SAFE Newsletter: June 2020
It would appear that even with the current crisis, there are a lot of
developments and news within the safeguarding world.
Firstly, and most importantly, following the
publishing of the
Inquiry into the RNIB,
the Charity Commission has now issued a
to all charities who either provide direct services and facilities
to the public, both here and
overseas, and/or all
charities with turnovers of over £9,000,000.
To help busy trustees, CEOs and others at this difficult time
SAFE is offering the following services under its community objectives:
Free phone safeguarding consultations with
one of its multi-agency experts, please email
to book an appointment
for a heavily subsidised cost for registered charities at £50 a
year. Benefits include safeguarding template policies and resources
plus a free online
self review and audit of all your safeguarding arrangements.
Successful charities can achieve the SAFE Award to evidence
they have done everything they can to fulfil their duty of
For those short on time, or would like a thorough, external and
safeguarding review and audit
of their charity, SAFE charges a heavily subsidised 50% discounted
rate of £ 500 a day under its community objectives
(normally £1,000 a day for commercial organisations). If you
would like to know more please email
buy one get one free offer
for all online training until 31 July 2020
A free access and continually updated
SCORM compliant online training courses
for organisations with their own Learning Management Systems (LMS).
If you would like to know more please email
The regulatory alert
advises charities, amongst
other things, to:
establish effective safeguarding policies and procedures that all
trustees, staff and volunteers follow. Trustees, staff and
volunteers should undergo regular training on the organisation's
safeguarding policy and know how to manage and record risks
where relevant, appoint a senior safeguarding lead to help
co-ordinate and drive your safeguarding strategy, and who can engage
with other agencies and partners. Create a plan for responding to
concerns overseas, where appropriate. Embed a 'speak up' culture
throughout the organisation, so your staff feel acknowledged and
protected when whistleblowing on misconduct by management,
regardless of how senior the personnel involved may be. Set out
clearly the process of reporting misconduct, and how you will
investigate and manage misconduct with clear and proportionate
consequences. Put in place anti-retaliation policies
regularly review the sufficiency of your charity's arrangements for
safeguarding and protecting people that come into contact with the
The Charity Commission will contact a sample of
recipients of the alert later in
2020 to understand what measures are in place to manage identified
The Victims' Commissioner for England and Wales
Dame Vera Baird QC
Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland QC MP
to ask him to consider using courtrooms, which are currently unused
because of the Coronavirus pandemic, to record evidence from child
witnesses which could then be used when the case comes to trial.
Under section 28 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999
vulnerable witnesses - including children - can have their evidence and
cross examination pre-recorded in advance of any trial which spares them
the trauma of attending, and allows them to move on with their lives
free from worry and anxiety about having to go to court.
Statutory and Non-Statutory Guidance
Keeping children safe in education new update for September 2020
The document is for information only and does not come into force until
1 September 2020. Schools and colleges must continue to use KCSIE 2019
Annex H contains a table of substantive changes from September 2019
Online safety in schools and colleges: Questions from the Governing
This guidance has been updated for school governors to help governing
boards support their school leaders to keep children safe online.
Governors can use it to:
gain a basic understanding of the school's current approach to
keeping children safe online;
learn how to improve this approach where appropriate; and
find out about tools which can be used to improve the approach.
The document includes examples of good and outstanding practice, as well
as identifying when governors should be concerned.
This guidance is
non-statutory and should be read alongside the Department for
Education's Keeping Children Safe in Education statutory guidance.
Reports, Reviews, Resources, Research, Consultations and Inquiries
Seven new case reviews
have been added to the
NSPCC National Case Review Repository
this month featuring a number
of issues including:
Severe neglect and abuse
of a large group of siblings by their mother and father over many
years. Care proceedings concluded in 2017 and the children are no
longer under parents' care. Six of the siblings are now adults.
Evidence of the children suffering significant neglect and abuse by
their parents between 2007-2017. Home environment was overcrowded,
chaotic, dirty and unsafe. Evidence of physical abuse, domination
and coercion, and failure to prevent physical and sexual abuse
between siblings. Failure to ensure that the children received
medical care or attended school regularly. Parents were
uncooperative; aggressive to professionals with some disguised
compliance and manipulative behaviour.
