Safeguarding News August 2021
Welcome to the SAFE news roundup for August 2021.
With the commencement of the new school term and workers returning to their desks in offices in towns and cities, life is beginning to take on some normality whilst maintaining a sense of vigilance around personal safety. SAFE has an array of fantastic live online training courses and dates available that will allow your team members and staff to stay safe whilst updating their safeguarding knowledge and certificates.
Click on the relevant link for further information.
Safer Recruitment Training - Online course plus 2 hour live Zoom session.
Safeguarding : Trustees' Legal Responsibilities - Online course plus a 1.5 hour live Zoom session.
Standard Child and Adult Safeguarding - Online course plus a 1.5 hour live Zoom session.
Leading on Child and Adult Safeguarding Training - Online course plus a 1.5 hour live Zoom session.
New FAQ Page
SAFE Free Resource Hubs
SAFEcic's free hub resources by setting have been relocated to their new home and are now available through the SAFEcic.co.uk main menu. Alternately you can bookmark the links below:
Legislation & Bills
Statutory and Good Practice Guidance
As a result of a public consultation Statutory Keeping Children Safe in Education 2020 has been updated Statutory Keeping Children Safe in Education 2021. Sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges 2018 has also been updated Sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges 2021
2. The National Referral Mechanism (NRM) launches Devolving child decision making pilot programme: general guidance . The NRM is the UK’s framework for identifying victims of modern slavery and human trafficking.
The Pilot Programme forms part of a wider Transformation Programme of activity to identify sustainable longer-term options for the NRM. The purpose of the Pilot Programme is to test whether determining if a child is a victim of modern slavery within existing safeguarding structures is a more appropriate model for making modern slavery decisions for children. This approach will enable decisions about whether a child is a victim of modern slavery to be made by those involved in their care and ensure the decisions made are closely aligned with the provision of local, needs-based support and any law enforcement response.
Reports, Reviews, Resources, Research and Inquiries
These are Case Reviews added to the repository, where the overview reports are available to read, for August 2021:
Emily was the youngest of six children and was only 6 weeks old when she was taken to hospital with swelling to the head.
She had suffered serious, potential life threatening injuries, or which, may have long term consequences for development.
At the time of the report a criminal investigation was still trying to determine the cause of her injuries.
The review covers the issues known to, and any action taken by, organisations and professionals involved with the family and which might impact on the health and welfare of the children.
For example: mothers use of alcohol, domestic violence, non-attendance at medical appointments and older children’s behaviour at school.
2. A joint domestic homicide review and serious case review: overview report: Maria aged 47: Luis aged 10: Carlos aged 7: found murdered by Juan aged 57 who also took his own life: London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames Community Safety Partnership. 2021
The report said the panel concluded that the date a large sum of money was required to continue the rental on the house, along with an overall picture of financial destitution for the family was significant. It is more than a coincidence that it is the same day of the fatal incidents. It may also be relevant that Juan gambled 23 times on the National Lottery (on-line, using the Lloyds bank card that only he used) in the eight weeks prior to the deaths and was the second highest outgoing in that period.
The story of Child Sexual Abuse at a school in Venezuela that Juan cites as the reason for killing his sons is not supported by any other source.
The family did not come to the attention of any agency or organisation connected with safeguarding during their time in the UK. None of the clinicians, teaching staff or parents who met the family through the school, or their close family members, resident around the world had any reason to be concerned. Their lifestyle gave no hint of financial pressure.
Child R aged 6 was seen at Nottingham City Hospital with a serious head injury and significant bruising he later required neurosurgery.
Over nine months there had been injuries and a lot of bruising seen and the child had disclosed in school about being hurt by his mother’s partner. Whilst there was indications of non accidental injury this was attributed by mother’s poor supervision. Multi- agency procedures were not carried out effectively and communication of terminology made for misunderstanding. This child, attended school, was seen by GP’s and was allocated a social worker but delays in making decisions and completing risk assessments put the child at risk.
Mother’s partner was sentenced to 9 years for grievous bodily harm and the mother charged with neglect.
