Safeguarding News January 2019

Hold the date!

We are pleased to announce our upcoming annual SAFE conference, titled Working Together to Safeguard Children Conference 2019: Twenty Years of Safeguarding, which takes place on 12th July 2019 to celebrate SAFE's twentieth birthday.  Tickets will go fast so make sure you book early.

Additionally we continue to host our ever popular open house courses at our Suffolk office for everyone form  frontline workers  to trustees and managers . With tickets priced from £35 for a half day professional training by our in house expert  multi-agency safeguarding trainers, now has never been a better time to update your safeguarding knowledge.

News Roundup

SAFE's eSafety Survey

If you missed our prize survey for Safer internet Day 2019, you still have time to ask the children and young people you work with to enter before the closing date 28 February 2019. The survey results will be published in March and will inform us all about the most pressing issues children and young people have when trying to keep safe online.

Up for grabs in the SAFE survey prize draw for entrants' organisations or schools are:

  • First prize: 20 free online SAFE eSafety courses

  • Second prize: 10 free online courses

  • Third prize: 5 free online courses.

Terms & conditions apply

Legislation and Bills


England and Wales

1.The  Voyeurism (Offences) (No. 2) Bill 2017-19 for England and Wales is  awaiting Royal consent. The Voyeurism (Offences) (No 2) Billis a one clause government bill which would insert two new offences into the Sexual Offences Act 2003. The offences would cover the practice of ‘upskirting’: taking a photograph up a person’s clothes without their consent.

2. Following extensive consultation the Draft Domestic Abuse Bill for England and Wales will now be subject to pre-legislative scrutiny by a joint committee of both Houses of Parliament.

The response to the consultation identifies nine measures that require primary legislation to implement. These will now be taken forward in a draft Domestic Abuse Bill, which is annexed to this document (Annex D), together with the explanatory notes for the draft Bill (Annex E).

These nine measures are:

  • provide for a statutory definition of domestic abuse
  • establish the office of Domestic Abuse Commissioner and set out the Commissioner’s functions and powers
  • provide for a new Domestic Abuse Protection Notice and DAPO
  • prohibit perpetrators of domestic and other forms of abuse from cross-examining their victims in person in the family courts (and prevent victims from having to cross-examine their abusers) and give the court discretion to prevent cross-examination in person where it would diminish the quality of the witness’s evidence or cause the witness significant distress
  • create a statutory presumption that complainants of an offence involving behaviour that amounts to domestic abuse are eligible for special measures in the criminal courts
  • enable domestic abuse offenders to be subject to polygraph testing as a condition of their licence following their release from custody
  • place the guidance supporting the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme on a statutory footing
  • ensure that, where a local authority, for reasons connected with domestic abuse, grants a new secure tenancy to a social tenant who had or has a secure lifetime or assured tenancy (other than an assured shorthold tenancy), this must be a secure lifetime tenancy
  • extend the extra-territorial jurisdiction of the criminal courts in England and Wales to further violent and sexual offences

Reports, Reviews, Resources, Research, Consultations and Inquiries

Mind responds to Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill

"The next stage of the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill has begun in the House of Commons. While we welcome reform in this area, additional changes need to be made. The current version will strip essential legal protections from the most vulnerable."

What does this Bill do?

This Bill seeks to reform the safeguards available to people who lack capacity and who have restrictive care arrangements, such as not being allowed to leave without permission or not being able to see their family.

The current system of safeguards is known as Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) and has been widely criticised for being too complicated. This has resulted in a huge backlog of applications and has left an estimated 125,000 people, including those of us with mental health problems, without vital legal protection.

The Bill will replace DoLS with a new streamlined system known as the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS).

Michael Henson-Webb, Head of Legal at mental health charity Mind, said:

“Mind agrees that the current DoLS system needs an overhaul. The old system is not fit-for-purpose and has left thousands of people, including those of us with mental health problems, without vital legal protection. This Bill will make a number of important changes, such as expanding the scope of the system and reducing the number of assessments required, potentially making the process work for increasing numbers of people."

“However, in streamlining the process the Bill removes a number of important safeguards. The Bill ignores important recommendations made by the Law Commission that would make sure that those who lack capacity are better involved in decisions made about them."

“Our submission to the Public Bill Committee calls for changes to three key areas of the Bill, which would strengthen people’s rights, and empower them or someone acting on their behalf to question decisions about their care. All are critical amendments which have the potential to make a real difference to those who are in an extremely vulnerable situation."

“The Government needs to stop and think so that it does not replace one broken system with another and miss an opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of those in most need of support. It is crucial these issues are addressed to make sure the new system will help keep people safe and make sure they are treated with the dignity they deserve.”  

Specific examples: 

“At the moment, for example, not everyone is entitled to an advocate. We believe that everyone should be able to access good-quality advocacy – making sure that the wishes and feelings of the individual are at the heart of any decision being made."

