May 2020 Newsletter
SAFE continues to offer free telephone safeguarding consultations at cost, online safeguarding training for volunteers, has extended the popular Buy One Get One Free offer for online courses and continues to update the Crisis Hub
This month's top story for all of us, working or living with young people, must be the National Crime Agency's (NCA) deepening concerns of not only the safety of young people online but also their possible engagement in cyber crime whilst they are all still at home: "Many do it for fun without realising the consequences of their actions - but the penalties can have an impact on their long-term future. Cyber crime is not a victimless crime and is taken extremely seriously by law enforcement."
To help young people understand the issues, the NCA has partnered with Cyber Security Challenge UK to give students free access to their online platform 'CyberLand' over the coming months. CyberLand is a virtual city which provides gamified modules teaching 12-18 year-olds the fundamentals of cyber security, such as firewall configuration and digital forensics. The 16 interactive exercises, which are designed around the concept of protecting CyberLand from a cyber-attack, are now free to access until the end of September 2020.
There are other excellent tools on the internet to help with all of these issues. One such resource is the CSA Toolkit. This has been created by Thinkuknow, which is the educational programme of the NCA and Child Exploitation Online Protection Command (CEOP) . There are other worthwhile resources on their website.
A round up of safeguarding news for May 2020
Legislation and Bills
England and Wales
The Alcohol Abstinence and Monitoring Requirement (AAMR) is a power given to the courts in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 that allows them to order offenders to abstain from alcohol for a period of up to 120 days and to be regularly tested for compliance.
The ankle tags, which are to be rolled out across England and Wales, perform around-the-clock monitoring of an offender's sweat to determine whether alcohol has been consumed. If they drink - breaching their alcohol abstinence order - they can be returned to court for further sanctions. These might range from a fine, extending the length of the order or in some cases imprisonment.
It follows two successful pilots, one across Humberside, Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire, and another in London, which showed offenders were alcohol free on 97% of the days monitored. Wearers also reported a positive impact on their lives, wellbeing and behaviour.
Courts will be able to order offenders to wear a tag for up to 120 days. The tough community sentence not only punishes offenders but aids their rehabilitation by forcing them to address the causes of their behaviour and in turn help to reduce alcohol-related harm.
A national rollout will commence later this year.
Statutory Guidance and Good Practice Guidance
The government announced a roadmap towards recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and plans for welcoming all children back to early years settings and a phased return of some children to school from 1st June at the earliest.
The guides do not apply to nannies or au pairs, as they work in the child or children's family home.
Reports, Reviews, Resources, Research and Inquiries
1. The NSPCC have added seven new serious safeguarding reviews to their collection. They are:
Case Study One
Death of a 5-week-old infant in August 2018. Baby MD had been placed by mother in the parental bed to sleep during the night and was found lifeless the following morning. Parents had consumed a significant amount of alcohol and there had been a domestic abuse incident. Baby MD, together with siblings, was subject to a Child Protection Plan under the category of neglect. Mother had history of alcohol misuse and mental health difficulties; had experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).
Death of a 15-year old boy in May 2018. Archie was fatally stabbed by another young person. Archie arrived in the UK in 2014 with his mother and lived with his adult sister and three older siblings until mother's return in 2015. Enrolled in a different school to siblings' due to lack of places. Death of adult sister in a house fire had a traumatic impact on Archie. His behaviour in school began to deteriorate and moves to new schools were unsuccessful, resulting in periods where Archie was home educated. Detained for shop lifting; other offending quickly escalated. Frequent episodes of missing from home; involved in gang culture, controlled and exploited by older associates; known to the criminal justice system and youth justice; subject to a Child Protection Plan.
Case Study Three
Death of unborn baby due to suicide of mother, who was 37 weeks pregnant, in April 2019. Mother found hanged and taken to hospital; following emergency caesarean the baby was stillborn. Mother known to substance misuse services, police, community housing, and wider family was known to education services. Midwife placed mother on pathway for substance misusing mothers; social work assessment pending at time of death.
Case Study Four
Sexual abuse and neglect of three siblings by their father over many years. Father was convicted of sexual offences and received a substantial term of imprisonment. Mother was a repeat victim of domestic abuse by Father. Anonymous report made to Children's Social Care in 1998 that Ash, one of the siblings, had been sexually abused by Father. In 2007, Ash disclosed to police, but later retracted, that they had been raped by Father. Father was arrested, but no further action taken due to insufficient evidence. In 2016, local authority received information that Casey, Ash's sibling, had been sexually abused by Father; abuse disclosed to Mother in 2015.
