taken to reduce this risk, including referral for more urgent care if needed.

A comprehensive psychological assessment should be carried out each time a person presents with an episode of self-harm. This is aimed at identifying why it has happened. The assessment can also start a therapeutic relationship with the healthcare professional and be used to develop an effective management plan.

A risk-management plan can help people who have self-harmed reduce their risk of self-harming again. This should be developed in collaboration with the person who has self-harmed, who should have joint ownership of the plan. It should include what can be done if they are at risk of self-harming again and who to contact in a crisis.

For more information on the quality standards click http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/index.jsp?action=byID&o=14200

General Dentists Council (GDC) approves ‘Standards for the Dental Team’ which becomes effective on 30th September 2013

Source: GDC published on this site Friday 19th July 2013 by Jill Powell

The General Dental Council (GDC) has published its new ‘Standards for the Dental Team’ which will replace its current Standards Guidance.

All registrants have an individual responsibility to behave professionally and to follow the standards at all times

Principle 8 covers the, patients expectations, the standards and guidance for ‘ Raising concerns if patients are at risk’

To read the new document click: http://www.gdc-uk.org/Dentalprofessionals/Standards/Documents/Standards%20for%20the%20Dental%20Team%20-%20web%20PDF.pdf

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) further changes to application form

Source: DBS published on this site 18th July 2013 by Jill Powell

THE DBS have received lots of queries about how to complete certain sections of the application form. They understand know this has been confusing for you so please accept their apologies for any unnecessary concerns that we may have caused. Disclosure and Baring Service (DBS) further changes to application form

The following will clarify exactly what it is you need to be doing with the sections on the form that are proving particularly problematic. Read on for user guides to sections e55, x61 and x66. If you still have any questions about filling in the application form after reading this section, please get in touch through the usual methods and they can point you in the right direction.

Section e55

 

On 29 May 2013, changes in legislation led us to remove certain specified old and minor offences from DBS certificates.

We advised you to inform your applicants when completing e55 of the application form they should treat the question as: ‘Do you have any unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings?’

Since this guidance was introduced, we have received a number of queries about how this should be interpreted. You made it clear in your feedback that the revised e55 question has caused confusion. We have used your feedback as the basis of consultation with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), and this has led to a clearer form of words.

Please now ignore previous advice and advise applicants completing e55 to treat this question as if they were being asked:

‘Do you have any convictions, cautions, reprimands or final warnings which would not be filtered in line with current guidance?’

It contains full details of the filtering rules and a list of offences which will never be filtered, which has been derived from legislation.

We have been asked whether or not employers should amend their recruitment processes when asking about previous criminal offences. The MoJ suggest that you should use the following question as a template for your own processes:

‘Do you have any convictions, cautions, reprimands or final warnings that are not "protected" as defined by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (as amended in 2013) by SI 2013 1198’.

 To access filtering guidance click: www.gov.uk/government/publications/dbs-filtering-guidance.

For the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act click: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/1198/pdfs/uksi_20131198_en.pdf

 

Holiday Childcare costs break £100-a-week mark for first time, but shortages could mean more children home alone this summer

SourceThe Family and Childcare Trust published on this site Monday 15th July 2013

The Family and Childcare Trust’s Holiday Childcare Costs Survey 2013, launched today (Monday 15th July), reveals the average cost of childcare during the school holidays has broken the £100 per week threshold, for the first time, across all of Britain:

The average cost of one week’s holiday childcare in Britain is now £109.23

For most parents living in England, prices have risen an average of 9.2 per cent since last year

Only 30 per cent of English local authorities, and 16 per cent of Welsh local authorities, can provide sufficient holiday childcare for working parents

During the school holidays, schools and school-based nurseries are closed and working parents have to find childcare during the day. Not all parents can rely on shift parenting or informal childcare such as grandparents and friends. Some who work with temporary contracts will have insufficient annual leave entitlement, and others may be unable to rely on the support of a partner. For these working parents, affordable formal childcare during the school holidays is essential.

The Family and Childcare Trust is concerned that a combination of high prices and inaccessibility of holiday childcare for many working parents will lead to more children than ever being left ‘home alone’ during the summer break.

Parents in England and Wales who live in rural areas, have older children, or disabled children face even greater difficulty finding holiday cover, with availability in some areas having got worse over the last four years, despite a legal duty on local authorities to provide sufficient childcare.

For the one in five parents who use formal holiday childcare in Britain today, the Family and Childcare Trust’s report shows that to pay for childcare for two children over four weeks of the summer holiday, working parents will have to find almost £850, a cost beyond the reach of many modest- to- low income families.

Key findings from the survey include:

Most parents use childcare run by private, voluntary and independent sector providers

The average cost of one week’s holiday childcare in Britain is now £109.23, breaking the £100 threshold for the first time.

.

The Regulation of Child Care Consultation launched today

Source: Department for Education published on this site Tuesday 16th July 2013 by Jill Powell

This consultation seeks views on reforming the regulatory system for childcare providers. It seeks to remove burdens and simplify processes and proposes replacing the general childcare register with a child safety register.

            The government proposes to:

            remove burdens and simplify processes, enabling providers and parents to more easily navigate the system;

            replace the General Childcare Register with a Child Safety Register, working together with the Early Years Register to offer greater flexibility and clarity;

            maintain and strengthen the safeguarding and welfare requirements, ensuring consistency around the essential requirements for keeping children safe;

            make it easier for schools to offer out-of-hours care and accept younger children;

            support parents to make common sense, informal arrangements with their friends and neighbours by increasing the amount of time that a child can be looked after from two to three hours without needing to register; and

            introduce greater flexibility for providers operating in multiple premises while maintaining safeguards.

To see the review and take part click https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/212684/regulation_consultation.pdf

New trends in child sexual abuse offending reported by Child Exploitation Online Protection Centre (CEOP)

Source CEOP published on this site Friday 12th 2013 by Jill Powell

New trends in child sexual abuse offending and the growing availability of the internet in the developing world are likely to exacerbate the threat to children, the latest findings from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre warn.

In its annual Threat Assessment of Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (TACSEA), the use of the ‘hidden internet’ and the live streaming of abuse are identified as new ways that offender’s are sexually abusing children.

The TACSEA, which sets out where CEOP will focus its activity in the coming year, as the organisation moves into the National Crime Agency (NCA) in October 2013, outlines four key threats:

            the proliferation of indecent images of children,

            online sexual exploitation,

            transnational child sexual abuse; and

            contact child sexual abuse.

Other key findings show that approximately 190,000 UK children (1 in 58) will suffer contact sexual abuse by a non-related adult before turning 18, with approximately 10,000 new child victims of contact sexual abuse being reported in the UK each year.

A number of different offender types are also identified, including those who target teenagers and young people on their basis of their vulnerability, those who have a long standing sexual interest in children and those that embed themselves in foreign countries for the purpose of child sexual abuse.

 

Open Consultation on Teacher misconduct: The prohibition of teachers

Source Gov.uk published on this site Friday 26th July 2013 by Jill Powell

This consultation seeks the public’s views on proposals to revise the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) advice on teacher misconduct.

The revisions are made following a Department for Education announcement in June 2013. This stated that the guidance would be revised to clarify the department’s expectation that any sexual misconduct and any criminal conviction or caution involving indecent images of children will lead to prohibition.

The department of Education made the announcement following the outcry when an RE teacher was allowed to return to teaching despite being placed on the sex offenders register. Since the disbanding of the General Teachers Council for England in 2012 the decision to allow or prevent people from working in schools now lies with the Secretary of State for Education and the NCTL (formed in April 2013) will now host the Professional Conduct Panel hearings.

To read the related documents and respond to the consultation click: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/changes-to-the-advice-on-teacher-misconduct-and-prohibition

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A statistical overview and exploration of the dynamics of change 2013

Source: UNICEF published on this site Thursday 25th July 2013 by Jill powell

125 million girls and women already cut

30 million girls at risk of being cut in the next decade

29 countries in Africa and the Middle East

23 years of data collection

74 nationally representative surveys

Obtaining timely, comparable and reliable information on female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is key to efforts aimed at promoting its elimination. A new report from UNICEF analyses prevalence and trends in FGM/C in 29 countries. Drawing on data from more than 70 nationally representative surveys over a 20-year period, the report presents the most comprehensive compilation to date of statistics and analyses on FGM/C and provides relevant insights for programmes and policies aiming to support the elimination of the practice. It includes new statistics from countries where representative survey data were lacking and is the first report to present data on girls under 15 years old, illustrating the most recent trends surrounding the practice. Viewed from the perspective of underlying social dynamics, the findings help explain what can be done to change the attitudes and behaviours that have led FGM/C to persist after nearly a century of efforts to end it. Programmatic insights based on the findings can be used by a range of partners to accelerate momentum towards the elimination of the practice.

O read the full report click http://www.childinfo.org/files/FGCM_Lo_res.pdf

Statistical Report of Child Death Reviews: Year Ending 31 March 2013

Source: Department for Education published on this site Tuesday 23rd July 2013

This Official Statistical Release provides figures on child death reviews which have been completed by Local Safeguarding Children Boards in England between 1 April 2012 and 31 March 2013.

Local Safeguarding Children Boards are responsible for developing policies and procedures for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in their Local Authority area. From 1 April 2008, all Local Safeguarding Children Boards have had a statutory responsibility to review the deaths of all children from birth (excluding still born babies) up to 18 years, who are normally resident within their area. This is known as the Child Death Review Process. The duties of the Local Safeguarding Children Boards regarding these processes are set out in Chapter 7 of Working Together to Safeguard Children (HM Government 2010). Their responsibilities include setting up a Child Death Overview Panel (panels) which reviews child deaths on behalf of the Local Safeguarding Children Board.

Reviewing child deaths includes collecting information about the circumstances of the fatality, identifying if there were any modifiable factors, in the death and determining if there are lessons which could be learned to reduce future child deaths.

A modifiable death is defined as where there are factors which may have contributed to the death. These factors are defined as those which, by means of nationally or locally achievable interventions, could be modified to reduce the risk of future child deaths. However this is not an investigation into why a child has died and it is not a serious case review, although a serious case review may be completed in respect of a death where abuse or neglect were considered to be a factor.

 

Sexual Violence against Children and Vulnerable People National Group Progress Report and Action Plan July 2013

Source: Home Office published on this site Wednesday 24th July 2013 by Jill Powell

At a ministerial summit held at the Home Office today, Damian Green, the Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, announced publication of the first SVACV progress report and action plan together with a support document for local areas on multi-agency working and information sharing approaches.

SVACV is a panel of experts and policy makers brought together by the Home Office to co-ordinate and implement the learning from recent inquiries into historic child sexual abuse and current sexual violence prevention issues.

It has identified an ambitious programme of activity which builds upon the already extensive programme of work underway across government to strengthen and enhance the response and protection to children and vulnerable people.

To read the two documents click https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sexual-violence-against-children-and-vulnerable-people-national-group

Care Quality Commission (CQC) announces Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care

Source: CQC published on this site Monday 22nd July 2013 by Jill Powell

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has appointed Andrea Sutcliffe as its first Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care.

Andrea joins CQC from the Social Care Institute for Excellence SCIE), where she is currently chief executive.

The Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care will lead CQC’s inspection and regulation of adult social care. Andrea will be responsible for developing the new approach to the way CQC regulates social care, in consultation with people who use and provide services.

She will oversee the development of a new rating system for social care providers, championing the interests of people using services and making critical judgments about the quality of care provided.

To read more about Andrea Sutcliffe click http://www.scie.org.uk/about/contactstaff.asp

 

New Guidance published today “ Addressing youth violence and gangs: Practical advice for schools and colleges” August 2013

Source: Home Office published on this site Friday 2nd August 2013 by Jill Powell

This guidance, which has been produced as part of the cross-Government work on Ending Gang and Youth Violence3,is intended as a resource upon which schools and colleges can draw. It includes:

• advice on the support available to address problems of youth violence or gangs;

• a summary of what works in tackling violence in educational establishments;

• some considerations when commissioning programmes to improve outcomes for young people; and

• a set of resources and practical checklists.

The guidance signposts school and college staff to resources:

• providing the skills and support to help young people to resist becoming involved in violence;

• identifying young people in need of help; and

• working with other agencies to tackle violence

To read the guidance click https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/226293/Advice_to_Schools_and_Colleges_on_Gangs.pdf

Warning over child poisoning from detergent liqui-tabs

Source Children in Wales charity published on this site Thursday 1st August 2013 by Jill Powell

Children in Wales and Public Health Wales are warning of the danger of liqui-tabs to children, following a number of incidents of poisoning. Those most at risk from accidental poisoning are aged between 0-4 years.

The number of poisoning incidents from liqui-tabs is increasing. They can be very attractive to inquisitive children due to their bright colours, pleasant smell and tactile nature. Karen McFarlane, Child Safety Officer for Children in Wales stated that "Many parents are unaware that liqui-tabs can be dangerous to children and often this means that they are left out on view and within easy reach of children".

Liqui-tabs are not only poisonous to children when ingested, but they can also cause injuries when they come in contact with a child’s skin or gets into their eyes. Injuries that are commonly caused include; vomiting, diarrhea, internal and external chemical burns, body rashes and eye inflammations. Dr Sarah Jones from Public Health Wales said "All of these injuries can be easily prevented just by changing how we store our liqui-tabs."

Liqui-tabs should be treated the same as all other poisonous items and locked away in a high kitchen cupboard, out of sight and out of reach of children.

A new poster ‘Lock up your liqui-tabs’ has been produced as a resource to warn of the dangers of liqui-tabs and advise anyone caring for children to keep them out of reach and stored safely.

To download a poster click http://www.childreninwales.org.uk/areasofwork/childsafety/liquitabs.html .

 

Catholic abuse claims prompt calls for victim support

Source: BBC Online published on this site Tuesday 30th July 2013 by Jill Powell

A programme shown yesterday, BBC Investigates: Sins of our Fathers, in which the BBC investigated allegations of abuse by monks at Scottish Catholic boarding schools, has prompted calls for more to be done to help victims.

BBC Scotland found evidence of 30 years of physical and sexual abuse at Fort Augustus Abbey School in the Highlands and its East Lothian prep school.

The Benedictine order which ran the schools has apologised to any victims.

The Catholic Church has now been urged to set up a dedicated programme for those who have suffered abuse.

The BBC spoke to 50 former pupils about their experiences at Fort Augustus Abbey and Carlekemp.

 

Scam letter alert

Source NFIB published on this site Wednesday 31st July 2013 by Jill Powell

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has issued an alert after a member of the public received a scam letter accusing them of money laundering.

The scam letter, which fraudulently stated it was from the NFIB, requested that the recipient pay £7,000 into a bank account. The letter also said the recipient would be arrested if they failed to make the payment.

The NFIB stresses that this is a scam letter and, should you receive such a letter, requests that you report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre by calling 0300 123 20 40 or

click www.actionfraud.police.uk

First of its kind 'The dementia guide' launched to help doctors provide support when people are diagnosed

Source Alzheimers Society published on this site Monday 29th July 2013 by Jill Powell

A new booklet to help guide people with dementia and their carers through their journey with dementia is being launched today (29 July 2013) by Alzheimer's Society.

The guide is the first of its kind to provide the information you need after a diagnosis of dementia. It offers advice to help people come to terms with their diagnosis and plan ahead and enable them to live well with the condition.

The guide is published a year on from the 'Unlocking diagnosis' report from the All Party Parliamentary Group on dementia found that many people said 'nothing' happened after a diagnosis showing that more immediate support and information was needed. The guide has been developed to give GPs and psychiatrists the opportunity to provide people with dementia and carers with know-how and guidance at the point of diagnosis.

Whilst diagnosis rates are increasing, some GPs are still reluctant to diagnose the disease and the guide is being introduced at a time where over 50 per cent (428,000) of people living with dementia still do not have a formal diagnosis, and are not able to access treatments and support. Alzheimer's Society is campaigning to raise awareness of the variations in services offered to people around the country and calling for improved diagnosis rates.

The dementia guide, which has been produced by Alzheimer's Society and part-funded by The Department of Health, is designed for frontline healthcare professionals to offer to people recently diagnosed with dementia.

It includes sections focusing on the emotional impact of a diagnosis; drug treatments that are available; signposting to services that are available through the NHS; social services, charities and private organisations; and support for carers.

The guide, endorsed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, will be available free-of-charge .

To order the guide click http://alzheimers.org.uk/dementiaguide

 

Global network equipment provider Sandvine joins forces with Internet Watch Foundation

Source: IWF published on this site Friday 9th August by Jill Powell

Sandvine is working with the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) to enable service providers globally to protect their customers from known images and videos of child sexual abuse. By becoming a Member, Sandvine has access to a range of services designed to protect online networks.

“Sandvine brings an intelligence layer to networks worldwide, so operators and subscribers can make informed choices and feel safer accessing the Internet from anywhere in the world,” said Dave Caputo, CEO, Sandvine. “Child sexual abuse is abhorrent and by joining with the IWF and our customers, we are doing our part to make known images less accessible.”

Susie Hargreaves, IWF Chief Executive, said: “I applaud Sandvine’s decision to become an IWF Member. Our partnership has mutual benefits – our range of services enhances Sandvine’s customer protection while their funding increases our resources in the fight against online child sexual abuse content. I look forward to working closely with their team”.

New ICO subject access code of practice helps organisations give people control over their data

Source: Information Commissioners Office (ICO) published on this site Thursday 8th August 2013 by Jill Powell

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has today published new guidance for organisations to help them deal with requests from individuals for their data.

Under the Data Protection Act, anyone has the right to find out what information an organisation holds about them by making a subject access request. This right allows individuals to find out important information ranging from details recorded on their credit history to data included in their health record. Once received, an organisation normally has forty days to reply to the request.

During the last financial year the ICO handled over 6,000 complaints related to subject access requests, with over one in six of these complaints relating to money lenders, including credit reference agencies and banks.

The new guidance – which has been accredited by the Plain Language Commission - will help organisations handle subject access requests more efficiently, while supporting the public in taking control of their personal information.

Announcing the publication of the ICO’s new subject access code of practice the Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, said:

“We are all being asked to provide organisations with more and more information about ourselves and subject access requests are a useful tool for keeping control of our data. They can be particularly important when checking your credit rating or applying for a loan, but the ICO’s complaints figures show that many organisations still need to improve their processes for dealing with these requests. “Handling subject access requests correctly can also benefit organisations by highlighting errors and helping them to make sure the information they are using is accurate and up-to-date.

