Category: Children

Ofsted reduces focus on safeguarding

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October 20, 2011 1:51 pm

The release of the new draft inspection framework by Ofsted has implications for schools’ safeguarding procedures.

Safeguarding was a separate judgement in the last framework and ‘the effectiveness of safeguarding procedures’ came under leadership and management. It was also given the status of being a ‘limiting judgement’, so if a school was inadequate against this, then overall effectiveness was likely to be inadequate too.

however in the new framework, limiting judgements no longer exist and safeguarding no longer has its own section.    Instead under the leadership and management judgement in the new Ofsted framework, school leaders are required to demonstrate that they ensure that all pupils are safe. Inspectors will be looking for evidence that school leaders and managers at all levels manage safeguarding arrangements to ensure that there is safe recruitment, and that there are effective procedures in place to identify children in need or at risk of significant harm.  To qualify as ‘outstanding’ in this aspect of leadership and management, the school’s arrangements for safeguarding pupils must ‘meet statutory requirements and give no cause for concern’. The same phrase is used for ‘good’ and ‘satisfactory’ schools. Schools will register as ‘inadequate’ if safeguarding arrangements do not meet statutory requirements and give serious cause for concern.

It is therefore clear that the emphasis on safeguarding has been reduced in the new evaluation schedule.

Also , under the government’s School health and safety guidance (issued in August 2011)   risk assessments do not now have to be completed for every activity. In fact, Health & Safety: Department for Education Advice on Legal Duties and Powers for Local Authorities, Head Teachers, Staff and Governing Bodies emphasises that risk assessments need not be routinely carried out or repeated for similar activities. However, an assessment should be completed for any new activity that includes an element of risk.

The changes will be overseen by the  newly-appointed chief inspector of schools , Sir Michael Wilshaw who hopes to improve standards by cracking down on “ineffective” teachers.   He said “very robust” performance management systems were needed.  From January, he will head Ofsted and its new streamlined inspection framework, which will emphasise four key areas – pupil achievement, teaching standards, behaviour and school leadership.  He has been described as traditional in his approach to improving standards at the London school of which he was head.   BBC News: Academy head named Ofsted chief

Interpol shows up UK child abuse record

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July 7, 2011 7:19 am

 The UK’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection  Agency is calling for a database that will store images of abuse appearing on the web.  BBC Newsnight highlights the impact not having such a national paedophile database. Britain has a poor ability to identify and rescue child abuse victims compared to most other countries. 

Mick Moran, head of child protection at the international police agency Interpol told Newsnight that simply prosecuting those who download images of child sex abuse is not enough.  He said that the images need to be sent to a central point where they can be analysed to look for clues to identify the children, but that is not happening in the UK. Mr Moran said some police officers are “forgetting the fact that each of these images, each of these movies, contains a victim”.

In the UK different police forces currently have various systems and different databases. Some have their own victim identification units.  However it could be another 18 months before a national system is introduced.  Although millions of images of child sex abuse have been collected only 47 cases were passed on to Ceop by the UK’s 52 police forces in 2010 – less than one per force.   In the cases which were passed to them Ceop helped rescue 22 victims.

Mick Moran and Mark Williams Thomas have been invited to National Conference on Safeguarding on the Internet , 16th November, Reading.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/9532058.stm

BBC Panorama – insight into Child Sex Abuse

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June 23, 2011 8:07 am

BBC Panorama – Breaking the Silence  tells the story of how over a hundred former pupils from two Catholic prep schools in England and Tanzania were reunited via the internet. Chatting in cyberspace, they discovered they had all suffered terrible abuse at school: mental, physical and, in some cases, sexual. As young children they were frightened into silence by their abusers.

Now, as men in their fifties and sixties, and strengthened by the group, they want the truth to come out. Twenty two men have started legal proceedings against the Rosminian Order for compensation. They want justice, but their abusers are now elderly and the church has sought to mediate a solution.

An insight into the way in which children are manipulated by sex offenders – and also the power of the internet to draw out truth.

Launch of Police National Database

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June 20, 2011 2:37 pm

The new Police National Database ((PND) will be launched nationally on 23 June 2011.   The information held on the PND is not new information but comes from existing force systems that support force intelligence, crime, domestic abuse, child abuse and custody business areas.  The PND now offers forces direct access to that information, and details of intelligence about vehicles, locations and events.

A case study demonstrating the benefits for police users working in child protection  is available here.

