February 2020 Newsletter
Welcome to the latest safeguarding newsletter with a round up of safeguarding news from February 2020.
COVID-19 is impacting all areas of life at a global level and the impact on all of us is a constantly changing landscape. The UK is no exception and here at home we are evolving our service offerings to ensure safegurading remians a vitally important area of focus for all organisations. In line with government recommendations on avoiding non-essential travel, online training is becoming increasingly necessary and our full suite of online safeguarding training courses will ensure you meet your compliance requirements.
We also provide remote offsite safeguarding audit services for those organisations wanting to take their safeguarding standards to the higest level. This newsletter also includes helpful links to the latest government guidance.
The online version of this newsletter is available here
A Roundup of Safeguarding News From February 2020
Sexual Violence National Awareness Week was celebrated from the 3rd to the 9th with the message #ITSNOTOK
Safer Internet Day Safer Internet Day 2020 was celebrated globally on the 11th February 2020 with the theme: Together for a better interne and was accompanied with the Free to be me report
New research the UK Safer Internet Centre (UKCIS) finds that being online is both liberating and limiting for children and reveals young people’s online experiences are an essential part of who they are offline, with 38% saying it’s easier to be themselves online than offline
The internet is creating an informed and inspired generation that is taking action but some feel pressure to shape their online identity for others – 62% are careful about what they share because they’ve seen people be mean
Certain groups are being targeted with identity-based hate. UKSIC call on people to start conversations with young people about online identity
England and Wales
1. Age of Criminal Responsibility Bill [HL] 2019-20
If past it will increase in age of criminal responsibility In section 50 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 (age of criminal responsibility) for “ten” substitute “12”.
2. Human Trafficking (Child Protection) Bill 2019-21
This Bill makes provision for the creation of secure safe houses for children that have been subject to human trafficking; and for connected purposes. No papers are published at present.
Statutory Guidance and Good Practice Guidance
1. Childminders: report new adults in the home
Childminders must tell Ofsted about new people aged 16 or over who live or work in the home you look after children in within 14 days. This includes children who turn 16.
Ofsted have to carry out checks to make sure the children being looked after will be safe in the home they are being looked after in.
New adults are the following people aged 16 or over:
• new household members who start to live in the home
• people already living in the home who turn 16
• new people who work regularly during childcare hours, such as a cleaner
• new childminders or assistants
You must also tell Ofsted if any of these people move out or stop working in these roles.
Reports, Reviews, Resources, Research and Inquiries
1. The Independent Inquiry Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has published its Westminster report, which finds political institutions have significantly failed in their responses to allegations of child sexual abuse for decades.
This includes failing to recognise abuse, turning a blind eye to it, covering up allegations and actively protecting high-profile offenders, including politicians.
During three weeks of public hearings last year, the Inquiry heard from survivors, whistleblowers, cabinet ministers, MPs and police officers among others.
There has clearly been a significant problem with deference towards people of public prominence, from the Whips’ offices to the police and prosecutors, although the investigation found no evidence of an organised paedophile network at the heart of government.
For example, in the 1970s and 1980s, MPs including Sir Cyril Smith and Sir Peter Morrison were known to be active in their sexual interest in children, but were protected from prosecution.
Giving evidence, former Liberal Party leader Lord Steel said that because allegations against Smith had arisen before he joined the party, he saw “no reason, or no locus to go back to [it]”. This failure to recognise the risks was an abdication of responsibility, and the fact the offences were non-recent was irrelevant.
Meanwhile, senior officials within the Conservative party knew about allegations concerning Morrison for years but did not pass them on to police. Instead, he became Margaret Thatcher’s Parliamentary Private Secretary in 1990 and was knighted a year later.
Victor Montagu, the former MP for South Dorset and 10th Earl of Sandwich, was let off with a caution after a 10-year-old boy alleged he had indecently assaulted him. Montagu’s son Robert, who he also sexually abused for over five years, said the decision not to prosecute was “entirely wrong and very indicative of the attitude towards people in public positions”.