“Our new subject access code of practice will help organisations deal with these types of requests in a timely and efficient manner, allowing them to demonstrate that they are looking after their customers’ data and being open and transparent about the information they collect. This can only be a good thing for organisations and consumers.”

As part of the launch the ICO has published ten simple stepswhich organisations should consider when responding to subject access requests.

            Identify whether a request should be considered as a subject access request

            Make sure you have enough information to be sure of the requester’s identity

            If you need more information from the requester to find out what they want, then ask at an early stage

            If you’re charging a fee, ask for it promptly

            Check whether you have the information the requester wants

            Don’t be tempted to make changes to the records, even if they’re inaccurate or embarrassing…

            But do consider whether the records contain information about other people

            Consider whether any of the exemptions apply

            If the information includes complex terms or codes, then make sure you explain them

            Provide the response in a permanent form, where appropriate.

To read the Subject access code of practice: Dealing with requests from individuals for personal information August 2013 click

http://www.ico.org.uk/for_organisations/guidance_index/~/media/documents/library/Data_Protection/Detailed_specialist_guides/subject-access-code-of-practice.PDF

 

Legal advice inaccessible for people with a learning disability

Source: Mencap published on this site Tuesday 6th August 2013 by Jill Powell

New research suggests that access to legal services is limited for people with a learning disability

According to research published 29 July 2013 lawyers often struggle to provide the right support for people with a learning disability due to lack of experience or training.

The Norah Fry Research Centre carried out the research on behalf of Mencap, Legal Services Board, and the Legal Services Consumer Panel.

The research is based on numerous focus groups with 90 people with a learning disability and interviews with 26 family carers and 9 legal services professionals. Findings show that people with a learning disability are unclear about how legal services could help them, and instead rely on people close to them for support. Family carers mostly rely on the internet, learning disability charities and support groups for help, rather than seeking advice from a lawyer.

Common legal issues identified by the research include parents with learning disabilities fighting to keep care of their children, discrimination in the workplace, disputed benefit claims, and hate crime.

Several positive effects of getting the right legal advice were identified in the research, including relief, improved quality of life and a sense of empowerment. The Legal Services Board is now calling for the legal sector to develop guidelines for all lawyers to help them better understand the support and communication needs of people with a learning disability.

Key issues outlined included lawyers not being understood, appearing uninterested or failing to signpost clients to the right specialist support.

The Legal Services Board has adopted a British Standard (BS18477) regarding vulnerable clients, and is asking other organisations in the sector to do the same. Mencap will develop easy read materials on choosing legal services designed to support people with learning disabilities.

To read an easy read version of the research click http://www.mencap.org.uk/sites/default/files/documents/What%20happens%20when%20people%20with%20learning%20disabilities%20need%20advic%20easy%20read.pdf

 

Ofsted calls for swift improvement in pre-schools and nurseries

Source: Ofsted published on this site Wednesday 7th August 2013 by Jill Powell

Ofsted has announced a toughening up of early years inspections, making it clear that only provision that is ‘good’ or better is good enough for very young children.

From 4 November 2013, a judgement of ‘requires improvement’ will replace the current ‘satisfactory’ judgement for all early years providers – as it has already for schools and colleges.

Publishing the outcomes of the Good early years provision for all consultation, which sets out Ofsted’s proposals for early years providers, Sir Michael Wilshaw, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, announced that ‘good’ will be the minimum standard expected.

To read this report click http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/good-early-years-provision-for-all-report-responses-consultation

Domestic violence and abuse - identification and prevention: guidance consultation

Source: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published on this site 5th August 2013 by Jill Powell

NICE has published new draft guidance on identifying and preventing domestic violence [i] and abuse between family members or between people who are (or who have been) intimate partners. It covers adults and young people who are experiencing (or have experienced) domestic violence, and children who are exposed to domestic violence.

Around 1.2 million women and 784,000 men aged 16-59 in England and Wales experienced domestic abuse in 2010/11. Almost one third of women and 17% of men in England and Wales have experienced it at some point in their lives [ii].

Both men and women can perpetrate and experience domestic violence and abuse, but it is more often inflicted on women by men, with women experiencing more severe forms of violence.

Domestic violence can be sexual, emotional, financial or physical (using minor or severe force). ‘Honour' violence[iii] and forced marriage are also examples of domestic violence [iv]. In England, 1.6% of older people aged 66 years and over reported experiencing abuse (psychological, physical, sexual and financial) in the past year from a family member, close friend or care worker [v]. 31% of girls and 16% of boys reported experiencing sexual violence in a relationship in the UK, with 25% of girls and 18% of boys reported experiencing physical violence. One in six girls aged 13 to 17 reported some form of severe domestic violence inflicted on them by a partner [vi].

To access the draft guidance click Source: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published on this site 5th August 2013 by Jill Powell

click http://www.nice.org.uk/nicemedia/live/12116/64783/64783.pdf

High Court ruling due in man's sterilisation case

Source BBC online news published on this site Friday 16th August 2013 by Jill Powell

A High Court judge is due to give her decision on whether to allow the first sterilisation of a man because it is "in his best interests".

The 36-year-old, from the Midlands, has learning difficulties and already has a son with his girlfriend, born in 2010.

Mrs Justice Eleanor King heard at a recent hearing that another child could cause the man "psychological harm".

Experts said he was capable of sexual consent but did not have the capacity to make decisions about contraception.

Life-altering decision

They said the man, referred to as DE, could not be relied upon to use condoms or other birth control methods effectively to prevent pregnancy.

The Court of Protection in London has heard that DE does not want to become a father again.

The application to allow a vasectomy has been made by the man's local NHS trust, with the support of his parents, GP and the local authority involved in his care. None of them must be identified, by court order.

Should the judge sanction the procedure it would make legal history in England and Wales.

The case has come to court because of undisputed evidence that DE does not have the capacity to decide whether or not to consent to sterilisation. A judge, therefore, must make the life-altering decision.

Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) suspends lawyer Robert Colover, the Barrister who called child sex abuse victim ‘predatory’ from sex offence trials.   

Source: CPS published on this site Thursday 15th August 2013 by Jill Powell

A CPS spokesperson said: "The word predatory in this context should not have been used and is of real concern to the CPS. It is not consistent with the work that we have undertaken alongside the judiciary and others in the past year to improve attitudes towards victims of abuse.

"We expect all of our prosecutors, including self-employed barristers who act on our behalf, to follow our guidance in these very difficult cases. The DPP will be undertaking a review of this case to determine what happened and to decide what action needs to be taken. We are now considering the involvement of this barrister in sexual offence prosecutions and have advised his chambers that we will not instruct him in any on-going or future cases involving sexual offences in the meantime."

New guidance on reducing the risk of illness when open water swimming         

Source: Public Health England (PHE) published on this site Tuesday 13th August 2013 by Jill Powell

PHE has published a leaflet about open water swimming, which means swimming in lakes, rivers and reservoirs.

The activity is growing in popularity in the UK but there have been outbreaks of gastrointestinal infections reported associated with open water swimming, the most recent in late 2012 on the River Thames in London.

This particular outbreak prompted an investigation by PHE London. The results of the report have now been used by the South West London health protection team and their colleagues to develop a leaflet to advise participants involved in these events on practical measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of illness.

Open water swimming can increase the risk of gastrointestinal infections (diarrhoea and/or vomiting) as well as respiratory, skin, ear and eye infections. Most symptoms of these illnesses will generally be mild, caused by organisms such as norovirus, giardia and cryptosporidium. However, there is also a risk of more severe infections caused by organisms such as E. coli O157 which may cause severe gastrointestinal illness and leptospirosis, which can cause liver and kidney problems.

Practical measures swimmers can take to reduce the risk of illness include minimizing the swallowing of river water, showering soon after swimming and washing hands before eating.

To obtain the leaflet click http://www.hpa.org.uk/webc/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1317139609697

Government warns of forced marriage risk during school holidays

Source: GOV.UK published on this site Wednesday 14th August 2013 by Jill Powell

The UK government has issued a warning to teachers, doctors and airport staff to be alert to forced marriages over the school holidays.

The summer marks a peak in reports of forced marriage cases, when youngsters can be taken on ‘holiday’, unaware of the real purpose of the trip.

Between June and August last year, the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU), a joint operation by the Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, received over 400 reports. This year the unit is handing out “Marriage: it’s your choice” cards, to provide help and information to potential victims, signposting them to confidential advice. The cards also remind young people to speak to police or airline staff if they find themselves at an airport with nowhere to turn.

Crime Prevention Minister Jeremy Browne said:

The rise in forced marriage reports over the school holidays is shocking. Teenagers expecting their GCSE or A-level results should be embarking on a bright future, not condemned to a marriage with someone they have never met and do not want to marry.

This is a serious abuse of human rights and that is why we are legislating to make it illegal.

My message to young people who feel they are at risk is please come forward; you do not have to suffer in silence; there is help available and it can be stopped.

Foreign Office Minister Mark Simmonds said:

The school summer holidays are the time when young people are at the highest risk of being taken overseas for a forced marriage.

Our ‘Marriage: it’s your choice’ cards highlights that people who are at risk of forced marriage know they can turn to our Forced Marriage Unit for support – whether they are at home or are already abroad. The Forced Marriage Unit has a confidential helpline, and can be contacted for advice on 0207 008 0151.

The Forced Marriage Unit was set up in January 2005 as the Government’s one-stop shop for dealing with forced marriage policy, outreach and casework. It operates both inside the UK, where support is provided to any individual, and overseas, where consular assistance is provided to British nationals, including dual nationals.

To read the full policy “Ending Violence Against Women and Girls in the UK” click https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/ending-violence-against-women-and-girls-in-the-uk

 

One in Ten (12%) Parents Online, Around the World Say Their Child Has Been Cyberbullied, 24% Say They Know of a Child Who Has Experienced Same in Their Community

Source Ipos for Reuters News published on this site Monday 26th August 2013 by Jill Powell

Ipsos an organization, providing research services to clients on a global basis, undertook research on cyberbullying. This study in 2012 found that one in ten parents online (12%) around the world say their child has experienced cyberbullying while one in four (26%) say they know a child in their community who has experienced the same. Of those, a majority (60%) say the children experienced the harrassing behaviour on social networking sites like Facebook. Three quarters (77%) of world residents say cyberbullying needs special attention from parents and schools while a minority (23%) think cyberbullying can be handled through existing anti-bullying measures.

The Family Court Guide

Source: Children and Families Advisory Court Support Service (Cafcass) published on this site Friday 23rd August 2013 by Jill Powell

The President has recently circulated the revised PLO and pilot practice direction, as well as a number of supporting guidance documents for the transitional period. To enable ease of reference, a webpage on the judiciary website has been created called the Family Court Guide.

This has been designed to pull together all the relevant information in relation to the transitional period, such as the draft Case Management Order issued by the President on 26th June, as well as some wider useful documentation. It is housed on the judiciary website and is available to the general public to enable anybody involved in the family justice system access to the documents. It is a working project and will be reviewed and added to during the next 12 months, and then restructured for the launch of the single Family Court in April 2014.

To see the guide click http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/publications-and-reports/FamilyCourtGuide

The UK is to host the first G8 dementia summit to lead international action on tackling the condition.

Source Department of Health published on this site Wednesday 21st August 2013 by Jill Powell

The UK is making the fight against dementia global by hosting the first G8 summit dedicated to seeking an ambitious level of international coordination and an effective response to tackling the condition.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will use the UK’s 2013 presidency of the G8 to lead coordinated global action against what is fast becoming one of the greatest pressures on families, carers and health systems around the world.

In the UK alone, there are likely to be nearly a million people with the condition by the end of 2020. The government has already begun a national programme of action through the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia, launched in 2011.

Now the UK is looking to spark a world-wide effort by inviting health ministers from G8 countries to a high-level summit in London on 11 December to discuss how they can coordinate efforts and shape an effective international solution to dementia. This includes looking for effective therapies and responses to slow dementia’s impact.

The summit will aim to identify and agree a new international approach to dementia research, to help break down barriers within and between companies, researchers and clinicians and secure a new level of cooperation needed to reach shared goals faster than nations acting alone.

They will draw on the expertise and experience of the OECD, World Health Organisation, industry, national research organisations, key opinion leaders, researchers and physicians.

Current estimates indicate 35.6 million people worldwide are living with dementia but with the world’s populations ageing, the World Health Organisation estimates that number will nearly double every 20 years, to an estimated 65.7 million in 2030, and 115.4 million in 2050.

Dementia is a syndrome and refers to the impairment of cognitive brain functions of memory, language, perception and thought. There are many diseases that cause dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s Disease-associated dementia. The majority are degenerative but not all, for example, vascular dementia. Dementia is not a single disease.

Dementia progresses from mild cognitive impairment, difficulties organising daily life, to the breakdown of personality, followed by loss self and identity, incontinence, unsteadiness, then confinement to bed and finally death. Knowing this is very distressing for people in the early stages of dementia, as well as for caregivers at the end of their loved ones life.

Legislative changes that affect the way Police forces review DBS applications.

Source: Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) published on this site Thursday 22nd August 2013 by Jill Powell

Since mid-June there has been a number of legislative changes introduced which affect the way Police forces review DBS check applications, if these are sent to the Police for consideration. These changes, along with a seasonal increase in application volumes, are having an impact on turnaround times at some forces

Whilst the majority of forces continue to deliver applications within overall Public Service Standard (PSS) targets, there are a number who are dealing with backlogs created by these changes. DBS are working closely with these forces to help them return to achieving targeted turnaround times as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, this will not happen overnight and some customers may experience delays with their applications. DBS apologise if you do experience any delays, but please be reassured that they are working closely with the affected forces to resolve this issue.

Post-legislative scrutiny of the Mental Health Act 2007 including interaction with the Mental Capacity Act 2005 Deprivation of liberty safeguards (DOLs)

Source UK Parliament published on this site Tuesday 20th August 2013

A report of the Health committee has been published in July 2013. Amongst many other findings it show concern for the implementation of Deprivation of liberty safeguards (DOLS) which were introduced in 2007 to protect patients suffering from dementia, severe learning difficulties or other conditions leading to a loss of the mental capacity to make decisions about their own welfare.

Implementation of DOLS has proved problematic, with wide variation in their use. A key finding of the MHA was the disparity in application and authorisation rates between supervisory bodies and much a lower overall use of DOLS than predicted. The MHA attributed this to differences in training and guidance issued by different supervisory bodies who determine their own policies and interpretation.

To read the full report click http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cm

 

Report launched today highlights the need for communities to become dementia-friendly

Source: Alzheimer's Society published on this site Tuesday 3rd September 2013 by Jill Powell

Up to 180,000 people with dementia feel trapped in their own homes according to a major new report launched by Alzheimer's Society today (Tuesday 3 September 2013).

'Building dementia-friendly communities: A priority for everyone' shows that one in three people (35 per cent) with dementiasurveyed only leave their homes once a week and one in 10 get out just once a month.

Today Alzheimer's Society is saddened to reveal that people with dementia feel let down by their communities. Almost half (44 per cent) of people with dementia feel like a burden and so avoid getting involved with local life. The general public recognised the issue too with 59 per cent of UK adults saying the inclusion of people with dementia in their communities is bad in a YouGov survey**.

For the first time, an economic analysis commissioned by the charity shows that Dementia Friendly Communities could save £11,000 per person per year by helping people with dementia to remain independent, stay out of care for longer and have a better quality of life.

A dementia-friendly community is a city, town or village where people with dementia are understood, respected, supported, and confident they can contribute to community life.

To read the report click https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/download_info.php?downloadID=1236

Inside Out London has uncovered evidence that there are potentially dozens of other young Sikh victims of sexual exploitation and few of these cases have come to court.

Source BBC online published on this site Monday 2nd September 2013 by Jill Powell

Six men were jailed at Leicester Crown Court last week for offences including facilitating child prostitution. The convictions are being heralded as a legal landmark because it is the first high-profile case involving a Sikh victim of sexual abuse which has led to convictions in the UK.

However, Inside Out London has uncovered evidence that there are potentially dozens of other young Sikh victims of sexual exploitation and few of these cases have come to court.

The Sikh Awareness Society (SAS), a charity which focuses on family welfare, claims it has investigated more than 200 reports of child sexual grooming in the UK over the past five years.

However, there are no official statistics to support this claim, because incidents of sexual abuse featuring Sikh minors are rarely reported to the authorities.

Inside Out has also discovered that groomers are actually exploiting the fact that Sikh families are less likely to report incidents of abuse.

The programme has spoken to one man who recently broke away from a grooming gang and is now campaigning for greater awareness of the problem.

He says there are groomers who specifically target Sikh girls because they feel they can get away with it.

They see Sikh girls as 'easy targets' because they know codes of honour mean the child will be too scared and ashamed to tell their parents about the abuse and "their parents would not even report it if they were to find out".

To read the full story click http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23921570

The Justice Minister announced proposals for a range of new powers for magistrates, which includes oversight of how police use cautions

Source: Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) published on this site Wednesday 28th August 2013 by Jill Powell

National policing lead on criminal justice Chief Constable Chris Eyre said:

“A full review of how police forces use cautions has been carried out involving the police, the Ministry of the Justice, the Home Office, the Crown Prosecution Service and victims’ organisations.

“The review has found that in the vast majority of cases officers are using the guidance available to them, applying cautions appropriately and proportionately and this process is being properly supervised and managed.

“We do understand that there is some concern about the use of cautions, particularly in relation to sensitive issues such as sex offences, so we will work with the government to look at how magistrates can assist in ensuring that cautions are used effectively and with public confidence.”

The government’s updated policy statement on safeguarding adults who are vulnerable to abuse and neglect.

Source: Department of Health published on this site Friday 30th August 2013 by Jill Powell

An updatedstatement of Government Policy on Adult Safeguarding, which was first published in May 2013 has been published today.

The purpose of this document is to provide an update on the government’s policy on safeguarding adults vulnerable to abuse and neglect. It includes the statement of principles for Local Authority Social Services and housing, health, the police and other agencies to use, for both developing and assessing the effectiveness of their local safeguarding arrangements.

To read the document click https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/197402/Statement_of_Gov_Policy.pdf

Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board has today published a serious case review into abuse at Little Stars Nursery in 2010.

Source: Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board published on this site Tuesday 27th August 2013 by Jill Powell

Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board has today published a serious case review into abuse at Little Stars Nursery in 2010. Paul Wilson, an assistant at the nursery, was jailed for 13½ in July 2011 after pleading guilty to raping a child in the nursery. He also admitted 47 counts of grooming of teenage girls over the internet.

The Review found that it was known by the nursery, Ofsted and the local authority that Wilson had a ‘special relationship’ with the child which should have raised the alarm and been examined in more detail.

