SAFE Newsletter September 2020
To assist all our members and clients during these difficult times we continue to offer our help including :
- a range of blended learning courses, to replace our normal face to face training
- a 25% discount off our online safeguarding training,
- SAFEcic membership which continues to offer good value, starting at a heavily subsidised £50 for charities and not for profits.
On September 25th 2020 NHS COVID-19 app was launched nationwide to help control COVID-19 transmission alongside national and local contact tracing Features of the app include contact tracing using Bluetooth, risk alerts based on postcode district, QR check-in at venues, symptom checker and test booking – with user privacy and data security at its heart. Certain businesses are now required by law to display the official NHS QR code posters so people can check-in at different premises with the app
New Adult Safeguarding Bill for Northern Ireland Proposed
Following the publication of the Independent Whole Systems Review of the care failures at Dunmurry Manor Care Home , Northern Ireland’s Health Minister Robin Swann made the commitment to reform legislation . He said,
“I can confirm that this will include legislative reform. I intend to consult on a range of legislative options before Christmas to inform the development of an Adult Safeguarding Bill.
“I have asked the Chief Social Worker, Sean Holland, to chair a new Adult Safeguarding Transformation Board to oversee this work and to strengthen the governance around adult safeguarding to achieve a more accountable, regional approach.
“I would also like to thank the team from CPEA for their work and expertise in delivering this report.
“I am determined to lead social care into a better place in Northern Ireland, and an Adult Safeguarding Bill will help achieve that goal.”
In line with the Review’s recommendations, the Minister confirmed that plans include standing down the Northern Ireland Adult Safeguarding Partnership (NIASP) in a move towards the establishment of an Independent Adult Safeguarding Board at arms-length from the Department.
The Minister added: “I want to thank the individuals and agencies who have contributed to NIASP over the years. I recognise the value of that engagement and I believe the plans that I am announcing today set the way forward for us to continue working together across the different sectors.”
CPEA’s review work for the Department of Health continues and its findings on regulation and complaints handling are due to be published in the near future.
New Forensic Medical Services (Victims of Sexual Offences) (Scotland) Bill Proposed
Proposals to put the healthcare needs of victims of sexual offences at the forefront of forensic medical services have been endorsed by the Health and Sport Committee in a report. The Bill places responsibility on NHS boards to provide forensic medical services to victims of sexual offences. It would also allow victims over the age of 16 to self-refer to NHS facilities and have forensic evidence taken and retained, before deciding if, how and when they want to report the incident to the police.
In welcoming the proposals, the Committee supports the Bill’s assertion that the individual has a right to decide whether to report an incident to the police. The Committee believes that self-referral empowers individuals giving them choice and control around the accessing of medical support, as well as potentially reducing the psychological trauma.
However, the Committee would like to see the Bill strengthened to ensure victims are provided with the information they need when deciding whether to report. If information is not readily available on areas such as the length of time evidence is retained, then individuals cannot make an informed choice about if, or when, they involve the police. Furthermore, the Committee acknowledges that self-referral will only benefit victims if they are made aware it is an option.
The Committee has made several recommendations in the report, including:
- The Bill be amended to allow the age limit of self-referral to be altered in future. Although the Committee is satisfied with the age limit of 16, it recognises there are legitimate concerns. The Scottish Parliament should therefore have the right to amend this in the future.
- The Bill focus on the importance of easy access to necessary information, supporting individuals in making informed choices.
- The Bill be amended to contain a statutory right to independent advocacy to ensure victims can make informed decisions.
- That there must be a 24-hour, 7-day, forensic medical examination service.
That NHS Scotland produce an annual report on the progress and effectiveness of forensic medical examinations.
Keeping Safe in Education September 2020 has now been published.
This statutory guidance should be read and followed by:
- governing bodies of maintained schools (including maintained nursery schools) and colleges;
- proprietors of independent schools (including academies, free schools and alternative provision academies) and non-maintained special schools. In the case of academies, free schools and alternative provision academies, the proprietor will be the academy trust; and
- management committees of pupil referral units (PRUs).
- The above persons should ensure that all staff in their school or college read at least Part one of this guidance. The above persons should ensure that mechanisms are in place to assist staff to understand and discharge their role and responsibilities as set out in Part one of this guidance.