Life-threatening self-harm of a 15-year-old girl in May 2019. Georgia was admitted to hospital following a serious and life-threatening overdose. Georgia was subject to child protection plan in both parents' care, and later her mother's care. Taken into care in 2018; no contact with father for 10 years but court ordered assessment regarding Georgia's wish to have contact. Episodes of going missing, using cannabis, and alcohol misuse. Concerns about risk of exploitation. Georgia was in foster care at the time of the incident but was staying with her father and his partner as planned contact. Georgia refused to return to her placement; made allegations about a visitor to the foster home. Delays in Georgia being formally interviewed about allegation, with her ultimately refusing. Three incidents at father's home: overdose and attempt to self-harm; allegation of physical assault by father; serious and life-threatening overdose.
Case Study Six
Serious assault of a 22-month-old boy in February 2018. Child D was home alone with his mother's partner Adult A at the time of the assault. Subsequent medical exam identified red marks and bruises to Child D's body and head as well as an injury to his mouth. Adult A was arrested on the day of the assault and served a 21-month custodial sentence. Family was known to services since 2013 due to concerns over neglect. Child D lived with four siblings who were subject of a child protection plan at the time of the assault.
Case Study Seven
Murder of a 7-year-old boy by his mother in September 2017. Mother was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. E's parents separated when he was a few months old and he spent time living with both parents. Mother (ME) accessed early help services and saw her GP for mental health problems on several occasions. Several domestic abuse incidents were reported to the police between 2010 and 2017. In 2014, E's father (FE) reported concerns to several agencies about historical bruising and reported that E had made an allegation of sexual abuse by a family member. In June 2017, ME reported to the police that FE had refused to return E home and subsequently decided to stop FE's contact. In August 2017, FE made an application to enforce the contact order and a section 37 report was ordered. In the week before E's death, ME contacted E's school and GP, reporting that E had said he wished he was dead.
For the learning and recommendations from the reviews click: Seven Reviews May 2020
2. During May the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) hosted a webinar, Skills for Care, around DBS checks in the social care sector.
The webinar aimed to improve understanding of:
emergency COVID-19 Barred List(s) checks and free-of-charge checks
the DBS eligibility tool
3. Survivors of child sexual abuse who are Deaf will now be able to share their experiences with the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse's Truth Project, part of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, via video link. So far, almost 5,000 people have shared their accounts.
SignHealth, the Deaf health charity, has been contracted to provide British Sign Language information and emotional support for Deaf survivors who come forward to this new service. They can provide information and support via WhatsApp, text message, video call or email and help participants to fill in registration forms and any other required paperwork. Use of their services is optional.
4. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has published new research, An explorative study on perpetrators of child sexual exploitation convicted alongside others, into the motives and behaviours of perpetrators of child sexual exploitation who were convicted alongside other perpetrators.
The report, produced by specialist research agency Tonic, was commissioned to inform interventions that could help stop children being sexually exploited.
The research is based on interviews with 26 prisoners across England and Wales. Prisoners who took part in the study were aged between 22 and 66 years old and included two women and 24 men.
The perpetrators were convicted for a range of crimes including rape, sexual assault, taking indecent photographs, trafficking, grooming and facilitating child sex offences. The victims ranged from four months to 15 years old and were both male and female.
The prisoners who took part in the study can be loosely categorised into three broad groups:
- Group A: admitted their offence and discussed a historical sexual attraction to children. Participants described living a double life, spent an excessive amount of time online, and felt they did not have anywhere to turn for support before things escalated.
- Group B: denied or partially denied their offence, did not admit attraction to children and refused to take part in treatment programmes in prison. They suggested they were vulnerable rather than their victims, and described a hedonistic lifestyle, drinking and partying.
- Group C: either denied, partially denied or admitted their offence. They said they had been exploited or groomed by co-defendants, and some claimed they were unaware their actions were illegal.
Dr Sarah Senker, who led the research at Tonic said:
"By speaking directly to prisoners convicted of child sexual exploitation, we have shed new light on what motivates perpetrators, and how their networks operate and function. This is a very sensitive crime, the research was complex to undertake and the findings are nuanced."
5. A boy who was "butchered" in a drugs turf war after being groomed by drug dealers had been arrested in a crack den months earlier but police did not contact child exploitation staff, a report has found.
Jaden Moodie was 14 when he was knocked off his moped and stabbed to death in east London, in January 2019.
A serious case review found chances to protect him were missed by agencies.
Ayoub Majdouline was jailed for his murder.
Three months before his death, Jaden was found with an older boy in a county lines flat in Bournemouth with 39 wraps of crack cocaine, two packets of cocaine, a mobile phone and Â£325 in cash.
According to the review, the appropriate adult who sat in on his police interview said he appeared to be "a vulnerable young person frightened by what he was being groomed and coerced into by others".
He gave the impression that "he definitely wanted to find a way out of the mess he was getting into," they said.
