Safeguarding News October 2022
Safeguarding Rapid Review Service: Outline
Taking just two hours management time via Zoom or Teams, SAFEcic's Safeguarding Rapid Reviews are ideal for all sectors including Ofsted, CQC and Charity Commission regulated organisations.
Our Safeguarding Rapid Reviews are a proven, cost-effective and efficient way for busy managers, directors and trustees to quickly and easily gain external, expert insight and support to help their organisation attain the highest level of safeguarding culture, policy, procedures and practice.
Each Rapid Review includes the preparation of a high-level assessment report and a RAGGED (Red, Amber, Green) action plan to efficiently and cost effectively address any issues identified.
At SAFEcic, we are experts in safeguarding and have over twenty years' experience in identifying and addressing safeguarding issues. Rather than relying on time consuming paperwork, each rapid review combines our expertise in safeguarding with your management team's existing knowledge of procedures and practices within your organisation.
Delivered by one of SAFEcic's multi-agency safeguarding experts, Rapid Reviews assess your organisation's safeguarding culture by scrutinising:
- Context of Work: the relevant regulatory requirements across the UK and overseas, emerging risks, considerations, impact
- Structure:responsibilities, leadership, accountability, Safeguarding Leads, resilience.
- Policy:safeguarding, eSafety, Code of Conduct, whistleblowing
- Recruitment and Training: legal requirements, safer recruitment processes, training strategy and delivery
- Safeguarding Practice:client, beneficiary, student and/or patient engagement, supervision, lone working, transport, photography, home visits)
- Partnerships:statutory, private and charity sectors
- Safeguarding Concerns:procedures
- Recording and Retentionconfidentiality, consent, Data Protection, information sharing
- Other issues for the organisation: including, as relevant, buildings and venues, communication, ethical fundraising, events, Health and Safety, serious incidents
all in just one two hour information gathering session, with RAGGED action plan usually delivered within 5 working days.
Charities: £300; Educational: £400; and Commercial: £900.
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Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022
Better protection for victims under pre-charge bail reforms
Victims of crimes like domestic abuse and sexual assault will be better protected following arrests of perpetrators under new provisions collectively known as ‘Kay’s Law’, Safeguarding Minister Mims Davis announced last week.
The reforms, which will come into force this week, will mean police have a duty to take into account the views of victims before releasing someone on bail. Police will be encouraged to use pre-charge bail instead of releasing suspects under investigation, where it is necessary and proportionate.
‘Kay’s Law’ is named after Kay Richardson, who was tragically murdered by her estranged husband after he was released under investigation, following his arrest for sexual offences against Kay. In 2019, the government launched a review of pre-charge bail legislation which led to the reforms being implemented this week, including the new duty which aims to provide better protection for victims like Kay. The measures were introduced to support victims, bring perpetrators to justice and protect women and girls across the country. This includes the 'ENOUGH’ campaign to tackle violence against women and girls, the second phase of which has launched 25 October2022.
The campaign aims to provide bystanders with a range of safe ways to intervene if they witness an incident of violence against women and girls, ranging from sexual harassment on the street, public transport or at work, to unwanted touching, sharing intimate images of someone without their consent and coercive control in a relationship.
Following the publication of the government’s Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy 2021, the government launched the ‘ENOUGH’ campaign in March 2022.
The second phase of the campaign includes television adverts, billboards, social media and radio advertising which highlight different forms of violence against women and girls and the simple acts that anyone can take to challenge perpetrators of abuse. One person can make a difference. The Enough campaign will make a difference.
Through the campaign, the department is working with organisations involved in the night time economy and fitness industry, like gyms, as these are places where violence against women and girls can often occur.
The violence against women and girls Enough campaign has information and examples of how to intervene safely if you witness violence against women and girls. It also provides information on support services, how to report violence to the police and offers guidance for individuals worried about their own behaviour.
Over the coming weeks, the website will include a dedicated page for teachers with educational materials for use in schools on violence against women and girls.