Jane Held, Independent Chair of the multi-agency Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board said: “Responsibility for this awful abuse must, and does, lie with the perpetrator. He was clever, duplicitous and manipulative and took advantage of weaknesses in the system.

Parents should be able to trust the people they leave their children with to ensure that children are properly protected. In this case there were unfortunately a number of weaknesses in the way that nursery was run and a number of opportunities to intervene earlier and prevent the continuation of abuse.”

She added that “There are three key lessons arising from this review. One is that those in charge of settings caring for children must ensure there are strong clear practices and systems to minimise the risk of abuse .The second is to listen to and ask about children’s experiences directly with them rather than just speak to adults. The third, and potentially the most important, is that safeguarding children is a job for everyone, and every single person who looks after or cares for children needs to know how to recognise when something is not right and what to do about it, and have confidence they will get the right response when they do act.“

To read the full serious case review click http://www.lscbbirmingham.org.uk/images/stories/downloads/executive-summaries/Published_Overview_Report.pdf

 

UK labelled addiction capital of Europe in new The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) report

Source: CJS published on this Tuesday 10th September 2013 by Jill Powell

The Report No Quick Fix highlights:

            UK is a hub for ‘legal high’ websites

            Other websites give people the chance to mail order class A drugs like heroin and crack cocaine

            More than 40,000 addicts abandoned on state-supplied heroin substitutes like methadone for more than four years

            Alcohol costs society £21 billion and drugs cost £15 billion

            Drug and alcohol crisis fuelling social breakdown

Postal services are acting as couriers in the deadly trade in ‘legal highs’ and illicit drugs, warns a major new report that labels the UK the “addicted man of Europe”.

The report says the UK has become a hub for websites peddling dangerous ‘legal highs’, or ‘club drugs’, such as Salvia and Green Rolex, which are being ordered online and delivered across the country by mainstream postal services.

It also found that websites, like the Silk Road, give people the chance to buy class A drugs like heroin and crack cocaine on mail order.

The report, also criticises an inadequate response to heroin addiction – saying that more than 40,000 drug addicts in England have been stranded on substitutes like methadone for more than four years.

To read the full report click http://www.centreforsocialjustice.org.uk/

Stephen Fry lends his support to Doc Ready

Source: Mental Health Foundation published on this site Monday 9th September 2013 by Jill Powell

Doc Ready is a digital tool that helps young people get the most out of their GP

when they make an appointment to talk about mental health.

The Doc Ready app launches on 3 September, and is the first of a suite of digital products from the Innovation Labs programme, all designed to help young people tomanage their mental health.

Stephen said:

"The support that Doc Ready gives young people is vital to help them become the healthy and confident adults that they deserve to be."

The Innovation Labs programme will see six further innovative products launched over the next 12 months. 

To find out more click http://www.docready.org/static/client/index.html#/home

National Referral Mechanism (NRM): guidance for child first responders

Source: Home Office published on this siteThursday 5th September 2013 by Jill Powell

Child trafficking is child abuse. When an agency comes into contact with a child who may have been trafficked Children’s Services and police should be notified immediately. All children, irrespective of their immigration status, are entitled to protection.

This guidance is provided to help all child first responder these are, in principle all agencies and organisations who find themselves with grounds for concern that a person may be a victim of human trafficking. They have a responsibility for identifying the person as a possible victim and putting him or her in touch with the responsible authorities and support providers.

The guidelines aim to support social workers, teachers, police, health workers and other professionals who may come into contact with suspected victims of trafficking. The documents include a number of additional tools to assist professionals in both assessing the needs of the child and the continuing risks that they may face, and referring their case to the NRM.

This guidance covers England, Wales Northern Ireland and Scotland

To read the guidance click: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/233310/NRM_child_first_responders_guidance.pdf

Domestic violence review comes after a number of high profile cases where protection for victims fell below expected standards.

Source: The Home Office published on this site Friday 6th September 2013 by Jill Powell

The Home Secretary has commissioned Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) to carry out an inspection into how police forces are responding to domestic violence.

The review has been launched in response to a number of high profile cases where protection for victims has fallen below the standards expected. It will look at the performance of forces across England and Wales, identify where improvements need to be made and report back to the Home Office in April 2014.

Domestic violence

The HMIC inspection will examine four key areas:

            whether current guidelines are being followed properly

            whether victims deemed to be at risk in the future are appropriately managed

            whether police are learning from past experiences and adapting their response

            whether any changes need to be made to the overall police approach

Home Secretary Theresa May said:

This government is serious about keeping women and girls safe. We have seen improvements over the past year - domestic violence, rape and sexual offence prosecutions have reached their highest ever conviction rate for the second year running - so the systems in place to protect women are working better.

But sadly there are still too many cases, like those of Clare Wood and Maria Stubbings, where victims have lost their lives because warning signs were missed.

We have a duty to provide vulnerable people with the best possible protection which is why I have commissioned Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary to review current practices and recommend where further improvements can be made.

 

Former Pope Benedict has denied that he tried to cover up sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests, in his first direct published comments since he stepped down.

The comments came in an 11-page letter to Italian author and mathematician Piergiorgio Odifreddi, who had written a book about the problems facing the Roman Catholic Church before the pope resigned in February.

"As far as you mentioning the moral abuse of minors by priests, I can only, as you know, acknowledge it with profound consternation. But I never tried to cover up these things," Benedict, who now has the title Emeritus Pope, said.

Excerpts of Benedict's pope's letter were published in the Rome newspaper La Repubblica on Tuesday with the former pope's permission.

It was believed to be the first time Benedict has responded to the sexual abuse accusations in the first person, although the Vatican has always said he did much to put an end to sexual abuse of minors by priests and never tried to cover it up.

It was also the first time since Benedict resigned on February 28 that anything precise that he has written or said was published, although some people who have visited him in the Vatican house where he is living out retirement have indirectly reported to outsiders some of his comments to them.

Victims groups have accused Benedict of not doing enough to stop the abuse of children by priests while he was pope and before when he was head of the Vatican's doctrinal office.

They say there is much still to be discovered about how the Church behaved in the past and want more bishops who were aware of abuse to be held responsible.

The Catholic Church's crisis came to light in Boston in 2002 when media began reporting how cases of abuse were systematically covered up and abusive priests were shuttled from parish to parish instead of being defrocked and handed over to civil authorities.

Since then, the Catholic Church in many countries has set up new guidelines to deal with cases of past abuse, prevent new cases, report abuse to police, and stop potential abusers from entering the priesthood in the first place.

The rest of the letter from Benedict to Odifreddi referred to other aspects of the author's book, called "Dear Pope, I Am Writing You", such as the conflict between good and evil.

(Edited by Alison Williams)

You can help your child stay safe online

Source Jonathan Baggaley Head of Education at the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre in an article for the Guardian published on this site Tuesday 24thSeptember 2013 by Jill Powell

The increase in online sexual offending involving blackmail on webcam was revealed on Friday by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (Ceop) centre. News of this worrying trend follows a summer of stories on cyberbullying, trolling and child abuse imagery. For some parents, this may be interpreted as another sign that the internet is a place where their children shouldn't play, explore and chat.

It is true that children are being drawn into a cycle of abuse by callous individuals and we must help them break free – by letting them know that help is out there and it's never too late to speak out. For young people we talk to, their overwhelming experience of the internet is positive.

Alongside the risks, we must recognise the tremendous opportunities that the internet brings for young people. For parents, this means a level-headed and informed approach to what their children do online. Don't panic. A major reason why children don't disclose online problems is fear that they'll have the technology taken away from them, thereby taking away a large part of their social lives.

The best way to help prevent your child experiencing problems on the internet is by taking an active and informed interest in their lives – online and in the real world. Have a conversation with your child about their life online. Then, have another. Find out what they love about the internet, keep up an active interest and if problems arise, you'll be the one they turn to.

As well as talking about the positives, it remains crucial to directly address the risks of webcam abuse. If you've got a teenager, talk to them about online blackmail.

 

Children treated like ‘slaves’ to perform sexual acts

Source: Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) published on this site Friday 20th September 2013 by Jill Powell

Children as young as eight are being forced into performing slave-like sex acts live on webcam by sexual abusers, according to research released today.

The shocking detail has been revealed by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) centre which has uncovered a worrying trend in children self-harming or taking their own lives as a result.

In the past two years, the CEOP centre has been involved in 12 operations where blackmailing children into performing sexual acts has been a clear motive of the offender. In that same period it has also discovered - using information from police forces in the UK and abroad - that 424 children have been a victim of online sexual blackmail, with 184 from the UK.

Research also shows that of those victims, seven children seriously self-harmed or attempted to take their own life, including six from the UK. Seven children took their own life, including one from the UK.

The CEOP centre, which will become a command within the National Crime Agency from next month, has also found that in some cases, children are not only made to exchange sexual images/videos of themselves, but also forced by offenders to perform other acts live on webcam including writing degrading statements on their body and cutting themselves.

The children are usually forced into performing these acts after the offender, who often initially pretends to be a child, threatens to share their naked pictures with friends and family unless they do as they are told.

CEOP’s operations have involved hundreds of victims from around the world, with offenders from both the UK and abroad. Many of these operations are ongoing. In one case an offender even collated his images of blackmailed victims in a folder named ‘slaves’.

These operations are showing how offenders usually assume a fake identity by pretending to be a child and sometimes a different gender.

They initially target children on more open chat sites and social networks before quickly moving them into more private areas where conversations become sexualised. Once the child has sent images, the offenders begin blackmailing them either for more indecent images or, in few cases, for cash. And unless the child agrees, the offender threatens to share the child’s pictures with family and friends.

 

Domestic violence increases during England World Cup football matches

Source: Family Law Week published n this site Monday 23rd September 2013 by Jill Powell

Researchers from Lancaster University have found that domestic abuse increases during England World Cup football matches – especially if the team lose.The research team analysed figures from Lancashire Constabulary across three tournaments in 2002, 2006, and 2010. After controlling for day of the week, incidents of domestic abuse rose by 38 per cent in Lancashire when the England team played and lost and increased by 26 per cent when the England national team played and won or drew compared with days when there was no England match. There was also a carry-over effect, with incidents of domestic abuse 11% higher the day after an England match. The report was carried out by Dr Stuart Kirby and Professor Brian Francis of Lancaster University with Rosalie O'Flaherty and published in the Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency. They found that the average number of incidents of domestic violence on the days when England played was 79.3 compared with 58.2 on the days the team did not play. There was also evidence that incidents were high on the day following an England game, with an average of 70.5 reported cases, and the number of cases also rose whenever the England game was played on a weekend. A police officer quoted in the report said:

"The World Cup appears a reason for many to party, however delight and expectation can turn into despair and conflict with the kick of a ball."

The researchers also found that reported domestic abuse incidents increased in frequency with each new tournament, from an average of 64 in 2002 rising to 99 in 2010.

The researchers said there could be several factors behind these findings.

"The tournament is held in the summer and is associated with warmer temperatures, increased alcohol consumption and brings individuals in closer proximity to others. "Although it is difficult to say the tournament is a causal factor, the prestigious tournament does concentrate the risk factors into a short and volatile period, thereby intensifying the concepts of masculinity, rivalry and aggression."

They suggest the figures could have risen due to the increased commercialisation of the tournament. A Social Services representative said:

"The tournament goes on for a whole month – this creates all sort of problems, often aggravated by alcohol, on the smallest of issues such as what programme the TV is tuned into."

The researchers say these findings are significant because they could lead to new ways to tackle domestic violence and so reduce "the misery of abused partners, as well as the children and family members."

To read the research abstract click http://jrc.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/07/02/0022427813494843.abstract

 

£100 million to support the education of children in care

Source Department for Education published on this site Wednesday 2nd October 2013 by Jill Powell

The new ‘pupil premium plus’ will see funding to support children in care at school increase by £1,000 per pupil. Children will be covered as soon as they enter care and 10,000 more children in care will benefit, bringing the total to 50,000.

Children in care have previously attracted pupil premium funding at the same rate as children from low-income families, but in future they will attract a higher rate of funding - the pupil premium plus. From April next year, children in care will attract £1,900 additional funding per pupil, more than double the £900 awarded in 2013 to 2014.

In addition, this support will now reach more children. At the moment, children in care attract the pupil premium if they have been looked after for 6 months or more, but in future they will be funded from their first day in care.

Total funding will increase from £40 million in 2013 to 2014 to £100 million in 2014 to 2015.

 

Department of Health is inviting people to give their views about dementia research in the run-up to the G8 dementia summit on 11 December.

Source: Department of Health published on this site Tuesday 1st October 2013 by Jill Powell

The summit, which will be held in London, will focus on how the G8 can lead efforts to prevent, delay and effectively treat dementia. It aims to:

identify and agree a new international approach to dementia research

help break down barriers within and between companies, researchers and clinicians

secure a new level of co-operation needed to reach shared goals faster than nations acting alone

The online questions give people the opportunity to have their say on the important issues the summit will discuss. Although this is not part of the formal summit process, all the comments will be considered by the Department of Health team planning the summit and will be used to inform their work developing themes for discussion.

People are being asked to answer the following questions:

Which areas of dementia research would benefit most from international collaboration?

How can we work internationally to get the most benefit from what we already know about dementia?

What are the barriers to international collaboration on dementia research and how could they be overcome?

What roles can business and industry play in improving quality of life for people with dementia?

Have your say on improving dementia research across the world on the Dementia Challenge site. Comments close on 15 October.

To take part click http://dementiachallenge.dh.gov.uk/category/g8-dementia-summit/

Prioritising the experiences of children who need help, protection and care - a new single inspection

Source: Ofsted published on this site Friday 27th September 2013 by Jill Powell

Ofsted has today published its single framework for inspecting local authority services for vulnerable children, examining help, protection and care from the time it is first needed until a young person who is looked after has been successfully helped to start their lives as a young adult. The inspection is universal and will be conducted in a three-year cycle.

Coming into effect from November 2013, the framework brings together into one inspection: child protection; services for looked after children and care leavers; and local authority fostering and adoption services.

Two other frameworks are also published today for inspecting voluntary adoption agencies and independent fostering services. Both take immediate effect.

O read all three frameworks click http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/news/prioritising-experiences-of-children-who-need-help-protection-and-care-new-single-inspection-0

UK A&Es seeing 'drunk children'

Source. BBC News published on this site Monday 30th September 2013

Nearly 300 children aged 11 or under were admitted to A&E units across the UK last year after drinking too much, a BBC Radio 5 live investigation shows.

Revealing UK-wide data for the first time, it said a total of 6,500 under-18s were admitted in 2012-13.

Charities and public health bodies say fewer children are drinking overall, but those who do may be drinking more.

The five years of data comes from Freedom of Information requests to 125 of the 189 UK NHS organisations. Prof Ian Gilmore, chairman of the UK Alcohol Health Alliance, told the BBC: "I think in under-11s, it's mainly experimenting, but I think we see children in the 11 to 16-year-old range who are beginning to drink regularly." He added: "There are some encouraging signs in that the numbers of under-18s drinking is probably falling, but those that are drinking are probably drinking earlier and drinking more heavily, so we certainly can't be complacent."

Over the last five years A&E departments across the UK have dealt with nearly 48,000 incidents where under-18s have been admitted for drink or drug related illnesses. During 2012/13 there were 293 cases of children aged 11 or under attending A&E with alcohol-related conditions - a third more than in 2011/12 when there were 216 cases.

Among teens, more girls than boys are now being admitted, a reversal of the past trend.

Ayrshire and Arran Health Board dealt with the highest number of cases last year - with 483 alcohol-related admissions.

Morten Draegebo, an A&E consultant at Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock, said children were exposing themselves to significant danger.

He said: "The typical patient may be found in a field. They often need to hide away from any sort of adults in the area so they're picked up by the ambulance service.

"They have difficulty locating where they are because the description comes through from a distressed half-drunk teenager potentially saying that they're under a tree somewhere in a large park.

"Eventually they're found but even in summer-time in Scotland they're vaguely hypothermic.

"They have vomited. The vomit may go down the wrong way into the lungs. They are unable to defend themselves even from assault."

Dr Draegebo added: "We have had many cases where teenage, young teenage females have come in saying that they may have been sexually assaulted and they're that intoxicated and are distressed and say, 'I may have been', but they don't even know if they have been or not.

"On a humane level that is very distressing. I'm a parent, I would hate for that to happen to my daughter."

 

Child sexual abuse charity doubles Hotline team

Source: The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) published on this site Thursday 26th September 2013 by Jill Powell

IWF has started a recruitment drive for seven new Internet Content Analysts, enabling the charity to significantly enhance its fight against online child sexual abuse content.

Based in Cambridgeshire, the IWF is the UK Hotline for the public to report child sexual abuse content hosted anywhere online as well as criminally obscene adult content and non-photographic child sexual abuse content hosted in the UK.

The IWF was one of the first national Hotlines created to take public reports of online child sexual abuse content. Its pioneering work has seen the amount of known child sexual abuse content hosted in the UK reduced from 18% in 1996 to less than 1% since 2003. The IWF is a respected, world-leading organisation and the most successful Hotline at removing child sexual abuse content within its own country.

Internet Content Analysts assess public reports against UK law and work to trace and remove content found to be within the IWF’s remit and potentially criminal. By working closely with law enforcement and INHOPE Hotlines around the world, the IWF’s Hotline team has aided the rescue of at least 12 children in the last three years.

 

Former Pope Benedict has denied that he tried to cover up sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests, in his first direct published comments since he stepped down.

The comments came in an 11-page letter to Italian author and mathematician Piergiorgio Odifreddi, who had written a book about the problems facing the Roman Catholic Church before the pope resigned in February.

"As far as you mentioning the moral abuse of minors by priests, I can only, as you know, acknowledge it with profound consternation. But I never tried to cover up these things," Benedict, who now has the title Emeritus Pope, said.

Excerpts of Benedict's pope's letter were published in the Rome newspaper La Repubblica on Tuesday with the former pope's permission.

It was believed to be the first time Benedict has responded to the sexual abuse accusations in the first person, although the Vatican has always said he did much to put an end to sexual abuse of minors by priests and never tried to cover it up.

It was also the first time since Benedict resigned on February 28 that anything precise that he has written or said was published, although some people who have visited him in the Vatican house where he is living out retirement have indirectly reported to outsiders some of his comments to them.

Victims groups have accused Benedict of not doing enough to stop the abuse of children by priests while he was pope and before when he was head of the Vatican's doctrinal office.