A table of changes is included at Annex H including where legislation has required it e.g. reflecting mandatory Relationship Education, Relationship and Sex Education and Health Education from September 2020. There is also helpful additional information that will support schools and colleges protect their children e.g. mental health, domestic abuse, child criminal and sexual exploitation and county lines; plus , important clarifications which will help the sector better understand and/or follow the guidance.
Non Statutory Guidance
The Welsh Government has produced Together we’ll keep children and young people safe- as we rebuild from Covid-19, to remind practitioners working across agencies of their responsibilities to safeguard children and to support them in responding to concerns about children at risk.
This guide does not deal in detail with arrangements in individual agencies or settings and it should be used with any relevant policy or procedures already in place for the place where you work or volunteer
This guide is primarily for practitioners working with children (up to the age of 18).
This includes those working in early years, social care, education, health, the police, youth offending and youth, community and family support services (including the third sector) and foster care and residential care.
The term ‘child’ is used throughout this guide to refer to a child or young person who is up to the age of 18. This is in line with the legal definition of a child as set out in the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child also sets out the human rights of every person under the age of 18. Young people have told us through consultations that they do not do not like to be called children and this should be remembered when working with and recording information about young people.
We know that some services support young people who are over the age of 18 years. Most services will also come into contact with parents or family members as part of their work. This guide does not deal in details with adult safeguarding but a short section on adults at risk is included.
Reports, Reviews, Resources, Research, Consultations and Inquiries
1. The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into The Kingdom Church GB (charity number 1137370) in South London over concerns about the charity’s management.
The regulator first opened a regulatory case into the charity after media reports that it was selling a ‘plague protection kit’ which it was claimed would cure and protect against the Covid-19 virus. This led to liaison with Southwark Council which had opened a Trading Standards investigation into the sale of the kits.
Since then, the Commission has examined the charity’s records, revealing concerns about its finances. The regulator is concerned about the accuracy of information provided to the Commission regarding the charity’s income and expenditure.
As a result, it launched a statutory inquiry into the charity on 7 August 2020. The inquiry will examine:
- the trustees’ compliance with their legal duties around the administration, governance and management of the charity
- the extent to which the trustees responsibly managed the charity’s resources and financial affairs, and particularly how they have managed conflicts of interest.
This will include examination of the charity’s relationship with a connected organisation called Bishop Climate Ministries which the charity has said was responsible for the sale of the ‘plague protection kits’.
The Commission has already intervened to ensure the charity removed all known links to sales of the kits from the charity’s web and social media sites. The regulator will continue to liaise with Southwark Council Trading Standards’ investigation into the sale of the kits.
Helen Earner, Director of Regulatory Services at the Charity Commission, said:
Charities should be organisations that people can trust. Many will have been concerned by allegations about this charity’s activities in relation to Covid-19, and so it is right that we, and others, have intervened.
Our own examination into The Kingdom Church GB has identified further concerns that require investigation which is why we have now opened an official inquiry.
It is the Commission’s policy, after it has concluded an inquiry, to publish a report detailing what issues the inquiry looked at, what actions were undertaken as part of the inquiry and what the outcomes were. Reports of previous inquiries by the Commission are available on GOV.UK
2. Eight Case Reviews have been added to the National Repository this month they are:
1. Serious harm suffered by a 3-month-old baby boy because of multiple injuries including fractures and bruising of the brain in May 2017. Jack lived with his parents; had been subject to a child protection plan because of risk of neglect before birth. At the time of the injuries, he was subject to both a child protection plan and Interim Supervision Order (ISO). Family were known to multiple agencies; older sibling had been taken into care and adopted. Maternal history of: depression, being a looked-after-child, learning disabilities. Following the identification of the injuries, Jack was made the subject of an Interim Care Order (ICO). Ethnicity or nationality of Jack is not stated. Identifies lessons in relation to effectiveness of assessments; consideration and management of risk; injuries to pre-mobile babies need to be viewed from a perspective of potential risk; consider risk of neglect where a child's weight is varying; need to involve and support fathers; need to share information to allow robust discussion of concerns. Recommendations include: ensure that procedures on pre-birth assessments are consistent, contain guidance on timescales and ensure sufficient challenge; ensure that all agencies understand legal orders and their implications; child protection plans are SMART using tools to measure progress; review and reissue guidance for parents with mental health problems, joint working, and bruising in pre-mobile babies
2. Life-changing injuries to a 10-and-a-half-month-old infant in November 2013 due to shaking. Mother's partner was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm and was imprisoned. Mother was convicted for neglect and received a suspended sentence. Baby B was the second child in the family. Baby B's parents had separated and both children were living with their mother and her partner. Anonymous report about neglect made to the NSPCC in June 2013; Children's Social Care found no concerns. Baby B was not brought to several health appointments; sibling had high rate of school absenteeism. Concerns about domestic violence; mother's partner's child had been subject to a child protection plan due to domestic violence in earlier relationship. Family is White British. Case review conducted following an investigation in December 2018 by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman into complaints made by Baby B's father against East Riding Council. Learning includes: concerns made anonymously should be treated as seriously as those that are not anonymous; health visitors and school nurses provide a useful link between schools and health services; where professionals have personal or professional relationships with a service user or someone closely involved with the service user there is the potential for professionals' boundaries to become blurred. Recommendations include: practitioners must ensure that they are complying with current legislation, statutory guidance and agency polices relating to information; ensure that the minutes of strategy discussions are included within the case record of all agencies involved in the meeting and include the arrangements for review.