The report concludes that these are examples of a political culture which values its reputation far higher than the fate of the children involved.
As recently as 2017, Green Party election candidate Aimee Challenor was able to appoint her father as election agent, despite the fact that he had been charged with sexually assaulting a child and was later convicted.
The Inquiry also investigated the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), which campaigned in the 1970s to lower the age of consent, as well as public acceptance of paedophilia.
A number of its members sexually abused children, including Sir Peter Hayman, a former High Commissioner to Canada. The report concludes that PIE was given foolish and misguided support for several years by organisations who should have known better, such as the National Council for Civil Liberties and the Albany Trust.
The report makes five recommendations, including ensuring all political parties have comprehensive safeguarding policies and procedures. It also calls on the Cabinet Office to re-examine its policy on the posthumous forfeiture of honours.
2. NSPCC Learning has published a learning from case review briefing on child sexual abuse. Key learning identified include: professional curiosity must be displayed in interactions with families, carers and other practitioners; professionals need to be able to work within multi-agency frameworks effectively; professional must ensure there is a child-centred approach.
Worthy of note
1. The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is introducing a new feature for applicants that apply for their basic check directly to DBS, using their online application route.
When an individual applies for their basic check directly to DBS, they will be able to select a ‘Someone else is paying’ option. They will receive an email that contains a payment link, which can then be forwarded to the person that is going to be paying for their check. The check can be paid for by debit or credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay.
2. Sarah Champion, MP for Rotherham and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Safeguarding in Faith Settings, has launched a report calling for Government to close the loophole in the law that allow adults in ‘positions of trust’ to legally engage in sexual activity with the young people they are working with
Under current legislation, only certain job roles are designated as a ‘position of trust’ under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, including teachers and youth justice workers. As a result, it is against the law for them to engage in sexual activity with the 16 or 17-year-olds that they supervise. However, adults working in other settings, such as faith organisations or sports clubs, do not commit a crime if engage in sexual activity with children aged 16 or 17 under their supervision, even though adults in these positions often hold significant power and influence over the child. This means that in non-statutory settings children are unnecessarily left more vulnerable to abuse.
The call to change the law comes with the full backing of many of the major church groups represented in the UK, including: The Church of England, the Methodist Church, the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service, the United Reformed Church and others. A change in law is also supported by, the NSPCC, and a number of professional safeguarding bodies and academics.
3. A Birmingham man who tried to force his niece into an arranged marriage and threatened her with a gun when she refused has been jailed for seven years. The 55-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court. The man was convicted on 24 January at Birmingham Crown Court for attempting to force the victim, who was then an 18-year-old, into a forced marriage. Along with his 43-year-old wife, he was also found guilty of child neglect. During a three-week trial, the court heard that the girl who was born in UK and raised by her uncle and aunt in Birmingham after her mother returned to Pakistan due to a visa issue, had been mistreated by the couple. They treated her worse than a domestic servant, depriving her of food, clothing, hygiene, medical and dental care, and verbally, emotionally and physically demeaned, bullied and abused her which made the girl feel like 'a nobody'. She was taken to Pakistan when she was 10 where she lived in abysmal conditions, later returning to the UK at age 14 to live with another family member in Birmingham where she enjoyed living and went on to complete her education and get a job. In July 2016, the victim who also cannot be named for legal reasons, travelled to Pakistan to visit her mother who was unwell. When she arrived in Pakistan, her uncle seized her passport and kept her at his house where he tried to force her into an arranged marriage. When she tried to refuse, he threatened her with a gun and told her either to get married to a husband of his choosing or die. She later found a way to escape thanks to a friend she made in Pakistan who smuggled a phone to her and she called the British Embassy for help. In September 2017, she was rescued and returned to the UK where a Forced Marriage Prevention Order (FMPO) was issued for her protection. Her uncle was jailed for forced marriage and two counts of child cruelty while her aunt was given a one-year prison sentence, suspended for two years for child cruelty.