There are many lessons to be learnt from this review and the overview report covers these and the recommendations to be undertaken.
PS received life threatening injuries at the hands of an adult perpetrator. The assault was captured on CCTV and images captured suggested it was premeditated.
The perpetrator was given a prison sentence and an additional term on license. The perpetrator was the son of a member of the Care Home staff where PS was living. This member of staff had their employment terminated with immediate effect and is awaiting trail.
PS had a history of abuse and disruption as a child and was himself given to violent outbursts and self harm episodes. Time with grandparents and foster carers all broke down. He was not diagnosed with mental health issues and he was subsequently placed out of area where the assault took place.
This review details the complex issues associated with this young person and difficulties in communication and decision making with himself and his family being included.
Of the events and lessons learnt sexual exploitation was highlighted with the need for training in spotting and responding to signs.
Jason was 3 months old and co-sleeping with a sibling and his mother. When his mother rang the ambulance he was already dead.
Whilst this was recorded as a sudden unexpected death of an infant (SUDI) The review reports the summarising of the chair of the initial child protection conference, which discussed information from the services participating in the review.
The chair stated:
“It has become clear at the meeting today based on all information shared that there are multiple issues which may be impacting on mother (sic) and father’s (sic) ability to parent their children safely and meet their needs appropriately long term. We have heard extensive evidence of substance and alcohol misuse, domestic violence, parental mental health issues, criminal and anti-social behaviours and chaotic family functioning. It is extremely worrying that despite the level of social work involvement over the years that all of this information was only learned by professionals involved today at the conference. Although it was a single incident criminal allegation that led to the conference today, professionals must not be side-tracked and realise that there a multitude of issues which expose all three children to a combination of risks. Alongside police history about both parents, Child 1’s (sic) presentation, poor school attendance and the missed health appointments have been discussed as well as the history of disguised compliance from mother who has historically used lots of different ways to detract professionals involved from the issues that are impacting on parenting capacity and causing a risk of harm to her children. Such tactics include numerous complaints about professionals and requests for changes of professionals being upheld. It is extremely important that this is considered in future assessment and planning and the children’s needs always remain the priority and the focus of assessment and intervention”.
Taken from page 10 of the overview report
JS was 6 months old when taken to hospital by the parents because the baby was not sleeping or feeding properly. A urine sample taken identified that JS had morphine in their system.
Both parent were arrested and the father was subsequently convicted of willful neglect of JS.
Mother was 16 and father was 18 at the time of conception of this unplanned pregnancy.
The learning and recommendations made can be read in the overview report.
Child A’s death was both tragic and unexpected when 4 weeks old. Mother was a single parent with 2 other children and there were issues regarding mothers alcohol use. However the report states that the death could not have been predicted and at that time there was no social care involvement. However the review has highlighted findings which raised questions around decisions and practice with 6 recommendations regarding those findings. These findings and recommendations are described at the end on the overview review.
8. New research from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has found that 88 percent of victims and survivors have experienced an impact on their mental health as a result of the sexual abuse, with over a third reporting depression. One in 10 disclosed the sexual abuse they experienced as a child for the first time when they spoke to the Inquiry’s Truth Project.
More than 5,600 victims and survivors of child sexual abuse have now shared their experiences with the Truth Project in England and Wales. Of these, 5,440 personal accounts have been analysed for research purposes.
Victims and survivors spoke of sexual abuse taking place in the family home and across a range of institutions such as schools, religious institutions and foster care, as well as in sports locations and custody. Most victims and survivors said the sexual abuse they experienced started when they were of primary school age. Almost all described some kind of impact as a result of the sexual abuse; as well as mental health, this included victims and survivors’ relationships (54 percent), school or employment (42 percent) and their physical health (27 percent). Nearly half reported having an illness or condition that affects their everyday lives.
The majority of survivors also reported other forms of abuse to the Inquiry, with physical abuse most commonly described; accounts mentioned being punched, choked or dragged by the hair. Psychological abuse, including fear and humiliation, was reported by 29 percent of those who came forward, whilst emotional abuse or entrapment was the third most commonly experienced. Most victims and survivors did not tell anyone about the sexual abuse at the time it was happening.