3. Neglect and abuse of a 6-year-old girl over a number of years. Megan was placed in the care of her paternal grandmother in 2012 via a Special Guardianship Order (SGO). Megan was neglected and physically abused by her father, her paternal grandmother and her grandmother's partner. Megan was brought to hospital 'acutely unwell' and staff found her covered in bruises. Megan was removed from her grandmother's care in 2015. Her father, grandmother and partner received substantial custodial sentences. An initial case review was carried out by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) in 2017. This review reassesses the 2017 report. Ethnicity or nationality not stated. Learning includes: need for practitioners to improve their awareness and personal knowledge in being able recognise and identify the signs and symptoms of all child abuse; the voice of the child was not effectively captured at the time considering the subsequent disclosures Megan made; agencies should have robust record keeping and management systems in place; a consistent lack of professional curiosity and scrutiny displayed in the assessment of child protection concerns; too much optimism when conducting the SGO application of parental grandmother's capacity to care. Recommendations: Gloucestershire County Council Children Social Care to develop a safeguarding pathway for the application of family members for Special Guardianship Orders. The process will include utilising a Family Group Conference and to apply for an interim Kinship Foster Placement to allow safeguarding to remain in place whilst a detailed viability assessment of the prospective guardians' capabilities is conducted.
4. Death of child under 3-years-old (Child U1) in January 2018. A post mortem concluded that the death was a result of internal bleeding caused by significant trauma impact to the abdomen. Partner of Child U1's childminder was found guilty of the child's murder, and the childminder was found guilty of causing or allowing the death of a child. Both received prison sentences. Child U1 was born in March 2016, and had an older sibling who was under 4-years-old at the time of their death. Child U1's father had no contact with the family. Child U1 first attended hospital with an episode of minor gastro-intestinal bleeding in April 2016. There were frequent hospital visits in 2016/17 including surgery; initial concern regarding non-accidental injury (NAI) but this was discounted and a medical cause was thought to be responsible. A strategy meeting concluded that there were no safeguarding concerns in relation to Child U1. Family are Mixed Race British. Key findings: a decision that the injuries were due to a medical cause rather than NAI meant professionals did not query an alternative diagnosis; deference to the medical clinicians involved made challenging medical professionals difficult. Recommendations highlight the need for: professional curiosity, professional challenge and information sharing within and between agencies; assessments to include an understanding of care arrangements and an assessment of the carers; and an understanding of differential diagnosis, and when bruising is present where NAI should be considered.