4. The teenager who threw a six-year-old boy from the 10th floor of the Tate Modern in London had spoken about plans to push someone off a high building about a year earlier.
A care worker to Jonty Bravery said opportunities to stop him were missed.
BBC News has obtained a recording of Bravery telling his care workers about a plan to kill someone and go to jail.
His care provider, Spencer & Arlington, said they had "no knowledge or records of the disclosure".
5. Police in Rotherham have arrested two people on suspicion of facilitating female genital mutilation (FGM).
The arrests came after a woman attended a police station in Rotherham and reported she had been subjected to FGM, a criminal offence, elsewhere in the country.
Temporary Detective Sergeant Tom Bishop said: “This brave woman told specialist officers she had been the victim of female genital mutilation, which is a barbaric and violent crime.
“We know that FGM is often not spoken about or reported, so I commend this victim for taking the courageous step to come forward and speak to us about what happened.
“As a result of her report, two people – a 40-year-old man and a 38-year-old woman – have been arrested on suspicion of facilitating female genital mutilation. Both have been released on police bail pending further enquiries. ”
Under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003, it is illegal for FGM to be performed in the UK. It is also an offence for a UK national or UK resident to carry out FGM even outside the UK, or help and enable someone else to carry out FGM.
This applies even when the victim is taken to a country where this practice is legal. If convicted, the perpetrator can face up to 14 years in prison.
6. A new report has been published on the multi-agency response to child sexual abuse in the family environment. The report calls on professionals to give sexual abuse a higher priority in local areas, through improved training and awareness-raising of the problem. More needs to be done to prevent the sexual abuse of children in the family environment and when it does happen, agencies must work better to protect and support victims and families.
7. Putting children under the age of 16 in unregulated accommodation will become illegal if new plans announced by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson become law. Minimum standards will also be introduced for unregulated accommodation, which provides accommodation but not care.
8. The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) call on businesses to join them in partnerships to help the IWF in its mission to find and remove online child sexual abuse material.
AdEPT, which provides IT and security for schools, and virtual currency traders Coinbase, have announced they have joined the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) as members, in a move reinforcing their commitment to keeping users safe online. As an IWF member, AdEPT will receive advice from IWF experts and will actively contribute to conversations with other members to identify how industry players can continuously innovate to further protect users. Coinbase will take virtual currency alerts and the IWF keywords list.
9. The rights of children outweigh those of confidentiality when disclosures of information about allegations of abuse are made to ministers of religion, the High Court has ruled Jehovah's Witness' elders - the equivalent of ministers - failed in their challenge to an order to disclose information to a council about allegations of sexual abuse made about a father who was a member of their congregation.
Mrs Justice Lieven rejected the contention that the material was covered by a common law privilege against disclosing information obtained during confession or spiritual counselling.
In Lancashire County Council v E & F  EWHC 182 (Fam) Mrs Justice Lieven held that the article 6 and 8 rights of the children outweighed the article 9 rights of the Jehovah’s Witnesses to respect for their religious practices.
Elders A and B had applied to set aside a witness summons issued by HHJ Singleton QC on 29 November 2019.Mrs Justice Lieven said: “The application raises an important issue about the circumstances in which disclosure can be resisted on grounds of a religious duty of confidentiality, in the context of allegations of child sexual abuse.
“The facts of this case raise very great concern about the safeguarding of children within the Jehovah's Witness community.”
E is a girl aged 12 and F is a boy aged 10. In July 2019 A informed the police that their mother had, in 2016, told elders that their father had sexually abused E.
Police referred the matter to social services and the father was arrested but released on police bail, and the children were later placed with foster parents.
