Safeguarding News October 2018
Welcome to our round up of safeguarding news for October 2018 that includes the latest safeguarding information from across the UK.
There is the usual vast array of headlines and updates in the October newsletter and there is important information for UK Charities and NGOs under the ‘And Finally’ section, highlighting enhanced and specific standards for applicable to these organisations.
Public Face to Face Safeguarding Training
For a list of currently scheduled public face-to-face training course dates for 2019 click here.
A round up of safeguarding news for October 2018
County Lines week of action
Starting on the 15th October Suffolk Constabulary has taken part in a national week of action against the on-going threat of County Lines.
County lines is a term used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs within the UK. The gang establishes a drug market in a rural town, with origins to an urban city location with mobile phones frequently used to facilitate the drug deals. They are likely to exploit children and vulnerable adults to move and store the drugs and money and they will often use coercion, intimidation, violence and weapons.
During the week Suffolk Constabulary, along with other forces, conducted arrests and warrants, organising dedicated patrols, gathering intelligence across the county to ensure that the force continues to make Suffolk a hostile environment for criminals to operate in.
As part of the week of action, officers in Suffolk made 19 arrests. These included nine arrests in connection with offences relating to possession of drugs with intent to supply, four arrests of possession of a firearm with intent and two arrests of possession of an offensive weapon.
Police also recovered around 150 wraps of Class A drugs and seized four weapons – two knives and two suspected firearms. Around £3,500 in cash was also seized in the various operations and warrants conducted over the past week.
Statutory & Non Statutory Guidance
Whistleblowing: list of prescribed people and bodies updated 2nd October 2018 for England, Scotland and Wales
If you decide to blow the whistle to a prescribed person rather than your employer, you must make sure that you have chosen the correct person or body for your issue. For example, if you are blowing the whistle on broadcasting malpractice you should contact the Office of Communications (Ofcom).
The guidance provides a list of the prescribed persons and bodies to whom you can make a disclosure. There is also a brief description about the matters you can report to each prescribed person.
Created as part of Childnet’s work in the UK Safer Internet Centre, the newly published hot topic looks at Digital Wellbeing, giving guidance to parents about the impact that the online world can have on the lives of children and young people.
Our overall wellbeing is determined by the physical and emotional experiences we have on a daily basis. As technology continues to be such a huge part of our lives, from the way we represent who we are to the interactions we have with others, it too has an impact on our wellbeing. This is often referred to as your 'digital wellbeing' or 'online wellness.'
The list of changes has been published.
England and Wales
New NICE Guidance on Decision-making and mental capacity; published for England and Wales
This guideline covers decision-making in people 16 years and over who may lack capacity now or in the future. It aims to help health and social care practitioners support people to make their own decisions where they have the capacity to do so. It also helps practitioners to keep people who lack capacity at the centre of the decision-making process.
This guideline should be read in conjunction with the Mental Capacity Act 2005. It is not a substitute for the law or relevant Codes of Practice. It does not cover Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards processes.
Reports, Reviews, Resources, Research and Inquiries
1. In welcoming a review of hate crime legislation by the Law Commission announced on Tuesday, 16 October by the Home Office; Gary FitzGerald, the charity’s chief executive, said it was time to give older victims of crime the same protections as other groups victimised for their personal characteristics.
The charity estimates that there are around one million victims of elder abuse each year in the UK. Despite this, official figures show that only around 0.3% of this total results in a successful criminal conviction.
In polling conducted by the charity in 2017, 96% of respondents backed calls for tougher penalties for crimes against older people. More than a third (34%) assumed such crimes were already classified as an aggravated offence with another 60% believing they should be.
Making elder abuse a specific aggravated offence in statute would mean courts were required to apply a mandatory sentencing uplift, as is already the case for crimes motivated by prejudice based on someone’s race, sexual orientation, religion or disability.
The announcement comes in the wake of a similar legal review in Scotland chaired by the retired Court of Session judge, Lord Bracadale, which reported its findings in May this year.
In his report, Lord Bracadale presented recommendations for introducing new offences based on age hostility and perceived vulnerability. The Scottish Government’s justice minister, Humza Yousaf, has since indicated that he is in favour of introducing legislation to tackle elder abuse.
2. A survey of 2,000 adults produced for Get Safe Online Week found that people are unaware of privacy risks associated with over-sharing on social media platforms with over a third of the UK (39%) experiencing fraud because of it.
Worryingly, 26% of people targeted by fraud due to over-sharing didn’t realise they were targeted, 22% did nothing and 32% just ignored it.
The survey also highlighted that 23% of people used social media to show off about their holidays and 20% use it to let connections know about life milestones such as buying a house.
Worthy of Note
1. A drug dealer has been jailed for exploiting children as part of a County lines operation between Birmingham and Lincolnshire.