Attempted suicide of a boy
aged under 16-years-old in 2019. Harry had experienced significant
neglect, trauma, emotional and mental health difficulties whilst
living with his mother, step-father and siblings in Scotland;
subject to child protection plan in 2016. In 2017, Harry moved to
live with his father in England. Incidents of self harm; suicide
attempts on five separate occasions prior to the incident in 2019.
Death of a 10-week old boy
in 2017 as the result of non-accidental head injuries. Forensic
post-mortem found two injuries: one several days prior to death and
another closer to time of death. Father convicted of manslaughter
and grievous bodily harm; custodial sentence.
Death of a 2-month-old baby girl
in January 2017. A post-mortem found eight rib fractures sustained
over a 24-hour to twenty-day period. Baby's mother was found guilty
of manslaughter and received a custodial sentence. Baby lived with
her mother and was the subject of a Child Protection Plan from birth
due to concerns based on her mother's past parenting difficulties,
alcohol and substance misuse and previous abusive relationships.
Mother chose not to say who the father was. An older sibling born in
2008 was cared for by the maternal grandparents who obtained a
Special Guardianship Order. The family is of white British heritage.
Baby was born pre-term and was seen frequently by health and social
work professionals from two local authority areas - she was viewed
as making good progress and being well cared for.
Neglect and possible sexual abuse of a 6-year-old child.
Child was made the subject of a care order in January 2016 and is
now in foster care. Mother had longstanding substance misuse
problems and the child was exposed to criminal activity and domestic
abuse. Three child protection referrals between 2009 and 2012 which
were investigated but identified no further concerns. An initial
assessment was completed in December 2013 and enquiries to the
child's school revealed there were concerns about attendance,
presentation, dental health and communication. A section 47 enquiry
was undertaken and completed in May 2014 which identified
significant concerns around neglect and parental substance misuse.
Child disclosed sexual abuse by mother's partner to mother's aunt
and made further disclosures when interviewed by police.
Death by suicide of a 16-year-old young person.
Ambulance services provided life support but the young person died
in hospital. Disclosed self harm whilst at secondary school, but
described it as a 'one-off' incident. Young person took an overdose
in January 2015 but had no prior involvement with children's
services or police. Expressed difficulties during sixth-form with
academic workload and had several contacts with CAMHS and GP. Young
person's partner raised concerns that they were accessing suicide
websites and information online. Family are of White British
Death of an 11-week-4-day old boy after sharing a bed with his
parents. An ambulance was called for Child K but medical
professionals could not resuscitate him. Mother and father were
arrested on suspicion of neglect by overlaying, but no charges were
brought due to insufficient evidence.
Independent Inquiry child Sexual Abuse (IICSA)
has published new research into
child sexual abuse in sports,
which finds that coaches and instructors exploited children's
vulnerabilities in order to groom and abuse them.
Based on the accounts of victims and survivors who came forward to
the Truth Project, the report analyses experiences of abuse across a
wide range of sports such as angling, boxing, canoeing, football,
gymnastics, ice skating and swimming.
The report provides an
insight into abuse in sport being perpetrated at a grassroots level;
for almost all participants, the sport was something they took part
in as a hobby and for enjoyment, with some describing it as
providing a diversion from a difficult home life.
of being subjected to a wide range of sexually abusive behaviour,
with some describing the abuse as being perpetrated under the guise
of sporting activity, for example whilst swimming or in the foam pit
The report finds that grooming was common; as well
as trips away and gifts, participants describe perpetrators trying
to normalise certain behaviours through overly physical contact,
sexualised comments or being shown pornographic material.
perpetrators also gave the children they abused particular
privileges or rewards within the sports club, such as allowing them
to play in better teams.
The report identifies certain factors
which enabled abuse to take place, including overnight stays with
children, a lack of supervision and oversight of adults working in
sports, particularly those operating as leaders, private coaches or
Victims highlighted the extensive impacts of the
abuse on multiple areas of their lives, with many describing how
decades later this still affects them on a daily basis.
Many survivors described barriers preventing them from speaking out,
such as having no-one to tell, feelings of guilt and shame and the
lack of open conversation about sexual abuse in sport. Where they
were able to disclose, they were often ignored, disbelieved or
The IICSA has also just published at the end
of June "People
don't talk about it": Child sexual abuse in ethnic minority
National Charities Strategic Relief Fund
and how to apply were published on the 10th June and updated on the 19th
On 8 April 2020, the government announced a package of £750M of
support for the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE)
organisations during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
has been allocated to the Department of Education and the Home
Office in order to support charities working to safeguard vulnerable
Overall aim of funding:
children safe during coronavirus (COVID-19) is our urgent priority.