They say there is much still to be discovered about how the Church behaved in the past and want more bishops who were aware of abuse to be held responsible.

The Catholic Church's crisis came to light in Boston in 2002 when media began reporting how cases of abuse were systematically covered up and abusive priests were shuttled from parish to parish instead of being defrocked and handed over to civil authorities.

Since then, the Catholic Church in many countries has set up new guidelines to deal with cases of past abuse, prevent new cases, report abuse to police, and stop potential abusers from entering the priesthood in the first place.

The rest of the letter from Benedict to Odifreddi referred to other aspects of the author's book, called "Dear Pope, I Am Writing You", such as the conflict between good and evil.

(Edited by Alison Williams)

You can help your child stay safe online

Source Jonathan Baggaley Head of Education at the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre in an article for the Guardian published on this site Tuesday 24thSeptember 2013 by Jill Powell

The increase in online sexual offending involving blackmail on webcam was revealed on Friday by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (Ceop) centre. News of this worrying trend follows a summer of stories on cyberbullying, trolling and child abuse imagery. For some parents, this may be interpreted as another sign that the internet is a place where their children shouldn't play, explore and chat.

It is true that children are being drawn into a cycle of abuse by callous individuals and we must help them break free – by letting them know that help is out there and it's never too late to speak out. For young people we talk to, their overwhelming experience of the internet is positive.

Alongside the risks, we must recognise the tremendous opportunities that the internet brings for young people. For parents, this means a level-headed and informed approach to what their children do online. Don't panic. A major reason why children don't disclose online problems is fear that they'll have the technology taken away from them, thereby taking away a large part of their social lives.

The best way to help prevent your child experiencing problems on the internet is by taking an active and informed interest in their lives – online and in the real world. Have a conversation with your child about their life online. Then, have another. Find out what they love about the internet, keep up an active interest and if problems arise, you'll be the one they turn to.

As well as talking about the positives, it remains crucial to directly address the risks of webcam abuse. If you've got a teenager, talk to them about online blackmail.

Three ways to open a conversation:

Children treated like ‘slaves’ to perform sexual acts

Source: Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) published on this site Friday 20th September 2013 by Jill Powell

Children as young as eight are being forced into performing slave-like sex acts live on webcam by sexual abusers, according to research released today.

The shocking detail has been revealed by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) centre which has uncovered a worrying trend in children self-harming or taking their own lives as a result.

In the past two years, the CEOP centre has been involved in 12 operations where blackmailing children into performing sexual acts has been a clear motive of the offender. In that same period it has also discovered - using information from police forces in the UK and abroad - that 424 children have been a victim of online sexual blackmail, with 184 from the UK.

Research also shows that of those victims, seven children seriously self-harmed or attempted to take their own life, including six from the UK. Seven children took their own life, including one from the UK.

The CEOP centre, which will become a command within the National Crime Agency from next month, has also found that in some cases, children are not only made to exchange sexual images/videos of themselves, but also forced by offenders to perform other acts live on webcam including writing degrading statements on their body and cutting themselves.

The children are usually forced into performing these acts after the offender, who often initially pretends to be a child, threatens to share their naked pictures with friends and family unless they do as they are told.

CEOP’s operations have involved hundreds of victims from around the world, with offenders from both the UK and abroad. Many of these operations are ongoing. In one case an offender even collated his images of blackmailed victims in a folder named ‘slaves’.

These operations are showing how offenders usually assume a fake identity by pretending to be a child and sometimes a different gender.

They initially target children on more open chat sites and social networks before quickly moving them into more private areas where conversations become sexualised. Once the child has sent images, the offenders begin blackmailing them either for more indecent images or, in few cases, for cash. And unless the child agrees, the offender threatens to share the child’s pictures with family and friends.

 

Domestic violence increases during England World Cup football matches

Source: Family Law Week published n this site Monday 23rd September 2013 by Jill Powell

Researchers from Lancaster University have found that domestic abuse increases during England World Cup football matches – especially if the team lose.The research team analysed figures from Lancashire Constabulary across three tournaments in 2002, 2006, and 2010. After controlling for day of the week, incidents of domestic abuse rose by 38 per cent in Lancashire when the England team played and lost and increased by 26 per cent when the England national team played and won or drew compared with days when there was no England match. There was also a carry-over effect, with incidents of domestic abuse 11% higher the day after an England match. The report was carried out by Dr Stuart Kirby and Professor Brian Francis of Lancaster University with Rosalie O'Flaherty and published in the Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency. They found that the average number of incidents of domestic violence on the days when England played was 79.3 compared with 58.2 on the days the team did not play. There was also evidence that incidents were high on the day following an England game, with an average of 70.5 reported cases, and the number of cases also rose whenever the England game was played on a weekend. A police officer quoted in the report said:

"The World Cup appears a reason for many to party, however delight and expectation can turn into despair and conflict with the kick of a ball."

The researchers also found that reported domestic abuse incidents increased in frequency with each new tournament, from an average of 64 in 2002 rising to 99 in 2010.

The researchers said there could be several factors behind these findings.

"The tournament is held in the summer and is associated with warmer temperatures, increased alcohol consumption and brings individuals in closer proximity to others. "Although it is difficult to say the tournament is a causal factor, the prestigious tournament does concentrate the risk factors into a short and volatile period, thereby intensifying the concepts of masculinity, rivalry and aggression."

They suggest the figures could have risen due to the increased commercialisation of the tournament. A Social Services representative said:

"The tournament goes on for a whole month – this creates all sort of problems, often aggravated by alcohol, on the smallest of issues such as what programme the TV is tuned into."

The researchers say these findings are significant because they could lead to new ways to tackle domestic violence and so reduce "the misery of abused partners, as well as the children and family members."

To read the research abstract click http://jrc.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/07/02/0022427813494843.abstract

 Praising toddlers can have effects much later

Source The British Psychological Society (BPS) published on this site Thursday 19th September 2013 by Jill Powell

Laboratory research pioneered by psychologist Carol Dweck has shown the short-term benefits of praising children for their efforts rather than their inherent traits. Doing so leads children to adopt a so-called "incremental mindset" - seeing ability as malleable and challenges as an opportunity to learn.Now a new study has made the first ever attempt to monitor how parents praise their young children in real-life situations, and to see how their style of praise is related to the children's mindset five years later.

Laboratory research pioneered by psychologist Carol Dweck has shown the short-term benefits of praising children for their effortsrather than their inherent traits. Doing so leads children to adopt a so-called "incremental mindset" - seeing ability as malleable and challenges as an opportunity to learn.Now a new study co-authored by Dweck and led by Elizabeth Gunderson has made the first ever attempt to monitor how parents praise their young children in real-life situations, and to see how their style of praise is related to the children's mindset five years later.The researchers observed and recorded 53 individual parents interacting with their children in the home for 90 minutes, whether playing, having a meal or whatever. They did this when the children were aged 14, 26 and 38 months. Five years later, the researchers caught up with the kids and asked them questions about their attitudes and mindset towards ability, challenges and moral goodness.The key finding was the more parents tended to praise their pre-school age children for effort (known as process praise, as in "good job"), the more likely it was that those children had a "incremental attitude" towards intelligence and morality when they were aged seven to eight.

 

£100 million to support the education of children in care

Source Department for Education published on this site Wednesday 2nd October 2013 by Jill Powell

The new ‘pupil premium plus’ will see funding to support children in care at school increase by £1,000 per pupil. Children will be covered as soon as they enter care and 10,000 more children in care will benefit, bringing the total to 50,000.

Children in care have previously attracted pupil premium funding at the same rate as children from low-income families, but in future they will attract a higher rate of funding - the pupil premium plus. From April next year, children in care will attract £1,900 additional funding per pupil, more than double the £900 awarded in 2013 to 2014.

In addition, this support will now reach more children. At the moment, children in care attract the pupil premium if they have been looked after for 6 months or more, but in future they will be funded from their first day in care.

Total funding will increase from £40 million in 2013 to 2014 to £100 million in 2014 to 2015.

 

Department of Health is inviting people to give their views about dementia research in the run-up to the G8 dementia summit on 11 December.

Source: Department of Health published on this site Tuesday 1st October 2013 by Jill Powell

The summit, which will be held in London, will focus on how the G8 can lead efforts to prevent, delay and effectively treat dementia. It aims to:

identify and agree a new international approach to dementia research

help break down barriers within and between companies, researchers and clinicians

secure a new level of co-operation needed to reach shared goals faster than nations acting alone

The online questions give people the opportunity to have their say on the important issues the summit will discuss. Although this is not part of the formal summit process, all the comments will be considered by the Department of Health team planning the summit and will be used to inform their work developing themes for discussion.

People are being asked to answer the following questions:

Which areas of dementia research would benefit most from international collaboration?

How can we work internationally to get the most benefit from what we already know about dementia?

What are the barriers to international collaboration on dementia research and how could they be overcome?

What roles can business and industry play in improving quality of life for people with dementia?

Have your say on improving dementia research across the world on the Dementia Challenge site. Comments close on 15 October.

To take part click http://dementiachallenge.dh.gov.uk/category/g8-dementia-summit/

Prioritising the experiences of children who need help, protection and care - a new single inspection

Source: Ofsted published on this site Friday 27th September 2013 by Jill Powell

Ofsted has today published its single framework for inspecting local authority services for vulnerable children, examining help, protection and care from the time it is first needed until a young person who is looked after has been successfully helped to start their lives as a young adult. The inspection is universal and will be conducted in a three-year cycle.

Coming into effect from November 2013, the framework brings together into one inspection: child protection; services for looked after children and care leavers; and local authority fostering and adoption services.

Two other frameworks are also published today for inspecting voluntary adoption agencies and independent fostering services. Both take immediate effect.

O read all three frameworks click http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/news/prioritising-experiences-of-children-who-need-help-protection-and-care-new-single-inspection-0

UK A&Es seeing 'drunk children'

Source. BBC News published on this site Monday 30th September 2013

Nearly 300 children aged 11 or under were admitted to A&E units across the UK last year after drinking too much, a BBC Radio 5 live investigation shows.

Revealing UK-wide data for the first time, it said a total of 6,500 under-18s were admitted in 2012-13.

Charities and public health bodies say fewer children are drinking overall, but those who do may be drinking more.

The five years of data comes from Freedom of Information requests to 125 of the 189 UK NHS organisations. Prof Ian Gilmore, chairman of the UK Alcohol Health Alliance, told the BBC: "I think in under-11s, it's mainly experimenting, but I think we see children in the 11 to 16-year-old range who are beginning to drink regularly." He added: "There are some encouraging signs in that the numbers of under-18s drinking is probably falling, but those that are drinking are probably drinking earlier and drinking more heavily, so we certainly can't be complacent."

Over the last five years A&E departments across the UK have dealt with nearly 48,000 incidents where under-18s have been admitted for drink or drug related illnesses. During 2012/13 there were 293 cases of children aged 11 or under attending A&E with alcohol-related conditions - a third more than in 2011/12 when there were 216 cases.

Among teens, more girls than boys are now being admitted, a reversal of the past trend.

Ayrshire and Arran Health Board dealt with the highest number of cases last year - with 483 alcohol-related admissions.

Morten Draegebo, an A&E consultant at Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock, said children were exposing themselves to significant danger.

He said: "The typical patient may be found in a field. They often need to hide away from any sort of adults in the area so they're picked up by the ambulance service.

"They have difficulty locating where they are because the description comes through from a distressed half-drunk teenager potentially saying that they're under a tree somewhere in a large park.

"Eventually they're found but even in summer-time in Scotland they're vaguely hypothermic.

"They have vomited. The vomit may go down the wrong way into the lungs. They are unable to defend themselves even from assault."

Dr Draegebo added: "We have had many cases where teenage, young teenage females have come in saying that they may have been sexually assaulted and they're that intoxicated and are distressed and say, 'I may have been', but they don't even know if they have been or not.

"On a humane level that is very distressing. I'm a parent, I would hate for that to happen to my daughter."

 

Child sexual abuse charity doubles Hotline team

Source: The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) published on this site Thursday 26th September 2013 by Jill Powell

IWF has started a recruitment drive for seven new Internet Content Analysts, enabling the charity to significantly enhance its fight against online child sexual abuse content.

Based in Cambridgeshire, the IWF is the UK Hotline for the public to report child sexual abuse content hosted anywhere online as well as criminally obscene adult content and non-photographic child sexual abuse content hosted in the UK.

The IWF was one of the first national Hotlines created to take public reports of online child sexual abuse content. Its pioneering work has seen the amount of known child sexual abuse content hosted in the UK reduced from 18% in 1996 to less than 1% since 2003. The IWF is a respected, world-leading organisation and the most successful Hotline at removing child sexual abuse content within its own country.

Internet Content Analysts assess public reports against UK law and work to trace and remove content found to be within the IWF’s remit and potentially criminal. By working closely with law enforcement and INHOPE Hotlines around the world, the IWF’s Hotline team has aided the rescue of at least 12 children in the last three years.

 

Care workers arrested

Source: Metropolitan Police published on this site Wednesday 9th October 2013 by Jill Powell

Six care workers have been arrested in a series of raids carried out by Hillingdon Borough officers this morning, Monday 7 October in connection with a joint investigation with Hillingdon Council into fraud.

The operation - codenamed Shetland - is an investigation into fraud being committed by a care service provider to vulnerable adults. The fraud was believed to have resulted in deficiencies in scheduled care provisions.

"Our investigations will now continue to establish how widespread the offences were."

The investigation has been carried out by the joint ‘Vulnerable Adults Unit’ made up of Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officers from Hillingdon Borough and Hillingdon Council inspectors.

 

Young carers to receive more support than ever before

Source: GOV.UK published on this site Tuesday 8th October 2013 by Jill Powell

The government has tabled an amendment to the Children and Families Bill to help improve services for young carers.

The government has tabled an amendment to the Children and Families Bill - currently making its way through Parliament - which will help improve services for young carers by:

            extending the right to an assessment of support needs to all young carers under the age of 18 - regardless of who they care for or how often they provide it

            supporting local authorities to combine the assessment of a young carer with an assessment of the person they care for - providing a co-ordinated and rounded package of support for the whole family

            simplifying the law relating to young carers - making their rights and duties clearer to both young people and professionals

Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson said:

Young carers are the unsung heroes of the care system, selflessly providing support around the clock for the people they love. Yet carers of all ages, for the most noble of reasons, can often overlook their own needs - missing out on the important things their friends take for granted.

This is why we must put in place a system that supports them and enables them to live a full life, as well as protecting them from excessive or inappropriate caring responsibilities. Today’s amendment to the Children and Families Bill will make it easier for these vulnerable young people to get the help they so desperately need, and I know it will be welcomed by many young carers and their families.

Caring for a family member can have a detrimental impact on the life of a young carer, including their educational achievement. The government is committed to improving outcomes for these children and young people, yet research shows that too many remain ‘hidden’ from the health, education and social care services they need most - partly as a result of these services needing to do more to identify them.

Today’s announcement, alongside the measures proposed in the Care Bill, is the latest step in ensuring that a ‘whole family’ approach - one which assesses both the needs of the adult who requires support and the child who cares for them - is taken in providing personalised and integrated packages of support to help young carers.

Response to Dame Fiona Caldicott’s independent review of how information about individuals is shared across the health and care system.

Source GOV.UK published on this site Friday 4th October 2013 by Jill Powell

The government accepts all the recommendations of the Caldicott report and highlights that while information sharing is essential to provide good care for everyone, there are rules that must be followed.

The ambitions of this response are that:

everyone will feel confident that information about their health and care is secure, protected and shared appropriately when that is in their interest people will be better informed about how their information is used and shared while they are receiving care, including how it could be used in anonymised form for research, for public health and to create better services if people don’t want their information to be shared in this way, they will know how to object if they want to people will be increasingly able to access their own health and care records.

To read the report

Information:To Share or not to Share click http://webmail.safecic.co.uk/src/webmail.php

The Ditch the Label Annual Cyberbullying Survey 2013

Source: Ditch the Label published on this site Monday 7th October 2013 by Jill Powell

How many young people experience cyberbullying? Is there any cyberbullying activity variation between the major social networks? What are the effects of cyberbullying? Those are some of the questions answered by the Ditch the Label Annual Cyberbullying Survey 2013 – the largest cyberbullying research in the world.

The study found:

            Over 10,000 young people surveyed in the largest ever cyberbullying survey

            7 in 10 young people are victims of cyberbullying

            37% young people experiencing cyberbullying on a highly frequent basis• 20% of young people are experiencing extreme cyberbullying on a daily basis•

            New research suggests that young males and females are equally at risk of cyberbullying

            Young people found to be twice as likely to be cyberbullied on Facebook than on any oth-er social network

            54% of young people using Facebook reported that they have experienced cyberbullying on the network

            Facebook, Ask.FM and Twitter found to be the most likely sources of cyberbullying

            Cyberbullying found to have catastrophic eects upon the self-esteem and social lives of up to 70% of young people

            An estimated 5.43 million young people in the UK have experienced cyberbullying, with 1.26 million subjected to extreme cyberbullying on a daily basis.

To read the full report click http://www.ditchthelabel.org/downloads/the-annual-cyberbullying-survey-2013.pdf

Keanu Williams murder: Opportunities missed to save two-year-old          

Sources: Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board and BBC Online published on this site Thursday 3rd October 2013 by Jill Powell

There were "a number of significant missed opportunities" to save a two-year-old boy from being beaten to death by his mother, a report has found.

Rebecca Shuttleworth is serving a life sentence for murdering Keanu Williams.

The toddler was found with 37 injuries, including a fractured skull and torn abdomen, in Ward End, Birmingham.

A serious case review said social care workers, the police and health professionals had "collectively failed to prevent Keanu's death".

The different agencies had "become confused" as their strategy discussions had focused on the medical and forensic aspect of his injuries, the report said.

 

First Social Care Report puts spotlight on leadership           

Source: Ofsted published on this site Wednesday 16th October 2013 by Jill Powell

Children’s services in England need strong and stable leadership to bring about sustained improvement in the help, care and protection of our most vulnerable young people, Ofsted said today.

Figures published in Ofsted’s first stand-alone Social Care Annual Report show that of the 17 local authorities judged ‘inadequate’ in the past year, 11 had seen a new Director of Children’s Services recently installed while 12 had undergone another major change in senior leadership of one sort or another in the period prior to inspection.

Today’s report finds that in a climate of turbulence, increased workloads and intense scrutiny of children’s social care – much of it arising from public anxiety following a catalogue of high profile child deaths – many areas are struggling to improve their performance.