5. Self-harm of a young female in June 2018. Young Person B took a significant overdose of her prescription medication, alongside over the counter medication, which caused a brain injury. Young Person B was subject to periods of abuse and neglect from an early age. She lived with her family until October 2017, when she moved in with the mother of her boyfriend in an informal arrangement. Disengaged from education early in 2017; prior to the overdose some instances of less serious self-harming. Ethnicity or nationality not stated. Learning includes: importance of ensuring representation from schools at child protection conferences and in core groups even when the child or young person is not attending school; importance of reviewing the impact of child protection plans; the need to risk assess access to prescribed medication for children and young people who self-harm; importance of understanding the potential adverse impact of private fostering arrangements not being assessed on the young foster person and on other children in the family; persistent fear and anxiety caused by childhood neglect impacts on children's ability to learn, solve problems and relate to others, which undermines their ability to manage further adversity in adolescence. Recommendations include: ensure practitioners understand the features of adolescent neglect and review the effectiveness of local approaches in addressing both chronic and acute factors; ensure that the voice of the child is more consistently acted upon; ensure private fostering is more effectively publicised across the partnership and children are identified, assessed and supported in their private fostering arrangement.
6. Significant neglect of two siblings, including neglect of their physical, emotional, social developmental, health and medical needs, Family W. Both children had been the subject of child in need plans since October 2016 and child protection plans under the category of neglect since June 2017. Alcohol use and abuse were present in this family but was not identified as a risk factor and addressed. Ethnicity or nationality of family not stated. Learning includes: at times, the focus was on the adults rather than the lived experiences of the children; information sharing within and between agencies was not always consistent; over-optimism about the likelihood of the adult carers improving their care of the children; a lack of challenge to adult family members which led to gaps in information. Identifies good practice, including: direct work carried out by the school nurse, which allowed the child's voice to be heard and shared; recognition by dentist that one of the children's decayed teeth and bleeding gums were indicative of neglect. Recommendations: highlights the improved outcomes that have been identified and should be addressed, including: multi-agency partners can evidence a shared responsibility for the safeguarding and protection of children; multi-agency assessments, risk assessments and effective safety plans are secured and monitored within the child protection conference process, to ensure the best outcomes for children; amending the pathway for capacity assessments of carers with learning difficulties so that they can be undertaken at an earlier stage.
7. Death of an 8-month-old girl in 2017. "Rose" was transported to hospital by ambulance and shown to have a subdural bleed reflecting severe brain trauma. Two days later life support was withdrawn due to the severe brain injury. Mother charged with her murder as well as offences from 2004. Mother known to services since 2015 when pregnant with Daisy, Rose's sister. Father had a learning difficulty. Rose born in 2016 after a concealed pregnancy. Mother was suspected of serious injuries to a child in 2004, but after police investigation Mother was not prosecuted for any criminal offences at the time. Learning includes: consider opportunities to ensure disguised compliance and focus on children to be examined regularly in staff supervision meetings and reviewing desired outcomes for children; develop and implement guidance relating to looked after children who sustain injuries, including who should be informed and what action should be taken; consider options for ensuring continued and meaningful engagement of GP services throughout safeguarding processes; consider how non-statutory voluntary organisations can be identified and included in safeguarding processes; consider requiring the local authority to complete and share the outcome of an analysis of children placed at home, the circumstances and decisions which led to placements being initiated and how compliance is monitored, to ensure the safety of all children who are subject to home placement agreements. Ethnicity and nationality not stated. Review does not include any recommendations.
8. Non-accidental head injury to a 2-year-old boy, Child A, in February 2016. The injury was discovered during an unannounced visit by a social worker. His mother had no explanation for the injury and had not sought medical help. Child A lived with his mother and older brother (Child A1) who was born in 2007. Both children were subject to Child Protection Plans under the category of risk of emotional harm on two separate occasions. Reports of incidents of domestic abuse as well as the physical abuse of older brother by mother. Evidence of mother's complex mental health issues, drug and alcohol abuse and series of abusive relationships. Child A1 is described as a young carer for his mother and younger brother. Ethnicity or nationality of Child A is not stated. Lessons learned include: the seriousness of the concerns and risks to the children were not effectively communicated, shared or addressed; professionals need to retain open minded curiosity and consider all potential risks to children; and professionals should be supported in considering the impact on them of working with people who present as aggressive or with challenging behaviour. Recommendations include: conduct a multi-agency review of the use of the category of emotional harm in child protection plans; ensure that professionals understand the purpose of the Core Group and Child Protection Conference; and recognise the impact on practice when working with adults with violent and aggressive behaviour or disguised compliance.
