Safeguarding News May 2022
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Legislation & Bills
Schools Bill progressing through Parliament
Source: UK Parliament published on Wednesday 25 May 2022
The Bill is to make provision for the regulation of Academies; about school and local education funding; about the attendance of children at school; about the regulation of independent educational institutions; about teacher misconduct; and for connected purposes.
On the 23 May 2022 the Bill had it’s second reading where members discussed the main issues in the bill and drew attention to specific areas where they thought amendments were needed during second reading. Topics covered during the debate included:
- improving the standard of reading, writing and maths in primary schools
- supporting schools to join multi-academy trusts
- reforming the school funding system to give all children the same opportunities
- developing an attendance policy for schools, trusts, governing bodies and local authorities
- introducing a register for children not in schools
- broadening the scope of the current teacher misconduct regime
- careers advice and development for teachers and students
- funding areas of educational underperformance
- keeping schools well maintained, safe and operational
- doing more for children with special education needs and disabilities
- children's mental health
- powers for government in the bill and capacity of the Department for Education to deliver regulation.
This new draft law will be influential in safeguarding children who attend school and those who do not.
For more information download the House of Lords Library Briefing.
England and Wales
Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act 2022 has been given Royal assent and is now an Act.
Whilst the Act has not yet been published The Commons Library has published a research briefing of the Bill which is now the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act 2022.
In England and Wales, the minimum age for marriage or civil partnership without parental or other third-party consent (as defined), or judicial consent, is 18. A person who is 16 or 17 may marry or form a civil partnership only with such consent (unless the 16 or 17-year-old is a widow or widower or surviving civil partner). A marriage or civil partnership is void if either of the parties is under the age of sixteen
Explanatory Notes (PDF) have been prepared by the Ministry of Justice and Home Office.
New ‘positions of trust’ created in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Act 2022
A factsheet updated on 9 May explains the purpose behind the PCSC Act 2022.
One of the many new additions to legislation extends the scope of offences in the Sexual Offences Act 2003 relating to the abuse of positions of trust legislation to capture additional roles, such as sports coaches and faith leaders.
A further factsheet Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022: positions of trust updated on 9 May explains the purpose behind the change and what is expected to happen.
“We are creating a new s22A of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, rather than simply adding roles to the existing positions of trust contained in s21. This is because the current positions are defined either by reference to statutory settings or services so far as the adult’s (A’s) relationship to the young person (B) is concerned. Non-statutory settings represent a departure from the current legislation and require a different approach.”
It also says:
“Together with the further positions of trust that have been drafted we are intending to include provisions in the Act to allow additional positions of trust to be added via secondary legislation should that prove necessary.”
Sport is defined as:
- using games in which physical skill is the predominant factor and those which are engaged in for the purpose of competition or display
Religion is defined as:
- to capture those involved in a religion that holds a belief in one or more gods, and those involved in a religion that do not hold a belief in a god.
Jersey publish new Children and Young People (Jersey) Law 2022 is to make provision to promote and support the wellbeing, and safeguard the welfare, of children and young people, and for connected purposes.
The Law may be cited as the Children and Young People (Jersey) Law 2022 and comes into force on a day to be specified by the States by Act.
Keeping children safe in education (KCSIE) updated for September 2022
Source: Department for Education.
Keeping children safe in education Government response to consultation May 2022 has been published in draft
Until the new revised guidance commences on 1 September 2022, the existing statutory guidance - Keeping children safe in education 2021 is still in force and is what schools and colleges must continue to adhere to.
Until the updated version of KCSIE commences on 1 September 2022, the existing advice Sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges, is still in force.
Reports, Reviews, Inquiries, Consultations and Research
1. Inquiry publishes 1,100 child sexual abuse accounts to amplify survivors’ voices
Source: Independent Inquiry Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) published on this site Friday 13 May 2022.
The Inquiry has released an online anthology highlighting the accounts of more than 1,100 victims and survivors who came forward to the Inquiry’s Truth Project.
The first of its kind in the UK, the collection has along with the thousands of other experiences shared with the Truth Project, helped inform primary research regarding child sexual abuse as well as recommendations for change across the Inquiry’s 19 investigation reports. Survivors spoke of sexual abuse across multiple settings, the difficulties they’ve faced in speaking out and the devastating impacts of abuse on their lives. They emphasised the importance of a more open conversation on sexual abuse within society to spark cultural change.
Victims and survivors told the Truth Project about the struggles they faced in speaking out, describing fears of being stigmatised or not being believed. Many spoke about the severe impact the sexual abuse has had across all aspects of their lives including relationships, education and work, as well as physical and mental health. For some, the effects have lasted years.