The campaign has been developed with an advisory group of over 40 voluntary sector organisations, survivors and academics who have given their expert insight.
Reports, Reviews, Inquiries and Consultations
The Church of England has completed a review of more than 75,000 files, some dating back to the 1940s The Past Cases Review 2 (PCR2) was run in all Church of England dioceses between 2019 - 2022.
The Past Cases Review 1 (PCR1) was commissioned because of several Church of England clergy and church officers being charged with sexual offences against children. PCR1 was conducted between 2007 and 2009. In May 2016 concerns were raised regarding the judgements presented from PCR1. An Independent Scrutiny Team concluded that whilst the review was well motivated and thoughtfully planned, limitations existed in relation to its execution. As a result, Past Cases Review 2 (PCR2) was commissioned by the Archbishops’ Council in 2019 as part of the overall commitment to improving the way in which the Church responds to allegations and concerns.
The review has found 383 new cases which are now all being actively managed by local safeguarding leads under the House of Bishops guidance. These are cases that were identified by independent reviewers as requiring further assessment by today’s safeguarding standards and, where necessary, further action.
These cover a range of cases, from those resulting in referrals to statutory authorities, to failures to carry out best practice. Reviewers found allegations were often dealt with informally, without appropriate investigations or records or referrals to the appropriate diocesan safeguarding professionals.
The independent reviewers found that of the 383 new cases 168 related to children, 149 to vulnerable adults, with 27 recorded as both and 39 with no recorded data.
Data on the alleged perpetrators shows 242 cases related to clergy, with 53 relating to church officers and 41 relating to volunteers whose role included engagement with children.
The report lists 26 national recommendations, developed from the 800 plus recommendations in the 45 local reports. These have been set out thematically and are prioritised under three headings: “Keep doing well”, “Continue to do, but more effectively and consistently”, and “Must improve”.
A survivor and victim centred approach was adopted with the guidance for reviewers compiled from trauma-informed safeguarding practitioners and feedback, both positive and negative, from those previously raising concerns and complaints about their abuse allegations.
The recommendations include a charter to ensure the voices of children are heard and for the NST to develop a charter to set out the minimum standards of service and timescales that should be delivered following a safeguarding disclosure or referral.
An overarching area for improvement was more consistency across the Church’s safeguarding work.
The National Safeguarding Steering Group has accepted the report and is committed to implementing the recommendations. Dioceses, both Lambeth and Bishopthorpe Palaces and the National Safeguarding Team are publishing their own report summaries and actions.
2. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) final report published 20 October 2022
The Inquiry launched 15 investigations into a broad range of institutions identified on the basis of the Chair and Panel’s criteria for selection of investigations.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has now published its concluding Report, which requires urgent action to ensure children are better protected from sexual abuse. It contains 20 recommendations to the government and other institutions. Media material including press release, photos and videos can be accessed from our media pack.
The Report comprises two parts. The first, Victims and Survivors' Voices, reflects the accounts of over 7,000 victims and survivors who participated in the Inquiry’s work. The second part is The Inquiry’s Conclusions and Recommendations for Change.
The publication of this concluding Report follows:
- 325 days of public hearings with 725 witnesses
- Nearly 2.5 million pages of evidence processed
- publication of the Interim report, 19 investigation reports, 24 research reports and eight engagement reports
- Eight seminars
- Over 6,200 victim and survivor experiences shared with the Truth Project
- 87 recommendations for change already made
3. The Home Secretary has today responded to the publication of the final report from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.
The inquiry was established by the government seven years ago to investigate failings of state and non-state organisations over several decades, across England and Wales, to protect and safeguard children from sexual abuse and make recommendations for reform. The report published today makes recommendations for the government and marks the end of the inquiry.
Victims and survivors of child sexual abuse have bravely shared their experiences with the inquiry and shed light on the number of failures by institutions which should have protected them. This afternoon, the Home Secretary extended his personal thanks to everyone who contributed to the inquiry and pledged to make sure that these failings are never repeated.