Only Enhanced Disclosures will contain reference to  any ‘relevant and proportional information’ held by local police forces,  so employers will need to utilise safer recruitment and other HR policies to ensure that people working on the periphery of Regulated Activity are appropriate to do so.   Continue reading 'Launch of Police National Database'»

Ceop Annual Report highlights internet child abuse

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May 31, 2011 11:37 am

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (Ceop) has presented it’s annual report which shows that 414 children were helped, 513 people arrested and 132 offender networks broken up in the UK in the past year. This is a record number of children and a record number of arrests for the centre. 

Ceop was set up in 2006 to track online paedophiles and bring them to court.  Over a five-year period the agency said it helped to dismantle more than 394 high-risk sex offender networks and arrest 1,644 suspected paedophiles.

According to the report, images on the internet appear to show that younger children are increasingly becoming victims of abuse.   But the “great tragedy” is that much child abuse goes unreported, said its chief executive Peter Davies.   He added that Ceop was trying to stay ahead of developments in technology, including in the area of social networking sites.

Jon Taylor, an internet safety expert and former police officer who went undercover posing as a 12-year-old girl, said it was relatively easy to pose online – either as a child who may be groomed or as a sexual predator – to “mingle” and find out what people were doing.  But he said it was difficult because the internet is not “proactively policed”, and instead reacts to intelligence and information.

Ceop is currently affiliated to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca), but is to be merged with the new National Crime Agency when it is formed in 2013.

Safeguarding Matters is organising a conference about the topic in November 2011.  Speakers include Mark Williams-Thomas and international police forces.  Please register with us to be kept updated on the conference programme.

NSPCC quantify child sex abuse cases

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May 12, 2011 3:54 pm

NSPCC research via a freedom of information request to all 43 police forces in England and Wales show that at least 64 children are sexually abused every day in England and Wales.

More than 23,000 offences – including rape, incest and gross indecency – were recorded by police in 2009-10, an 8% increase on 2008-9, the charity said.  The figures showed that more than half of the victims were aged between 12 and 15, one in four was aged five to 11, and more than 1,000 were aged four or younger.  Girls were more than six times more likely to be assaulted than boys, with 86% of attacks taking place against females, the figures showed.

For the first time, its research also looked at the age of abusers and found a quarter were aged under 18. One in four victims was aged 11 or under. 

Continue reading 'NSPCC quantify child sex abuse cases'»

Ofsted analysis of serious case reviews

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April 13, 2011 6:59 am
 Ofsted has analysed 67 serious case reviews,  and found that  vulnerable children’s views are ‘overlooked’, and sometimes they were not even seen by the professionals involved.  Instead, a focus on the parent’s need for support often meant the child’s right to protection was lost.  Professionals were also found to have failed to listen to adults who tried to raise concerns on behalf of a child. In other cases, where the child was seen, they were not asked about their views and feelings.  Social workers and other professionals in England must do more to listen to the views of vulnerable children, Ofsted inspectors say. Continue reading 'Ofsted analysis of serious case reviews'»

Doctor suspended pending child abuse hearing

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April 7, 2011 12:11 pm

A former doctor at Great Ormond Street Hospital has been temporarily suspended from the medical register while being investigated over child abuse claims. Philipp Bonhoeffer, who stopped seeing patients at the London-based hospital in 2009, faces a General Medical Council (GMC) disciplinary hearing, he strongly denies any impropriety or misconduct.   Continue reading 'Doctor suspended pending child abuse hearing'»

PQ follows up NSPCC Safeguarding concerns

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March 31, 2011 12:50 pm
    Lord Hunt asked a Parliamentary Question about ” what response the Government  have made to the concerns of the National Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Children that the proposed changes to child protection measures could put children at risk”  

Sport challenges safeguarding changes

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March 8, 2011 11:20 am

An alliance of Sports Governing Bodies are challenging the new definition of Regulated Activity that is emerging from study of the Protection of Freedoms Bill. Some of the proposed details are open to interpretation and will have significant impact on established practice and policies.   For instance :

  • Regulated Activity will no longer include any supervised teaching, training or instruction. In a sporting context, this requires clear definition. as the environment is so different to a school.  The Faith sector are also likely to be unhappy with the implications of this change.
  • Current proposals are that only the applicant will receive the CRB disclosure. Clarity is needed on how National Sports Governing Bodies, and other professional regulators will receive this
  • There will be a charge for the updating service. How this will work for volunteers and whether they will still be able to get checks for free is not clear.

Continue reading 'Sport challenges safeguarding changes'»

Children leaving custody at risk

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February 28, 2011 11:55 pm

Barnardo’s has published a report highlighting that children as young as 13 are being released from custody into unsafe or unsuitable accommodation, which can lead to a cycle of homelessness and reoffending. The research found that supported accommodation could provide savings of more than £67,000 per child over a three year period. Continue reading 'Children leaving custody at risk'»

Your chance to be heard

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February 25, 2011 1:11 pm

The Protection of Freedoms Bill is the first time that a new element called a “Public Reading Stage” will be introduced.  It means that members of the public can comment directly on clauses of the Bill. These comments should contribute to the points made by MPs across all parties during the debates and committee stages – so it is an important opportunity.  

