SAFE Newlsetter: March & April 2020
Welcome to our regular new round up which was, understandably, interrupted by recent events. The most important news item is the Coronavirus Act 2020, enacted on March 25th 2020, that grants the government emergency powers to handle the 2020 Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic across the UK.
The online version of this newlsetter can be accessed here
The key temporary changes relevant to safeguarding are :
The government has published specific Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance:
Other Legislation and Bills
Dame Vera Baird, the Victims' Commissioner for England, and Nicole Jacobs, Domestic Abuse Commissioner have written a letter to the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Priti Patel, to request the progress of the Domestic Abuse Bill be delayed: "The Domestic Abuse Bill is too important to be rushed through" following its second reading in the House of Commons.
1. Any defence of reasonable corporal punishment of a child under customary law is abolished.
2. (Accordingly, corporal punishment of a child cannot be justified in any civil or criminal proceedings on the grounds that it constituted, for the purposes of any rule of customary law -
3. In this Article, "corporal punishment" means, in relation to a child, administering a physical act on the person of a child for the purpose of punishing that child (whether or not there are other reasons for administering the act) which would constitute assault.
Reports, Reviews, Resources, Research and Inquiries
1. The NSPCC has added eight case reviews to the repository this month featuring:
2. Anne Longfield, Children's Commissioner for England, has published We're all in this together? which is an analysis of the extent of child vulnerability around the country, warning that much of it is hidden from sight under lockdown. The Children's Commissioner's local area profiles of child vulnerability in the report will help national government and councils identify how many vulnerable children there are in each local authority area, and highlight groups at heightened risk during the coronavirus emergency - such as those in overcrowded or inadequate accommodation, with fragile parents, young carers, or without internet access. This analysis is being used to inform the Government's work to create a dashboard by which it can monitor the safety and care of vulnerable children and young people through the coronavirus crisis. Hundreds of thousands of children in England are living with a cocktail of secondary risks that Covid-19 may exacerbate: lack of food in the house, homelessness, sofa-surfing or living in cramped living conditions, neglect, domestic abuse, substance abuse and parental mental health problems.
3. The Secretary of State for the Home Department, Priti Patel clarifies rules during the coronavirus emergency:
"Domestic abuse victims are permitted to leave home to seek help at refuges despite the imposition of emergency rules to stop the spread of coronavirus. I am acutely aware that the necessary guidelines about social distancing and self-isolation may leave the victims of hidden crime, such as domestic abuse and child sexual abuse, feeling especially isolated, vulnerable and exposed. I also want to make clear - whilst our advice is to stay at home, anyone who is at risk of, or experiencing, domestic abuse, is still able to leave and seek refuge. Refuges remain open, and the police will provide support to all individuals who are being abused - whether physically, emotionally, or otherwise."
And the reason to remain vigilant in all aspects of safeguarding
1. The National Crime Agency is warning the public to be vigilant as criminals adapt their tactics in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Fraudsters, cyber-criminals, online child sex offenders, and drug dealers are all trying to evade law enforcement with many adapting their behaviour under lockdown. As a response the NCA is redoubling its efforts - deploying officers, working online and in the real world to relentlessly pursue these high harm threats.
2. New research produced by Get Safe Online shows that 21 people are targeted every minute as a result of unwittingly 'oversharing' on social media. A survey of 2,000 adults produced for Get Safe Online Week found that people are unaware of privacy risks associated with over sharing on social media platforms with over a third of the UK (39%) experiencing fraud because of it. Worryingly, 26% of people targeted by fraud due to over sharing didn't realise they were targeted, 22% did nothing and 32% just ignored it.
The survey also highlighted that 23% of people used social media to show off about their holidays and 20% use it to let connections know about life milestones such as buying a house. Get Safe Online's top 5 risks to be aware of are :
3. A part-time DJ who fantasised about raping and murdering a child has been sentenced for making and showing some of the worst child sexual abuse images NCA investigators have ever seen. Haitch Macklin, 38, sold access to his horrendous catalogue to other offenders via an encrypted messaging app from his home in Higher Broughton, Salford, Greater Manchester. His collection included sexual torture videos of babies and toddlers and Macklin spoke of his desire to acquire 'snuff' films showing real-life murders. He also told another offender that he wanted to murder someone and film it.
He admitted three counts of making indecent images of children (IIOC) and two of showing it. He was jailed for 20 months at Manchester Crown Court. NCA operations manager Hazel Stewart said: "A team of officers viewed, assessed and graded the material Macklin sold access to, and all noted that this is some of the most horrific and disturbing content they've ever seen in many years investigating child sexual abuse.
"Macklin posed a very real and dangerous threat to children. Not only was he viewing and profiteering from indecent images of children, he was also harbouring thoughts of committing rape and murder. The NCA knows there is a direct link between offenders looking at abuse images and going on to commit even more severe acts."
4. 44-year-old Melvin Miller from Merseyside, sexually assaulted and raped two young girls on several occasions over a period of two years. One of the girls spoke of the abuse to a friend, the friend told her parents and her teacher and the police were called in.
Miller denied the charges but officers from Merseyside police discovered explicit video footage of him raping and sexually abusing both girls on two computer hard drives that belonged to him. They also found 140,000 images of children being abused - the largest number to have been discovered to date on Merseyside.
At a Plea and Trial Preparation Hearing on 6 April 2020, Miller pleaded guilty to all 35 counts on the indictment.
The hearing was done entirely via Skype as the Coronavirus restrictions meant that the advocates and the defendant could not be together at court. The only people in the court room at Liverpool Crown Court were the Judge and the court clerk. The advocates logged onto the hearing from home and the defendant appeared via video link from prison. At Liverpool Crown Court, Judge Neil Flewitt jailed Miller for 16 years and he will be put on the Sex Offenders Register for life.
As the Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) Awareness e-Learning course for organisations marks its second anniversary, police are launching an updated version, with the latest advice from security experts and a simplified registration system so anyone wanting to take part can help keep the UK safe. It takes just 45 minutes and it explains how to spot the signs of suspicious behaviour and what to do to help yourself, others and the emergency responders if an attack should take place.
Senior National Coordinator for Protective Security, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lucy D'Orsi says: "This is really useful training that anyone can do and access at any time. It's an opportunity for you to play your part in protecting the national security of the UK in these difficult and unprecedented times. During COVID-19 CT Policing continues and we would ask that you help us by being a Counter Terrorism (CT) Citizen and undertaking this training."
If you require any further information please don't hesitate to contact us.
The SAFE Team
SAFE is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company focused exclusively on safeguarding. Every penny profit we make is ploughed back into the charitable and community sector so voluntary organisations and charities can benefit from SAFE’s expert services for subsidised prices. We provide a one-stop solution for everything from DBS checks, policy creation and guidance, safeguarding management briefings and incident support, to training (both face to face and online). We have already trained thousands of staff and volunteers, providing thousands of hours of CPD (Continuing Professional Development). All SAFE courses meet the training requirements of the latest legislation, government guidance, local Adult and Child Safeguarding Boards (Adult Protection Committees and Local Area Child Protection Committees in Scotland), CQC and Ofsted.
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