At the end of the first full three-year cycle of inspections, only four in 10 local authorities were judged to be ‘good’ or better for safeguarding children. And there are 20 local authorities (13 per cent or one in seven) judged by Ofsted as ‘inadequate’ for their child protection arrangements at the time of their most recent inspection.

The report finds that the nationwide map of poor performance is complex and changing – with the group of authorities currently judged inadequate looking very different to that of July 2012.

            However, inspectors have found that a persistent absence of stable leadership was a feature of most ‘inadequate’ local authorities. In these weakest places:

            The most basic acceptable practice was not in place

            Supervision, management oversight, purposeful work with families and decisive action where children were at risk from harm were ineffective

            The views of children and families were rarely considered

            Support from key statutory partners – health, police, schools – was weak and poorly co-ordinated; and

            In some inadequate authorities, managers did not appear to have a firm understanding of what constituted good practice – making the management of risk and support for staff at the frontline almost impossible.

Review of the Local Safeguarding Children Board      

Source: Ofsted published on this site Tuesday 15th October 2013 by Jill Powell

A consultation document on proposals to review the effectiveness of the Local Safeguarding Children Board has been published. Ofsted have already conducted a wider consultation about the contents of this review. This consultation is targeted at those who have a specific interest in, or expertise relating to, the effectiveness of Local Safeguarding Children Boards.

The closing date for the consultation is 23 October 2013.

To obtain the document click: http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/filedownloading/?file=documents/consultations/r/Review%20of%20the%20Local%20Safeguarding%20Children%20Board.pdf&refer=0

Partnership working in child protection: improving liaison between acute paediatric and child protection services    

Source: Social Care Institute( scie) for Excellence published on this site Friday 11th October 2013 by Jill Powell

This report by scie looks at how acute paediatric and local authority statutory child protection services in England work together in cases of suspected child maltreatment. In particular, the study looks at what is viewed locally as good practice in staffing, identifying cases where child maltreatment should be considered, referring cases to social care and information-sharing, and to explore what supports interface arrangements that professionals deem most effective.

The study focuses on emergency departments and maternity services and their links with local authority social care.

This study was carried out by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) as part of the programme of work of the Department of Health funded Policy Research Unit in the Health of Children, Young People and Families (CPRU).

To read the report click http://www.scie.org.uk/publications/reports/report67-partnership-working-in-child-protection.pdf

New measures to give greater powers for the police to protect the vulnerable from sexual predators have been unveiled by the Home Office.        

Source GOV.UK published on this site Monday 14th October 2013 by Jill Powell

Policing and Criminal Justice Minister Damian Green has announced proposals to make it easier to restrict the activities of anyone who poses a risk of sexual harm to children and adults.

The proposals, tabled in the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, build on Nicola Blackwood MP’s amendment to the Bill.

The two new orders will replace existing powers and the threshold for risk will be lowered to cover any case of sexual harm, not just cases of serious sexual harm.

Sexual Harm Prevention Orders can be applied to anyone convicted or cautioned for a sexual or violent offence, including where offences are committed overseas. They will replace Sexual Offences Prevention Orders and Foreign Travel Orders; and

Sexual Risk Orders can be applied to any individual who poses a risk of sexual harm in the UK or abroad, even if they have never been convicted. They will replace the Risk of Sexual Harm Order.

Both powers can place a range of restrictions on individuals depending on the nature of the case, such as limiting their internet use, preventing them from being alone with a child under 16, or preventing travel abroad.

The Sexual Harm Prevention Order can be made by a court on conviction, or if the police or National Crime Agency (NCA) apply to a magistrates’ court. The order lasts a minimum of five years and has no maximum duration.

The Sexual Risk Order can be made if the police or NCA apply to a magistrates’ court regarding a person who poses a risk of sexual harm. It lasts a minimum of two years and has no maximum duration.

The government’s measures take into account the findings of an Association of Chief Police Officers-commissioned report into the use and effectiveness of civil orders. There has also been consultation with front-line professionals including the police, the courts, and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.

Policing and Criminal Justice Minister Damian Green said:

The UK has some of the toughest powers in the world to deal with sex offenders.

Today, we are going even further by giving police and National Crime Agency officers the power to place greater restrictions on any person they judge to be a risk.

Our proposals support the Childhood Lost campaign to tighten the law on sex offenders and make it easier for police to monitor them.

This is part of ongoing work by the Home Office led national group to look at how the police and other agencies can better identify and deal with sexual offending, ensuring victims are at the heart of the criminal justice system.

Other measures in the Bill include provisions on anti-social behaviour, extradition, forced marriage, firearms and dangerous dogs.

Age UK has seen a 42% annual increase in calls to its advice team for help with financial difficulties,        

Source: Age UK published on this site Wednesday 23rd October 2013 by Jill Powell

Overall the charity received 63,000 enquiries to its advice line on money matters in 2012/13.

Of these, 5,287 calls were to its specialist advice team specifically about pensions and benefits, compared to just 3,737 over the same period in 2011/12. The number of benefit enquiries at local Age UKs across the country also jumped from 263,800 in 2011 to 276,468 in 2012 – a 5% increase.

In addition, 1.2 million financial self-help guides were distributed to older people in 2012-13. In total, Age UK helped put a massive £145 million back into the pockets of older people through unclaimed benefits.

The majority of calls dealt with focused on how people can maximise their incomes through Pension Credit, targeted at low income pensioners, and Attendance Allowance, for pensioners aged 65 plus suffering with long-term illness and disability.

Up to 1.6 million older people in Britain eligible for Pension Credit are missing out on the benefit, which equates to an average of £33 a week per person.

Age UK is concerned that many older people are facing difficulties paying for the basics such as food and fuel, having been hit hard by spiralling energy bills through last year’s long, cold winter.

At the same time, 2 in 3 English councils have reduced funding for older people’s home care and more than 22,000 fewer older people are receiving home care support from their local authority.

Don't ignore internet safety rules Get Safe Online Week 21st – 25th October 2013       

Source Ministry of Defence and Home Office published on this site 22nd October 2013 by Jill Powell

There are some very simple guidelines we can follow to protect ourselves when using the internet.

At the start of Get Safe Online Week, new research by not-for-profit organisation getsafeonline.org has revealed that, despite the fact that the vast majority of Brits (84%) recognise that it’s our own responsibility to be safe online, we are often not taking the most basic of precautions.

Because of the jobs they do, members of the Armed Forces community and defence civilians need to be particularly careful when they are online.

Not only do they have to make sure that they don’t share information they need to keep safe, but they also need to make sure they tell their friends and families to do the same thing.

People can find out more about online security for the defence community on the Think before you share online page of GOV.UK

Some of the biggest online safety sins involve passwords. In fact, almost half of the 2,000 UK adults surveyed (47%) don’t always log out of websites or apps when they’ve finished using them.

This is made worse by the fact that only 42% of adults use passwords or PINs on their mobiles. As mobile devices become more sophisticated, not protecting them with a password can be likened to leaving your keys in your front door; all of the contents are vulnerable to theft and huge bills could be run up in your name.

There are also other behavioural misdemeanours, particularly when it comes to using social media.

For example, the survey found that nearly a third (31%) of social media users have accepted a friend they don’t know in real life, and a quarter (26%) regret something they have posted online.

Also, almost a third (31%) of Snapchat users do not filter their messages and will accept them from anyone, leaving them open to abuse or inappropriate content.

Security Minister James Brokenshire said:

Get Safe Online Week is a great opportunity to highlight some quick and easy steps people can take to ensure their online experience stays a positive one.

Alongside this practical advice we’ve launched the National Crime Agency and the National Cyber Crime Unit and taken the fight to the hackers, fraudsters and criminals who prey on innocent individuals.

To find out more click http://getsafeonline.org/

ChildLine tackling sexting with Internet Watch Foundation

Source NSPCC published on this site Friday 18th October 2013 by Jill Powell

Young people are frequently taking huge risks making and sending sexual images of themselves, also known as 'sexting'.

ChildLine and the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) are joining forces to ensure young people of 17 years and under know where to turn to get sexually explicit images removed from online.

In a ChildLine survey of 13-18 year olds:

            60 per cent said they had been asked for a sexual image or video of themselves

            40 per cent said they had created an image or video of themselves

            25 per cent said they had sent an image or video of themselves to someone else

Over half of the young people surveyed by ChildLine said they had received a sexual photo or video, most received them from a partner but a third received them from a stranger.

Whilst most said the image went to a boyfriend or girlfriend, a third said they sent it to someone they met online but didn't know in real life and 15 per cent said they had sent it to a total stranger.

Sexting and sharing of images is 'mundane'

Labelled as 'sexting', the sharing of self-generated sexually explicit images or videos by mobile phone or online is now commonplace amongst young people to the point that it is considered 'mundane'.

James*, 17, revealed that he continues to engage in sending and receiving images, despite the risks:

"Sexting is really pretty normal at my age. It seems like everyone's doing it. There are definitely risks involved.

"Someone saw a video message I had sent to a previous girlfriend, took a screen shot and posted it online. They called me a pervert and lots of people I knew saw it.

"I was completely devastated and, to be honest, almost suicidal.I've never pressured anyone into sexting, and when any girl I've been seeing hasn't been interested I've been fine with that. There are some people though who will put pressure on you.

"I do worry about who is behind the phones of the people I sext with - obviously if you don't know the person in real life there's no guarantee that they are who they say they are.

"There is also a big risk around the ages of the girls you contact. Of course you can ask, but there's no proof that they're telling the truth."

Since NSPCC commissioned research uncovered a worryingly increasing trend for 'sexting' and a fear amongst young people of turning to adults for help when things go wrong, ChildLine has been committed to providing young people with support to tackle the issue.

 

Human trafficking: Tough sentences to help end modern slavery

Source: Home Office published on this site Monday 21st 2013 by Jill Powell

Modern day slave drivers will face the full force of the law with the maximum sentence for trafficking offences increased to life, was announced on Friday 18th October 2013

The move will make sure the worst perpetrators can get a life sentence while those who already have a conviction for a very serious sexual or violent offence will face an automatic life sentence.

The measure will be included in a Modern Slavery Bill with James Brokenshire as Minister for the Bill, to be published this year in draft form for pre-legislative scrutiny.

The bill will consolidate into a single act the offences used to prosecute slave drivers. It will also introduce Trafficking Prevention Orders to restrict the activity and movement of convicted traffickers and stop them from committing further offences and a new Anti-Slavery Commissioner to hold law enforcement and other organisations to account.

Action is being taken as numbers of identified trafficking victims across the UK continues to rise. A report published today by the Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group (IDMG) on Human Trafficking shows that 1186 people were identified and referred for support in 2012 - an increase of 25% in the number of referrals from 2011. The report shows that trafficking remains primarily an organised crime associated with gangs.

 United Nations chief designates renowned Chinese pianist Lang Lang as Messenger of Peace     

Source United Nations (UN) published on this site Wednesday 30th October 2013 by Jill Powell

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has designated world-renowned pianist Lang Lang from China as a United Nations Messenger of Peace with a special focus on global education.

Lang Lang is one of the most exciting and accomplished musicians of our time. He has performed for world leaders and worked with some of the greatest orchestras and maestros,” Mr. Ban said. “But he has also used his art and ability to inspire audiences to improve the lives of children everywhere.”

Mr. Lang, who began playing the piano at age three, has performed around the world. He played at the opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony for United States President Barack Obama and the Diamond Jubilee Concert for Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom at Buckingham Palace in 2012.

He has also been Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for the past 10 years, helping raise awareness to ensure every child’s right to quality health care and education. In addition, he has frequently used his music to raise funds for UNICEF and for humanitarian aid in emergencies, such as a special performance for a sold-out audience at Carnegie Hall in New York to benefit the UNICEF emergency response to the earthquake in Haiti.

As Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, you have used your unique ability to inspire audiences around the world to help improve the lives of children,” Mr. Ban told Mr. Lang. “I am pleased that you will now be promoting global education, a key driver of human progress and well-being. I look forward to working with you to advance my Global Education First Initiative.”

The Global Education First Initiative focuses on three goals: getting every child in school; improving the quality of learning; and fostering global citizenship.

An inspection report has criticised the way the police deal with domestic violence in Northern Ireland

Source: BBC online published on this site Tuesday 29thOctober 2013

It says the PSNI has failed to implement a series of improvements recommended three years ago.

The Department of Justice estimates one in five women in NI have been victims of domestic abuse, and the police deal with three calls every hour.

There were 11,160 recorded domestic abuse crimes in Northern Ireland from April 2012 to March 2013.

That is the highest figure since records began. But while the number of reported incidents is rising, Criminal Justice Inspection says the level of detections has fallen.

Three years ago, a CJI report made 13 recommendations for improvements in the handling of domestic abuse incidents

A report published on Tuesday says only one of the 13 recommendations has been achieved, six have been partially achieved, and six have not been achieved.

 

It takes a lot to build trust’ Recognition and Telling: Developing earlier routes to help for children and young people

Source: Office of the Children’s Commissioner for England published on this site 25th October 2013 by Jill Powell

A report for the Office of the Children’s Commissioner for England October 2013

Dame Maggie Atkinson, children’s commissioner for England says in her introduction:

This research is particularly timely as we consider the importance of really seeing children and understanding their experience. The tragedy of several recently reported deaths of young children at the hands of their parents or carers is very much on my mind as I write this foreword. Names have been added to the nation’s list of tragic child deaths: Daniel Pelka, Keanu Williams, and Hamzah Khan − all killed by the adults who should have been caring for them. All suffered plights that seem not to have been noticed, or if noticed were not acted on, by too many highly trained professionals. We have of course been here before. It makes it no less troubling that we are here again in 2013.”

To read the summary and the full report clickhttp://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/content/publications

The Foundations of Abuse: A thematic assessment of the risk of child sexual abuse by adults in institutions October 2013

In the introduction to this thematic assessment Peter Davis says:

The sexual exploitation and abuse of children is most likely when vulnerability meets power. Both vulnerability and power can take forms which are subtle, informal and – to a passive outside world – often barely visible.

Events of the last year have brought into focus an issue which has, in truth, been in our consciousness for much longer – that there is something about institutions that can amplify both vulnerability and power to a point where sexual abuse of children within them can become endemic.

Institutions with children or other vulnerable people in their care, have special obligations to safeguard them. Where the risk increases, so do these obligations.”

The key findings of this assessment are:

1) Children in institutional settings are not only at risk from adults who are inclined to abuse them sexually; but also from adults who either fail to notice abuse or, if they do, fail to report it.

2) Where institutions put their own interests ahead of those of the children who engage with them, abusive behaviours are likely to become normalised, potentially leading to sexual abuse.

3) The culture within an institution has a strong influence on the degree to which abuse might occur within it. Poor leadership, closed structures, ineffective policies and procedures together with the discouragement of reporting, facilitates a malign climate which colludes with those inclined to sexually abuse children.

4) Where institutions are held in high regard and respected by the communities they serve, positional grooming can be perpetuated, whereby offenders conduct social or environmental grooming and mask their actions by virtue of their formal positions within an organisation.

5) Potential risks from those with a sexual interest in children who pursue work in institutions can be mitigated by vigilant and effective leadership and management.

6) Intense loyalty and conformity of workers to the mission, norms and values of an institution can inhibit them from reporting concerns.

7) The historic nature of many cases currently exercising media attention, together with developments in safeguarding, might give a false perception that this type of offending can no longer occur. Offenders continue to exploit systemic vulnerabilities where they exist.

To read the report click http://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news-media/publications/49-ceop-institutions-thematic-assessment/file

Department of Health’s response to Leonard Cheshire Disability’s campaign about its report 'Ending 15-minute Care'.

Source: Department of Health published on this site Thursday 24th October 2013 by Jill Powell

The report and campaign have effectively highlighted the problem of poor local authority commissioning Department of Health’s response to Leonard Cheshire Disability’s campaign about its report 'Ending 15-minute Care'.

practices. The Department of Health fully agrees that it is unrealistic to think that 15 minutes is enough time to help people who are older or who have a disability to do everyday things like wash, dress and get out of bed. It is not fair on those who need support and it is not fair on care workers. The report and the accompanying online campaign have been a valuable opportunity to spread this message, and encourage local authority commissioners to change the ways they operate.

There are too many examples of councils buying rushed care visits and the department is working to change this. Better care is needed for the 300,000 people currently receiving home care and for the millions more who will need it in years to come.

This is why, this summer, the department announced the Homecare Innovation Challenge, which has brought together local authorities, care providers and carers to look at how care can be improved, including the way councils buy their services. The department also intends to work with the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) to develop a set of commissioning standards to support local authorities to gauge how effectively they are commissioning services, and to bring about improvement led by the social care sector.

Although ministers were not able to support the amendments suggested in the report, they hope that supporters of Leonard Cheshire Disability’s campaign will be content with the amendment that the House of Lords agreed, which makes it clear that local authorities must consider a person’s wellbeing when arranging their care. Authorities that commission care in ways that force people to choose between being washed and being fed would clearly be failing to meet this duty.

The department will be working over the coming months to develop statutory guidance on commissioning and market shaping, which will be a valuable opportunity to influence local practice.

 

Serious Case Reviews

Two Serious Case Reviews from the Isle of White Safeguarding Board

Source: onthewight.com

 

The Isle of Wight Safeguarding Children Board have today (Tuesday 5th November) released two Serious Case Reviews (SCR) in relation to Child Safeguarding.

The first SCR gives no detail of what happened to the baby or child and responding to questions from OnTheWight, the Isle of Wight council were unwilling to confirm whether the SCR was in respect of a child death.

 

National Stress Awareness Day (NSAD) 6th November 2013

Source: National Awareness Days published on this site Wednesday 6th November 2013 by Jill Powell

The 15th National Stress Awareness Day, which is held to celebrate helping people to beat stress will take place on 6 November 2013.

National Adoption Week 4-10 November 2013

Source: National Adoption Week published on this site Monday 4th November 2013 by Jill Powell

Across the UK 4,000 children are waiting to find an adoptive family, but for 1 in 4 it is likely to remain only a dream. And for every year a child waits their chances of being adopted reduce by 20%. National Adoption Week is for anyone who would like to help change this, so that every child waiting in care finds somewhere they can feel safe and loved. We ask you to think about the children who wait the longest. Please consider making room in your life and your heart and start you journey below.

For more information click http://www.nationaladoptionweek.org.uk/

Bonfire Night Safety

Source: Chief Fire Officers Association published on this site Tuesday 5th November 2013 by Jill Powell

The majority of accidents happen at private parties. Organised displays will be safer than having a party of your own. If you do hold your own party, make sure you follow the firework code, shown below.