The website can be found here – http://publicreadingstage.cabinetoffice.gov.uk  – do add your perspectives with practical examples from your sector as this a very complex area which has been subject to  sweeping misrepresentation in the media.  Since only very low level stakeholder engagement is likely this is the best opportunity to amend some aspects of the legislation such as the availability of disclosures, scope of regulated activity and the level of guidance available. 

Also register with us so that you receive our briefing papers on each of these topics and more.

CCPAS consider proposed changes ‘are unacceptable’

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February 18, 2011 9:40 pm

 The chief executive of the  Churches Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS), Simon Bass, has highlighted that there are major loopholes in the Protection of Freedoms Bill that will be exploited by those determined to abuse children and vulnerable adults.  He said that the Government’s plans to scale back the Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS) “will make it easier, not harder, for unscrupulous sexual predators to abuse in churches.”

The VBS Remodelling Review document recognises that removing barring arrange­ments for some activities could give rise to an increase in safeguarding risks.   He was concerned  that the review gave Sunday-school helpers as an example of where criminal records checks would not be required .  He explained that a convicted abuser who is banned from working in a ‘regulated activity’, such as teaching, may, without any checks, altern­atively gain access to children through becoming a Sunday-school helper, with potentially devastating consequences.  Mr Bass said

“these changes show that the Government is prepared to tolerate a level of risk in churches that we — with long and painful experience of dealing with abusers in church — find unaccept­able. We think it inevitable that potential predators will see children in churches as soft targets and will act accordingly.”

He agreed with other commentators that pro­posals in the Freedom Bill to allow the sharing of CRB checks between employers was “eminently sensible”.

Judicial review of unlawful child restraint

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February 16, 2011 9:41 am

The Children’s Rights Alliance for England (Crae) has applied for a judicial review of the refusal by the justice secretary, Ken Clarke, to identify and contact children who may have been unlawfully restrained in privately run secure training centres.  

Under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act,  all prison and probation officers would have been checked and monitored for their ongoing suitablity for the role as prisoners and people on probation would have been considered as being ‘vulnerable  adults’.  It remains to be clarified whether this promised level of protection will be compromised under the halving of the numbers defined as doing ‘regulated activity’ under the Protection of Freedoms Bill. Continue reading 'Judicial review of unlawful child restraint'»

NHS fails elderly vulnerable adults

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February 15, 2011 11:29 am

The NHS is failing to treat elderly patients in England with care, dignity and respect, an official report says.  Of nearly 9,000 complaints made to the Health Ombudsman last year, 18% were about the care of older people. In total, it accepted 226 cases for investigation – twice as many as for all the other age groups combined. Continue reading 'NHS fails elderly vulnerable adults'»

Mixed response from voluntary sector

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February 14, 2011 3:33 pm

Volunteering England, Fair play for Children, NACRO, NSPCC and Barnados are among those who  have commented about the impact of the new disclosure and vetting laws on volunteering.  Continue reading 'Mixed response from voluntary sector'»

William Mayne, David Trainer

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February 12, 2011 9:38 am

On the day that the changes to the Vetting and Disclosure system were announced, two relevant cases were highlighted. William Mayne, the author who abused his relationships with children after meeting them in schools, and Brixton photographer David Trainer. Continue reading 'William Mayne, David Trainer'»

New guidance to tackle child trafficking

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February 8, 2011 1:15 pm

The London Safeguarding Children Board has launched a new set of guidance and tools to help social workers, teachers, police, health workers and other agencies identify and support children who have been trafficked.  These children can be subjected to sexual exploitation, enforced labour or drug dealing, sold or forced to commit crime by the organised gangs or individuals who have brought them into the country or trafficked them between cities within the UK. Continue reading 'New guidance to tackle child trafficking'»

Lords debate exploitation of children

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February 2, 2011 12:17 pm

The Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Tim Stevens, raised five areas of concern about children being groomed for sexual exploitation. His question in the House of Lords was  what steps are being taken to ensure the safety of children, especially of children in the care of local authorities, from being groomed for sexual exploitation. Continue reading 'Lords debate exploitation of children'»

Barnado’s & CEOP tackle gang exploitation

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January 17, 2011 12:53 pm

Barnardo’s says it is working with more than 1,000 children who have been sexually exploited by organised gangs of men in cities across the UK.  It says a specific minister must be given formal responsibility for tackling the issue. Continue reading 'Barnado’s & CEOP tackle gang exploitation'»