Safeguarding News February 2019
Welcome to the latest safeguarding news roundup.
Hold the date!
We are pleased to announce a range of new diary dates for face-to-face safeguarding training courses at our office in Eye Suffolk, plus an early-bird ticket offer for the SAFE Annual Safeguarding Conference 2019, the theme for which is 20 Years of Safeguarding on 12 July 2019 at West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds. We have secured a fantastic range of speakers with highly relevant and topical keynotes. New speakers are being announced as they confirm so click the conference link to stay abreast of the latest line up.
We hope you are able to attend and look forward to seeing you at the event.
Notable events during February were:
• Sexual Violence Awareness Week 4th -10th February 2019
Legislation and Bills
This Private Members Bill, (under the Ten Minute Rule) Sponsored by MP Tom Tugendhatt is to increase the maximum custodial sentence for the offences of child cruelty and causing or allowing a child or vulnerable adult to die or suffer serious physical harm to imprisonment for life, had its first reading in the House of Commons on 12 February 2019.
No papers are yet available.
New guidance, Protecting Children and Young People: Child Protection Committee and Chief Officer Responsibilities 2019, outlines the Child Protection Committee and Chief Officer responsibilities for protecting children and young people.
The statutory guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 has been updated to reflect the guidance, “Reporting a serious child safeguarding incident: guidance for local authorities Feb 2019”. This guidance is only available to local authorities directly.
This guidance is on how local authorities in England should report a serious child safeguarding incident to the Child Safeguarding Practice Review panel. The guidance states that local authorities must use the child safeguarding incident notification system to notify the Panel if it’s known or suspected that a child has been abused or neglected.
Good Practice Guidance
The Safeguarding Children and Young People: Roles and Competencies for Healthcare Staff 2019 Intercollegiate document has been updated and provides a clear framework across the UK, which identifies the competencies required for all healthcare staff. Levels 1-3 relate to different occupational groups, while level 4 and 5 are related to specific roles. This version of the framework also includes specific detail for chief executives, chairs, board members including executives, non-executives and lay members.
Reports, Reviews, Resources, Research, Consultations and Inquiries
England’s Children’s Commissioner has published a proposed Statutory Duty of Care for Online Service Providers. It would mean online providers like Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and others would owe a duty to take all reasonable and proportionate care to protect children from any reasonably foreseeable harm. Harmful content would include images around bullying, harassment and abuse, discrimination or hate speech, violent or threatening behaviour, glorifying illegal or harmful activity, encouraging suicide or self harm and addiction or unhealthy body images.
Worthy of note
1. The Ofsted Chief Inspector has written to the Secretary of State for Education setting out Ofsted's findings after inspecting a number of Steiner schools over safeguarding concerns. All the inspection reports have now been published on Ofsted’s website. Six of the nine ‘overall effectiveness’ judgments from full inspections were inadequate and three were requires improvement.
"None of the schools was judged good or outstanding for overall effectiveness. A significant number were inadequate in all areas, and a number of the independent schools inspected failed to meet the department’s independent school standards. In only one school that we inspected, Steiner Academy Hereford, did inspectors not have concerns about whether the school continues to be good. The outcomes by school are set out in Annex A.
Overall, the findings are deeply concerning. They demonstrate that there are a number of areas of common weakness in these schools, which mean that in many cases, the children attending them are inadequately safeguarded and are receiving a poor quality of education.
At the root of many of the weaknesses are poor leadership, management and governance. Many of the schools inspected lack clear lines of responsibility and, too often, senior leaders do not hold staff to account, while governors fail to fulfil their role in holding school leaders to account. In the worst cases, senior leaders and governors have created a culture in which it is difficult for parents to raise their concerns, and some parents who have made complaints to Ofsted or to the school have felt ostracised and intimidated by school leaders.
The consequences of these failings for pupils are serious. Inspection identified that many of the schools do not identify and address safeguarding risks effectively. Some do not have in place even the basic systems needed to safeguard children. For example, some of the schools did not have an adequate system for maintaining an accurate admissions register, while others had not made sure that staff are suitable and safe to work with children. In the worst cases, inspectors witnessed inappropriate physical handling of children and a failure to make appropriate referrals to the local authority when pupils were clearly at risk of harm. My inspectors also found instances where the approach to safeguarding protected staff rather than children, because senior leaders and governors failed to address serious complaints from parents about a member of staff. “
2. An average of nearly £9,000 per case was prevented from being stolen from elderly bank customers owing to the Banking Protocol Rapid Response Scheme.