Last January, the government published the Tackling Child Sexual Abuse Strategy, setting the strategic direction for addressing this terrible crime across the whole system, and putting lessons learnt from the inquiry into practice. This has helped to drive initiatives to increase reporting, target offenders, drive up convictions and provide better support for victims.
The work to tackle child sexual abuse doesn’t end with the conclusion of the inquiry. The government is committed to ensuring that the valuable work of the inquiry is translated into action to end this terrible crime.
The government will respond in full to the inquiry’s report within six months, when proper consideration has been given to all of the recommendations, but today the Home Secretary announced a further £4.5 million for organisations supporting victims and survivors of child sexual abuse at a national level.
This money will go to seven organisations who provide vital support for children and young people who have experienced sexual abuse, adult survivors, and parents or carers of victims. This includes telephone and online counselling and support services; support groups; specialist support to LGBT+ victims; and survivor-led interventions.
In addition, the Home Secretary will champion children’s safety at the highest levels and convene ministers from across government to drive action against the inquiry’s recommendations.
All government responses to recommendations from the inquiry’s previous reports to date have been published and can be found on The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) or GOV.UK.
4. Serious Case Management Review - A Thematic Review of Self-Neglect published
Source: Isle of Man Safeguarding Board published on this site Tuesday 25 2022
The Isle of Man Safeguarding Board has published a Serious Case Management Review - A Thematic Review of Self-Neglect. The Board’s agencies are keen that if any individual, their family or neighbours are struggling with issues that are leading to self-neglect that they contact services for advice and support.
The review covers a period from April 2018 to February 2022 and spanned the last two years of each person’s life. Agencies were asked to provide any relevant historical information from the person’s background and information was made available from the Coroner’s reports, regarding individual circumstances relating to their death.
“This Thematic Serious Case Management Review (SCMR) concerns the lives of seven people who all died in circumstances of self-neglect. Each person’s death was in sad circumstances. Not all those people were well known to IOM services. The Isle of Man Safeguarding Board (IOMSB) wanted to understand how effectively services and communities in the IOM work together to support people who may be self-neglecting and use that learning to make improvements.
In its conclusions it says:
“This review has considered the very sad circumstances surrounding the deaths of seven people. The review has highlighted the care and compassion shown by members of the community and has also given many examples of good practice by committed practitioners. The review has highlighted the risks where people are lost from sight. It has demonstrated the challenges in supporting people who are resistant to receiving any help. It has also highlighted some recurring concerns regarding practitioners becoming desensitised and working in the absence of robust risk assessments. Recurring themes included the lack of professional curiosity about people’s lack of engagement and home circumstances. There was a lack of appropriate assertive outreach and the failure to follow multi-agency procedures. The learning themes reveal significant gaps in the strategic systems that should support frontline practice. Addressing those gaps must be coordinated through a comprehensive cross-departmental strategy if the IOM is going to reduce the risks of people dying in such sad circumstances of self-neglect.”
The Board's response can be found here
A national review into safeguarding children with disabilities and complex health needs has revealed serious failures at 3 residential special schools registered as children’s homes. The independent review looks at the experiences of 108 children and young adults living at Fullerton House, Wilsic Hall and Wheatley House, located in Doncaster and operated by the Hesley Group.
The phase one report shows a culture of abuse and harm, including evidence of physical abuse and violence, neglect, emotional abuse and sexual harm. There was also evidence that medication was misused and maladministered, an over-use of restraints, and unsafe and inappropriate use of temporary confinement. The children affected were placed at these homes from 55 local authorities across the country and there is a complex abuse investigation underway by the Doncaster Safeguarding Partnership, which includes a concurrent criminal investigation by South Yorkshire Police.
Given the severity of the allegations and evidence uncovered, the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel has issued an urgent action to all local authorities to ensure all children with complex needs and disabilities currently living in similar children’s homes are safe and well.