HHJ Singleton ordered Lancashire to file and serve statements from A and B setting out their investigation of the allegations made by E and produce various documents. They refused and HHJ Singleton issued a witness summons.
A and B argued in their challenge to this that they were under a spiritual duty not to disclose confidential religious communications.
But Mrs Justice Lieven rejected this. She said: “There is no evidence that the material sought through the witness summons was in any sense a confession or akin to a confession.
“It appears that the allegation of sexual abuse came to the elders' attention because the mother reported it, not because the father confessed to the elders, or sought spiritual counselling.”
She also held that the material Lancashire sought “does not, on the evidence, amount to ‘spiritual counselling’” and that even if it did the congregation’s own policy said that where a conversation amounts to spiritual counselling but indicates that a child may be at risk of harm, it "will be conveyed to the extent necessary to ensure that the policies and procedures herein expressed shall be properly followed so as to safeguard children”.
The judge said: “There does appear to be a strong suspicion that the congregation's own published guidance…was not followed, not just by A and B, but also by more senior figures in the congregation. From a child safeguarding viewpoint this is deeply troubling, not least because the policy documents are ones which seem to be produced for public consumption but not to be effective to protect children.”
And the reason to remain vigilant in all aspects of safeguarding
1. On 7 February 2020 at Liverpool Crown Court, Michael Stone was sentenced to six and a half years in jail. The judge also imposed an extended licence period of a year which means Stone will be under the supervision of offender management agencies for a further year after he has finished his jail term.
The Crown Prosecution Service proved that Michael Stone, who is now 68 but was 41 at the time of the assaults, sexually assaulted the pupil for around a year.
Michael Stone, a married man who lives at Silverdale Close in Frodsham, admitted two counts of indecent assault but denied the remaining nine charges of indecent assault and indecency with a child. He was found guilty by a jury at Liverpool Crown Court.
Stone was an IT teacher at a school in Liverpool when the abuse began, just before the school summer holidays in 1993.
The victim was a vulnerable young child whom Stone groomed over a period of time.
He indecently assaulted her, bought her perfume and continued to abuse her until the end of the following school year, with the abuse escalating over that period of time.
He regularly indecently assaulted her in the classroom, in his car and once at his home address in Frodsham.
2. A 77-year-old man who watched and paid for the online sexual abuse of young children in the Philippines has been sentenced to 22 years' imprisonment.
Colin Dyke, from Sheldon, Birmingham, was found to be in possession of still and moving indecent images of children as young as six months of age. He engaged in online conversations, of a sexual nature, with children and vulnerable families living in the Philippines. He then paid for the children to perform sexual acts while he watched them via a video conference facility.
At Birmingham Crown Court, he was jailed for 22 years after admitting 17 child sexual offences at an earlier hearing. He was also placed on the sex offenders’ register for life, and made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO).
The grandfather of three was apprehended following an investigation by the National Crime Agency’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.
3. Edson Munyikwa, 55, raped a non-verbal patient when he was looking after her in respite care. His crime was only discovered when the victim became pregnant as a result of the assault and began suffering a series of particularly severe fits.
When blood tests detected the pregnancy an urgent investigation began and male staff members at the care facility were suspended until the suspect could be identified. The victim’s male relatives also had to move out of the family home for five weeks and care workers were stationed at the victim’s home permanently to make sure that no men were granted access to her.
All the men who may have been able to visit the victim provided a voluntary DNA sample for testing. The tests revealed that Munyikwa, who had worked as a carer for more than 10 years, was the attacker. He pleaded guilty to rape on 13 December 2019 at Leeds Crown Court.
1. Championed by The Duchess of Cambridge, the Royal Foundation has undertaken a survey 5 Big Questions, The survey has brought together the thoughts of individuals, organisations and businesses so that we can build the healthiest generation in history by giving every child the best start in life. The survey has now closed.
3. Consultation is now open for the revised Keeping Children Safe in Education 2020 . It closes 21 April.
The SAFE Team