Following his release, two Dorset Police officers drove him home to London but did not involve specialist child exploitation workers.
Jaden's school in Waltham Forest was not told about the arrest but excluded him for a separate incident.
At the time of his death Jaden was living with his grandmother in Leyton.
His mother, Jada Bailey, had been sleeping on friend's sofas while she waited to be rehoused.
She had told housing officers she was trying to keep her son out of trouble and was keen to find somewhere for them to live in Waltham Forest, the report said.
She was allocated a flat two weeks before Jaden was stabbed to death.
The review found Ms Bailey and Jaden's housing needs "could have been handled in a timelier manner", especially as his vulnerability to exploitation became clear.
Jaden's father Julian Moodie was convicted of drug dealing in 2009 and deported to Jamaica a year later, when Jaden was a young boy.
He began getting into trouble after starting secondary school in Nottingham in 2015, the report said.
He ran away from home, was accused of bullying and Ms Bailey was threatened at knifepoint when someone came looking for Jaden.
Worthy of note
1. People living with domestic abuse can now access safe spaces at Boots pharmacies. Those needing help can ask staff at the counter to use the consultation room, where they will be able to contact services for help and advice.
Charity Hestia said it launched the scheme in response to the "desperate situation" many people are facing in lockdown.
2. Children's Panel hearings have moved online so the proceedings can continue during the lockdown.
From Monday, urgent hearings will be held using secure video technology.
The move means measures to protect children, which often have time limits, do not lapse. "Non-essential" hearings are being rescheduled for after the lockdown.
The technology was trialled before the lockdown and used for about 1,200 hearings.
Those taking part in the new set-up, families, social workers and children's advocates, will be provided with electronic versions of all the papers needed in their hearings.
About 600 children's hearings are held a week. Non-essential hearings - about two-thirds of the number held each week, will take place after the lockdown.
3. A total of 53 people have used the Rail to Refuge scheme since 9 April, which offers free train travel to a safe refuge, the Rail Delivery Group said.
More than half of people who booked through Rail to Refuge said they would not have travelled if the journey was not paid for, the RDG said.
The scheme launched in September last year on Southeastern services and in March, GWR joined. It expanded to all train companies on 9 April amid warnings the pandemic was triggering a surge in domestic abuse cases.
4. A new dedicated app for the adult social care workforce in England has been launched to support staff through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The social care workforce is spread across 18,000 providers and it can often be difficult to communicate with all staff in one clear way. The Care Workforce app, developed with NHSX and the NHS Business Services Authority, will be introduced under the new CARE brand and will act as a single digital hub for social care workers to access relevant updates, guidance, support and discounts from their phone.
The CARE branded app comes in response to calls from the sector for a more unified and connecting brand, and can be downloaded on Apple and Android supported smart phones or accessed by browsers on any device.
5. Local authority children's services have been reduced to crisis-driven fire fighting as a result of years of under investment. This has left them ill-prepared to cope with the torrent of extra challenges presented by the coronavirus lockdown, a report by the UK's largest children's charities warns today.
New analysis by The Children's Society, Barnardo's, Action for Children, NSPCC and the National Children's Bureau reveals the true impact of a toxic cocktail of cuts and a soaring demand for help.
Over the last decade local authority budgets have been so squeezed that councils can only afford to get involved when children have reached crisis point and need costly interventions, like being taken into care.
Now the charities are deeply concerned about how these already overstretched services will cope after the coronavirus crisis, with a crippling spike in demand expected, as the true extent of the devastation caused by the pandemic becomes apparent.
It is feared even more children and families, 'hidden' from the view of professionals during the lockdown, could slip through the cracks, doomed to reach crisis point before any help is provided.
Councils are in a Catch 22 situation because while they know the best long-term option is to invest in early intervention services, like children's centres and youth workers, they cannot afford to do this.
Instead they are spending a greater proportion of available funding on children in crisis today.
And finally, reasons to remain vigilant in all aspects of safeguarding
1. Fraudsters stole from a pensioner's bank account after persuading him to leave a card and PIN on his doorstep due to the lockdown, a court has heard.
Police claimed he was targeted along with another 70 elderly people in a scam involving callers posing as detectives probing bogus crimes.
John Ward, 31, of Carrington Street, Belfast, appeared in court on charges connected to the investigation.
He is charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and blackmail.
It is alleged that, along with others, Mr Ward pretended to be from the police fraud squad when contacting an 82-year-old man in south Belfast last month.
The court heard that within an hour of the pensioner being contacted, he had left bank cards and details on his doorstep, to comply with social distancing because of the Covid-19 crisis.
The judge was then told that Â£820 was withdrawn from his accounts.
