The debate about the care of vulnerable adults, in particular the elderly, is intensifying. A year-long inquiry by The Equality and Human Rights Commission into standards of care for the elderly at home has uncovered “appalling” evidence of pensioners being deprived of food and drink, handled roughly, humiliated and even robbed. Many incidents amounted to “abuses of human rights”, which left elderly people feeling profoundly depressed, in tears and even expressing “a desire to die”, the report said. Many care workers often spend just 15 minutes with an elderly person, ticking off pre-arranged “tasks” in an approach that displayed “chronic disregard” for their dignity.
In one case, an elderly blind man said two council carers were talking to each other over his head, leaving him feeling like “a lump of meat”. In another, a 76-year-old woman with advanced cancer was told her care worker could not prepare her a microwave meal because of “health and safety” rules. Baroness Greengross, the commissioner responsible for the report, told The Daily Telegraph that 250,000 vulnerable pensioners in England were receiving “poor or very poor” standards of care at home…but the true figure may be far higher because many are “too frightened to complain”, she said. Continue reading Equality and Human Rights Commission join debate about elderly care
A FORMER Cwmbran senior support worker has been jailed after admitting stealing £5,670 from vulnerable adults in her care. Karen Moore, 40, of Brendon Hill, Somerset, appeared in Newport Crown Court after pleading guilty to three theft charges relating to her time working at CPI Care’s supported accomodation on Roll’s Close, Cwmbran.
Moore was a senior support worker at the facility between 2005 and 2008, where she helped four adults with learning difficulties, controlling their financial affairs, taking money out of their accounts and paying outgoings.
It was after Moore had left the position and moved to Somerset that the deception came to light in June 2010 and she was arrested and interviewed by police in Minehead. Prosecutor Hywel Hughes said CPI Care found unexplained cash deposits made by Moore, with the overall loss greater than £5,670, but this is the amount that was provable.
In interview, Moore told officers she struggles with figures and made up sheets to make cash tally, while Mr Hughes said she made withdrawals to pay off her own debts.
Judge David Morris called it a “tragedy” that someone of Moore’s intelligence and background was in front of him for him for such offences. He said she had breached a position of trust repeatedly and gave her concurrent terms of 14 months for each offence. DC Sarah Garland of Gwent Police’s protection of vulnerable adults team said: “She had a position of trust helping people live independent lives. She abused this position, so a custodial sentence is fair.
The scandal of vulnerable adults being abused at Winterbourne House highlights safeguarding gaps following the Panorama expose. The National Autistic Society (NAS) has submitted a 10,000 strong petition to Parliament asking for urgent action to address the failings in the current system of inspection of adult care services. John Pugh, MP for Stockport and Co. Chair of the Liberal Democrat Committee on Health and Social Care, presented the petition calling upon the Government to review the inspection process for vulnerable adults living in residential care. It asks for the following points to be addressed:
- All organisations must create working cultures where abuse is unacceptable and clear polices and procedures are in place to report abuse and wrongdoing.
- It is vital that individuals working in adult social care have the right attitude to work with vulnerable adults and that they are trained in safeguarding and managing challenging behaviour
- Robust and rigorous recruitment procedures are essential.
- Specific on-the-job training should be regularly assessed and refreshed.
- Staff must have relevant and specific knowledge of the disabilities they are dealing with to help support individuals appropriately.
Commenting, Carol Povey, Director of NAS Centre for Autism, said: “It is completely unacceptable that any form of abuse by support staff takes place in any care service. It is deeply distressing that these vulnerable adults have been treated so diabolically and the strength of support for urgent action is palpable. In less than two weeks the NAS received over 10,000 signatures to the petition.
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.
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
31 May – BBC Panorama’s Undercover Care: The Abuse Exposed The BBC filmed abuse of patients with learning difficulties at Winterbourne View residential hospital in Bristol. During five weeks spent filming undercover, BBC Panorama’s reporter captured footage of some of the hospital’s most vulnerable patients being repeatedly pinned down, slapped, dragged into showers while fully clothed, taunted and teased.
The case has been condemned as “shocking” by the government and Care Services Minister Paul Burstow said he was determined to strengthen safeguards for vulnerable adults. He has already ordered a thorough examination of the roles of the government regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), and the local authorities. CQC chairman Dame Jo Williams admitted that the failure to follow up the reports of a whistleblower – a senior nurse at the home – had been an “unforgivable error of judgement”. Avon and Somerset police confirmed three men – aged 42, 30 and 25 – and a 24-year-old woman were arrested as part of their investigation into the hospital. The hospital’s owners, Castlebeck, have apologised and suspended 13 employees. It has launched an internal investigation into its whistle-blower procedures and is reviewing the records of all 580 patients in 56 facilities. Winterbourne View can accommodate 24 patients and is taxpayer-funded, charging the state an average of £3,500 per patient per week.
The programme was broadcast on BBC One on Tuesday 31 May at 2100 BST and is available to view in the UK on the BBC iPlayer.
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.
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
A Birmingham teacher who was unlawfully arrested after being accused of assaulting a pupil has been awarded £1,000 compensation at the High Court. Mark Richardson, 39, was arrested even though he volunteered to be interviewed by police. No prosecution was brought and he sued West Midlands Police, fearing the stain the arrest would leave on his record. As well as claiming he was unlawfully arrested, Mr Richardson also wanted West Midlands Police to destroy DNA samples, fingerprints and photographs taken at the time and for his arrest entry on the Police National Computer (PNC) to be deleted or amended.