Worthy of note
1. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced that Save the Children UK can begin bidding for UK aid funding again after significantly improving its safeguarding standards.The charity voluntarily withdrew from bidding for new Government funding in April 2018, after the Charity Commission launched an inquiry over concerns about its handling of sexual harassment allegations against senior staff.It came against a backdrop of revelations about sexual abuse, exploitation and harassment in the aid sector in early 2018.
Save the Children UK has taken significant steps to improve its approach to safeguarding and meet the UK Government’s high standards since then. This includes making safeguarding a key feature of staff training, introducing a new set of behaviours it expects of leaders, and increasing the size of its safeguarding HR team.
In addition, Save the Children UK has signed up to the UK-backed Misconduct Disclosure Scheme, which aims to stop perpetrators of sexual abuse from moving around the aid sector undetected by allowing employers to share misconduct data with each other.
The Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab made clear today that the FCDO will maintain DFID’s high safeguarding standards and take action if any charity fails to meet the strict standards the UK expects of all its partners in future.
This comes as he launches the UK Strategy: Safeguarding Against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and Sexual Harassment within the Aid Sector, which sets out the approach for tackling sexual abuse, exploitation and sexual harassment in all aid-spending departments and across the charity sector, including within UK aid-funded programmes delivered by external partners.
Like all organisations that receive UK aid funding, Save the Children UK will continue to be measured against the government’s strict safeguarding standards, which will include providing evidence the charity has clear processes for investigating any allegations of misconduct and protecting whistle-blowers.
Oxfam also voluntarily withdrew from bidding for Government funding in February 2018, after the Charity Commission launched an inquiry into its handling of allegations of sexual misconduct by senior staff during the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. The Charity Commission’s process to follow-up the recommendations of its inquiry into Oxfam has not yet concluded.
2.The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said that Steven Dixon, 39, of Ash Acre Meadows in Warrington used a DNA mouth swab from a friend to send through to the Child Maintenance Service on 6 July 2018.
In October 2015 and February 2016, the Service had received applications from two women claiming that Dixon was the father of their sons and requesting support.
Steven Dixon was contacted by the Service and he sent off for a DNA testing kit that was delivered to Deerness Park Medical Group in Sunderland. He collected it himself and then asked a friend to provide a DNA mouth swab.
He submitted the swab to the Service with a form stating that the sample had been taken by Dr Jon Kisler at a surgery called The Quays on Thelwall New Road in Warrington on 6 July 2018. The form had been 'signed' by Dr Kisler.
In fact, Dr Jon Kisler had not completed a DNA test with Mr Dixon at any time. In a witness statement, Dr Kisler said he had not completed the form and the signature on it was not his. He had also never worked at that surgery.
As a result of the fake test, the Child Maintenance Service contacted the two women and said Dixon was not the biological father of the two boys and could not be asked to provide financial support.
But they contested this and an investigation began. A DNA test of the two boys showed them to be half-brothers which strengthened the women’s claims.
Dixon wrote to the Child Maintenance Service on 16 November 2018 saying: “The pursuit of myself from both you and my ex-partners is now becoming tantamount to harassment… this pursuit is now affecting my own life, as if it wasn’t traumatic enough on both occasions to find out neither of these children were mine at the time, when I believed them to be, to now having to re-live it all again and even on having it proved by yourselves by DNA that they are not mine, to then still be being pursued. It is simply not acceptable to be allowed to continue.”
On 23 November 2018, a speculative search of the National DNA database by police found the submitted mouth swab to match with the DNA of a man called Kenny Jones.
Jones was arrested and said that Dixon had asked him to provide the swab so that he could send it to his alcoholic father, to try and prove he wasn’t his son. No money was exchanged between the men.
Dixon was arrested on 18 July 2019 and interviewed but denied the claims and said the doctor and the GP practice manager were liars. He was taken into custody and a DNA sample was taken which matched that of the two boys.
He pleaded guilty to three counts of Making or Supplying Articles for Use in Frauds and today (15 September 2020) at Chester Crown Court he was jailed for 18 months.
Senior Crown Prosecutor Maqsood Khan, of CPS Mersey-Cheshire’s Fraud Unit said: “Steven Dixon is a liar and a cheat who has gone to extensive lengths to deny the parentage of his two sons.
“Investigations showed that he had been at the birth of both of the boys and his signature was on their birth certificates. Indeed he seems to have played a part in their lives for a period.