2. A man has pleaded guilty to sending out a large number of fraudulent text messages linked to Covid-19 following an investigation by the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU), a specialist police unit funded by the banking industry.
Mohammed Khan, 20, from Camden, London, pleaded guilty to one count of fraud by false representation and one count possession of articles for use in fraud, after being arrested and charged by DCPCU officers last week. Officers from the unit were also able to recover bank account information that had been harvested through the scams and share them with the banking industry, enabling over 200 customer accounts to be protected. Intelligence work by the DCPCU and Action Fraud identified that the suspect was involved in sending large-scale 'smishing' text message campaigns exploiting concerns around Covid-19 to defraud the public. Some of the fraudulent messages claimed to be from the UK government and offered a tax refund as a result of the pandemic. The messages included a link to a form on a fake webpage imitating official government websites, with the aim of tricking customers into giving away their personal and account details that could later be used to commit fraud. Other messages claimed to be from mobile phone operators offering a refund due to the impact of Covid-19, again including links to fake websites to harvest customer's details. DCPCU officers executed a search warrant at Mr Khan's home address in Camden, London on Wednesday 13 May and seized a number of digital devices. Analysis of these devices provided evidence that the suspect was involved in the Covid-19 fraudulent messaging campaigns. Mr Khan was arrested by DCPCU officers at his home address on Thursday 14 May and charged with fraud by false representation and possession of articles for use in fraud. He pleaded guilty to both charges at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Friday 15 May. He has now been remanded in custody while awaiting a court sentencing date.
3. Casework Unit of CPS Mersey Cheshire, said: "The Crown Prosecution Service can confirm that Richard Jones, aka Barry Bennell, on 18th May 2020 appeared at Warrington Magistrates' Court via video link from HMP Littlehey. At the hearing Jones, 66, was charged with nine sexual offences in relation to two complainants.
"He has been charged with one count of buggery (S12 Sexual Offences Act 1956) and six counts of indecent assault (S15 Sexual Offences Act 1956) in relation to one complainant and two counts of buggery (S12 Sexual Offences Act 1956) in relation to the second complainant.
"The CPS made the decision to charge Mr Bennell, a former football coach, after reviewing a file of evidence from Cheshire Police relating to allegations of non-recent child sexual abuse.
"The Crown Prosecution Service reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings against Barry Bennell are now active and he has a right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings."
4. More than 300 prosecutions for assaults on emergency workers were completed in the first month of lockdown, CPS data reveals.
The 313 attacks followed a typical pattern of police officers and other emergency workers being coughed at and spat on by members of the public claiming to have the virus.
Shop workers were also among the victims of 62 separate common assault prosecutions completed over the same period.
On 26 March, the Director of Public Prosecutions intervened to warn that anyone coughing and spitting at emergency workers while claiming to have Covid-19 faces assault charges.
Max Hill QC said today: "It is disgraceful that hard-working essential workers continue to be abused during a health emergency and I have warned repeatedly that anyone doing so faces serious criminal charges. Offences which relate to coronavirus, including assaults on emergency workers, are being treated among the highest priority for charging decisions during the pandemic. I am pleased to see our strong stance reflected in this data, with hundreds of convictions recorded in the first month alone. All other crimes where there is a coronavirus element are also being captured by prosecutors so these can be treated as aggravating features in court."
The CPS has introduced a specific 'Covid-19 monitoring flag' on its internal database so it can capture this element of the offending on existing crimes not necessarily covered by the new Coronavirus Act and Health Protection Regulations.
The 'coronavirus element', which will be flagged as an aggravating feature of the case, may include:
- Coughing or spitting on an emergency worker to 'infect' them;
- An assault in a supermarket over perceived stockpiling;
- Scams selling non-existent hand sanitiser or masks, or falsely informing individuals that they have been fined for leaving their home;
- Abuse directed at an individual or group based on the presumption that their country of origin is responsible for Covid-19.
The data covers finalised prosecutions up to the end of April and also includes 142 offences of criminal damage, 99 public order offences and 44 offences of shoplifting.
In total, 424 defendants were charged with a coronavirus-related crime, with 97 per cent pleading guilty. However, the data does not include cases with a trial or sentencing outstanding.
1. New Grab and Go Form
The coronavirus 'Grab and Go' form has been designed by family carers and NHS England, with support from organisations like Mencap.
It sits alongside the hospital passport, and tells healthcare workers what they really need to know in case someone has to go to hospital with coronavirus symptoms.
The form comes with guidance on how to fill it in as effectively as possible
2. Staff at Suffolk Mind have created a number of online resources including blogs, videos and activities which offer help and advice to encourage adults and children to take care of their mental wellbeing during this time.
To access the resources click: Suffolk Mind Resources
If you require any further information please don't hesitate to contact us.
The SAFE Team