Bank staff have been trained to spot when customers appear to have been targeted by fraudsters pushing scams such as unnecessary home improvements. Scams totalling an estimated £38m were prevented last year, according to trade body UK Finance. But consumer groups say risks of complex scams remain.
Cases include that of a customer at a branch of TSB branch in Stowmarket, Suffolk, who tried to withdraw £19,000. Staff noticed the customer was agitated and quietly asked some more questions in a private room. It emerged that the potential victim had believed they needed to pay an urgent tax bill or be fined £50,000 or sent to jail. The fraudster had called claiming to be an "agent" from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and even suggested the victim make deposits to Bitcoin machines located in newsagents as a way of paying the outstanding bill.
No money was lost, owing to the bank staff stepping in.
3. A joint letter has been sent from MP Jackie Doyle-Price and Kate Davies, NHS England’s Director of Health & Justice, Armed Forces and Sexual Assault Services Commissioning, to NHS commissioners on the importance of improving services for victims of sexual assault and abuse.
4. The mother of a young girl has become the first person to be convicted of female genital mutilation offences in England and Wales.
She was found guilty of committing FGM in August 2017 when her daughter was three years old. During the procedure at her mother’s home in north London parts of the girl’s genitalia were either cut and removed or partially removed.
The defendant claimed her daughter’s injuries were caused when she fell from a kitchen counter and onto an open, metal lined cupboard door. None of the medical experts who gave evidence supported that claim. The Old Bailey heard that she was deliberately cut and the injuries amounted to FGM.
5. A young child was left with life-long injuries after a council missed opportunities to protect him from his mother’s violent partner, a Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman investigation has found.
The case was brought to the Ombudsman by the boy’s father and grandmother.
The LGO said that an East Riding of Yorkshire Council investigation, which concluded the authority had acted appropriately, took 76 weeks too long to complete. The Ombudsman's investigation found that when concerns were raised, the council did not have a plan to check on the children’s welfare or whereabouts. East Riding also disregarded a court order in respect of the mother and the child’s older sibling’s contact arrangements.
The boy had been living with his mother and her partner when his mother was taken to hospital following an altercation with her partner. Social Services were alerted and assigned a social worker to the children’s case. The mother told social workers she would end her relationship with her partner and the children would be taken to stay with their paternal grandmother for a time. But social workers did not check to see that these arrangements took place, the LGO said. “And the council has no further records of contact with the family until the grandmother called to say the boy had been admitted to hospital.”
The mother’s partner was subsequently convicted of causing the boy serious injuries by shaking and is serving a lengthy prison sentence. The mother has also been convicted of failing to protect him from harm.
6. South Ayrshire Council has become the first in Europe to give "safe leave" to employees who have suffered domestic abuse. South Ayrshire's policy will offer up to 10 days of paid leave to enable staff to seek help and support for themselves and their families. The policy is inspired by new domestic violence legislation in New Zealand.
7. On the 4th February, the Children’s Commissioner for England took part in a Channel 4 Dispatches programme. The documentary was aired alongside the publication of the Children’s Commissioner’s own report, Skipping School: Invisible Children 2019,into home education.
"As we recognise in this report, many parents make a positive, philosophical decision to home educate and do so very successfully. However, as the report also makes clear, there are a rapidly growing number of families out there who are ending up home-educating for other reasons, including a school system which isn’t able to meet their children’s needs. Some of those families feel they have no choice. Many of them are struggling to cope.
"Our report is focused on these families. It includes a number of sensible recommendations to address what are very clear problems with our current education system. Among other recommendations, a register of children being home educated was picked up in the documentary. We believe a register would not be a big burden for families and would allow councils to better support those families who need additional help."
And the reason to remain vigilant in all aspects of safeguarding
1. Peter Thompson, 48, of Felixstowe Road, Ipswich, pleaded guilty to one charge of voyeurism and four charges of making indecent photographs of a child when he appeared before Ipswich Magistrates on Tuesday, February 12.
Prosecuting, Lesla Small said the offences happened in March last year, while Thompson was working as a crossing patroller at a school in Ipswich. She said on March 27, 2018, staff noticed that Thompson had been hanging his coat in the disabled toilets. On further inspection, they realised his mobile phone was in the pocket, with the camera facing into the room.
