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
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.
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
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
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”.
On BBC News, Mark Williams-Thomas a ex-policeman and specialist in child safeguarding gave the following interview:
Click to play
See also our page tracking stakeholder comments
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