Alongside the research, today the Inquiry has released its quarterly statistics, providing an update across all areas of its work as well as illustrating the Inquiry’s engagement with victims and survivors over time. A further 80 Experiences Shared with the Truth Project have also been published. Survivors spoke about the barriers they faced in coming forward, describing fears of stigma and not being believed. Many said that even when they tried to report the sexual abuse, they were ignored, threatened, or made to feel it was their fault.
Worthy of Note
After the local authority dismissed a first assault as “normal exploration”, further assaults allegedly happened on school premises.
Initially, Joel was sexually assaulted and threatened by a classmate outside of school. His mother told staff what had happened but she was assured that he would be safe at school as the assault had occurred elsewhere. As a result, Joel and the other child stayed in the same class.
Joel’s behaviour and emotional state deteriorated over the following months and after his mother held another meeting with the school it was agreed that Joel should have counselling. During the meeting she asked whether Joel and the other child were ever alone together and whether social services ought to be involved. The family later called social services themselves and discovered that the incident had not been reported to them.
However, the local authority took the view that the incident outside of school was normal exploration between children and wrote to Joel’s mother saying that her anxiety over the matter was likely impacting upon her son. The school confirmed that in their view the monitoring in place was sufficient.
After Joel had his first counselling session he told his mother that there had been further assaults by the same child, including an incident in the school bathrooms.
Joel was then removed from the school and after his mother was unhappy with the school’s response to her further complaints, she instructed Leigh Day who issued a civil claim for damages against the school and local authority. It was alleged that the failure to conduct a thorough investigation and/or put in place sufficient measures to prevent further sexual assaults from taking place was negligent and a breach of Joel’s human rights.
The school and local authority conceded that there had been a breach of duty but did not admit liability. A five-figure settlement was eventually reached and was approved by the High Court.
Andrew Lord, associate solicitor in the abuse team at Leigh Day, represented Joel. He said:“Joel’s case is yet another harrowing example of children being failed by educators and unnecessarily placed at risk of sexual assault by their peers. Joel ought to have been protected from harm during the school day, with appropriate measures put in place to ensure that any foreseeable risk of harm was minimised. The choices taken by those in authority were questionable, and ultimately, they have led to Joel receiving compensation for the assault which he endured.
“In recent months the issue of sexual harassment and assault amongst pupils has gained wider awareness thanks to efforts of several campaigners. However, the time for concrete action is long overdue. Children like Joel should be free from any abuse, and they deserve to feel safe and secure whilst undertaking their education.”
Andrew Lord represents a number of families whose children have been impacted by peer-on-peer abuse in school. His case on behalf of “Bella” gained widespread media attention, and he was recently featured on the Sky News Podcast talking about the issue of sexual harassment and violence amongst pupils.
Source: Leigh Day Solicitors
2. Recent media coverage has reported that Action Fraud is going to be closed down, misinterpreting the Beating Crime Plan. This has caused alarm to victims of fraud and to staff who work to prevent fraud and protect people from becoming victims of crime.
The City of London Police is the national policing lead for fraud and works closely with partners and other law enforcement agencies to provide a linked up, national policing response.
Action Fraud is the national reporting centre hosted by the City of London Police. It receives reports of fraud and cyber crime and is the first national system for fraud reporting anywhere in the world. Reports from Action Fraud are assessed by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), linking similar reports and identifying viable lines of enquiry for police forces and other law enforcement agencies to investigate.
“As the lead police force for fraud, we know that fraud affects more people than any other crime and is not victimless. We see the effects of fraud on victims every day, not just the financial distress it causes, but also the emotional impact.
“We are committed to providing the best service possible to victims of fraud, either by bringing criminals to justice or by using the intelligence that the public bring to Action Fraud to take down scam websites and phone numbers, preventing people from falling victim to unscrupulous criminals.
“I want to reassure the public that the Action Fraud system will remain in operation whilst we procure a new fraud and cybercrime reporting and analysis service. This new service is being procured in recognition of advances to technology and growing demand on the service. In the mean time we will continue to make improvements to the existing system.”
