Safeguarding News April 2018

Dear Colleague,

Welcome to SAFEcic's April 2018 round up of news, it has certainly been a busy month.

Are you and your team up to date with your safeguarding training?

Check out SAFEcic's upcoming open house courses in Suffolk:

8 June 2018 Safeguarding Adults at Risk for Designated Leads for those responsible for leading on adult safeguarding within their organisation.

14 June 2018 Warner and Value Based Recruitment training the perfect course for those who recruit in educational, health and social care settings.

A Roundup of Safeguarding News for April

Legislation and Bills

Keeping Children Safe in Education

New statutory guidance for schools and colleges on safeguarding children and safer recruitment has been published


Are you ready for the 25 May 2018? The information Commissioner's Office has a specific children's webpage for those who work with children and young people. "Essentially, children have the same rights as adults over their personal data and can exercise their own rights as long as they are competent to do so. Where a child is not considered to be competent, an adult with parental responsibility may exercise the child’s data protection rights on their behalf. "

With all vulnerable groups, exemptions can be made in cases which involve prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences; the protection of the individual and the enforcement of civil law matters.

Consultation on Scotland’s Review of Disclosure Law

The Changes proposed are for those working with vulnerable people.

The proposals requiring all sports coaches working with children and other vulnerable groups to undergo mandatory disclosure checks have been outlined.

Disclosure Scotland published a consultation to review Scotland’s disclosure regime, including the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme, which covers those working with children and the vulnerable.

The consultation will run for 12 weeks and closes July 19th

Statutory and Non Statutory Guidance

1. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has published the text of the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (the Lanzarote Convention), together with an explanatory memorandum.

The stated purposes of the Convention are to:

a. prevent and combat sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children;

b. protect the rights of child victims of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse;

c. promote national and international co-operation against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children.

As of 6 February 2018, of the 47 signatories to the Convention, 42 had ratified it: see information document prepared by the Secretariat of the Lanzarote Committee). The United Kingdom has not yet ratified the Convention but intends to do so. The government's explanatory note states that in order to ratify the Convention the UK has taken the necessary legislative and administrative steps to implement the Convention in UK law (including the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).

2. The Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced plans to help children living with alcoholic parents. The Department of Health and Social Care is seeking to identify children at risk more quickly, and to provide them with rapid access to support and advice.

The package of measures is backed by £6 million funding, designed to help an estimated 200,000 children in England living with alcohol-dependent parents.

3. The new government initiative Disrespect Nobody has launched with free access to a wealth of resources for those who work directly with children and young people.

Reports, Reviews, Research and Inquiries

1. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has published its Cambridge House, Knowl View and Rochdale Investigation Report following three weeks of public hearings in October 2017, into the institutions where children were placed by Rochdale Council. The report is concerned with the institutional responses of the council, the police and the Crown Prosecution Service into child sexual abuse in Rochdale between the early 1960s and the mid 1990s.

It highlights the vulnerability of the children at the council-run Knowl View School and how the institution failed to keep pupils safe from harm for 25 years. It finds staff complacent and arguably complicit.

Sexual exploitation of boys was also happening in the town centre, the bus station and the Smith Street public toilets which were across the road from the council’s offices. The report catalogues the total lack of urgency on the part of the authorities to treat the matters as serious sexual assaults; boys as young as 11 were not regarded by those in authority as victims but as authors of their own abuse.

2. Ofsted has collated a report what children said about their experiences of living in children’s homes or living with foster carers.

They used online questionnaires to gather views about children’s homes, secure children’s homes, adoption services, fostering services and residential family centres, boarding schools, residential special schools and further education colleges.

Worthy of Note

1. The Charity Commission has agreed the terms of an independent review of safeguarding at Oxfam GB. The independent review will work closely with and be subject to the supervision of the Commission’s statutory inquiry into the charity.

The external review of Oxfam GB’s governance, management and its policies and practices with regard to safeguarding will be chaired by Kate Gallafent QC. Jim Gamble QPM, CEO of Ineqe Group Limited, an independent company with considerable expertise in safeguarding matters, has been commissioned to conduct the independent review.

The statutory inquiry was opened on 12 February 2018 after the Commission examined documents regarding allegations of misconduct by staff involved in Oxfam GB’s humanitarian response in 2011.