Firework Code

            Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114

            Don’t drink alcohol if setting off fireworks

            Keep fireworks in a closed box

            Follow the instructions on each firework

            Light them at arm’s length, using a taper

            Stand well back

            Never go near a firework that has been lit

            Even if it hasn’t gone off, it could still explode

            Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them

            Always supervise children around fireworks

            Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves

            Never give sparklers to a child under five

            Keep pets indoors

            Don’t let off fireworks after 11pm

Bonfire Safety Tips

            If you have a bonfire, follow these simple guidelines:

            Warn your neighbours beforehand - so they are aware and can make necessary preparations

            Only burn dry material, do not burn anythign which is wet or damp, this causes more smoke

            Check there are no cables (telephone wires etc) above the bonfire

            Build the bonfire away from sheds, fences and trees

            Don’t use petrol or paraffin to start the fire it can get out of control quickly

            Once the bonfire is lit, make sure you:

            Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby - in case of emergencies

            Don’t leave the bonfire unattended

            Keep children and pets away from the bonfire

            Don’t throw any fireworks into the fire

            Don't burn aerosols, tyres, canisters or anything containing foam or paint - this could produce toxic fumes and some containers may explode, causing injury

            Once the bonfire has died down, spray the embers with water to stop it reigniting

 

Study identifies 11 new genes that could contribute to Alzheimer's Disease

Source Alzheimer’s Society published on this site Monday 11th November 2013 by Jill Powell

A meta-analysis of over 74,000 people across the world has helped scientists to identify 11 new genes that could be responsible for making people more likely to develop Alzheimer's Disease.

Published in Nature Genetics and undertaken by the International Genomics Project (IGAP), this global collaboration is the largest genetic study of Alzheimer's disease to date. The researchers combined the data from four large European gene association studies and then additionally sequenced DNA from 20,000 individuals.

This research comes ahead of the forthcoming G8 dementia summit taking place in London on 10 and 11 December.

Alzheimer's Society comment:

'This exciting discovery of genes linked with Alzheimer's disease opens up new avenues to explore in the search for treatments for the condition.

'This truly global effort has doubled the number of genes linked to Alzheimer's and shows what can be achieved when researcherscollaborate. We now need continued global investment into dementia research to understand exactly how these genes affect the disease process.'

Dr James Pickett

Head of Research

Alzheimer's Society

Welfare benefits cap may force domestic violence victims to stay with their abusers

Source: Family Law Week published on this site Thursday 7th November 2013 by Jill Powell

Research led by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) into the initial impact of the welfare benefits cap in Haringey – one of four London boroughs chosen by the government to implement the cap early – has suggested that there are unintended consequences for domestic violence victims.

Experiences and effects of the benefit cap in Haringey quotes professionals reporting several women who have chosen to stay with violent (employed) partners because they knew they would be affected by the benefit cap if they left with their children. These women would not necessarily come to the council's attention and so it would be difficult for them to intervene.

The report lists unintended consequences as:

            The feared mass evictions and relocation of benefit recipients to cheaper parts of the country have not yet materialised (though they are visible on the horizon), but many claimants are currently relying on discretionary housing payments to remain where they are and this will be unsustainable in the longer term because the scale of claims will exceed council budgets

            There have been severe consequences for a small number of households which are likely to have longer term policy implications e.g. exacerbation of mental health problems, women left unable to flee abusive partners, children now in danger of being taken into care, and pre-emptive evictions of some private tenants

            Some private landlords and letting agencies are withdrawing from letting to benefit recipients because of concerns over the cap and other welfare reforms. This conflicts with, and potentially undermines, the government’s policy of encouraging local authorities to place homeless households in the private rented sector (PRS) and to prioritise households in employment for social housing

            A positive consequence has been improvements in joint working and consequently in integration and quality of service provision to affected households

 

Online Predators Stung by Avatar of Ten Year Old Girl

"International Webcam Sex Tourists" caught by "Sweetie" Avatar

Source:http://www.theregister.co.uk

This is from a report by Richard Chirgwin, 6th November 2013

An international sting operation has trapped "international Webcam sex tourists" from 65 countries by using an avatar in place of a 10-year-old child in order to solicit viewers into asking for on-camera sex acts.

The avatar, dubbed "Sweetie", was developed and operated by the Dutch arm of international group Terres Des Hommes, and was operated from The Netherlands. The group claims it identified over 1,000 adults "willing to pay children in developing countries to perform sexual acts in front of the webcam" by using the avatar.

In all, the group claims that 20,000 people approached the "child", and through those interactions, Terres Des Hommes researchers sought further information via social media to try and identify the individuals making the approaches. The group is using its research as the basis of a world-wide petition for governments to "adopt proactive investigation policies", it says.

 

Care leaver strategy A cross-departmental strategy for young people leaving care October 2013

Source: GOV.UK published on this site Thursday 7th November 2013 by Jill Powell

Since 29th October 2013 young people leaving care will be able to see exactly what support is available to them as they take the first steps into adult life with the new care leaver strategy.

The strategy sets out in one place the steps the government is taking - from housing to health services, from the justice system to educational institutions - to support care leavers to live independently once they have left their placement.

Speaking at the National Care Leaver Week annual conference, Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson, who grew up with over 80 fostered brothers and sisters, said:

Although most children leave care having had positive experiences, it’s simply not acceptable that they end up with significantly worse exam results; are more likely to have poorer mental and physical health; or be unemployed or out of education altogether. That makes quality of support - and consistency of support - absolutely essential. They deserve nothing less. If care leavers get patchy services, they are more likely to slip through the cracks.

We want care leavers to enter adult life with the same opportunities and life chances as their friends. If someone needs a helping hand to get into work, to find a college place or to access the right employment services, it shouldn’t matter which part of government provides it.

For the first time ever, our care leaver strategy will ensure that all government action across every department - from justice to housing, education to finance - is working with one single, united purpose to improve the lives of these vulnerable young people.

To read the strategy click https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/care-leaver-strategy

Academy chains should face Ofsted inspection

Academy chains should face Ofsted inspection, say MPs

Report by Sean Coughlan - Source BBC News Website

Ofsted should be given powers to inspect organisations that run chains of academies, says a report from a cross-party committee of MPs.

The Education Select Committee wants to improve the way groups of schools work together in partnerships.

More than half of secondary schools in England are now academies, operating outside local authority control.

Graham Stuart, committee chairman, said schools needed clearer incentives to "look beyond their own school gate".

Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw has previously said he believes that sponsors of such academy chains should face inspections.

 

A Department for Education spokesman said: "Ofsted already inspects all school and academy performance, while the Department for Education examines the performance of chains.

"Where academies are underperforming, we take action - this can involve issuing a pre-warning notice and ultimately changing the sponsor if there is no improvement."

Surrey Safeguarding Children Board has published the executive summary of a serious case review in to the deaths of two children aged 2 and 3. Their mother was subsequently convicted of their murder.     

 This serious case review is about  Child J aged three and Child K aged two. Their Mother was subsequently convicted of their murder. At the time of their deaths, Child J and Child K were living with their Mother in Surrey but had previously lived with their Mother and Father in East Sussex. Mother’s previous husband (known in this report as Partner 1) with whom she had two children (Half-brothers 1 and 2) also lived in East Sussex. Since the children were officially resident in Surrey at the time of their deaths this review has been led by Surrey Safeguarding Children Board working in partnership with the relevant agencies in East Sussex.

Source: Surrey Safeguarding Children Board published on this site Monday 18th November 2013 by Jill Powell

Issues identified include:

         the children’s father contacting police with concerns about their welfare

         allegations of domestic violence made against the father;

         emotional abuse by the mother towards her older children

The main lessons that have emerged from this review relate to:

         Ensuring that where parents are separating and there are concerns about the children, information is collated about all children within the family by all relevant agencies.

         The need to remember that child abuse crosses all class boundaries and professionals need to consider the potential impact of bias on their evaluation of information. This relates to gender as well as class.

         The importance of robust child protection knowledge and safeguarding practice in early years settings, including effective systems for advice and consultation.

         The importance of record keeping within schools when any concerns are raised about a child and ensuring that records about a child are kept at a central point.

         The need for all teaching staff to use advice and consultation mechanisms. This is particularly important when they are feeling overwhelmed by the issues being presented to them.

         The need to ensure that where allegations of domestic violence are made to professionals, such as health visitors, the information is verified in order to inform next steps.

         The need for clarity of roles across professional boundaries, most particularly in relation to police welfare checks.

         The importance of establishing processes, management and supervision within Surrey County Council Contact Centre, which ensure that sufficient information is gathered and analysed in order to make an informed judgement about next steps.

         The need to develop systems within Sussex Police whereby relevant information about children is managed in such a way that all relevant information is immediately available to Sussex Police staff and for dissemination to other agencies.

         The challenges of identifying where parental separation is adversely affecting children and in particular the significance of rapidly deteriorating behaviours or relationships in either the adults or children involved.

To read the overview report click http://www.surreycc.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/679653/SCR-J-and-K-Executive-Summary-FINAL-250913.pdf

New report: Carers of people with dementia not receiving support they need

Source: Carers Trust published on this site Friday 15thNovember 2013 by Jill Powell

A new report from Carers Trust has found that carers of people with dementia are not getting the support and advice they often desperately need.

A road less rocky – supporting people with dementia’ found that only 51% of carers questioned said that they were given an opportunity to talk separately about their needs and how much care they felt able to provide.

56% of carers questioned said that they had not received information about managing the medication of those they cared for. More than half (52%) of carers said that they had been given no information on how to cope with incontinence.

Other key findings included:

         Over half (52%) of carers in the survey reported difficulties in obtaining a diagnosis for dementia for the person they cared for

         More than half of carers (55%) questioned said that they had not been given information on legal issues and managing money. Many had learned about Lasting Power of Attorney too late

         Many carers, particularly those caring for someone in the later stages of the illness, felt ill equipped to deal with more agitated behaviours that might develop. More than two-thirds 68% surveyed said they had not received training or advice on this issue

         82% of carers questioned said that caring had adversely affected their ability to work

         Information gaps at critical points in carer journey

The report found that there were a number of critical points along a carer’s journey where they would most value information and support. These critical points include:

         When dementia is diagnosed

         When the capacity of the person with dementia declines

         When the carer needs emotional support and/or a break from caring

         When the person with dementia loses their mobility

         When the carer has to cope with behaviour problems

         When the carer’s own circumstances change

         When the person with dementia becomes incontinent

The report finds that many carers are not being given information and advice on these issues when they need it. Often advice, if it is given, is too late.

Now the trust is hoping to change all that with a project to ensure carers are better involved when their loved ones with dementia need medical care. The Triangle of Care initiative for dementia, developed in partnership with the Royal College of Nursing, which was published in April this year, as well as people with dementia and their carers, sets out a framework for meaningful engagement between professionals and those with first-hand experience of the condition. It builds on a similar initiative for mental health services, which, says Ruth Hannan, policy and development manager for mental health at theCarers Trust,demonstrated how more effective communication could help carers, patients and professionals alike.

To read the full report click http://www.carers.org/sites/default/files/dementia_report_road_less_rocky_final_low.pdf  

Bradford Safeguarding Children Board Serious Case Review on the life and death of Hamzah Khan in September 2011.         

Source: Bradford Safeguarding Children Board published on this site Wednesday 13th November 2013 by Jill Powell

The Introduction of the review states:

Hamzah died on the 15th December 2009 but his body was not discovered until September 2011. He died because he was neglected by his mother, Amanda Hutton.

She was convicted of manslaughter and child cruelty in October 2013.

The death of any child, whatever the circumstances is a traumatic and shocking experience and Hamzah’s is profoundly disturbing. Hamzah had been starved and neglected and this was not known about until the evidence was laid before a judge and jury in the autumn of 2013 following an extensive criminal investigation.

The circumstances under which Hamzah’s dead body had remained hidden have shocked professionals and the wider community. The trial also revealed other significant information about the family and the circumstances of the children that had not been known until then.

It was not possible whilst preparing this SCR to establish an exact date for Hamzah’s death. However, it became apparent during the court hearing that he died on 15.12.2009. Information provided through statements and from the post mortem examination indicates that Hamzah’s death may have occurred in late 2009 when Hamzah would have been aged four years old. The circumstances and cause of Hamzah’s death was the subject of separate and parallel inquiries by the police and the coroner. The review does not investigate why or how the death of Hamzah was not disclosed by any member of the family.

A theme in this review is the extent to which Hamzah was unknown and invisible to services throughout his short life. The circumstances that caused mother in particular to withdraw increasingly from any contact with services are complex. A contributory factor appears to be the degree of domestic violence she suffered and the social isolation she felt. Associated with this was the reaction from some people in the community to a relationship that involved partners from different cultures and religions. Hamzah was invisible to services largely because neither of his parents participated in the routine processes such as ensuring he saw health professionals on a regular basis or was enrolled for early years to educational provision.

To read the overview report click http://www.bradford-scb.org.uk/scr/hamzah_khan_scr/Serious%20Case%20Reveiw%20Overview%20Report%20November%202013.pdf

Tackling FGM in the UK Intercollegiate recommendations for identifying, recording and reporting

Source: Royal College of Midwives published on this site Thursday 14th November by Jill Powell

A unique coalition of Royal Colleges, trade unions and Equality Now have launched the report, “Tackling FGM in the UK: Intercollegiate recommendations for identifying, recording and reporting,” at the House of Commons.

The ground-breaking report and collaboration recognises that implementing a comprehensive multi-agency action plan is urgently required to ensure that young girls at risk of undergoing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) are protected by the existing UK legal framework (which has been in place since1985).

The report makes nine recommendations for tackling FGM in the UK and considers issues such as lack of consistent data collection about FGM in the NHS.  The recommendations suggest that babies, children and young girls suspected of going to be cut or presenting with FGM should be considered as potential victims of crime and referred to support services and the police, as appropriate.  The report's recommendations include:

         Threat FGM as Child Abuse: FGM is a severe form of violence against women and girls.  It is child abuse and must be integrated into all UK child safeguarding procedures in a systematic way.

         Implement an awareness campaign: The Government should implement a national FGM awareness campaign, simnilar to previous domestic abuse and HIV campaigns.

         Hold frontline professionals accountable: The NHS and local authorities should systematically measure the performance of frontline health professionals against agreed standards for addressing FGM publish outcomes to enable effective benchmarking.

Dr Deborah Hodes, Consultant Community Paediatrician from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health who contributed to the report, said:

'Female genital mutilation has been illegal in the UK for more than 25 years. This report, which will be crucial in raising awareness of this issue within the medical profession and beyond, aims to end this form of violence against women and children forever.

'In the UK, there are women who come from countries where FGM is  common. Many of their children, despite being born here, are at risk of having this procedure forced upon them.

'It is, therefore, crucial that all paediatricians have the confidence to talk to parents about the issue and the ability to recognise the signs and respond appropriately when the child is at risk.  They must also understand which children are most vulnerable.

 'A vulnerable child could come into contact with a paediatrician for any reason and in any setting. This guidance will be invaluable in supporting all healthcare professionals to protect the child.'

To download the report click http://www.rcpch.ac.uk/news/tackling-female-genital-mutilation-uk

Cafcass research probes incidents of adult suicide and family annihilation

Source: Cafcass press release published on this site Tuesday 12th November 2013 by Jill Powell

The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) has recently completed research into incidents of adult suicides, within cases currently or previously known to it, where the parent was also known or believed to have killed a child.

There have been seven homicide/suicides in which a child is deliberately killed prior to the perpetrator taking his/her own life since 2009, in cases currently or previously known to Cafcass.

Cafcass’ research found that most such killings are perpetrated by men (six by the father, and one by the mother); five involved the killing of a child or children; two the killing of a child and partner; five were private law proceedings (divorce or separation cases where parents cannot agree about arrangements for their children) and two public law cases (care proceedings cases).

Cafcass does not have sufficient data to identify motive in each case. Mental illness may be a feature of some, and ‘altruism’ a feature of others, but some were explicitly committed in order to cause the maximum degree of distress to the other parent. A study of ‘family annihilators’ called A Taxonomy of Male, British Family Annihilators, 1980-2012 by Yardley, Wilson & Lynes 2013, found that the primary motivation was family break-up in 66% of such killings.

Cafcass’ research found that, since April 2009, there have been 38 notifications of suicides in cases either currently or previously known to it, including:

            14 suicides of a parent (all of which took place during court proceedings – eight public law (care cases), six private law (divorce or separation cases). A feature of the public law cases is the proximity of the death to a milestone event in the proceedings, with half taking place on, or within three days, of the final hearing.

            Seven suicides of a parent where the parent also was known or believed to have killed a child; and

            17 suicides of children (11 males; six females; three children were not subject to an application, but were siblings, or a close relative living within the same family of a child who was the subject on an application).

            Approximately four children per annum take their own lives in cases either known or previously known to Cafcass. This involves more boys than girls; more older children (17 being the most common age); and more public law applications, which are cases involving child abuse or neglect in which issues of significant harm to the child have been identified.

Cafcass Head of Policy Richard Green and author of the research said, “Serious incidents are mercifully rare. However, conducting this research allows us to consider everything that’s in front us, and to aggregate data. Our research highlights that we need to be alert to any indicators of suicidal ideation or behaviours, but also that it’s a complex issue which can be hard to predict.”

Cafcass’ research also cites the findings of Mike Berry and Ruth Cliff (2013) and Yardley et al which highlights that:

            It is thought that there are on average, in England and Wales, about four killings of a child per year followed by the suicide of the perpetrator. It is a very infrequent occurrence, about 0.05 per 100,000 population

            Most perpetrators are male, estimated to be 86%

            Few perpetrators have a history of offending, or input from children’s or mental health services.

To read the Executive Summary click http://www.cafcass.gov.uk/media/181560/learning_from_cafcass_individual_management_reviews_case_dynamics.pdf

 

Crack down on adult ‘enablers’ to tackle teen drinking

Source Demos published on this site Friday 22nd November 2013 by Jill Powell

Think tank demands tougher punishments for parents, friends and older siblings who ‘proxy-purchase’ alcohol in order to tackle harmful underage drinking.

People who buy alcohol on behalf of underage drinkers should face community service, social shaming or be banned from shops, according to a new Demos report published today.

The tougher sanctions would crack down on the practice of ‘proxy purchasing’ – where parents, friends or older siblings purchase alcohol from off licences to give to under 18s.

A third of 11-15 year olds (33%) admitted obtaining alcohol in the previous four weeks. Figures cited in the report reveal 1 in 5 (19%) were given the alcohol by parents, whilst the same percentage also said they had received it from their friends.