“The Bill will create a two-tiered system of oversight, where those who object to the arrangements will receive a more thorough and more independent review. This will disadvantage those who may not object because they are unable to do so."

“The Bill was drafted before the final report of the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act and will provide fewer safeguards than the Review recommended. In some situations, people could be held under either Act. The Government needs to look into this so that people don’t get better or worse treatment depending on which applies to them.”

Worthy of Note

1. Serial killer Levi Bellfield was part of a child sex gang that has not been brought to justice, according to a council report. The report, by Hillingdon Council in west London, looks at previously unreported links between Bellfield, whose victims include schoolgirl Milly Dowler, and a group of paedophiles accused of grooming at least 17 vulnerable girls under the age of 16 for sex.

The document, obtained by The Sunday Times, is by a senior social worker who specialised in child sexual exploitation and it has been handed to the Metropolitan Police.

2. Hundreds of vulnerable people choke to death every year in care homes and hospitals, with official figures concealing the true scale of the problem.

More than twice as many deaths result from choking as was previously thought, according to analysis of figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This is despite repeated warnings from coroners that the same mistakes are costing lives.

Two thirds of those who choke to death are over the age of 65. Care home staff do not legally require first aid qualifications, but ministers insist that existing training standards should be enough to deal with choking.

Regular figures from the ONS show that each year, 200 to 250 people die from choking on foods or other objects, which in 2016 included 24 in care homes and 156 in hospitals.

However, it has emerged that these figures do not include cases where, for example, a patient with Alzheimer’s choked on a meal. Such a death would be classed as resulting from the immediate cause of a lack of oxygen and an underlying cause of dementia.

Once all deaths to which choking contributed are included, the toll rises to more than 500 a year. Last year this included 70 who choked to death in care homes and 291 in hospitals. Campaigners suspect that many of the cases of those who died in hospital were likely to have begun in care homes.

Although such cases must be reported to the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the regulator has admitted that its paper-based systems means that regional alerts cannot be compiled into a comprehensive national picture.

3. Pope Francis vowed justice for victims of clerical sex abuse, describing paedophilia as one of the "vilest" crimes ahead of a historic global meet on the crisis.

"I cannot refrain from speaking of one of the plagues of our time, which sadly has also involved some members of the clergy," he said in his annual address to ambassadors to the Holy See.

"The abuse of minors is one of the vilest and most heinous crimes conceivable. Such abuse inexorably sweeps away the best of what human life holds out for innocent children, and causes irreparable and lifelong damage," he said.

Francis swore to "render justice to minors", and said a meeting of the world's bishops in February was "meant to be a further step in the church's efforts to shed full light on the facts and to alleviate the wounds caused by such crimes".

A litany of child sexual abuse scandals has rocked the Catholic church, which has 1.3 billion followers around the world.

In December the pontiff had vowed the church would never again treat abuse allegations without "seriousness and promptness", calling on abusers to hand themselves in to police.

4. From 9th January 2019 , companies that make unsolicited phone calls to people about their pensions will be liable to enforcement action, including fines of up to £500,000.

The ban has been introduced in a bid to prevent people falling victim to cold call scams that can lead to them losing their life savings.

As many as eight scam calls take place every second - or a whopping 250 million calls a year – according to research from the Money Advice Service (MAS).

Reports made to Action Fraud show how highly sophisticated fraudsters have tricked people into transferring their pensions into fraudulent schemes.

5. Victims of forced marriage will no longer have to meet the cost of being repatriated when helped by the Forced Marriage Unit. Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, has confirmed the change of policy in a letter to Tom Tugendhat, the Chair of the House of Commons Foreign affairs Committee.

The Times had reported that British victims of forced marriages overseas were required by the Foreign Office to pay the costs of their rescue. UK officials would help them to access their own funds, and contact friends, family or organisations that could assist them. If, however, they could not meet the costs of flights, food and shelter, they were asked to sign emergency loan agreements before returning home.

In his letter of 8 January Mr Hunt acknowledged that forced marriage victims will often have travelled abroad against their wishes, or under false pretences and "may have endured particular suffering". The Government has agreed that those victims who have outstanding loans will have no further cost fall to them. Their passports will be unblocked.

The Government will continue to seek payment of any costs from the perpetrators by means of Forced Marriage Protection Orders.

6. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse launched a landmark television public awareness campaign to ensure victims and survivors of child sexual abuse have the opportunity to be heard at the Truth Project.

Created in consultation with victims and survivors, the Truth Project campaign aims to encourage people to share their experience in writing, on the phone or in person, as well as create a public discussion around the impact of child sexual abuse.

The awareness raising campaign comprises a TV advertisement and supporting activity across social media networks and will run from 14 January until the end of February.

The advertisement shows blank speech bubbles floating above people in various locations across England and Wales. These represent the difficulties many victims and survivors face in being able to talk about their experiences of child sexual abuse.

Alongside the campaign, the Inquiry is also publishing a number of new anonymous experiences from the Truth Project, with accounts from across a range of institutions.