The procurement of a new system of reporting will benefit from more up-to-date available technologies which can help with increased demand. Work is already well-underway to create a new and improved system for reporting fraud and analysing those reports.
The system will be designed and procured carefully, with input at every stage from those that use the system. There are currently a number of different companies who believe they have the best solution for a modernised service.
The threat from fraud is increasing. Fraud reports have risen by 27 per cent in the past five years whilst resourcing in policing has decreased. However, City of London Police is actively working with police forces and partners across the UK to improve the policing response and ensure that the capability and capacity to tackle fraud is grown. This has included investment into new leadership roles and technology, providing specialist training for police officers and also increased numbers of officers dedicated to fraud, thanks to the policing uplift programme.
The City of London Police has a vital co-ordination role. It acts to support other forces and partner organisations in supplying expertise and operational support in bringing criminals who are intent on defrauding the public to justice. Additionally, it has a vital role in preventing people from becoming victims of fraud: as a result of reports into the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS) from the public, a tool launched in April 2020 with support from the City of London Police, more than 97,500 web addresses were taken down between April 2020 and June 2021.
The City of London Police also plays a vital role in supporting victims of fraud. Action Fraud’s National Economic Crime Victim Care Unit (NECVCU) supports victims following a crime and provides them with bespoke and specialist advice to help them better protect themselves from fraud in the future. The unit has been engaging with victims since 2015, including a large number of vulnerable individuals. Out of the victims the unit has engaged with so far, less than 1 per cent have reappeared on Action Fraud’s system as a repeat victim.
It is part of a scheme called Operation Encompass which is being piloted in 60 schools in County Down.
Before each school day, the PSNI will tell schools if any pupils have been affected by an incident of violence in the home in the previous 24 hours.
The scheme has been in operation in police forces in England and Wales for a number of years.
It will eventually be rolled out across all schools in Northern Ireland.
The scheme is a partnership between the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), the Safeguarding Board Northern Ireland (SBNI), the Education Authority (EA) and schools.
It has come into effect due to new domestic abuse laws being introduced in Northern Ireland.
Incidents of domestic abuse and violence in Northern Ireland have spiralled in recent years.
Operation Encompass aims to help get children affected by domestic violence immediate emotional support in school.
If the PSNI are called to an incident and a child is present, they will inform school staff responsible for safeguarding before the start of the next school day.
The pilot project involves 60 schools within the Downpatrick PSNI district.
Operation Encompass was first set up in England in 2011 by primary school head teacher Elisabeth Carney-Haworth and her husband, David, who is a former police officer.
It started after Mrs Carney-Haworth noticed the behaviour of a six-year-old boy at her school had changed "literally overnight" and it was not until months later she found out he had witnessed a violent domestic incident at home.
Mrs Carney-Haworth told BBC News NI that the scheme was "incredibly simple" but could make a big difference in providing children with help and support.
In 2020 alone, more than 143,000 calls were made to schools in England and Wales by police forces taking part in Operation Encompass.
"Every single incident that the police attend that they class as a domestic abuse incident where there are children attached to either the perpetrator or the adult victim then that is reported to the school prior to the start of the next school day," Mrs Carney-Haworth said.
"The information is shared with the person in school charged with safeguarding but everybody in the school will understand how domestic abuse can impact on children.
"Right from the moment that child walks through those school gates it's somebody being there to greet them with a smile, to let that child know that they're pleased they're there, that they are noticing them and that they are there to support them.
4. A former BBC Young Composer of the Year has been given a suspended sentence for stealing clothed images of women from social media and uploading them to pornographic sites without their permission.
Alexander Woolf, a teacher and composer at Cambridge University, downloaded pictures of 15 victims from social media before posting them on pornographic sites and social media threads with sexually explicit and derogatory comments. None of the pictures were pornographic or indecent, but he asked users to Photoshop his victims’ heads onto pornographic actresses’ bodies, which were then posted on adult websites.