For help and support, you can access information on a range of organisations signposted on their support page.
2. New expert child protection units across the country
Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel into the murders of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, 6, and Star Hobson, 16-months, has recommended that experts in police, health and social work should form dedicated multi-agency teams to investigate allegations of serious harm to children.
The independent review, carried out by the National Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel, looked at the lives of the two children who were murdered by their parents’ partners. It identified that failings in how agencies worked together meant concerns raised by wider family members about physical abuse were not properly investigated by police and social workers.
The report reveals that what happened to Arthur and Star are not isolated incidents and their deaths reflect wider problems in child safeguarding practice, including poor information sharing between professionals and weak decision-making. Therefore, the panel is calling for government to strengthen the child protection system at a national and local level so there is a more effective joined-up response.
The national recommendations include:
- implementing new expert-led, multi-agency child protection units to undertake investigation, planning and oversight of children at risk
- establishing national multi-agency practice standards for child protection - this would provide a standard of quality and consistency in practice for working with children at risk and their families across the country
- a sharper performance focus and better co-ordination of child protection policy in central government - this involves the establishment of a national Child Protection Board, bringing together all relevant central government departments, local government, the police, education and health representatives
3. LGBTQ+ child sexual abuse victims and survivors blamed for their abuse Some LGBTQ+ victims and survivors of child sexual abuse were told their identity or orientation was a result of the abuse they experienced, a new report by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse found. This severely damaged their self-identity and mental health, with some survivors being told they had brought the sexual abuse upon themselves.
‘Engagement with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning + victims and survivors’ found LGBTQ+ children face specific challenges that make them vulnerable to child sexual abuse, with additional barriers making it difficult to disclose, access support or form adult relationships.
Most victims and survivors the Inquiry spoke to said they experienced confusion, frustration or difficulty with understanding their own sexual orientation or gender identity as a result of the sexual abuse. For many this was made much more difficult because of the myths, stereotypes and attitudes in society.
“Stigma and myths have been very prominent…There is far too much emphasis on the survivor and victim blaming and little understanding of LGBTQ+ lived experiences. This leaves the survivor feeling unheard and disheartened which makes seeking help much harder.”
LGBTQ+ victim and survivor
The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training in learning disability and autism has been signed into law with royal assent as part of the Government’s Health and Social Care Act 2022.
This followed Baroness Sheila Hollins tabling a successful amendment to the Bill, which was accepted by government.
Mencap will continue to do everything we can to support colleagues across government, the NHS and social care sectors with the successful national rollout of this vital training, and the Code of Practice the Health and Care Act 2022 provides for, which will ultimately save lives.
Charity Commission case exposes failures at British Pakistani Christians Limited
The Charity Commission has criticised the trustees of failing to ensure proper safeguarding measures were in place at the charity, and for their poor oversight of the charity’s governance. The regulator has cautioned the trustees to take steps to improve the charity’s governance and management. The regulator has now issued further formal advice to the trustees, requiring them to address outstanding concerns around the charity’s handling of conflicts of interest.
Worthy of Note
1. Former manager of children’s home jailed
The former manager of a children's home jailed for historical child sexual abuse "ruined the lives of many young men", the chief constable has said. Joseph Marshall, 85, was sentenced to six years on Friday for abusing boys at Knottfield in Douglas between 1974 and 1982. Gary Roberts said it was "hard to overstate" the damage the "very dangerous sex offender" had caused Marshall's victims "might now see some closure", he added.
The serial abuser was convicted of three indecent assaults and two counts of gross indecency against two boys aged under 16 following a trial at Douglas Courthouse in December. He had previously been jailed in 1992 for 13 offences of indecent assault against other boys at the home. Mr Roberts said he had "no doubt at all" that more children had been abused by Marshall, and that it was "never too late" for them to come forward. In a statement issued through the charity Victim Support Isle of Man, one of those who fell prey to Marshall said: "A guilty verdict is not just for the crimes he committed against me, but a guilty verdict is for the crimes he committed against every single victim he made. "I felt believed as soon as I had given my interview to the police and being believed was the biggest part for me. "Responding to criticism by Deemster Bernard Richmond QC about evidence he gave to a Tynwald inquiry into Knottfield prior to the criminal proceedings, Mr Roberts said "to all intents and purposes the book had closed on Marshall" at that time. "What's also important to note is that inquiry by Tynwald brought out more victims,” he added.
2. Safeguarding complaints at after-school clubs
Noel Titheradge writes:
“ Dozens of allegations of safeguarding failures in after-school clubs - including assaults, neglect and sexual abuse - have been revealed by BBC News.