To date, over 2,000 experiences have now been shared with the Truth Project.

7. The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) surveyed more than 10,000 people and found sexual violence in films, to be among parents' main concerns.

Any film showing sexual violence will now get at least a 15 rating rather than a 12 or a 12A. The BBFC also wants its ratings to appear on all streaming services.

8. Luke Hart's father spent "most of his time belittling" his family.

He would use money as a way to control them, stop his wife going for coffee, call his daughter stupid and say his sons were not real men.

Then, after years of abuse, Lance Hart killed his wife Claire, 50, and daughter Charlotte, 19, with a sawn-off shotgun in Spalding, Lincolnshire.

Now his son Luke is backing a Welsh Government campaign to raise awareness of the effects of coercive control.

Luke, 28, said his father spent 26 years exerting control on his family.

And the reason to remain vigilant in all aspects of safeguarding

1. A 43-year-old man from Swansea has been jailed for 14 online child sex abuse offences.

Rene Kinzett pleaded guilty to an indictment that covered nine years’ offending - from 2008 to 2017.

Kinzett, of Sketty, Swansea, was arrested by the Metropolitan Police in 2015 and was being investigated when the National Crime Agency and South Wales Police also launched a joint investigation into him in 2017.

On 1 September 2017 Kinzett signed into a live-streaming chat room with his online identity ‘UKcloudybi Perv’ while footage of children being raped was broadcast.

He was present when seven category A (the worst) videos were streamed, one category B and one category C. He asked other users several times if anyone had “pedo mom vids?”

Today, he was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court to 45 months after admitting 14 charges including encouraging other offenders to share child abuse material.

2. A former teacher alleged to have sexually touched a pupil while giving her physics tuition has been banned indefinitely from the profession.

Robbie Brittain, 33, taught at Langley School in Loddon, Norfolk, when it was alleged he engaged in sexual activity with the girl in school rooms.

A jury at Norwich Crown Court cleared him of two criminal charges in 2016.

But a teacher misconduct panel said "on the balance of probabilities" he had engaged in sexual touching with her.

The panel said it was satisfied Mr Brittain had done so in school communal areas between 2013 and 2014.

Mr Brittain started to give the pupil additional physics tuition at some point in 2013 and the pupil claimed "within a few weeks" sexual touching had begun, a panel report said.

The allegations first came to light when she told a fellow pupil in April 2014. On a school trip later that summer, when she was warned about not smoking, she told other pupils of her sexual experiences, who disclosed the information to staff, leading to a criminal investigation and subsequent trial.

3. A report published by HM Inspectorate of Probation and HM Inspectorate of Prisons found that significant improvement is needed to ensure sexual offenders are managed effectively in prison and in the community.

While investigators commended the NPS Victim Liaison Officers for their work with victims of sexual offences, they found that uncertainty in how to understand, support and ultimately rehabilitate sexual offenders was failing to protect the public or address probation violations.

Chief Inspector of Probation Dame Glenys Stacey said:

“Sexual offence convictions are increasingly common, yet despite evidence that we can reduce the risk of these individuals reoffending, little if any meaningful work is being done in prisons. With many probation staff unsure what to do for the best with sexual offenders under probation supervision, the public are not sufficiently protected."

Speaking for the Government, Rory Stewart MP said, “Nobody should underestimate, in any way, the seriousness of this type of offence or our obligation as a government – or as government agencies – to protect the public from sex offences”.

To read the report click:

4. More than 100,000 webpages showing the sexual abuse and sexual torture of children have been removed from the internet thanks to the work of the UK’s Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) in 2018 – up by one third on the year before.

Announcing its latest figures, which break previous totals, their Chief Executive Susie Hargreaves OBE described it as “shocking and deeply upsetting” that these images should have been created in the first place. 

In 2018, 4 out of 10 of the webpages the IWF actioned for removal displayed the sexual abuse of children aged 10 years old and younger, with infants and babies featuring more than 1,300 times. 

5. Intelligence gathered by members of the multi-agency Project Bloom group, which was set up to tackle pension scams, has found some people who had managed to put away more than £1m have lost their retirement funds to criminals.

New Action Fraud data reveals that two people have reported that they have lost the seven-figure sums. However, as it is believed that the majority of scam victims never contact the authorities, this total may only be a fraction of the total number of people who have handed over such large pension pots.

On average, victims of pension scams lost £91,000 each to fraudsters in 2017. They reported receiving cold-calls, offers of free pension reviews and promises that they would get high rates of return - all of which are key warning signs of scams.

A ban on pension cold calling came into force earlier this month. Firms who break the rules could face penalties of up to half a million pounds.

And Finally

And Finally

It is not uncommon for a person with dementia in residential care to say they want to go home. This can be distressing for everyone.   A recent blog by the Alzheimer's Society  suggests some  really useful  ideas about  what to say to someone in this situation who wants to go home.

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


The SAFE Team