“But that changed and he has now turned to criminality to avoid his obligations to his children. His apparent indignation at the work of the Child Maintenance Service to get to the truth is audacious to say the least.
“His deception has no doubt caused distress and hurt to the women and their children and he is now behind bars. The Crown Prosecution Service hopes that this case shows that those who try and lie and cheat their way out of their responsibilities will face the consequences.”
3. Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England, is calling for the Government to change the law to stop councils placing under 18s in care in unregulated accommodation. The change would see all children in care who need a residential placement housed in accommodation regulated under the same standards as children’s homes, and would put an end to 16 and 17 year olds being placed in bedsits, hostels and caravans.
The call comes as the Children’s Commissioner publishes a report, ‘Unregulated: Children in care living in semi-independent accommodation 2020’, revealing how thousands of children in care are living in unregulated independent or semi-independent accommodation. These settings are not inspected and children living there often go without regular support from adults. This accommodation can range from a flat to a hostel or bedsit, and in the worst cases caravans, tents and in one case even a barge. These looked after children are entitled to ‘support’ but not ‘care’, and as a result are too often being left to fend for themselves, with minimal support, for all but a few hours a week.
As well as calling for the use of semi-independent and independent provision to be made illegal for all children in care, the report makes a number of recommendations, including:
- Increasing capacity across the care system. It is critical that the forthcoming Government Care Review promised in the Conservative manifesto addresses the challenge of sufficiency of appropriate care across the care system as a whole – especially capacity in the residential care sector.
- Clarification of what care looks like for children of different ages, including older teens. Ensuring that all children in care receive care, rather than support, does not mean refusing independence to older teens who are ready for it. For example, it may be appropriate for children of this age to have more freedom to come and go from home, and any curfew should be agreed by negotiation rather than instruction – the same as with any 16 and 17 year old living at home with their parents. The current system does not seem to allow this.
- Strengthening the role of Independent Reviewing Officers (IROs). Councils have a duty to appoint an IRO to every child in care. They are experienced social workers who oversee and scrutinise the care plan of the child and ensure that everyone who is involved in that child’s life fulfils his or her responsibilities. It is important that IROs visit placements prior to children being placed, in order to assess their suitability. This would help prevent later placement breakdowns, which are highly damaging to children and can be costly to resolve.
4. The Truth Project, part of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, provides victims and survivors with an opportunity to share their account and make suggestions to help better protect children in future. The Inquiry is working to ensure that the Truth Project process is as accessible as possible for everyone, and that people with neurological differences are supported.
To help ensure every voice can be heard, elements of the Truth Project process have been adapted, with particular consideration toward communication, social communication, structure and sensory experiences.
Participants can choose to share their experience in a way that suits them, such as in writing, over the phone, by video call or by attending an in-person session. Additional support options have been developed to ensure that those who identify as neurodiverse feel comfortable to access support from us. This includes the option of video support calls.
In developing these adaptations, we have been guided by a psychologist in the neurodevelopmental field, and the Inquiry’s Victims and Survivors Consultative Panel.
To protect the wellbeing of participants, in light of current government restrictions, the Inquiry has had to make some changes to the way in which we deliver in-person sessions.
5. Charities dealing with men who suffer domestic abuse have seen pleas for help jump by up to 60% during the lockdown.
The Respect Men's Advice Line said some victims had told them they had sought refuge by sleeping in cars or in tents in the gardens of friends or relatives.The charity said it had received 13,812 calls and emails between April and July in lockdown compared to 8,648 in the same period in 2019.
Respect's Ippo Panteloudakis said the pandemic had made the problem worse.
He said: "It was absolutely clear the lockdown period exacerbated everyone's domestic abuse experiences.
"They were talking about increases in violence, increases in psychological abuse and becoming homeless as a result of the domestic abuse and not having anywhere to go.
"We had reports from men sleeping in their cars overnight or sleeping in their friends' or parents' gardens in tents."
The advice line said the biggest increase in contact with abuse victims came through emails and the service saw the volume increase by 96% from 372 emails in June 2019 to 728 in June 2020.
On average it received 22 emails a day and 92 phone calls as the lockdown took hold from April to June.
Bradford-based charity Men Standing Up takes male domestic abuse referrals from across the country and has so-called crash pads and emergency accommodation for men for up to 14 days.