One of Woolf’s victims was alerted to the posts in January 2021 by an anonymous email warning her that her picture was found on social media site Reddit and, then in March, on a pornographic website without her consent. The anonymous user suggested that the person who had posted the material was Woolf.
The victim then found other pictures posted by Woolf and alerted other victims, who felt very distressed by seeing their images. The victims said Woolf’s actions have caused significant upset, distress and suffering.
“Woolf’s behaviour is severely depraved and reprehensible, especially as a person who is in a position of trust working at a university, and has had a drastic impact on his victims.
“We will always look to prosecute the sexual exploitation of victims and this prosecution is a clear message that this morally repugnant action will not be tolerated.
“I am especially pleased that Woolf has to delete all these pictures from his devices and will not be able to contact his victims ever again.”
Woolf admitted 15 charges of sending by means of a public electronic communications network messages that were grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing nature. He was given 20 weeks imprisonment, suspended for two years, at Thames Magistrates’ Court on Monday (August 16). Woolf was also ordered to undertake a rehabilitation activity for 40 days, 40 sessions of a court-accredited sexual offending programme and 150 hours of unpaid work.
In addition, Woolf has to pay each of his 15 victims £100 compensation, as well as £85 costs and £128 victim surcharge. All victims’ pictures have to be deleted from his devices and he was given an indefinite restraining order prohibiting any contact with the victims.
Woolf won the BBC Young Composer competition in 2012.
The CPS takes crimes of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) very seriously, which include harassment of this manner.
5. On 30 December 2020, David Chambers visited the home of his 92-year-old victim at a time when Tier 3 restrictions prohibited social contact between different households. He claimed that he was there to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to the victim, exploiting her expectation of eligibility under the vaccination programme - as a result of her age, she was part of a high-risk group. Chambers pretended to administer a vaccine and then demanded a cash payment of around £140, to cover the vaccine cost. The victim paid an amount to Chambers. She later realised that he must have been a fraudster and reported the matter to the police.
On 4 January 2021, Chambers returned to the victim’s home and demanded a further £100 in payment of the first dose of the vaccine. She wisely refused to pay, on this occasion and alerted the police once Chambers had left her house.
City of London Police used CCTV and phone location evidence to identify Chambers as the perpetrator of the offences. He was arrested on the 13 of January.
Chambers, 33, was sentenced to a total of 42 months at Kingston Crown Court today. On 22 June, Chambers had pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by false representation and one count of assault by battery.
Maryam Arnott, for the CPS, said: “David Chambers has a criminal history of exploiting elderly people. On this occasion, he used fears generated by the pandemic to cynically extract funds from a 92-year-old woman. He also placed someone in a high-risk category at risk of COVID transmission, at a time when Tier 3 restrictions were in force.
“The CPS and City of London Police presented a strong case against Chambers, and he eventually admitted being responsible for all three offences.
"The CPS is committed to bringing fraudsters, including those who have exploited the COVID-19 pandemic for their own gain, to justice.”
6. British Gymnastics chairman Mike Darcey has apologised to the gymnastics community for failing to act on allegations of mistreatment within the sport.
The governing body was criticised in 2020 after a number of ex-gymnasts say they trained under a "culture of fear".
"We must do better to ensure there is no place for abuse in our sport," he wrote in an open letter on Wednesday.
"We have let you down, and we are deeply sorry for that."
"We must make it clear to the whole membership that abusive practices including training on injuries, bullying, shouting, and weight-shaming are not acceptable," he added.
"Our engagement with those raising concerns has not been good enough."
An independent review into allegations began last year but Darcey said changes will be made before the Whyte Review has been published.
"We are determined and committed to change within British Gymnastics and it is not necessary to wait," he added.
Among the changes, Darcey announced there would be fresh appointments made on the executive board, with the new members having a focus on "safeguarding and integrity, the athlete voice and to bring broader representation from the gymnastics community".
The new members will sit alongside the recently appointed chief executive Sarah Powell.
The former Sport Wales CEO replaced the then chief executive Jane Allen when she retired in 2020 after a decade in charge.
