Category: Key Cases

Winterbourne highlights safeguarding gaps

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July 22, 2011 5:32 pm

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 – 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.


BBC Panorama – Undercover Care

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June 2, 2011 5:51 am

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.


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'»


CEOP lead paedophile ring shutdown

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March 16, 2011 10:51 pm

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'»


Changes to Sex Offenders Register

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February 18, 2011 2:23 pm

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'»


Sex offenders register challenged

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February 16, 2011 11:21 am

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'»


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'»


500 referrals to Pilkington unit each month

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February 5, 2011 9:19 pm

About 500 people a month are being referred to Leicestershire police’s newly formed specialist adult referral unit.  It was created to ensure vulnerable adults do not slip through the net following criticism after the death of Fiona Pilkington and her daughter in October 2007.  Ms Pilkington killed herself and her daughter Francecca after years of torment from yobs.   Continue reading '500 referrals to Pilkington unit each month'»


RCN challenges ISA

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January 31, 2011 2:23 pm

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is supporting three nurses to launch a major test case against the Government in the European Court, following a High Court ruling last year.  The nurses were automatically barred from working by the ISA  following cautions. If successful, the action could mean that the government was liable for significant compensation payouts. Continue reading 'RCN challenges ISA'»


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'»


Impact of the CQC cuts

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January 14, 2011 5:11 pm

The Care Quality Commission, or CQC – are being massively cut back. Five years ago, there were 50,000 visits in a single year. This year, there will be a quarter of that.  source : Article by Johann Hari in The Independent  Continue reading 'Impact of the CQC cuts'»


Sunita Mason’s 2009 report

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December 17, 2009 9:36 pm

Sunita Mason was appointed the Independent Advisor for Criminality Information Management in September 2009 to consider issues arising as a result of the ‘five constables’ case and  increasing public debate on the use of personal information.  

Her report A Balanced Approach  looked at how government agencies share information to protect the public as well as the retention and use of criminal record information held by the police on the Police National Computer (PNC).


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