The phase one report sets out that Ofsted had received a number of complaints dating back to at least 2015, expressing concerns over staffing levels, staff conduct and possible abuse of the children. These complaints had promoted additional monitoring visits and an emergency inspection, but the review has found these were insufficient as both settings had been judged ‘good’ by Ofsted at the most recent inspection visit. In light of the most recent allegations, Ofsted conducted emergency inspections of the settings in March 2021 and notices of suspension of the service were served.
Additionally, local authorities and partner agencies placing children at these homes put great reliance on the reports provided by the settings despite professionals in different roles having separate information indicating concerns. The processes in place for bringing together information from a range of sources to analyse the pattern of safeguarding concerns was not effective.
To address these, the panel has requested local authorities and Ofsted to undertake urgent action:
- local authorities should review complaints and concerns relating to the workforce in each individual residential special school registered as a children’s home over the last three years, and ensure these have been appropriately actioned
- OFSTED should conduct an immediate analysis of their evidence around workforce sufficiency focusing on suitability, training and support
The panel has been assured that the urgent actions will be completed by the end of November 2022. A second phase of this review will be published in early 2023, setting out the progress against the urgent actions and providing recommendations to government to improve safeguarding in the residential special school and care system.
Worthy of Note
1. National Autistics Association’s response to the recent BBC Documentary, Panorama
“We are horrified by the systematic abuse of people in the Edenfield Centre, including autistic people, shown in BBC Panorama’s Undercover Hospital: Patients at Risk. The harrowing documentary is the latest in too many examples of autistic people being pinned down, locked away in seclusion, and subjected to abuse. The families of people living at the unit will be devastated, scared and angry about what they have seen. We are too. We will keep fighting to end this scandal.
“Autism is not a mental health condition and mental health hospitals are not the right place for the vast majority of autistic people. But some spend months or even years in hospitals, far from their families, and we continue to hear deeply concerning reports of abuse, overmedication, inappropriate restraint and seclusion, as shown in this documentary.
“NHS data released this month highlights the urgency of the situation, with 1,205 autistic people in mental health hospitals in England. This is an increase from 2015 when autistic people made up 38% of the number in hospital – now it is 61%. This is unacceptable.
“Government must reform mental health law as soon as possible and provide urgent and meaningful funding for the social care system, so that autistic people get the support they need. It’s been more than a decade since Winterbourne View, but lessons still haven’t been learned. A hospital is not a home – this scandal must end now.”
The Met was at the forefront of the latest County Lines Intensification Week, which ran nationally from Monday, 3 to Sunday, 9 October.
Officers also safeguarded 34 females and 215 males (adults and young people) and made 234 arrests during this period.
The special week of action took more than £4 million worth of suspected Class A drugs off the streets.
The Met’s work last week resulted in:
- 109 people charged with a total of 259 charges.
- 184 drug trafficking charges, 155 charges for Class A drugs and 29 for Class B drugs.
- 249 children and vulnerable adults were safeguarded.
- 70 County Lines closed in collaboration with partner forces.
- 70 deal line handsets were recovered.
The following was also seized throughout operations:
- 43.929kg of Class A drugs – 8.526kg of crack cocaine, 31.392kg of cocaine and 4.011kg of heroin – with an estimated street value of £4,300,000.
- 8kg Class B drugs.
- £334,559 in cash.
- One firearm, two imitation firearms and 56 weapons which included 34 knives, six machetes, a samurai sword, a meat cleaver and six knuckle dusters.
- 12 vehicles.
As part of coordinated activity, officers also made 31 referrals to the National Referral Mechanism, which assesses individuals as potential victims of human trafficking and modern slavery.
Since November 2019, when Op Orochi began, to the end of September 2022, teams across the Met have closed 1,260 lines, arrested 2,470 county lines line holders and associates, and had 3,833 charges authorised for a range of offences including drug supply, modern slavery and weapon possession.