She said: “Staff say because it is a disabled toilet not only do members of staff have access to the facilities but children, disabled children and parents too. It is clear the camera was put in a position where the lens was clearly visible as to enable the recording that took place.
“He has recorded a member of staff using the toilet facilities.”
Ms Small said as soon as staff found out, Thompson was hauled into a meeting and informed an investigation would be taking place. They banned him from school grounds and alerted police.
2. A freelance music teacher has been jailed for a total of 12 years following a series of sexual offences against young boys. Andrew Simon Wilson, 57, of Norwood Way, Walton-on-the-Naze, groomed certain boys in his choirs by singling them out for special treatment and flattering them so he could lure them into sexual relationships.
After a 17-day trial at Lewes Crown Court he was convicted of 19 offences in Sussex, South London and Germany, which included 16 offences against a total of three boys, aged between nine and 14.
3. An anti-terrorist policeman who had sex with a 14-year-old girl after using a messaging app’s location service to find her home has been jailed for eight years.
Peter Drummond, 38, made contact on the Kik and Snapchat messaging apps, which are popular with teenagers. The married father, who also communicated with the girl over Skype, had sent her “supportive” messages about her anxiety.
In October and November 2017 Drummond travelled twice from his home in Berkshire to Cornwall for sex at the girl’s home, Truro crown court was told.
Experts have warned of the risks of predators using the maps feature, which shows a user’s location to friends. Snapchat has defended it, saying it is optional and can be turned off.
The case will add to the pressure on social media companies after calls for stricter regulation of the sector. The NSPCC found that Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram were used in 70 per cent of 3,171 recorded child-grooming offences in the first year of new legislation.
4. Former scout leader jailed for string of sex offences over 34 years. Sentencing Bradley to 18 years in jail Judge Rupert Overbury described him as a dangerous offender and said that in view of his age it was likely he would spend the rest of his life in prison.
He said the effect of the offences on Bradley’s victims had been “catastrophic”.
Bradley, of Abbott Road, Bury St Edmunds, admitted two offences of rape, nine offences of indecent assault, two of sexual assault, assault of a child by penetration, indecency with a child, causing a child to engage in sexual activity and sexual activity with a child.
He was jailed for 18 years with a two year extended licence period and ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for life.
On Valentine's day Action Fraud was warning the public to spot the signs of romance fraud
Reports made to Action Fraud reveal that a staggering £50,766,602 was lost to romance fraud in 2018 – an average of £11,145 per victim and a 27% increase on the previous year.
One case study reveals how she lost nearly £10,000 to a romance fraudster who claimed to be in the British Army.
Romance fraud happens when a person thinks they have met the perfect partner through an online dating website, app, or through social media, but in fact a fraudster is using a fake profile to form a relationship with them. They will gain the person’s trust and ask for money or enough personal information to steal the victim’s identity.
New statistics released reveal that many people across the UK continue to fall victim to this type of fraud, often with devastating consequences. In 2018, 4,555 reports of romance fraud were made to Action Fraud, with victims reporting to have lost over £50 million.
Not only are victims losing vast amounts of money, the emotional impact this may have can be even more difficult to come to terms with. In a report produced by Action Fraud, 42% of victims described falling victim to romance fraud as having a significant impact on their health or financial well-being.
The report also showed that the average age of a romance fraud victim is 50 and that 63% of dating fraud victims are female who lose twice as much on average than males.
Action Fraud believes that these numbers do not accurately represent the true scale of the problem. Some people may feel embarrassed to have fallen victim which may discourage them from coming forward to report their experience.
Date Safe tips on how to avoid a #fauxmance
• Don’t rush into an online relationship – get to know the person, not the profile and ask plenty of questions.
• Analyse their profile and check the person is genuine by putting their name, profile pictures or any repeatedly used phrases and the term ‘dating scam’ into your search engine.
• Talk to your friends and family about your dating choices. Be wary of anyone who tells you not to tell others about them.
• Evade scammers by never sending money to, or sharing your bank details with, someone you’ve met online, no matter what reason they give or how long you've been speaking to them.
• Stay on the dating site messenger service until you’re confident the person is who they say they are. If you do decide to meet in person, make sure the first meeting is in a public place and let someone else know where you’re going to be.
If you would like to know more about SAFE please don’t hesitate to contact us.