2. The number of potential victims of trafficking and modern slavery reported to the authorities rose by more than a third, according to a new report released by the National Crime Agency.

The National Referral Mechanism end of year summary shows that in 2017 5145 potential victims were referred into the system, up from 3804 in 2016 and,for the first time British citizens were the largest nationality recorded in the figures, up from 326 in 2016 to 819 in 2017.

The increase in British numbers is largely down to an increase in minors being referred into the NRM as suspected victims of labour or sexual exploitation, up 66 per cent. This increase is due in part to a rise in ‘County Lines’ gang exploitation referrals, where minors had been exploited by criminals involved in drug supply. These are recorded in the labour exploitation category.

3. The Lucy Faithful Foundation reports there has been a sharp rise in the year on year numbers of people in the UK seeking help from Stop it Now! to stop either their own viewing of online sexual images of children, or that of a loved one.

According to data released this month, 36,443 UK people contacted Stop it Now! (a child sexual abuse prevention campaign run by child protection charity The Lucy Faithfull Foundation) in 2017. This represents a 40% increase on the 26,089 people who contacted Stop it Now! in the previous 12 month period.

A large majority of those contacting Stop it Now! in 2017 visited the Stop it Now! Get Help website. The Get Help website hosts self-help resources, advice and support for people who want to address their online behaviour.

A further 2,251 people called the anonymous Stop it Now! Helpline in the same period with concerns either about their own online behaviour, or that of a partner or family member.

Each country in the UK saw increases in the numbers of people contacting Stop it Now!: England saw a year on year increase of 41%; Wales saw an increase of 20%; Northern Ireland saw an increase of 40%; and there was an increase of 55% in Scotland.

4. An undercover investigation by BBC Wales Investigates has shown the extent and scale of labour exploitation and modern day slavery in the UK.

With a 300% rise in recorded slavery victims since 2012, officials acknowledge there is a growing problem.

5. Action Fraud report:

“We are aware of fraudsters claiming to be from Action Fraud contacting victims using automated phone calls in order to gain remote access to their computers and drain bank accounts.

How does this scam work?

Victims are receiving cold-calls from fraudsters purporting to represent Action Fraud. When the calls are answered, an automated voice asks the responder to “press 1 if you have made a report to Action Fraud.” When the responder presses 1, they are transferred to a fraudster.

Victims are informed that their computers have been hacked, which has led to their online bank account being compromised and funds being withdrawn. One particular victim was told that £40,000 had fraudulently left their account.

Remote access

Questions that are commonly asked by fraudsters include asking whether the victim’s broadband router is displaying flashing lights, as well as asking for/confirming personal information.

This leads to the fraudster asking for remote access to the victim’s computer, via a remote access tool. Once the fraudster has gained remote access to the machine, they are often also able to access the victim’s online banking – either with permission or without.

6. The number of people calling a domestic abuse helpline with concerns about a friend, neighbour or family member has risen by 15%.

Live Fear Free, a Welsh Government initiative, saw calls go from 583 between April 2016 and March 2017 to 671 in the same period to March 2018.

7. Cyberbullying makes young people more than twice as likely to self-harm or attempt suicide, a major new study has shown.

The growth of social media has left many youngsters vulnerable to online bullying, which can include sending threatening, humiliating of intimidating messages or posting hurtful comments or images.

Around one third of young people claim to have been victims, but the new research suggests it can have damaging and deadly consequences.

Researchers at the Universities of Oxford, Swansea and Birmingham reviewed previous studies on cyberbullying which involved more than 150,000 under-25s across 30 countries over a 21-year period.

They found that cyberbullying raised the risk of self-harm or suicidal behaviour 2.3 times.

And the reason to remain vigilant in all aspects of safeguarding

1. The Royal National Institute of Blind People is under investigation after an allegation of sexual abuse was made at its flagship school, the Daily Telegraph has reported.

The chief executive of the charity, Sally Harvey, has stood down over the crisis, which follows a damning Ofsted report about the Pears Centre for Specialist Learning, a school and children's home for young people who are blind or partially sighted.

Harvey Grenville, head of investigations and enforcement at the Charity Commission, said the situation at the centre was "deeply concerning".