County lines drug rings involve dealers from cities who seek out new markets in other parts of the country.
In a landmark case, Zakaria Mohammed, 21, is believed to be the first person to be jailed under new modern slavery laws in respect of the use of children.
Mohammed admitted using three children aged between 14 and 15 years old to deal crack cocaine and heroin while they lived in substandard accommodation.
He was involved in transporting the children, drugs and money, as well as being responsible for maintaining contact between customers and suppliers. He was jailed for 14 years at Birmingham Crown Court.
2.A physics teacher has been banned from the classroom after marrying a 13-year-old girl in Bangladesh.
Joshim Nur was 22 when he began teaching at the London Nautical School, Lambeth, in 2006, a teaching disciplinary panel heard.
He claimed he thought the girl was 18 but a written statement from the girl showed she had told him her age before the arranged marriage. He also had a sexual relationship with the child, the panel heard.
In evidence, the girl told a Teaching Regulation Agency panel that sexual activity started shortly after her marriage to Mr Nur in the summer of 2006.She also confirmed that she was taken to an appointment at a family planning clinic in 2007 and that she took contraceptive pills every day.
The panel ruled that the now 34-year-old teacher had a relationship with the girl from August 2006 to April 2009 in "circumstances when he should have known she was under the age of 16".
Three days before the wedding, the girl had written to Mr Nur to tell him she was 13 and in year 8 at school, the panel heard.
In written evidence, Mr Nur said that he was '"deceived" by her family as to his wife's age when they wed.
Panel chairman Dr Robert Cawley said: "The panel did not find it plausible that Mr Nur could have mistaken a 13-year-old child for an 18-year-old, and that this misconception continued over a four-year period.
"The panel was particularly concerned in light of the fact that he worked in a secondary school and had daily interactions with children of this age."
Mr Nur was found guilty of engaging in a relationship with the child and of having sex on more than one occasion when she was under 16 - charges he denied.
He was banned from teaching in any institution "indefinitely".
3. The latest released NHS Digital Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Enhanced Dataset shows, in the period April 2018 to June 2018, there were 1,675 individual women and girls who had an attendance where FGM was identified or a procedure related to FGM was undertaken. These accounted for 2,075 attendances reported at NHS trusts and GP practices where FGM was identified or a procedure related to FGM was undertaken. In the same quarter of 2017, 1,895 individual women and girls had such an attendance and there were 2,400 attendances.
There were 1,015 newly recorded women and girls in the period April 2018 to June 2018. Newly recorded means this is the first time they have appeared in the official statistics. It does not indicate how recently the FGM was undertaken, nor does it mean that this is the woman or girl's first attendance for FGM.
4. Putting People First: Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and Sexual Harassment in the Aid Sector. London Safeguarding Summit, 18 October 2018. The Host’s Outcome Summary Document says:
“Aid must be delivered in a way which does no harm. If not, we will have failed in our duty to protect the most vulnerable. We must deter wrongdoing and hold those who do wrong to account, including prosecutions by law enforcement agencies if justified.”
5. Ex-football coach Barry Bennell has been jailed for 31 years at Liverpool Crown Court for 50 counts of child sexual abuse.
The mother of a former Crewe Alexandra youth team member raised concerns about three of the football club’s coaches to police 20 years ago, a sexual abuse trial has heard. Janet Johansen said she expressed worries about the men, who were not named in court, during a police investigation into the coach Barry Bennell in 1998.
Giving evidence at Chester crown court on Thursday, Johansen said, “I expressed my concern about three coaches. They said there’s no evidence about two.”
Johansen, whose son Benjamin played for Crewe’s youth team in the late 1980s, was giving evidence for the prosecution in the trial of Paul McCann. The former coach, 57, denies six charges of indecently assaulting a teenage boy between 1987 and 1990, when the alleged victim was aged 15 to 17.
Johansen, a nurse, told the jury she made the report to police 10 years after discovering an inappropriate photograph of her son when he was 15 years old in 1988. It showed the teenager soaking wet and startled, clutching a blue hand towel over his groin, she said.“He had a startled face, stern face, shocked, and he was very wet,” she said. “I looked at it and thought ‘He’s coming out of the bath or shower’… he looked shocked, unexpected, stern. He was just: ‘What are you doing?’ He didn’t expect it.”
Johansen said she told police about the photograph and “my worries about all three coaches” 10 years later during an investigation into Bennell.
6. More than 90 potential victims of slavery have been identified and 73 people arrested following a fortnight of law enforcement activity targeting modern slavery and human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation.
The co-ordinated action which took place in September was led by the National Crime Agency’s Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Unit and involved 37 police forces from across the UK, as well as other partners including Border Force and Immigration Enforcement.