A number of former elite gymnasts, including Olympians Becky and Ellie Downie, Nile Wilson, Ruby Harrold and Amy Tinkler, raised concerns about the treatment and wellbeing of athletes within the British Gymnastics set-up.
The organisation is the subject of a legal claim raised by 37 former athletes who say they were victims of alleged systemic physical and psychological abuse.
Changes and recruitment at the top
Darcey said there will be new appointments in the organisation's safeguarding team, which has had to double in size to deal with the high volume of cases.
He added their work has been "reshaped into three teams, each with a regional responsibility and specific focus on historic, current and complex cases."
They will also be hiring a national welfare officer "to provide better liaison between British Gymnastics and those raising complaints".
In addition to this, there will be a new pathway for athletes and parents to provide feedback.
Darcey's letter concluded by saying the executive team are "committed to fundamentally changing the culture at the heart of British Gymnastics" and acknowledged the anger felt by many within the sport.
1. A new partnership between the Internet Watch Foundation and financial services giant Mastercard will help improve internet safety at a critical moment.
Mastercard has joined the IWF as Members as part of a broader stance the company is taking against the spread of unauthorised and illegal content.
Additionally, Mastercard has made a financial donation to support the IWF’s efforts to find and remove from the internet images and videos of children suffering sexual abuse.
Mastercard recently extended standards for merchants who sell adult content, requiring clear consent from anyone featured in images and controls in place to monitor, block and, where necessary, take down all content as appropriate.
Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive of the IWF, said the new partnership will help make the internet a safer place for everyone.
She said: “We are really pleased to see Mastercard taking a leading role in preventing criminals abusingpayment services on the internet to spread videos and images of the sexual abuse of children.
“We know that, for victims, the abuse doesn’t end once the camera stops and that, for many children, the knowledge that those videos or pictures of their abuse exist haunts them, and prevents them from moving on.
“As a charity, we rely on donations, so the additional help from Mastercard will help our analysts carry on their essential work keeping the internet safe for everyone.”
2. The transition year is up and the Children’s code comes fully into force on 2 September.
It’s a ground breaking code that creates a better internet for children by ensuring online services likely to be accessed by children, respect a child’s rights and freedoms when using their personal data.
As you’d expect it’s already having an impact on these services. Facebook, Google, Instagram, TikTok and others have all made significant changes to their child privacy and safety measures recently.
As the first-of-its kind, it’s also having an influence globally. Members of the US Senate and Congress have called on major US tech and gaming companies to voluntarily adopt the standards in the ICO’s code for children in America. The Data Protection Commission in Ireland is preparing to introduce the Children’s Fundamentals to protect children online, which links closely to the code and follows similar core principles.
Post 2 September the risks to children are not removed overnight, and the work doesn’t stop.
We have identified that currently, some of the biggest risks come from social media platforms, video and music streaming sites and video gaming platforms. In these sectors, children’s personal data is being used and shared, to bombard them with content and personalised service features. This may include inappropriate adverts; unsolicited messages and friend requests; and privacy-eroding nudges urging children to stay online. We’re concerned with a number of harms that could be created as a consequence of this data use, which are physical, emotional and psychological, and financial.
Children’s rights must be respected and we expect organisations to prove that children’s best interests are a primary concern. The code gives clarity on how organisations can use children’s data in line with the law, and we want to see organisations committed to protecting children through the development of designs and services in accordance with the code.
We will be proactive in requiring social media platforms, video and music streaming sites and the gaming industry to tell us how their services are designed in line with the code. We will identify areas where we may need to provide support, or should the circumstances require, we have powers to investigate or audit organisations.
Separately, we are considering how organisations in scope of the Children’s code can tackle age assurance, whether that’s verifying ages or age estimation. The ICO will be formally setting out its position on age assurance in the autumn.
Our commitment to working with other regulators through the Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum (DRCF) will help ensure consistency between the code and the incoming online safety laws that will jointly protect children online.
Ultimately the Children’s code will help industry innovate to ensure that the best interests of the child are a primary concern online and built into the design from the beginning. This will grow the trust between online services, children, parents and society.