The Vulnerable Children National Charities Strategic Relief Fund is
to provide relief to national children's charities that provide
services to safeguard vulnerable children and that have financially
suffered due to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19). The £7.6m fund
is aimed at large, national VCSEs and fits alongside a range of
government and other support, including the National Lottery
coronavirus (COVID-19) community fund which supports small and
As a result of coronavirus (COVID-19) and its
impact, many of these risks to vulnerable young people will have
been heightened. In recognition of this heightened risk, this
funding aims to ensure national charities can continue to provide or
enhance services that safeguard children and protect them from harm,
including from risks and threats:
A 'coalition of charities'
will help vulnerable children most impacted by the coronavirus pandemic
as part of a Department for Education programme.
More than £7 million will fund the launch of the See,
Hear, Respond service,
to provide targeted help to vulnerable children, young people and
their families affected by the virus and the measures put in place
to stop its spread. The coalition, led by Barnardo's, will work
alongside local authorities, schools and colleges, police forces,
healthcare professionals and other vital services involved in
protecting these children.
Funded by the Department for
Education, the partnership will harness the role and reach of the
charity sector. Barnardo's will work in partnership with other
national children's charities as well as community-based
organisations to provide solutions to the challenges facing children
and families that may have been exacerbated by the unique
circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic.
The launch of the
programme comes as the Department for Education and Home Office
prepare to open a new joint £7.6 million fund for national
vulnerable children's charities working in England and Wales on
issues including child sexual abuse and child criminal exploitation.
The money is aimed at those charities that have suffered financial
harm as a result of the virus, helping them to stabilise and
continue delivering for vulnerable children and young people.
Worthy of note
Emails purporting to be from TV Licensing
claim that the recipient's direct debit has failed and that they need to
pay to avoid prosecution. Recipients are told that they are eligible for
a "COVID19 Personalized Offer" of six months free. The messages contain
links to genuine-looking websites that are designed to steal personal
and financial information.
Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial
information in case it is
Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)
is urging football fans to secure their online platform streaming
accounts and subscriptions.
A convicted paedophile
who was snared by a vigilante group is to have his case examined at the
UK Supreme Court.
Judges at the UK's highest court will consider whether prosecutions
based on the covert operations of "paedophile hunters" breach the
right to privacy.
Mark Sutherland, 37, believed he was
communicating with a 13-year-old boy on the dating app Grindr.
But in reality it was a 48-year-old man who was part of a group
called Groom Resisters Scotland.
The Supreme Court will hold a
virtual hearing to consider the case and will issue its judgement
later. It will decide whether covert sting operations by vigilante
groups are a breach of the right to a private life and private
correspondence under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human
Carl Beech, 52,
claimed that he was among many victims of high-profile establishment
figures who raped and murdered children in the 1970s and 1980s.
Telling police he had been transported to 'sex parties' as a child
where he claimed to have suffered sadistic abuse at the hands of a
VIP 'group', Beech's lies resulted in a £2million investigation.
Despite a complete lack of evidence supporting Beech's claims, he
continued to maintain that his account was true throughout his
However, the CPS put forward extensive evidence to
dismantle Beech's lies and fabrications and prove that the
allegations were absolutely false.
On 22 July 2019, he was
convicted of 12 counts of perverting the course of justice as well
as one count of fraud for taking money to compensate him for abuse
that never happened.
Today at Sheffield Crown Court, Beech has
been ordered to pay £23,960 within three months or face an
additional year in prison.
Adrian Phillips of the CPS said: "The
compensation money given to Beech was meant to support him following
the extensive, sustained torture by high profile people that he made
up and described to police.
"Causing unimaginable distress to the
men he falsely accused and the families caught up in his deception,
he gladly took money from the authorities knowing he had fabricated
the entire tale.
"Confiscating this money will not undo the harm
of his lies, but it is the final step in making sure that Beech does
not profit from the shameful false allegations he made."
Working at Chataway Nursing Home in Manchester,
where part of Anthony Cunningham's role was to manage residents'
finances, the 29-year-old took advantage of this power.