The Commission has launched a statutory inquiry into the RNIB and subsidiary charity, RNIB Charity, as it said there had been "several serious incidents over the course of last year" and that children had been placed at risk of harm.

A final "serious safeguarding incident" took place at the start of last month.

The Ofsted report, published in January, found that there had been a "high number of incidents and accidents involving pupils in the last year", which had increased from 2015/16 levels. 

2. A sports teacher at a private school massaged a pupil’s “virtually naked body” while she was lying face down on the floor of his locked study, a court has heard.

Ajaz Karim then turned the 14-year-old girl over and began touching her inappropriately, a jury at Brighton crown court was told on Friday.

The 63-year-old, of Hammersmith in west London, denies nine charges of indecent assault and one attempted indecent assault against six girls aged 14 to 18 at Christ’s Hospital school in Horsham, West Sussex, between 1985 and 1993.

The court heard that he had also worked at Eton College, Queen’s Club, The Hurlingham Club, and has links to London branches of Champneys and Credit Suisse.

Karim is accused of inviting girls into his study, locking the door and carrying out “wholly unnecessary” massages. On other occasions he is alleged to have kissed a pupil on the lips and of trying to “snog” another.

3. A former church minister has been jailed for historical sex offences committed over a period of 22 years.

Robert Dando, 53, was sentenced at Oxford Crown Court on 9 April after admitting the offences at the earlier hearing.

His offending came to light after Dando was arrested by American police for unrelated child sex offences in United States in 2010.

While being interviewed by US investigators, Dando made admissions that he abused children while he was a Baptist minister in the United Kingdom.

He named some of the victims and the US investigators alerted UK authorities. Police then carried out an extensive investigation and traced yet further victims.

4. Thirty-three people have been convicted in the UK following National Crime Agency (NCA) investigations into the online streaming of child sexual abuse within internet chatrooms.

The international investigation, involving partners in Canada and the United States, began after the NCA uncovered a UK-based online child sexual abuse network linked to a Canadian suspect.

That operation led to the conviction of seven men in the UK in 2014, who conspired to rape a child under the age 13 and were sentenced to a total of 107 years in prison.

Intelligence from this operation allowed the Toronto Police Service to launch an undercover operation which identified further suspects across the world who were using social media to organise, view, share or broadcast child sexual abuse in real-time.

5. Former Salvation Army members have been jailed for sexual abuse in 70s and 80s. Three men have today been jailed for sexually abusing young female members of the Salvation Army in Blackpool in the 1970s and 1980s.

William Tomkinson, 70, Trevor Worthington, 88, and his son Philip Worthington, 64, were found guilty at in March at Preston Crown Court of a total of 23 offences relating to two victims.

They were sentence at the same court on 23 April.

The charges included indecent assault, indecency with a child and attempted rape. The offending took place in a number of locations around Blackpool including at the Blackpool Salvation Army Citadel.

Derek Smith, 68, pleaded guilty to three counts of indecent assault against one of the women at an earlier hearing.

William Tomkinson first abused one of the girls in the 1970s when she was 11 years old whilst giving her a lift home. He was treasurer for the Salvation Army at the time. Philip Worthington began to abuse the same girl when she was 13 years old and Derek Smith abused her when she was 14 years old.

When the victim told Trevor Worthington about the abuse, including that his son had been one of the perpetrators, Worthington himself began abusing her.

During a police investigation into the first victim’s allegations, a second victim came forward to report that Tomkinson and Philip Worthington had sexually abused her in the 1980s, from when she was 15 years old.

And Finally

A grieving mother warns of soft toy danger in cots. The mother whose baby daughter suffocated in her sleep under a large teddy bear has launched a campaign to prevent the same thing happening to another child.

Dexy Leigh Walsh’s 18-month-old daughter Connie Rose died in her sleep in the room she shared with her five-year-old sister at the family home in Dundee.

Ms Walsh has now set up a Facebook page warning other parents about the dangers of leaving toys on children’s beds.

She said she had stuffed the side of her daughter’s bed with teddy bears in an attempt to stop her falling between the mattress and the wall and hitting her head.

If you would like to know more about SAFE please don’t hesitate to contact us.


The SAFE Team