More than 80 referrals have been made about clubs in school grounds in the past five years, according to information requests.
In one incident, an eight-year-old boy had to clean his younger sister after she soiled herself. The Department for Education says every child should feel safe in after-school clubs.
Parents rely on breakfast and after-school clubs to provide childcare outside of school hours.
Many after-school clubs are not regulated as providers do not need to register with Ofsted unless they offer childcare for more than two hours. Providers can register voluntarily with Ofsted but only 10% are inspected a year, meaning they may not be inspected for nearly a decade.
BBC News has learned of 84 safeguarding referrals made about incidents at after-school clubs in the past five years in England and Wales from freedom of information requests to local authorities.
A Department for Education spokesperson said in a statement:
"Every child should feel safe in education, including at after-school clubs. That's why local agencies can use a range of legislative powers - including safeguarding, health and safety, and premises regulations powers - to protect children from harm."”
3. Advertising to Children Research Briefing
Advertisements and promotions are a feature of modern life. In the UK, the content of advertising, sales promotions and direct marketing across all media, including marketing on websites, is self-regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). It does this by enforcing the Advertising Codes; there are separate codes for non-broadcast and broadcast advertisements. All adverts are expected to be “legal, decent, honest and truthful”.
The Advertising Codes contain strict rules to protect children (and young people) from potentially misleading, harmful, or offensive material. This is because children are less likely to be able to understand and process commercial messages in advertisements than adults. Children are also often more likely to be adversely affected by “inappropriate, scary or offensive images”. There are, for example, advertising rules to:
- prohibit advertisements from depicting children in hazardous situations or encouraging them to engage in dangerous behaviour; and
- prevent advertisements from undermining parental authority or placing unfair pressure on children to buy products.
The advertising rules are regularly reviewed and updated by the ASA.
This briefing paper looks at the current advertising regulatory system in the UK, with specific reference to advertising to children. It draws heavily on the information provided by the ASA on its website. This paper also considers some specific issues relating to advertising and children, for example, the use of sexualised imagery, advertising of age restricted products, betting and gaming, and advertisements placed close to schools or play areas. The final sections of this paper consider the issue of HFSS foods advertising and childhood obesity.
4. Fundamental shift in children’s social care set out by an independent review of children’s social care
Vulnerable children and families in England will be better supported by a fundamental shift in how children’s social care services are delivered. The government is setting out initial new measures in response to recommendations set out in Josh MacAlister’s independent review of children’s social care, which looked at how children and their families interact with the care system and how it can be improved. Families most at risk will be supported to stay safely together, with a focus on early help, preventing them from reaching crisis point.
As part of this, the government has revealed plans to set up a new National Implementation Board of sector experts and people with experience of leading transformational change and the care system. It will also boost efforts to recruit more foster carers, increase support for social workers including on leadership, recruitment and retention, improve data sharing, and implement a new evidence-based framework for all the professionals working in children’s social care. Seven areas of England will also receive funding to set up family hubs which offer early help and intervention, in recognition of the importance of strong, joined up local services as a foundation for an improved social care system. Local authorities will also receive funding for schemes that support vulnerable children to remain
5. New internet phishing alert
Source: Bona Vacantia and Government Legal Department published on this site Monday 16 May 2022.
New emails and letters appearing to be from employees of the Government Legal Department/Bona Vacantia Division are in circulation
We are currently aware of emails being sent from bogus email addresses purporting to be from members of the Bona Vacantia Division. These emails are not from the @governmentlegal.gov.uk address and may ask for confirmation of personal information or provide false links or download attachments.
Do not give out private information (such as bank details or passwords), download attachments or click on any links in emails if you are not sure they are genuine.
We are also aware of emails giving the recipient opportunity to claim ownerless properties and funds through the Bona Vacantia Division. Neither GLD nor BV Division will ever issue emails or letters making such offers. If you receive such correspondence, you should treat it with suspicion.
We would recommend that you do not respond to any such offer and do not click on any links in the email.
Warning: Holiday booking scams jump by a third – here is how to avoid them
Source: Money Saving Expert website.
“Holidaymakers should watch out as new data from Lloyds Bank shows travel-related scams have increased by a third over the year to March, with fraudsters targeting those booking package holidays, flights, hotels and caravans. Here’s how to try and avoid them - and what to do if you've been scammed.
The warning comes as data from the high street bank shows that fraud related to flight bookings was up 13% in the 12 months leading up to March, while scams linked to hotel bookings increased 18%. Package holiday scams rose 17% but the biggest jump involved caravan holiday bookings at 108%. On average, victims lost £1,231 to hotel scams, while package holiday victims lost £2,342.