Building on the success of Met’s county lines response with Operation Orochi, a new pilot called Operation Yamata was launched in April 2022 to dismantle London Lines – this is now going to be expanded as part of Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley’s commitment to disrupting high harm offenders and making London safer for everyone.
Specifically, the Met will expand Operation Yamata into three further areas in London to tackle drugs lines that criss-cross the capital.
3. New online service will give employers the tools they need to empower and encourage disabled employees and those with health conditions.
Thousands of businesses across the UK will benefit from a new £6.4 million online service to help employers better support disabled people and those with health conditions in the workplace. The early test version of the Support with Employee Health and Disability service provides essential information about supporting and managing employees with disabilities or health conditions at work.
Any employer can access the service, which provides free advice on how to manage staff who may be in or out of work with a disability or long-term health condition in a user-friendly online Q&A format. The service is aimed at smaller businesses, many of which do not have in-house HR support or access to an occupational health service and will help them to build more diverse and inclusive workforces.
The new service also covers potential changes an employer could make to help them return to and stay in work, supporting a government drive to boost numbers of people in employment and ensuring everyone has the opportunity to benefit from being in work.
1. Care Quality Commission (CQC) State of Care report looks at the quality of care over the past year.
This year's report focuses on cross-cutting themes rather than sector-specific findings, however we do highlight that, at 31 July 2022:
- 83% of adult social care services were rated as good or outstanding.
- 96% of GP practices were rated as good or outstanding.
- 75% of NHS acute core services were rated as good or outstanding.
- 77% of all mental health core services (NHS and independent) were rated as good our outstanding.
Based on inspection activity, information received from the public and those who deliver care alongside other evidence, the overall assessment is that the health and care system is gridlocked and unable to operate effectively.
2. The Charity Commission is warning charities against the risk of online fraud, as a new survey (conducted by IFF Research) found around one in eight charities (12%) had experienced cybercrime in the previous 12 months.
This follows earlier findings indicating that the pandemic prompted increasing numbers of charities to move to digital fundraising and operating, exposing them to the risk of cybercrime.
Most concerningly, the survey highlighted a potential lack of awareness of the risks facing charities online, with just over 24% having a formal policy in place to manage the risk. Similarly, only around half (55%) of charities reported that cyber security was a fairly or very high priority in their organisation.
The warning comes ahead of Charity Fraud Awareness Week 2022. The campaign raises awareness of fraud and cybercrime and brings the charity sector together to share knowledge, expertise and good practice. It is run by the Charity Commission and the Fraud Advisory Panel and a partnership of charities, NGOs, regulators, law enforcers, and other not-for-profit stakeholders.
The Charity Commission’s new survey explored charities’ experiences of online cyber-attack. It found that over half of charities (51%) held electronic records on their customers, while 37% enabled people to donate online. A greater digital footprint increases a charity’s vulnerability. The most common types of attacks experienced were phishing and impersonation (where others impersonate the organization in emails or online). For both attacks personal data is often at risk.
There are lots of simple steps that can be taken to protect against cyber harms including changing passwords regularly, using strong passwords and two factor authentication, updating training and policies, making back-ups of your data using the cloud and making sure antivirus and all other software is patched to the latest version. Many useful tools and resources will be available to help charities reduce their vulnerability to these crimes throughout Charity Fraud Awareness Week.
The survey also confirmed that there is an under-reporting of incidents when they do occur, with only a third (34%) of affected charities reporting breaches. It’s important that charities get in touch with the Commission where there has been a serious incident, even where there may be no regulatory role for the Commission. This helps the regulator to identify trends and patterns and help prevent others from falling victim to fraud.
1. Social media accounts are being hacked and flooded with indecent images of children, potentially causing distress and reputational damage to the account holder.
Since January 2022, 325 people have reported falling victim to this type of hack.