For information and support on domestic abuse, contact:
- Police: 999 press 55 when prompted if you can't speak
- Refuge UK-wide 24-hour helpline: 0808 2000 247
- Welsh Women's Aid Live Fear Free 24-hour helpline: 0808 80 10 800
- Scotland National Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriages 24-hour helpline: 0800 027 1234
- Northern Ireland Women's Aid Domestic Abuse 24-hour helpline: 0808 802 1414
- Men's Advice Line 0808 801 0327
Online web chats and text services are also available.
6. University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust has been ordered to pay a total of £12,565 after admitting it failed to disclose details relating to a surgical procedure or apologise, following the death of a 91-year-old woman.
The trust was fined £1,600, a £120 victim surcharge and ordered to pay £10,845.43 court costs at Plymouth Magistrates’ Court today (Wednesday, 23 September), in the first prosecution of its kind.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) brought the prosecution after it emerged that the trust failed to share details of what happened to Elsie Woodfield prior to her death at Derriford Hospital, in Plymouth, following an unsuccessful endoscopy procedure. The trust also failed to apologise to Mrs Woodfield’s family within a reasonable timeframe.
Under the Health and Social Care Act, duty of candour (Regulation 20), care providers must act with openness and transparency, and provide a timely apology to people receiving care, or their relatives, in the event of a serious incident.
Nigel Acheson, Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said:
“All care providers have a duty to be open and transparent with patients and their loved ones, particularly when something goes wrong, and this case sends a clear message that we will not hesitate to take action when that does not happen.
“Patients and their families are entitled to the truth and a formal written apology as soon as is practical after a serious incident, and the University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust’s failure to fulfil this duty is why CQC took this action.
“This is the first time CQC has prosecuted an NHS trust for failure to comply with the regulation concerning duty of candour, and we welcome the outcome of today’s hearing.”
And the reason to remain vigilant in all aspects of safeguarding
1. During the six months between January 1 and June 30, Suffolk Constabulary investigated 104 cases involving indecent images of children – up 50% on the same six month period of last year. Police said at least 95% of the investigations had resulted in prosecution and conviction. A report providing an update to the constabulary’s approach to children and young people, covering the period of lockdown and the closure of schools due to Covid-19, said policing demand had increased in a number of areas. During the first six months of 2020, there were six ongoing investigations following warrants executed under Operation Bane – aimed at targeting the sharing indecent images of children. Meanwhile, eight operations were carried out alongside regional partners to target adults attempting to engage in sexual communication with children, with three suspects charged and five still under investigation.
Last month, music tutor David Brown, formerly of Duke Street, Hintlesham, was jailed for 11 years and one month at Ipswich Crown Court, with an extended licence period of three years, for a string of sex offences against boys as young as seven.
2. A school bus driver who took photos of young girls leaving his bus and was found guilty of attempting to arrange a child sex offence will be imprisoned for longer following the intervention of the Solicitor General, Rt Hon Michael Ellis QC MP.
Robert Woolner, aged 54 at the time of offending, was arrested after he was caught communicating and discussing oral sex with a person whom he thought was a 13-year-old boy. The boy was, in fact, an undercover police officer, and the offender was arrested in the place where they had arranged to meet.
Police then found extreme pornographic content on Woolner’s phone, as well as three videos, made during the course of his employment as a school bus driver, showing under the skirts of school girls as they left the school bus. On 17 July, Woolner was originally sentenced at St Albans Crown Court to 12 months’ imprisonment for attempting to arrange or facilitate a child sex offence, possessing extreme pornographic images, and multiple counts of recording an image under clothing.
Following the Solicitor General’s intervention under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme, the Court of Appeal today increased his sentence to 2 years 6 months’ imprisonment.
Commenting on the increase, the Solicitor General said:
“The offender was caught trying to sexually exploit a vulnerable child, as well as taking advantage of young school children. It is therefore important that his sentence truly reflects the gravity of his crimes, and I am pleased that the judge has agreed to increase the offender’s sentence.”
3. The deputy head teacher of a primary school has admitted online child sexual offences after a National Crime Agency investigation. Richard Swinnerton, 30, of Coulby Newham, Middlesbrough, said he had watched child sexual abuse on the dark web for two years before he was arrested by NCA officers at his home on 15 May this year. He told investigators the footage included adults raping children. Swinnerton - who has resigned from his job at St Clare’s Catholic Primary School in Middlesbrough – said he used TOR software (The Onion Router) to make himself anonymous on the dark web.