Around 1 in 7 teenagers (13%) had also asked someone else to buy alcohol for them, compared with only 3% who had illegally purchased it from a shop themselves.

The report encourages police and local authorities to use the threat of tougher punishments to discourage proxy-purchasing. It argues community service with a strong focus on alcohol-related work, such as clearing up city centres in the morning, would be a justifiable penalty.

Other ideas include banning people from their local off licence, or even prominently displaying posters by the counter to ‘name and shame’ those caught breaking the law.

Demos go on to argue police should do more to both enforce on-the-spot fines for law breakers as well as using their powers to prosecute those potentially causing a great deal of harm by enabling underage drinkers.

While the current on-the-spot fine is just £90, police potentially have the ability to impose a maximum fine of £5,000 for people convicted for purchasing alcohol on behalf of a child. However, recent health select committee figures show that only 16 people were successfully prosecuted in a four-year span.  

Local authorities are failing in their duties to children who are missing education

Source: Ofsted published on this site Thursday 21st November 2013 by Jill Powell

Too many children, often the most vulnerable, are either missing out on full-time education or not getting the part-time education they are entitled to, according to an Ofsted report published today.

Pupils missing out on education finds that too many local authorities do not know how much education some pupils, such as excluded children and those with mental and physical health needs who do not attend school in the usual way receive.

The report finds that some local authorities are failing to properly arrange and monitor the effectiveness of education for children directly in their care. Only a third of the local authorities visited for the survey keep a close enough eye on these children and gather information and analyse it centrally.

The survey sets out stark findings about the failures of some local authorities to meet their statutory obligation to ensure that children and young people in their area are receiving a suitable education. Moreover, children and young people who only receive part-time education can become ‘invisible’ to local authorities. These children can become vulnerable or be involved in anti-social behaviour.

Inspectors found 1,400 children and young people in the 15 authorities visited who were being educated part-time. If this pattern were repeated across all local authorities in England, it would mean more than 10,000 children were missing out on full-time education.

Leading search engine companies Google and Microsoft have agreed measures to make it harder to find child abuse images online.

Source GOV.UK and BBC online published on this site Tuesday 19th November 2013 by Jill Powell

As many as 100,000 search terms will now return no results that find illegal material, and will trigger warnings that child abuse imagery is illegal.

PM David Cameron has welcomed the move but said it must be delivered or he would bring forward new legislation.

Child protection experts have warned most images are on hidden networks.

In July, Mr Cameron called on Google and Microsoft's Bing - which together account for 95% of search traffic - to do more to prevent people getting access to illegal images.

He said they needed to ensure that searches which were unambiguously aimed at finding illegal images should return no results.

The issue of online images showing the sexual abuse of children has made headlines in recent months after the convictions of Stuart Hazell and Mark Bridger for the murders of Tia Sharp and April Jones.

Both Hazell and Bridger were known to have sought out and viewed child abuse images online.

Yesterday (18 November) the Prime Minister  hosted a key summit at Downing Street where he welcomed  the progress made by internet service providers, leading search engines and police agencies to better protect children from harmful material online and block child abuse and other illegal content but will warn that there is still more to do.

New era for patients and NHS as Government accepts recommendations of Mid Staffordshire inquiry

Source: GOV.UK published on this site Wednesday 20th November 2013

The Government has published its response to the Francis inquiry report.

More openness, greater accountability and a relentless focus on safety will be the cornerstones of an NHS which puts compassion at its heart, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced today. The plans, set out in the Government’s response to the Inquiry into the failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, build on the cultural change already taking place in the wake of the hospital scandal.

The Government has already instigated a number of changes following the Inquiry’s report published in February, most notably introducing a new hospital inspection regime and legislating for a duty of candour on NHS organisations so they have to be open with families and patients when things go wrong.

Today’s response builds on this and sets out a detailed response not only to the Inquiry but also to five expert independent reports on safety, complaints, bureaucratic burdens, support workers and trusts with the worst mortality rates. The response also comes as new figures show that, following the Inquiry’s report and Government action to date, hospitals are already planning to hire more than 3,700 extra nurses over the coming months.

Key proposals for consultation to be announced today would see all NHS organisations and professional staff obligated to be open with patients when things go wrong. If a hospital had not been open with patients and their families following a patient safety incident, its indemnity cover for that compensation claims could be reduced or removed. This would give a strong financial incentive to hospitals to be open about patient safety incidents. Similarly, the General Medical Council, the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the other professional regulators will introduce a new explicit and consistent professional duty of candour for doctors, nurses and other health professionals, making clear a requirement to be open with patients and families, whether the incident is serious or not. Health professionals will have to be candid with patients about all avoidable harm and the guidance will make clear that obstructing colleagues in being candid will be a breach of their professional codes. Speaking up quickly may also be considered to be a mitigating factor in a conduct hearing and this will further encourage individual candour. Inspired by normal practice in the airline industry, “near misses” of serious harm will also be subject to a professional duty of candour, fostering an NHS culture in which reporting and learning from mistakes is the norm.

Guidelines for Industry on Child Online Protection: An Invitation for a consultation by ITU and UNICEF

Source: Business and Human Rights Resource Centre published on this site Monday 2nd December 2013 by Jill Powell

The draft Guidelines for Industry on Child Online Protection have been prepared in the context of the International Telecommunication Union’s Child Online Protection (ITU COP) initiative and apply to the safety of children when using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).  They aim to provide advice on how industry can work to help ensure children’s safety when using the internet or any of the many associated technologies or devices which can connect to it or use it, including mobile phones and games consoles.  The draft guidelines have been developed through an initial consultation of the ITU COP members and are now open to a broader consultation until 20 December 2013.

The purpose of these Guidelines is to:

- Establish a common reference point and guidance to the ICT and online industries

- Provide guidance to companies on identifying, preventing and mitigating any adverse impacts of their products and services on children’s rights

- Provide guidance to companies on how to promote children’s rights and responsible digital citizenship among children and young people.

- Suggest common principles that, though requiring different models of implementation for different industry players, could potentially form the basis of national or regional pan-industry commitments.

Responses can be sent to the following mailboxes: cop@itu.int and csr@unicef.org.  This feedback will provide input for the development of the final Guidelines will be released in January 2014.  All feedback will be treated as confidential.  An anonymous summary will be provided following the consultation.  We appreciate your valuable time and support for the initiative.

For further information, please contact the UNICEF CSR unit on csr@unicef.org (Eija Hietavuo and Amaya Gorostiaga) or the ITU COP on cop@itu.int (Carla Licciardello).

For a copy of the Guidelines click http://business-humanrights.org/media/documents/itu-unicef-guidelines-child-online-protection.pdf   

Keeping children safe online after Christmas tablet buying boom

Source: GOV.UK published on this site Friday 29th November 2013 by Jill Powell

With tablet computers expected to be one of the top Christmas presents for kids this year, parents face anxiety over what their children will look at online.

The Government has been working with industry to help parents protect their children from inappropriate online content.

The big four internet service providers (ISPs) – TalkTalk, Virgin, Sky and BT – have all agreed to introduce network level filters that would cover all internet devices in the home.

Network level filters allow parents to limit their children’s access to adult content by making one universal selection. They no longer have to install filters on every separate device in the home.

TalkTalk and Sky have already made network filters available, while BT and Virgin will follow within the next two months.

A recent Ofcom report showed a dramatic rise in the number of younger children owning tablets. The use of tablet computers has tripled among 5 to 15-year-olds since 2012 (42%, up from 14%), and 28% of infants aged 3-4 now use a tablet at home.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller said:

Many more children will be unwrapping smartphones and tablet devices on Christmas Day.

For parents and children, the internet is fast becoming part of everyday life at work, at school and socially but parents are rightly wary about what children are being exposed to online.

We have worked with industry to make it far easier for parents to be confident their children are being protected.

Parents need to think about putting filters on their accounts and finding out more about keeping children safe online.”

The four main ISPs – who supply internet connections to almost 9 out of 10 UK homes – have also agreed that all new broadband customers will have the settings for family friendly filters automatically switched on.

And by the end of 2014 all existing customers will have been presented with an unavoidable choice about installing family friendly content filters which the user will not be able to skip.

Only the adult account holder will be able to change the filter settings.

Outside the home, all mobile operators have agreed to ensure that adult content is filtered and users will have to prove they are over 18 to switch them off.

Family friendly filters are now being applied to public wi-fi by the six companies that provide 90% of public wi-fi across the UK. 

Clare's law to become a national scheme

Source: GOV.UK published on this site Wednesday 26th November 2013 by Jill Powell

A scheme allowing police to disclose to individuals details of their partners’ abusive pasts will be extended to police forces across England and Wales from March 2014, Home Secretary Theresa May has announced.

It follows a successful 14-month pilot in four police force areas, which provided more than 100 people with potentially life-saving information.

Home Secretary Theresa May said:

Domestic abuse shatters lives – Clare’s Law provides people with the information they need to escape an abusive situation before it ends in tragedy.

The national scheme will ensure that more people can make informed decisions about their relationship and escape if necessary.

This is one of a raft of measures this government has introduced to keep women and girls safe. The systems in place are working better but sadly there are still too many cases where vulnerable people are let down. Today is an important step towards ensuring we do better by women like Clare Wood in the future.

Every request under Clare’s Law is thoroughly checked by a panel made up of police, probation services and other agencies to ensure information is only passed on where it is lawful, proportionate and necessary. Trained police officers and advisers are then on hand to support victims through the difficult and sometimes dangerous transitional period.

The government also announced  the national extension of Domestic Violence Protection Orders from March 2014, which will provide further protection to vulnerable victims.

National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) warns of utility bill fraud

Source NFIB published on this site Thursday 28th November 2013 by Jill Powell

Cold-callers from overseas are fraudulently offering discounted energy bills to UK consumers. Callers state they are from a company that offers discounts on utility bills, including road tax, and use the name of a reputable, energy comparison website, thus adding a veil of legitimacy to the scam.

Suspects call from Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) numbers to offer 20% discount on utility bills, road tax and insurance. Early indications are that the callers are located in India.

Victims agree for the caller to pay their tax or bill to guarantee a discount. The victim is required to pay their bill upfront by transferring money to the suspect’s bank account which is supplied over the phone by the caller.

Once the suspect receives the victims’ money, the suspect pays the energy company bill or road tax and waits for the funds to clear. The victim therefore becomes satisfied that their bill or tax has been paid.

A few days after the bill or tax has been paid, the suspect declares to the utility company that the card used for the utility payment was not their own and the payment is then reimbursed to the suspects account.

Alternatively the payment has been made on a compromised card and gets rejected at source. The victim is unaware the bill remains outstanding, until the energy company, council or DVLA, contact the victim stipulating there are unresolved bills in addition to late payment fees incurred.

With rising energy prices, and consumer advisory agencies recommending the use of energy comparison companies, there is a risk that households already suffering with financial difficulties will become victim to this scam this winter.

Consumers should consider the following before making any payments to someone over the phone:-

Request the contact details of the caller i.e. the telephone number and address of the company they are calling from and check the details on the internet for reviews.

Never provide your bank details to the initial caller, always call the person back to ensure the telephone number and company are genuine.

Be cautious when dealing with sellers from abroad or private individuals on the phone, especially if they request payment by e-money such as UKash vouchers.

Businesses are advised to check their authentication processes with telecommunication providers to ensure they are not vulnerable, and place consumer alerts on their websites advising the public to be vigilant of phone calls.  

Services continue to fail to protect children from sexual exploitation in gangs and groups

Source Office of the Children’s Commissioner in England published on this site Tuesday 26th November 2013 by Jill Powell

3 new reports have been published, they highlight the issues of consent, the abuse of young people by young people and the normalisation of violence for people with gang culture.

 "If only someone had listened..." is published alongside two other reports commissioned by the Office of the Children's Commissioner's Inquiry. "Sex without consent, I suppose that is rape" How young people in England understand sexual consent presents the findings of a study by London Metropolitan University with 607 young people between 13 and 20 years old. The research finds that in the main, young people understand what is meant by giving consent or agreeing to sex but they have a very limited understanding of how to get consent to have sex. They tend to rely on reading visual signs or expecting a definite refusal. Young people can also describe what consent means in theory but real life situations affect their judgement of what constitutes non-consensual sex. Gender is the most significant influence on their understanding of consenting to sex. As young men are rewarded for having sex and women condemned for doing so, there is pressure on both to act in certain ways, affecting the way they negotiate sex. Importantly, younger people have narrow concepts of rape seeing it as involving explicit force between strangers.

"It's wrong... but you get used to it" A qualitative study of gang-associated sexual violence towards, and exploitation of young people in England reports the findings of a two year study by the University of Bedfordshire which included individual interviews with 188 young people aged 13 to 28 years and focus groups with 76 professionals from across the six research sites. The study found significant levels of sexual violence, including young people's knowledge and experience of individual and multiple perpetrator rape. Despite this, only 1 in 12 of interviewees felt young people would be likely to report such crimes. In gang environments, sexual violence is seen as ‘normal' and inevitable with the young women often getting blamed for their own abuse. Young people in gang environments assume that sexual violence is ‘normal' and inevitable and young women often get blamed for bringing harm upon themselves.  

Teacher who molested pupils has sentence increased by court of appeal

Source: The Guardian published on this site Tuesday 10th December by Jill Powell

A primary school teacher who molested his pupils and filmed children's genitals as they changed for swimming lessons has seen his six-month jail sentence more than doubled.

Richard Oldham admitted taking the footage on his mobile phone when he was a teacher in York, as well as touching two pupils inappropriately and possessing hundreds of indecent images of children on his computer.

He was jailed for just six months by Judge Rodney Jameson at Leeds crown court in September – prompting the solicitor general, Oliver Heald QC MP, to ask the court of appeal to look again at the case. The court of appeal increased the sentence to 13 months.

Speaking after the hearing, Heald said: "Richard Oldham abused his position of trust and acted in a way that was wholly inappropriate for a teacher, committing sexual offences against young boys who were in his charge and entitled to be safe.

"I asked the court to look again at his overall sentence and consider whether sentences for some of the offences should have been ordered to run consecutively.

"Sexual crimes, especially those which breach the trust between a pupil and teacher, should be punished appropriately.

"Today the court sent a clear message that anyone who violates the trust of children they have been charged to look after will face the proper consequences."

Oldham, of Holsworthy, Devon, was charged with 23 offences including voyeurism, making and possessing indecent photographs of children and sexual assault.

Oldham's offending spanned eight years and was uncovered in September last year after a 10-year-old boy complained that the teacher touched him during a lesson. The touching was inappropriate but was over his clothes and did not involve his genitals.

Another 10-year-old boy, at a different school, came forward after seeing media coverage to say he had been touched by Oldham between September 2010 and July last year.

After Oldham was arrested, police found computer equipment at his home which contained more than 2,000 indecent images of children. Although most were at the lower levels, some of the images were level four, described as "the rape of children".

The filming at the swimming lessons concentrated on the children's genitals and Oldham would also talk to the children about erections and pornography.

Judge Jameson also imposed a sexual offences prevention order and ordered Oldham to sign the sex offenders register for 10 years. He was banned for life from working with children.  

Beware The 12 scams of Christmas

Source: McAfee published on this site Friday 6th December 2013 by Jill Powell

The potential for identity theft increases as consumers share personal information across multiple devices that are often under protected,” said Michelle Dennedy, vice president and chief privacy officer at McAfee. “Understanding criminals’ mindsets and being aware of how they try to take advantage of consumers can help ensure that we use our devices the way they were intended – to enhance our lives, not jeopardize them.”elp consumers stay alert for greedy Grinches as they surf the web for holiday travel deals and seek out gifts for their loved ones, McAfee has identified this year’s top “12 Scams of Christmas”:

1.           Not-So-Merry Mobile Apps—Official-looking software for holiday shopping, including those that feature celebrity or company endorsements, could be malicious, designed to steal or send out your personal data. Criminals can redirect incoming calls and messages, offering them the chance to bypass two-step authentication systems where the second step involves sending a code to a mobile device.

2.           Holiday Mobile SMS Scams—FakeInstaller tricks Android users into thinking it is a legitimate installer for an application and then quickly takes advantage of the unrestricted access to smartphones, sending SMS messages to premium rate numbers without the user’s consent.

3.           Hot Holiday Gift Scams—Advertisements that offer deals on must-have items, such as PS4 or Xbox One, might be too good to be true. Clever crooks will post dangerous links, phony contests on social media sites, and send phishing emails to entice viewers to reveal personal information or download malware onto their devices.

4.           Seasonal Travel Scams—Phony travel deal links and notifications are common, as are hackers waiting to steal your identity upon arrival. When logging into an infected PC with an email username and password, scammers can install keylogging spyware, keycatching hardware, and more. A hotel’s Wi-Fi may claim that you need to install software before using it and instead infect your computer with malware if you “agree.”

5.           Dangerous E-Seasons Greetings—Legitimate-looking e-cards wishing friends “Season’s Greetings” can cause unsuspecting users to download “Merry Malware” such as a Trojan or other virus after clicking a link or opening an attachment.

6.           Deceptive Online Games—Before your kids are glued to their newly downloaded games, be wary of the games’ sources. Many sites offering full-version downloads of Grand Theft Auto, for example, are often laden with malware, and integrated social media pages can expose gamers, too.

7.           Shipping Notifications Shams—Phony shipping notifications can appear to be from a mailing service alerting you to an update on your shipment, when in reality, they are scams carrying malware and other harmful software designed to infect your computer or device.

8.           Bogus Gift Cards—An easy go-to gift for the holidays, gift cards can be promoted via deceptive ads, especially on Facebook, Twitter, or other social sites, that claim to offer exclusive deals on gift cards or packages of cards and can lead consumers to purchase phony ones online.

9.           Holiday SMiShing—During the holidays, SMiShing is commonly seen in gift card messages, where scammers pose as banks or credit card companies asking you to confirm information for “security purposes”. Some even include the first few digits of your credit card number in the SMS message to fool you into a false sense of safety.

10.         Fake Charities—Donating to charities is common this time of year for many looking to help the less fortunate. However, cybercriminals capitalize on this generosity, especially during natural disaster events, and set up fake charity sites and pocket the donations.

11.         Romance Scams—With so many niche dating sites now available to Internet users, it can be difficult to know exactly who the person is behind the screen. Many messages sent from an online friend can include phishing scams, where the person accesses your personal information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details.

12.         Phony E-Tailers—The convenience of online shopping does not go unnoticed by cyber scrooges. With so many people planning to shop online, scammers set up phony e-commerce sites to steal your money and personal data.

