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 British Medical Association (BMA) has issued new guidance for doctors regarding the treatment of vulnerable patients, stating that healthcare professionals have a duty to flag up any suggestion of abuse. It also explains the procedures if they suspect that physical and mental abuse of vulnerable adults by NHS staff or carers is being covered up.
The Guidance was commissioned by the Department of Health, and highlights the legislation in place to protect people if they choose to speak out about possible neglect. Dr Tony Calland, chairman of the BMA’s Medical Ethics Committee, noted that the guidance is there to support doctors and understand which adults have the capacity to protect their own interests. “The way doctors deal with these possible situations demonstrates how complex caring for vulnerable adults can be. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution,” he added.
GPs should be alert to identifying abusers, spotting systemic healthcare failures and recognising signs of neglect, ranging from physical and mental abuse to financial exploitation. Whistle-blowing may involve providing information to the media or MPs. and the individual is protected as long as it is reasonable, not made for gain and meets the following conditions:
- Whistle-blowers reasonably believe they would be victimised if they raised the matter internally or with a prescribed regulator
- They believe a cover-up is likely and there is no prescribed regulator
- They have already raised the matter internally or with a prescribed regulator.’
A poll of 290 GPs, carried out by Pulse in July 2011, found that 41% believe one or more of their patients has been subjected to abuse.
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.
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.
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 Bill to promote awareness of abuse of elderly people entitled ‘Support and Protection for Elderly People and Adults at Risk of Abuse Bill 2010-11’ has been introduced under the Ten Minute Rule motion by Nigel Dodd MP.
It is expected to scheduled to have its Second Reading debate on 21 October 2011. It’s objectives are:
- to promote awareness of abuse of elderly people and adults at risk,
- to promote training on how to recognise and respond to such abuse amongst those who are likely to encounter abuse in the course of their work,
- to promote greater awareness and understanding of the rights of victims of abuse amongst agencies with responsibilities for providing, arranging, commissioning, monitoring and inspecting care services,
- to promote the development of local strategies for preventing abuse of elderly people and adults at risk and for ensuring that victims are assisted in recovering from the effects of abuse’
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.
A number of organisations have raised significant concerns about the impact of the new safeguarding legislation as the Protection of Freedoms Bill moves through the committee stage.
The NSPCC has prepared a parliamentary briefing, which has led to an ammedment that retains the age of a child as being under 18, not under 16 as originally proposed. Now the Faith sector, led by The Christian Forum for Safeguarding and Fairplay for Children have added their concerns. The points raised in these documents are outlined below and are covered in detail at our briefing events. Continue reading Voluntary & Faith Sectors concern over new legislation
The General Teaching Council for England (GTCE) will be handing over its regulatory functions to the Department for Education in April 2012, from which time Mr Gove will become accountable for cases of teacher misconduct and maintaining the list of those barred. The changes were outlined in the recent Education Bill, which is currently being scrutinised by Parliamentary committee. Continue reading GTCE handover responsibility for teacher misconduct and barring in April 2012
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.”
In a Parliamentary Question Anas Sarwar asked what steps the Home Office is taking to increase sharing of criminal records files with other EU member states. Lynne Featherstone replied in a written statement as follows:
Criminal record exchange within the European Union takes place within the framework of Council Decision 2005/876/JHA on the exchange of information extracted from the criminal record. Between 2007-08 and 2009-10 the amount of criminal convictions exchanged has increased:
- Notifications received of UK nationals convicted in the EU increased from 3,120 to 6,298.
- The number of notifications from the UK to other member states about the convictions of one of their nationals here has increased from 12,736 in 2007-08 (when only the first conviction of an EU national was sent) to 33,583 in 2009-10 (when all convictions were sent).
- The number of requests received for the criminal record of UK citizens subject to criminal proceedings in other member states has increased from 190 to 341 in the same time period.
- The number of requests made by the UK police and law enforcement agencies in relation to EU nationals subject to criminal proceedings here increased from 2,372 to 6,513.
Continue reading PQ on EU Criminal Record exchange