In a bid to fund his prolific gambling and drug habit, Cunningham
used the vulnerable victims' bank cards to withdraw money to fuel
On 8 November 2019, Cunningham was sentenced to two
years and four months in prison for the thefts worth almost £45,000
he carried out against three residents at the care home.
Friday 19 June, Cunningham was ordered to pay £11,873 within three
months or face an additional eight months on his sentence.
Phillips of the CPS said: "Cunningham was trusted to care for some
very vulnerable people and he selfishly exploited that role to fuel
his drug and gambling habit.
In one case he took so much money that he drained one victim's
account, leaving them with just £6. Thanks to the work of our
specialist team of prosecutors, he will now have to repay almost
of domestic abuse and their children will receive greater
protections after the government an overhaul of how the family courts
deal with the horrific crime.
Sweeping reforms will see more victims of domestic abuse given
access to separate building entrances and waiting rooms as well as
protective screens to shield them from their alleged abuser in
Ministers will also make it easier for judges to issue
barring orders which prevent abusive ex-partners from repeatedly
dragging their victims back to court - which can be used as a form
of continuing domestic abuse.
The move comes after an expert-led
review into how the family courts handle domestic abuse and other
serious offences raised concerns that victims and children were
being put at unnecessary risk.
And the reason to remain vigilant in all aspects of safeguarding
The number of people seeking help for sexual thoughts
about children has doubled during lockdown, a UK charity has told the
Campaigners warn that lockdown has created a 'remarkable and unique'
opportunity for those wishing to exploit children.
Increased isolation, stress and uncertainty could mean that more people
may act on harmful impulses.
National Crime Agency
had previously warned of the threat.
It said that 300,000 people in the UK pose a sexual threat to children.
Lucy Faithfull Foundation
is a UK charity that works with people affected by child sex abuse,
including adult abusers.
The charity runs
'Stop it Now!' Helpline,
a helpline for anyone with concerns about child sexual abuse and
self-help resources for people troubled by their own sexual thoughts or
behaviour towards children,
It told BBC Radio 4's File on 4 programme, that demand for these
resources has doubled since lockdown.
Donald Findlater, hotline director said ; "Back in February, when
coronavirus news dominated the headlines, we saw a significant reduction
in contacts with the hotline and our self-help resources, but that has
since reversed. In March, we saw between 200 and 250 visitors per week
to the self-help resources. That number has grown to - and sustained -
at around 600 each and every week, so a significant increase since
The percentage of new visitors to the site is also increasing, currently
accounting for 64% of total users.
has released their new six part podcast series
Pixels From a Crime Scene
covering their battle
against online child sexual abuse material
Children are at an increased risk of online sexual abuse
during the coronavirus lockdown, police and a charity have said.
Police said there has been a rise in online grooming and people
accessing indecent images of children.
The Head of the Police Service NI's Public Protection Branch,
Det Ch Supt Anthony McNally, said
it "is one of the most horrendous crimes against one of the most
vulnerable sections of our community".
Figures show that 1,460
people from Northern Ireland contacted the Stop It Now! helpline and
self-help website in 2019 to address their behaviour.
In the past
year, police said its child protection team has carried out 87
searches and made 47 arrests in relation to this type of online
offending, with 121 searches and 79 arrests in 2018-19 and 158
searches and 87 arrests in 2017-18.
He also said children are at risk because of a number of "coinciding
"We know that children are more likely to be online at
the moment when they're not at school and we also know that people
are not working or have been furloughed and generally have more
time," said Mr McNally.
"We are definitely seeing an increase in
people on the internet.
"Parents are extremely busy too and might
not have the same time to look after their children's online
Mr McNally also appealed to people who may have
sexualised thoughts of children "to stop that behaviour" and
said Stop It Now! - which runs a confidential helpline and website
for anyone concerned about child sexual abuse - can support them.
For those that have offended, he said "the police will take
absolutely robust action when a crime is reported to us".
this year, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said that it believes
there are at least 300,000 individuals in the UK who pose a sexual
threat to children, either through physical contact abuse or online.
"The purpose of this campaign is to raise awareness of those things
and do all we can as a society to prevent crime and do what we can
to keep people safe," he added.
A deputy head teacher of a primary school has been charged
with online child sexual abuse offences after a National Crime Agency
Richard Swinnerton, 30, of Coulby Newham, Middlesbrough, was charged
with three counts of possession of illegal images of children
relating to category A (the most severe), category B and category C.