To keep consumers protected and ensure a happy holiday season, McAfee has shared additional safety tips:

British Association of Social Workers (BSWA) backed MP inquiry lifts lid on serious pressures facing social workers

Source BSWA published on this site Wednesday December 4th 2013 by Jill Powell

The ability of social workers to keep children safe from harm has diminished, not improved, in the five years since the convictions in the case of Baby Peter Connelly in Haringey, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Work says today.

The Inquiry into the State of Social Work report based on expert testimony from frontline social workers, heard evidence of unmanageable caseloads, rising numbers of children entering care and IT systems that are preventing social work professionals from spending time with at risk young people. 

Social workers told MPs about their concern that caseloads in excess of 60 children could mean they fail to detect indications of abuse in a household. Referring to a particular case he was working on at the time, one practitioner told MPs: “I have niggling concerns about the mum and her two children but I don’t have the time to go back frequently to tease out the situation”. 

MPs raised concern that the reform agenda which emerged from the Baby P tragedy is not having sufficient impact on frontline social workers. MPs are also worried that a 70% rise in care applications since 2007, combined with challenging local authority budgets, have left social workers less able to protect vulnerable children than five years ago – the opposite outcome the public would have hoped for when those responsible for Baby Peter’s death were convicted in November 2008. 

Ann Clywd, Chair of the APPG on Social Work, said: “Children living in chaotic households or where concerns have been expressed about their welfare need to know that there are professionals out there with the time and support to be able to come and make a difference to their lives, and above all to keep them safe from harm.

Celebrities star in Home Office adverts to highlight teen relationship abuse

Source: Home Office published on this site Thursday 5th December 2013 by Jill Powell

Hollyoaks actors and boyband The Wanted star in new television adverts to support teenage relationship campaign This is Abuse.

This is abuse aims to highlight to young people what constitutes abuse and consent, provide them with the tools to challenge abusive behaviour in relationships and show them where to find help.

Two different advertising campaigns were co-produced with MTV and Channel 4’s Hollyoaks. In the first, popstars Example, Jason Derulo, The Wanted and others bust myths about consent and ‘call out’ abusive behaviour in relationships. The adverts will run across all MTV channels and online from today (5 Dec) with a call to young people to #callitout.

Hollyoaks

The second focuses on the abusive relationship of popular Hollyoaks couple Maxine Minniver (Nikki Sanderson) and Patrick Blake (Jeremy Sheffield) and shows that not all abuse is physical. A storyline on their abusive relationship has been developing on the soap throughout the year and the adverts, highlighting the ‘This is Abuse’ campaign, will air for the first time during tonight’s episode on Channel 4.

Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker said:

The new This is Abuse campaign adverts highlight to teenagers that abuse isn’t just limited to violence, but can include controlling and coercive behaviour.

Too many young people have experienced some form of emotional violence from a partner. We need to stop this – not only can emotional abuse wreck lives but it can be a precursor to physical violence.

Today’s new advertising campaigns will help teenagers identify abuse and give them the tools to challenge it when they see it. It is one part of a long term commitment from the Home Office to prevent abuse before it starts.

This is Abuse also aims to change attitudes early by challenging the view among teenage boys and girls that abuse in relationships is acceptable. Viewers of the adverts are encouraged to identify the negative behaviours that constitute abuse and given cues about where to go for help and advice.

Catholic orphanage abuse inquiry restarts

Source:  BBC News published on this site Tuesday 3rd December 2013 by Jill Powell

Police have restarted an investigation into claims of physical and sexual abuse at a Catholic orphanage in Bedfordshire.

In May Bedfordshire Police revealed an investigation had started into abuse allegations at the St Francis Boys Home in Shefford in the 1950s and 1960s.

But last month police said the case had been closed as officers had been unable to find anyone alive to prosecute.

Now detectives have received new information from an ex-resident.

The BBC has talked to former residents of the home who allege they were physically and/or sexually abused at the orphanage, run by the Catholic diocese of Northampton.

At the start of November, police said officers had investigated abuse allegations made by 28 ex-residents but had decided to close the case.

Police said the suspects included one priest (believed to be Father John Ryan, who ran the home in the 1960s), and four nuns, who "were found to have died", and two other suspects who could not be located.

Following the closure of the case the BBC sought more information on the investigation but this was refused on the grounds that "further evidence has come to light".

A spokeswoman later issued a statement to the BBC which said: "Bedfordshire Police have recently received a new report of abuse against former staff members from an ex-resident whilst staying at the St Francis Boys Home."

Police said they also now hoped to "identify one outstanding staff member".

Gordon McIntosh, a spokesman for ex-residents who claims he was physically abused at the home, said he was pleased the investigation had restarted.

"I hope it gets to a proper conclusion - to compile all the evidence and say something was amiss at the home," he said.

Northamptonshire Diocese of the Catholic Church, which ran the home, has said it "deeply regretted" any hurt caused, but has stressed the "claims are not proven".

Winterbourne View: 1 year on

Source: Department of Health published on this site Tuesday 17th December 2013 by Jill Powell

Norman Lamb writes about getting the right foundations in place to deliver person-centred care for vulnerable people.

The inhumanity is the hardest to understand – or forgive. The culture of neglect at Winterbourne View hospital, where residents were routinely abused, both mentally and physically, is as distressing to acknowledge now as it was more than 2 years ago, when these serious failings first came to light.

Then, as now, it was - and remains - our moral duty to do whatever it takes to eliminate this fundamental disregard for a person’s health, safety and wellbeing. Like my predecessors, I have made this commitment on several occasions since taking responsibility for the Department of Health’s Winterbourne View programme last September.

This report, 1 year on from ‘Transforming care: A national response to Winterbourne View Hospital’, shows how all of us working in or with the health and care system have gone about discharging that moral duty. It presents an opportunity, not only to reveal the changes made in process and governance, but also the changes yet to come, as we strive to enhance protection for some of society’s most vulnerable citizens.

If you take the time to read this report in full – and I urge you to do so – you would be right to observe it devotes many pages to legislation, consultation, data collection and other matters of process and protocol. On the surface, this seems some way removed from the aspiration of person-centred care, but this is about getting the right foundations in place to deliver that care. We should not forget we have already taken some very important steps towards achieving this through the reviews of people’s care that have taken place over the last year.

No less than 'good' for children's homes demands Ofsted

Source: Ofsted published on this site Monday 16th December 2013 by Jill Powell

Ofsted has published proposals for a tough new framework to improve standards in children’s homes and drive up quality for the country’s most vulnerable children.

The inspectorate is making its registration, inspection and enforcementpractice of children’s homes more robust, challenging and effective in parallel with the programme of regulatory reform proposed by the Department for Education. The new framework is integral to those reforms and is now open for consultation.

The consultation sets out the criteria for ‘good’ as the benchmark and minimum standard that children and young people should expect. As such, the current ‘adequate’ judgement is replaced by a judgement of ‘requires improvement’.

The purpose of the changes is to make sure that the experiences, care and progress of children and young people are placed firmly at the heart of all inspections. So, for the first time, Ofsted plans to make an overarching judgement on the ‘Overall experiences and progress of children and young people living in the home’ instead of the previous ‘overall effectiveness’ judgement.

Inspectors will additionally make a key judgement on ‘How well children and young people are helped and protected’. If a children’s home is ‘inadequate’ in this area, and therefore not protecting children or promoting their welfare, it will automatically be graded ‘inadequate’ overall. The help and protection given to children and young people must be central to care and professional practice.

There are also two graded judgements on:

            the impact and effectiveness of leaders and managers

            working in partnership with others to improve outcomes for children and young people.

£100 million committed to dementia research in next decade

Source Alzheimer’s Society published on this site Thursday 12th December 2013 by Jill Powell

Alzheimer's Society make long-term funding promise to tackle dementia.

At yesterdays (Wednesday 11 December 2013) G8 dementia summit, Alzheimer's Society Chief Executive, Jeremy Hughes, pledged to spend at least £100 million on dementia research in the next decade. This sustained commitment and long-term thinking will help change the face of dementia research and Alzheimer's Society is calling on governments and others to follow suit.

Dementia is our biggest health and social care challenge. Affecting millions globally, it has overtaken cancer to become the most feared condition amongst over 55 year olds. New statistics published last week revealed a sharp rise in the number of people living with dementia globally – 44 million people now have dementia worldwide, with the total set to soar to 76 million by 2030.

This additional research funding will be used to drive forward research into the prevention and cure of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, but also into the best form of treatment and support for those facing the daily challenges of living with dementia today.

The Society will continue to work closely with people living with dementia and their carers to inform and support the work of their researchers.

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of Alzheimer's Society, said:

'For the past forty years Alzheimer's Society has led the fight against dementia. We are pushing the boundaries to bring life-changing research to prevent, care and ultimately cure dementia closer to people with the condition, but we can't do this alone. We urge governments and organisations worldwide to collaborate, think long-term and make meaningful promises to combat dementia now.'  

The new Chief Inspector of General Practice sets out his new approach for the inspection and regulation of GPs and GP out-of-hours services

Source CQC published on this site Friday 13th December 2013 by Jill Powell

Since April 2013 CQC has completed 1,000* practice inspections. These have shown that many people receive good quality care from their GP; however they also highlighted areas of concern and some examples of very poor care, with 34 percent failing at least one of the required standards, and in nine practices there were very serious failings that could potentially affect thousands of people.

The findings from these inspections are helping the Chief Inspector to develop his plans for changing the way CQC inspects general practices, particularly focusing inspections on the things that matter to patients.

CQC’s inspections to date have identified concerns about how some practices manage medicines; for example, finding emergency drugs being out of date or stored on the floor, and a lack of temperature checks of vaccine fridges. CQC says this is extremely serious; for example, if children are not immunised effectively because a vaccine has been stored incorrectly the result could be an outbreak of a contagious childhood disease, such as measles across a large population.

Some practices were visibly dirty, had dirty cleaning equipment with no cleaning schedules, and staff had no knowledge of infection control guidance.

Practices were not always doing the necessary employment checks on staff who may have access to sensitive patient information and be in contact with vulnerable people. Inspectors found some practices were not putting staff through the correct clearances or making sure staff had appropriate training and access to qualifications.

Although the general levels of care was viewed by patients to be good, issues around access to surgeries were routinely highlighted, with some patients at one practice saying that it could take weeks to get an appointment.

Expert inspection teams that include GPs are at the heart of a new approach to inspecting general practice, set out  by the Care Quality Commission’s Chief Inspector of General Practice, Professor Steve Field.

The new style inspections will start in April 2014 and individual GP practices will be subject to the new system of inspections. Rather than look at practices in isolation, inspection teams will include a CQC inspector, a GP, a practice nurse or practice manager and a trainee GP. They may also include a member of the public with particular experience of using GP practices.

Professor Field intends to inspect practices from across a clinical commissioning group area. Inspectors will visit every CCG area once every six months, inspecting a quarter of the practices in that area. Every practice will have been inspected by April 2016 all inspections will ask five key questions of services: are they safe, effective, caring, responsive to people’s needs and well led. They will focus on the care of the most vulnerable, including homeless people, people with learning disabilities and vulnerable older people.

From January, the new inspections will focus on GP out-of-hours services because the regulator feels that they are likely to put patents at a higher risk of receiving poor care than from other general practice services.  

New standards on blinds in 2014

Source: Child Accident Prevention Trust published on this site Thursday 2nd January 2014 by Jill Powell

From 2014 stringent new standards governing the manufacture, selling and installation of new blinds come into effect with the aim of reducing child accidents.

CAPT has been working with the British Blind and Shutter Association (BBSA), RoSPA, British Standards Institute (BSI), the UK Government and the EU to strengthen the safety requirements of existing product standards.

The new standards will mandate:

            Safety devices for preventing any cords or chains from forming a hazard

            The testing of all safety critical items of internal blinds

            The testing of blinds using safety devices

            The installation of safety devices on the product at the point of manufacture

            Maximum cord and chain lengths

            Warnings and instructions

            Packaging and point-of-sale information

27 children are known to have died in the UK since 1999 as a result of becoming entangled with a blind or curtain cord or chain. Over half of these deaths have occurred in the last three years, and most have happened in the bedroom when parents thought their child was asleep.

Toddlers are most at risk of becoming entangled in a blind cord. They are naturally inquisitive, and are especially vulnerable to strangulation because their heads weigh proportionately more than their bodies compared to adults and their muscle control isnt fully developed, both of which make it harder for them to free themselves if they get tangled up. Plus, their windpipes are smaller and less rigid than those of adults and older children. This means they suffocate far more quickly when their necks are constricted.

It’s likely that the new standards will be published in February or March 2014. You can use the launch to encourage parents who are looking to buy new blinds for their homes to buy blinds that are safe by design – for example, blinds that are operated by wands rather than cords or chains. See the BBSA’s Make it Safe website for more information.

However, the new standards do not apply to blinds already installed in people’s homes. They are a significant step to reducing blind cord accidents, but there is still a great deal of work to be done in raising awareness among parents – it is estimated that there are up to 200 million blinds in UK homes.

If parents have blinds at home that are operated by cords or chains, it’s vital that they understand the risks and the simple steps they can take to make their blinds safer – for example, by moving furniture away from blinds and fitting and using cleats, so blind cords and chains are kept well out of reach of young children.

Blind cord accidents very often happen when parents are unaware of their child’s cognitive and physical abilities. At this stage, toddlers are developing their knowledge and understanding of the world by exploring their environment and their physical abilities by climbing, reaching and pulling (though climbing is by no means a pre-requisite for an accident).       

Rochdale publish two serious case reviews which looks at six girls who suffered child sexual exploitation, which took place in Heywood, Rochdale between 2007 and 2010.

Source: Rochdale Safeguarding Children Board published on this site Friday 20th December 2013 by Jill Powell

The Rochdale Safeguarding Children Board is today publishing two Serious Case Reviews. The purpose of Serious Case Reviews and the form they must take is set out in government guidance. These reports follow the guidance published in 2010 as the process commenced prior to the most recent revisions of Working Together in March 2013. The subject of the reviews is the response of services in Rochdale Borough to Child Sexual Exploitation and between the two reports they cover the period from 2003 to 2012.

While there is some disappointment that the SCR’s cannot be published in full for legal reasons I can assure you that the reports have been considered in full by the Safeguarding Children Board and forwarded to the Department for Education. By virtue of Section 1 of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act there is a legal prohibition on publication of details that might lead to the identification of a victim of certain offences, including rape and indecent assault. This prohibition applies just as much to the Safeguarding Board as it does to the press. All details which may have resulted in identification of the victims have therefore been removed from the reports.

In reviewing the work of the agencies between 2003 and 2012 the reviews have identified a widespread pattern of weaknesses and failings, across all agencies at an organisational level but also in terms of some individual practice. The reports conclude that the repeated nature of these failures exposes fundamental problems and obstacles at a strategic level over a period of years and that this undermined the agencies’ ability to protect and safeguard young people.

In addition the reports identify inadequacies in the following key areas:

Policy and procedures either not available or poorly understood and implemented on the front line;

 Absence of high quality supervision, challenge and line management oversight;

 Resource pressures and high workloads in key agencies contributing to disorganisation and at times a sense of helplessness;

 Policies, culture and attitudes within many of the agencies which were actively unhelpful when working with adolescents; and Performance Frameworks focussed on quantitative practice not on quality of practice or understanding the child’s journey through services and outcomes.

 In seeking to answer the question as to why such problems developed and persisted for so long the reports outlines the following system wide failures:

 Longstanding difficulties in achieving effective multi-agency working – both at senior level and in operational practice;

 Failure by strategic managers to focus on routine safeguarding practice and to understand how it was delivered;

 Lack of an evaluative culture focussed on the experience of young people, outcomes and effective interventions; and

 Under-resourcing resulting in high workloads, and decision making influenced significantly by budget to the detriment of practice which would meet children’s needs.

The reports ask the question "Could the abuse have been predicted or prevented? The report identifies two factors:

Firstly, six of the seven young people considered in the reviews were, for several years prior to being sexually exploited, in need of help and, at times, more proactive intervention by safeguarding agencies to protect them from what are described as "highly damaging experiences such as neglect, domestic violence, parental mental health problems and substance misuse." There was no evidence of coordinated responses which took account of these risks. Had this approach been taken the reports conclude that "it must have been possible that the vulnerability of these young people could have been assessed and responded to at a much earlier stage".

Secondly, in relation to the perpetrators, the reports conclude that nothing that was known about them as individuals, prior to the commencement of investigations, could have reasonably been seen as an indicator of the risk they posed. However, once sexual exploitation began to be identified, agencies failed to respond effectively. Had they done so then repeated abuse and abuse of other young people might have been avoided.

Runaway children at risk from new police guidance

Source: The Children’s Society published on this site 23rd December 2013 by Jill Powell

Vulnerable children who run away from home or care in England are more likely to ‘fall through the gaps’ because of new police definitions, The Children’s Society has said.

Earlier this year, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) introduced new definitions of ‘missing’ and ‘absent’ persons. In a change to previous guidance, children and adults defined as ‘absent’ do not require an immediate response from the police.

The Children’s Society has welcomed the new research – published by Portsmouth University, ACPO and the National Crime Agency – on how children defined as ‘absent’ are safeguarded, something it says was missing when the police introduced new definitions in April this year.

At risk of harm

Children who run away from home are at serious risk of harm, including abuse or sexual exploitation. But the report published today reveals a worrying lack of robust risk assessments when children are reported missing, inconsistent training and oversight of ‘absent’ cases and a lack of joined-up work.

The charity says the report raises issues that the police need to urgently address to keep vulnerable children safe.

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said:

'The police have said these changes are about better targeting resources. But without proper training and oversight, these changes are in danger of becoming a cost-cutting exercise that puts children at risk of serious harm.

'We know children who run away are more likely to be abused or exploited. But the report reveals that most police call handlers have not been trained in spotting the signs of child sexual exploitation. And in some police forces, call handlers are not even expected to risk assess ‘absent’ cases.

'I think most parents or carers would be extremely concerned to know that the police might not even make a decision about whether their child is at risk of harm if they report them as missing.

'We’re pleased the police have listened to our concerns and published this research, but now they must set out how they are going to urgently address these failings and ensure that children who run away from home are kept safe.'

Missing children who the police judge to be at risk should always be treated as ‘missing’ rather than ‘absent’, but the report reveals that the police are failing to consistently or robustly carry out risk assessments.

To read the research click http://www.safecic.co.uk/freebies/55-free-downloads-and-safeguarding-links/406-relrepo

 

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