Lloyds offers some tips below, but you can also see 30 ways to stop scams guide for more info.
Lloyds says a lot of these scams begin with fake adverts displayed on search engines and social media. Many of these ads make people believe they are going to a trustworthy and legitimate website but it can often be a scammer impersonating genuine firms.
Some fraudsters also use real accommodation listing sites before contacting people and convincing them to transfer money directly to them rather than through the platform.
To avoid scams when making a booking for your package holiday, hotel, flights or caravan, Lloyds and MoneySavingExpert.com suggest following the tips below:
- Don't trust a deal that's offered directly to you out of the blue. Scammers put adverts for fake holidays on social media but can also directly contact customers by email or text pretending to be from a real company. If you've been personally contacted by someone (or a company) advertising a holiday then make sure to check it's legitimate as it may well be a scam.
- Scrutinise the company's contact details. Is there an address and a working phone number? Can you easily get through to customer service? Are they responsive? Is there an online chat? A lack of working contact details could indicate a scam.
- Check the firm is ABTA or ATOL protected. Take your time when placing a booking and ensure what you're purchasing is protected. If a company is ABTA or ATOL protected, then you should be financially protected if anything happens. See our Holiday rights guide for more info on ABTA and ATOL protection. With ATOL, you can check it's legitimate by finding the reference number on it - this is usually four to five digits long and it may include a 'T' at the start - and then inserting this or the name of the travel company into the free ATOL database. Make sure you get an ATOL certificate when you book a protected trip. The process is the same for ABTA as it is for ATOL, so you just need to input the five digit reference number or the company's name into the ABTA database.
- Protect how you pay. The safest way to pay for a holiday is via debit or credit card. If you're being asked to pay another way, such as via a bank or wire transfer, it could be a scam. If you pay this way and things go wrong, you're less likely to get your money back. Paying by credit card or debit card through a legitimate company will give you more rights. See our Section 75 guide and Visa, Mastercard & Amex chargeback guide for more info.
What do to if you've been scammed
Below is a checklist of what you should do if you think you've been scammed:
- If you've already responded to a scam, end all further communication immediately.
- Call your bank directly and cancel any recurring payments – for speed and ease, you can alternatively call the new 159 hotline.
- Report the scam to the police through Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or report a scam anonymously on the Action Fraud website. If you're in Scotland, report a scam through Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000 or on the Advice Direct Scotland You can also report scams to Police Scotland on 101.
- If you wish to seek further help, contact Citizens Advice Scams Action via the Citizens Advice website, or call its Scams Action helpline on 0808 250 5050.”
The Reason to Remain Vigilant in All Aspects of Safeguarding
Police special constable sentenced for online child sexual abuse offences
A man from Wakefield has been given a two-year suspended sentence for posting online messages fantasising about abusing children and possessing thousands of child sexual abuse images.
Jack Mallinson, 26, a trainee solicitor and special police constable with West Yorkshire Police, was identified by NCA investigators after he used instant messaging app Wickr to send encrypted content.
Officers found 2,263 indecent images of children (IIOC) on Mallinson’s mobile phone in categories A-C (A being the most severe) and 14 extreme pornographic bestiality images on his gaming laptop.
Mallinson was charged with three counts of making indecent images of children, one count of possessing such images, one count of possessing extreme pornographic bestiality images and one count of publishing obscene posts.
Increased mental health support for children and young people
Thousands of young people will benefit from additional mental health support in their schools, colleges and universities, the government has announced.
To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, the Department for Education has announced a further £7 million for schools and colleges to train a senior mental health lead, bringing the total amount of funding for 2022/23 to £10 million.
Senior Mental Health Leads will play an important role in helping schools and colleges embed a culture of openness when it comes to mental health, whilst also forging stronger links with local health services to ensure young people can access the right level of support.
The Government’s green paper committed to offering training to all eligible settings in England by 2025, and new figures released today show that the Government is well on track to achieve this. Over 8,000 schools and colleges claimed a £1,200 grant to train a senior mental health lead between October 2021 and March 2022, which includes half of all state-funded secondary schools in England – well above ambitions to reach one third of settings.
The new investment will mean up to 8,000 more schools and colleges – the equivalent of two-thirds of eligible settings - will be able to apply for a training grant by the end of this financial year, which will support them to promote and support the mental health and wellbeing of all pupils.
Schools can find further information on how to register for a senior mental health lead training grant here.
The transparency data release on the ‘Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Implementation Programme’ is available here.