The charges related to online child sexual abuse imagery. Officers have found no evidence to suggest that any of the images were made at the school and there is no allegation of physical abuse. Swinnerton appeared at Teeside Magistrates’ Court and admitted three counts of possession of illegal images of children relating to category A (the most severe), category B and category C. When officers arrested him they seized his laptop which contained 87 Category A videos of child abuse. He will be sentenced at Teeside Crown Court on a date to be confirmed.
Child protection charity The Lucy Faithfull Foundation runs the Stop It Now! helpline which offers confidential advice to anyone concerned about their own or someone else’s behaviour towards children.
He used his role as an entertainer to target talent shows, music festivals and church and charity groups to gain access to children, police said. A judge at Norwich Crown Court told Lewis he must serve at least 11 years and "may never be released" from jail. He admitted 20 charges, including nine counts of rape committed in Norfolk, Surrey, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire. Sentencing judge Mr Justice Shaw, praised the bravery of the five victims who came forward. Addressing the women, who were in the court's public gallery, he said their victim impact statements were among the "saddest and most upsetting" he had ever heard.
Lewis, a grandfather with three children, pleaded guilty to nine counts of rape, 10 counts of indecent assault and one count of sexual assault.
He previously served 17 weeks in jail in 2018 for four offences of making and possessing photos of indecent images of children.
5. A High Court judge has ordered that three children be placed for adoption after calling their mother “the most egregious liar I have ever encountered”.He admitted he had been wrong in earlier to place any trust in what was said by the children’s father too and that he had lied in his evidence.
In A, B & C (Children: Adoption), Re  Mr Justice Keehan said he had expressed the clear view on numerous occasions in the history of the case, especially at a hearing on 18th December 2019, that he did not want to find himself contemplating the placement of A and B, and now C, for adoption.
“The parents deeply love their children and the children love them. There is no question, and never has been, that the parents are more than able to meet the basic care needs of the children,” he said.
“The stumbling block is the parents' irrational and extreme over-reaction to the involvement of professionals in their lives and those of their children, most especially social workers.”
The children are now aged three, two and 10 months. He ordered that adoption placements should be found for the three children and if possible they should be placed together.
Staffordshire Police's chief constable Gareth Morgan said Tatton had fallen far short of the high standards expected by the public.
Tatton, who appeared in a reality documentary series about the police, is due to be sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court on 2 November.
He had appeared in Cops UK: Bodycam Squad, a series which followed Staffordshire Police officers responding to emergencies.
Tatton, who was based at the force's Northern Resolution Centre in Stoke-on-Trent, was suspended after his arrest in December and did not attend Monday's disciplinary hearing.
He had pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and four counts of making an indecent photograph of a child.
A new research report Emerging from lockdown found that, of the 3.7million households in the UK granted a bill ‘payment holiday’, over 6 in 10 are already facing financial difficulties and will struggle to repay their debts when these arrangements end. For many, these payment holidays will cease on 31 October 2020 – the same date the government’s job retention schemes end, leaving many facing job losses and crippling financial strain.
There is little doubt that both payment holidays and the government’s job retention schemes have facilitated a period of relative stability, helping many to retain jobs and stay afloat financially. But an estimated 6.25 million households are still living on reduced incomes with heightened risk of financial difficulties. And many of these have agreed payment holidays with their creditors.
Researchers found of those households granted a payment holiday nearly half have no money in savings at all, and 46% them think it is very likely (26 per cent) or quite likely (20 per cent) they will experience a loss of earnings as a result of COVID-19 in the next three months.
The Financial Conduct Authority has recently published draft guidance advising firms on how to help mortgagors beyond the end of payment breaks. But at present there is little to no guidance on what customers with a payment arrangement on other commitments should do when it ends. Measures could include: income/expenditure checks to assess ability of borrowers to repay; flexible and lower payment arrangements; social tariffs (for utility providers); extending the lending period (for unsecured credit and mortgages), and where appropriate writing off debts. Under current circumstances enforcement action should be a last resort, used when these measures have failed.