It was the latest strand of Project Aidant, the NCA-led law enforcement response to modern slavery and human trafficking. Of those arrested, 24 were for modern slavery offences, 19 were for controlling prostitution, while the rest were for a variety of offences including conspiracy to rape, money laundering and immigration offences.
The activity focused on the use of adult services websites (ASWs) by traffickers to advertise victims of sexual exploitation, with at least 16 forces identifying potential victims on ASWs. A total of 91 potential victims were identified throughout the fortnight.
7. The first convictions for running an unregistered independent school in England and Wales have been secured this week.
Head teacher Beatrix Bernhardt, 38, and centre director Nacerdine Talbi, 47, were convicted of running the Al-Istiqamah Learning Centre in Southall, west London, following a three-day trial at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
The court heard how Ofsted inspectors visited the centre based inside a three-storey office block along Uxbridge Road on two separate occasions on 12 October and 14 November in 2017. They found more than 50 children between five and 11 years old being taught at the centre.
The CPS said photographs of lesson plans and homework diaries taken by Ofsted inspectors showed that the centre was being run as a school. It is contrary to the Education and Skills Act 2008 to run a full-time educational establishment that has not been registered as a school with the Department for Education.
And the reason to remain vigilant in all aspects of safeguarding
1. A drug dealer has today been found guilty of murdering his two-year-old son.
Dylan Tiffin-Brown died from severe abdominal injuries sustained while he was in the sole care of his father, Raphael Kennedy, 31, at his flat in Northampton.
Kennedy denied responsibility for his son’s death but was convicted following a three-week trial at Northampton Crown Court.
The CPS presented evidence of Dylan’s injuries to show that they were inflicted while he was alone with Kennedy.
The defendant did not call the emergency services until an hour and half had passed, during which time the catastrophic nature of Dylan’s injuries would have been clear.
2. A man and woman have been found guilty at Cardiff Crown Court of fourteen offences spanning three decades.
Peter Griffiths, 65, and his wife Avril Griffiths, 61, abused three girls starting in the 1970s and continuing through into the 1990s.
Some of the abuse took place at their home address, while other offences happened in their van or on a boat, where others were present. Wendy Brady of the CPS said: “Peter and Avril Griffiths worked together befriending the girls before going on to sexually abuse them. “They showed no regard for the welfare of the children they were abusing, treating them as objects to fulfil their sexual desires. The victims have shown great courage in telling the Court what happened to them. We hope they can start to move forward knowing that Peter and Avril Griffiths have been brought to justice.”
3. A gang of human traffickers, including six members of the same family, have been jailed for more than 24 years’ for trafficking and exploiting vulnerable and homeless people.
Between 2007 and 2013, members of the Cisar family coaxed a number of Slovakian men and women to travel to the north of England with the promise of better work and better lives. Several of the victims were homeless when they were lured to Leeds for work.
The Cisar family, along with Aurunngzeb Naseem and Mohammed Naseem, exploited the victims when they arrived, making them renovate and clean properties in return for pitiful wages – in one case, around £4 a day.
When the victims arrived, bank accounts were set up for them but they were forced to hand over account details, cards and PIN codes. The gang would then keep their wages for themselves, while also claiming benefits in their victims’ names.
One victim was paid just £3,000 for work over a three to four year period.
They were convicted on 17 August following a ten-week trial at Leeds Crown Court.
4. An ex-police worker who used an online chatroom to view indecent images of children has been found guilty following a trial at Reading Crown Court.
National Crime Agency officers arrested David Gunn, 55, on 9 June 2016 on suspicion of possessing indecent images of children.
Investigators discovered Gunn’s online persona ‘smokepig’ was present in an online chatroom on 22 June 2015 where pre-recorded child sexual abuse was being streamed.
Further forensic examinations of his electronic devices showed he accessed the same chatroom in August 2015 and invited other users to watch him abuse his – fictional – eight-year-old nephew.
At the Safeguarding Summit on 5 March 2018, the Secretary of State (SoS) announced that the Department for International Development (DFID) would put in place new, enhanced and specific standards for UK Charities and NGOs The standards cover partner policies and processes on safeguarding, whistleblowing, human resources, risk management, codes of conduct and governance.
This guide provides DFID partners with details of the new safeguarding standards the Secretary of State for International Development announced in March 2018. It explains how they will be applied as part of DFID’s programme management cycle, and also in enhanced due diligence assessments (DDAs) of partners.
The standards aim to assess an organisation’s ability to protect children, young people and vulnerable adults they work with, as well as their own staff and volunteers, from sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment.
This is the first version of the guide, which was shared informally in June with UK Civil Society Organisations who receive direct funding from DFID. It has been used in initial assessments and for consultation with partners. It is likely to be updated by early 2019.
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The SAFE Team