The defendant - who has resigned from his job at St Clare's Catholic
Primary School in Middlesbrough - will appear at Teesside
Magistrates' Court on 10 July 2020.
The charges relate to online
child sexual abuse imagery. Officers have found no evidence to
suggest that any of the images were made at the school and there is
no allegation of physical abuse.
Elizabeth Eddies, St Clare's
head teacher said: "I wish to assure all parents that the well-being
and safety of children at St Clare's remains of paramount
"These charges do not relate to his employment at the
school. This is deeply upsetting news for everybody involved with St
Clare's, which has served the local community and families for over
A married woman who sexually abused a child
and sent the images of it to her lover has been jailed for nine years,
after a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation.
NCA officers arrested businesswoman Katie Weeks, 36, and Gareth
Southcombe, 42, both of Poole, Dorset, in May 2018. Southcombe, who
owns a boating company, had the abuse photos on his mobile phone,
and his desktop computer also contained 14 category A (the most
severe) indecent images of children (IIOC), 14 category B, 15
category C and 35 extreme images. Weeks, an illustrator and designer
who produced gift cards, sent Southcombe the images in July and
His mobile phone showed that he had chatted online
with other offenders about the sexual abuse of children and animals.
Weeks originally declined to comment during interview in May 2018.
In another interview in August 2018, she blamed Southcombe for what
she had done, saying she felt coerced and that Southcombe might have
confronted her husband if she had stopped.
In October 2018 she
admitted to investigators abusing the child and sending the images
to Southcombe for his sexual gratification. But she went to trial at
Bournemouth Crown Court in November last year where she denied that
the photographs were of a sexual nature.
She was convicted in a
unanimous decision of three counts of causing a child to engage in
sexual activity, two counts of taking indecent photographs of a
child and two counts of distributing those indecent photographs.
In January last year Southcombe admitted possessing two photographs
of the victim, possession of 14 category A indecent images, 14
category B, 15 category C and 35 images portraying acts of
intercourse with animals. Southcombe was jailed for 28 months.
Both were put on the sex offenders register indefinitely and also
given sexual harm prevention orders indefinitely.
Video calls with friends and family,
social media interaction, online games, educational use: during the
corona lockdown children's lives promptly shifted even further from the
real world into an online virtual one. Sex offenders have found in this
development a tempting opportunity to access a broader group of
potential victims. Europol's
shines a light on the increased
sharing of child sexual exploitation images online and how to confront
this serious threat to children's safety.
Our homes were already accident hot-spots for small children. There's a
worry that risks are heightened now they're spending so much time at
And less traffic doesn't mean we can switch off about road
safety. In fact, cars are taking advantage of emptier roads to speed up.
Child Accident Prevention Trust are reaching out to parents
under pressure, sharing their
which has quick wins to help keep
Whether you have shufflers, crawlers, toddlers or pre-schoolers, if
you do a quick room-by-room check for these things, then you're
doing a great job of keeping your child out of harm's way:
Hot drinks to hair straighteners -
doctors have seen an increase in burns during lockdown. A small
child's skin burns really easily as it's so thin and delicate.
Decide now where the safe spot in the kitchen and living room is for
hot drinks - well out of reach of little hands. Do the same in the
bedroom for hair straighteners and curling wands - even when they
are cooling down, somewhere high up is best.
Pills to pods
- from the painkillers in the drawer to the cleaner by the loo, the
disinfectant spray under the sink or the washing pods by the
machine, they can seriously harm children if swallowed. Gather them
up and put them high up out of harm's way. And remember to put them
away again after you've used them.
Button batteries -
big lithium coin cell batteries the size of a 5p piece can be deadly
if your child swallows one. Look round your home for them - in
products as well as spare and 'flat' batteries - and put them out of
reach of inquisitive little fingers. You'll be surprised where
young children can find them - in light-up toys, remotes, gaming
headsets and key finders.
Out and about
As we try to keep our distance but still burn off children's excess
energy, it's crucial to stay mindful of road safety. Cars are taking
advantage of emptier roads to speed up. So remember to check for
traffic before you and your family step out into the road.
And if you're driving, remember there may be people stepping off
pavements or younger cyclists avoiding walkers. Keep an eye on your
speed while you're making that essential trip.
If you require any further information please
don't hesitate to contact us.
The SAFE Team