The Reason to Remain Vigilant in All Aspects of Safeguarding
1. A Cambridge-educated schoolteacher is facing years in prison for preying on teenage pupils who he groomed into sexual relationships.
Ben Breakwell, 40, brought his twisted fantasies to life as he snared schoolgirls aged just 13 and 14 into illicit relationships, orchestrating secret meetings at his west London flat and the basement of the school where he worked.
The professional tenor singer, who took up teaching at a London secondary school, was caught out when one of the girls was recorded by friends graphically describing sex with Breakwell.
He suggested the girl was repeating stories she had seen on porn websites and the film Fifty Shades of Grey, and insisted when the other girl came forward to accused him that she had invented a “fantasy” love life.
But a jury at Isleworth crown court today found Breakwell guilty of a slew of child sex offences. He will be held in custody until sentencing in October, and is likely to face years in prison.
2. A man who sexually assaulted young children and was actively seeking opportunities to offend again has been convicted of 14 counts of child sexual abuse after a National Crime Agency investigation.
Keats Harvey, a 24-year-old American national, groomed and sexually assaulted four children, the youngest of whom was a toddler.
He was arrested by NCA officers at his home in West Wittering, Chichester, in May 2020.
Harvey had a catalogue of almost 9,000 indecent images of children and 630 prohibited images on his electronic devices, which he had collated between 2015-2020. Of those were 860 category A images (the most severe), 1,290 category B and 6,984 category C.
The NCA uncovered a large number of chat logs and emails in which he had sent and received these images from other likeminded individuals, as well as admitting to having molested three young children.
Investigators subsequently identified four children who had been abused by Harvey, all of whom were under ten-years-old and have since been safeguarded.
On the 29/07/2021 at Hove Crown Court Harvey was found guilty of six counts of possessing indecent images of children (categories A-C), two counts of possessing prohibited images, two counts of taking and one of distributing an indecent photo of a child, two counts of assaulting a child under 13 by touching, and meeting a girl under 16 following grooming.
He will be sentenced at the same court on 8 October 2021.
Benjamin Poole admitted five sexual assault offences and two of wilfully neglecting an individual at an earlier hearing at Chester Crown Court.
The 21-year-old was sentenced to six years in prison on Thursday.
Police said the woman, a resident at a specialist centre in Cheshire, had noticed things were happening to her during epileptic seizures.
In November 2020, she bought an alarm clock with a camera hidden inside, hoping to film what was happening.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said within days she had recorded footage of Poole sexually assaulting her a number of times over a period of 23 minutes while she was having a series of seizures.
Police were called after she showed it to managers at the centre.
In a victim personal statement, the CPS said the woman, in her 20s, had said she had gone from being a happy and positive person to being depressed and anxious, while her epilepsy had worsened since the assault.
Following sentencing, Julie Harrison, a senior lawyer with the CPS, said the offences happened in an environment the woman "should have felt safe, secure, and protected".
"In fact, she was abused by this man whose role it was to care for her when she was at her most vulnerable and who abused her trust in the most despicable way," she said.
Det Con Amelia Stevens said Poole "wrongly believed that the victim would have no recollection of what he had done, but thankfully as a result of her courage and bravery, he is now facing the consequences of his actions.
"While the victim will never be able to forget what happened to her, I hope that the sentence handed to Poole will help to provide some closure."
As well as his prison sentence Poole, of Somerville Street, Crewe, was served with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life.
4. A religious practitioner who sexually assaulted children under the guise of ‘spiritually cleansing' them has been jailed for five years.
Edilson Do Nascimento, 51, was a spiritual leader within the Afro-Brazilian religion, Candomblé, when he used his role as a healer to get close to and sexually assault two teenage boys. Candomblé is an oral tradition with no sacred scriptures.
In one incident Do Nascimento claimed he could help heal a 17-year-old boy’s father who had been suffering with leg pain following a surgery. Do Nascimento did this by carrying out a reiki treatment on the teenage victim rather than the father. During the treatment Do Nascimento sexually assaulted the boy. He told him the pain in his father’s knee would come back if he spoke out about the assault in October 2020.