However while Mrs Justice Slade ruled that Mr Richardson’s arrest was unlawful, she declined these other requests, noting that the force said it would “take it properly into account when making any decision as to a request by the claimant for destruction or removal” of fingerprints and DNA. The force said it was investigating the handling of the 2009 case.
Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said she would be writing to the secretary of state for education and the home secretary to seek changes to national procedures.
“This is a landmark decision for teachers and others who are vulnerable to allegations made by children and young people,” he said. “New guidance for police is needed urgently to prevent these needless arrests that wreck innocent people’s careers. “Teachers are vulnerable to allegations made by pupils. “Such allegations frequently involve police investigation. “The overwhelming majority prove to be false but teachers are often deeply traumatised and their career is blighted.”
Details are emerging about the full extent of the largest internet paedophile ring yet discovered as an international team led from the UK’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop) shuts it down. After a three-year investigation it has now been made public that the global forum had 70,000 followers at its height, leading to 4,000 intelligence reports being sent to police across 30 countries.
‘Operation Rescue’ has so far identified 670 suspects and 230 abused children. In the UK, the 240 those suspects include police officers, teachers, karate teacherand a woman.To date, 33 have been convicted, including John McMurdo, a scout leader from Plymouth. Another forum user was Stephen Palmer, 54, of Birkenhead, who shared abuse images with contacts in the US. A third man, 46-year-old Colin Hoey Brown of Bromsgrove, was jailed for making and distributing almost 1,000 images. Continue reading CEOP lead paedophile ring shutdown
Sunita Mason, the Government’s Independent Advisor for Criminality Information Management, is reviewing the Criminal Records Regime in Northern Ireland and is seeking stakeholders opinions.
The Northern Ireland Criminal Records Regime (NICRR) review will examine the use of the criminal record disclosure system for employment vetting in Northern Ireland to determine whether this is proportionate ,while still protecting the public and vulnerable groups.
It will consider specific aspects of AccessNI’s work , how criminal records are currently managed in Northern Ireland and consider whether there are any improvements that could be made. The consultation will be open until 13 May.
Terms of Reference
Submissions to Consultation
The Association of School and College Leaders has warned that Head teachers are planning to make large-scale redundancies, It claims the new English Baccalaureate means many schools are scaling down on staff who teach vocational courses. Continue reading Budget cuts hitting schools
The Government response to the Supreme Court ruling about the human rights of sex offenders is to make the minimum possible changes to the law in order to comply with the ruling. These are summarised below. Continue reading Changes to Sex Offenders Register
The UK Supreme Court has ruled that lifelong monitoring on the UK’s sex offenders register is a disproportionate interference in the offender’s family lives and have granted two convicted sex offenders the right to challenge their inclusion on it. The case paves the way for other offenders to seek to have their details removed.
Offenders are placed on the register for life if they are sentenced to 30 months or more in jail, and once released have to notify police about where they are living and what name they are using. There are some 32,000 registered sex offenders in England and Wales and approximately half of them received sentences leading to lifelong monitoring. Continue reading Sex offenders register challenged
Local media herald the merger of the Darlington-based Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) and the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB), in Liverpool as a head to head fight for nearly 1000 jobs. Continue reading Job losses at CRB & ISA
South Lanarkshire Council has joinedwith 13 other councils to produce a TV campaign that they hope will offer hope to thousands of Scottish adults who suffer verbal, physical, sexual and financial abuse every day. It follows research carried out by Mencap, the charity for people with learning disabilities and their families, which found that 90per cent of people with learning disabilities reported being bullied in the last year.
Charity Action on Elder Abuse, recently revealed that property and cash worth nearly £8million, including 31 homes, had been stolen from UK pensioners in just one 12 month period. The figures were generated from 471 calls to the charity’s helpline. Continue reading TV campaign about vulnerable adult abuse
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
Details of the new Criminal Records regime will be announced today as part of the all encompassing Protection of Freedoms Bill. Points that are likely to emerge when it is published are:
- The need for checks to be drastically reduced to ‘common sense’ levels -now it will only apply to those who have the most close and regular contact with children or vulnerable adults, such as professional childcare workers or teachers. The total number who will need to undergo background checks will halve to around 4.5million, although who this includes does not appear to have been defined judging from the interview given by Nick Clegg his morning on BBC.
- Continual updating and portability will be enabled so that teachers and care home workers who do require checks will have their records constantly updated. This is seen as a key benefit and was already planned in by CRB.
- The content of CRBs will be reviewed – for instance the changes will also drastically cut the use of ‘soft intelligence’ when examining a person’s history. Unproven allegations will only be placed on a person’s record if a Chief Constable believes they are true.
Checks that are unnecessary and which breach an employee’s privacy could be referred to the data protection watchdog, the Information Commissioner, and any employer found knowingly to have requested an unlawful check could face fines running to thousands of pounds. This will prevent the over zealous use of CRBs such as the school in Warrington that would not be allowed into the premises to see their children.
- the Independent Safeguarding Authority will be merged with the Criminal Records Bureau. Continue reading Reduced CRB regime announced