In another incident Do Nascimento, who had only met his second victim the day before at a Halloween Party, saw the 13-year-old boy changing and went on to sexually assault him. During the assault Do Nascimento told the victim he was carrying out a religious cleansing.
Both assaults took place at his home in Tottenham. Do Nascimento was arrested at his then home address on 2 November 2020 after complaints were made to the police.
Following a trial at Wood Green Crown Court sitting at Hendon Nightingale Court, Do Nascimento was convicted of sexual activity with a child and sexual assault. On Wednesday, 18 August he was sentenced to five years in custody at the same court. He was also given a 10-year sexual harm prevention order and placed on the sex offenders register for life.
Melissa Garner, from the CPS, said: “Edilson Do Nascimento was a sexual predator who hid behind religious, spiritual and healing practices to carry out his attacks on unsuspecting victims.
“Neither of these young victims had consented to being sexually touched.
“During the trial Do Nascimento claimed the victims had misinterpreted his actions or lied. He said he had simply used a technique called hands-on healing, through which ‘universal energy’ could be transferred through the palms of the practitioner to the patient to encourage physical or emotional healing. But the jury did not buy into these excuses and convicted him.
“I would like to highlight the bravery of these young victims for going to the police in difficult circumstances and supporting this prosecution.
“Sexual crimes are some of the most serious and complex cases we prosecute. I hope this case reinforces the message that the CPS will always seek to prosecute sexual offenders where our legal tests are met.”
5. A former primary school deputy head has had his jail sentence increased after more child sex images were found on his devices.
James John Matthews, 43, was originally jailed for two years and nine months in September 2020, for making 33 indecent images of children.
He has been sentenced to an extra 11 months at Jersey's Royal Court after police discovered 172 new images.
Matthews admitted five counts of making and sharing indecent photographs.
Of the additional images found on Matthews' devices, 82 pictures and four videos were in the most serious category.
Police also found Matthews had distributed five category A images of children and one category C image between 2014 and 2015.
He pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent photographs of children, and two counts of distribution.
The additional charges saw Matthews' sentence increased to a total of three years and eight months.
Police first received information about suspected downloads on Matthews' devices in December 2019.
A five-month investigation found 33 indecent images of children and he was charged on 11 May 2020.
Matthews, who worked at the island's St John's Primary School, also pleaded guilty to sending messages of an obscene and indecent nature in 2016.
Following the latest sentencing, Matthews will be placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years instead of the previous seven, starting from his first sentencing in September 2020.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined Yes Consumer Solutions Limited (YCSL) £170,000 for making 188,493 unsolicited direct marketing calls to customers registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS).
The calls were made over a 12 month period between October 2018 and October 2019. YCSL sell nuisance call blocking systems, and had the means to check their marketing lists against the TPS, yet still contacted almost 200,000 people without their consent.The ICO began investigating YCSL after receiving 13 complaints from members of the public, who also complained to the TPS. Some of the complaints received included:
“This company called my 87 year old father attempting him to sell him a package which blocks calls, ironic I know. He is registered with TPS.” (sic)
“They wanted me to pay £1.50 per week to stop nuisance calls, I told them I was registered on TPS, they said they would ring back.” (sic)
“They've called 5 to 6 times, twice today. We've said that we weren't interested and not to call but they still do. When my wife said we’d report them they claimed they couldn't be reported” (sic)
Contacting people who have been registered with the TPS for longer than 28 days is against electronic marketing laws, known as Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR).
Andy Curry, ICO Head of Investigations, said:
“People who register with the TPS do not expect to then receive nuisance calls, particularly not ones selling nuisance call blockers.
“Yes Consumer Solutions Limited should have known that they needed to check their marketing lists against the TPS. They had the means to do so. That is basic good practice.
“We hope this fine shows the importance of reporting nuisance calls, texts and emails to us. Every complaint matters, and we will continue to take action to stop nuisance marketers.”
Members of the public who believe they have been the victim of nuisance texts, calls or emails, should report them to the ICO, get in touch via live chat or call our helpline on 0303 123 1113.