Analysis of crime reports by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau indicates that criminals may be targeting social media accounts registered with email addresses that use custom domain names which have expired. Some victims also reported receiving suspicious emails from social media platforms asking them to “verify their account”, with the links in the emails leading to genuine-looking websites that were designed to steal login details.
What you need to do:
- If you come across indecent images of children online, report it to the police by calling 101 or visiting your local police station. You should take with you the device you were using when you came across the images.
- Do not, under any circumstances, screenshot, save or share the image. You will not be required to share the images with the police when making a report.
- Use 2-step verification (2SV) to protect your social media accounts. 2SV can keep people from gaining access to your accounts, even if they know your password.
- Ensure your social media accounts use a strong and different password to your other accounts. Combining 3 random words that each mean something to you is a great way to create a password that is easy to remember but hard to crack.
- Victims of account hacking should not pay any ransoms, whether it is monetary or in the form of a ‘testimony’ video.
- If your social media account has been hacked, you should report it to Action Fraud by visiting actionfraud.police.uk, or by calling 0300 123 2040.
Elderly, disabled and other vulnerable people will get better support to stay safe online and avoid being misled by disinformation thanks to a funding boost from the government to mark UNESCO Global Media and Information Literacy Week.
More than £1 million has been granted to 17 UK organisations to pilot new ways of boosting media literacy skills for people at risk of experiencing online abuse and being deceived into believing false information, such as vaccine disinformation, deepfake videos or propaganda created by hostile states.
Research shows some people struggle to engage and benefit from the range of media literacy education on offer, due to limited experience or overconfidence in using the internet, as well as a lack of awareness of how to access resources and their unavailability outside of schools and colleges.
The Media Literacy Taskforce Fund is one of two funding schemes created to target ‘hard-to-reach’ and vulnerable groups by investing in community-led projects to ensure everyone has the opportunity to improve their media literacy skills and protect themselves from online disinformation.
Social enterprise Freshrb will work with young people to develop their own podcasts exploring online dis- and misinformation to be aired on local radio. Another project run by charity Internet Matters will provide media literacy training for dozens of care workers and leavers in the Greater Manchester area.
Elderly people from diverse backgrounds in Leeds will have access to digital media skills training online and in community centres as part of the Leeds Older People’s Forum. Parent Zone is working with eight local councils including Calderdale, Luton and Middlesborough to deliver media literacy resources tailored to parents and carers of teenagers.
A separate scheme, the Media Literacy Programme Fund, will deliver training courses, online learning, tech solutions and mentoring schemes to vulnerable internet users.
Reasons to Remain Vigilant in All Aspects of Safeguarding
Sonia Chivers, 29, from Driffield, was arrested by National Crime Agency officers in December 2020, after it was identified that she had been discussing her plans to abuse a child online. A month previously, she joined a group on a messaging platform, which was created for those with a sexual interest in children aged four and under.
NCA officers seized her mobile phone and recovered two videos of Chivers performing a sexual act in front of a young child (Category B) and an indecent image of a child (Category C) which she had taken herself. When interviewed, she said she didn’t know how she ended up in the online group but stayed as she liked the attention she was getting from other users. She also admitted to sending one of the videos and the photo of the child via private chats and that in doing so, she had "fed these predators".
Chivers later pleaded guilty to one count of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child under 13, as well as two counts each of making and distributing indecent images of children. She was sentenced at Hull Crown Court to three years and four months in prison. She is also subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and has been placed on the Sex Offender Register indefinitely.
Hazel Stewart from the National Crime Agency said:
“Sonia Chivers claimed she generated child abuse material as she liked the attention, and in her own words, she “fed” the demand for this content by sharing it with others.
“This, in addition to engaging in very explicit online conversations about the sexual abuse of children, is behaviour that encourages others to commit abuse themselves and puts children in danger.
Identifying, arresting and bringing to justice those who pose a sexual threat to children is a top priority for the NCA. We work with a range of partners within law enforcement to ensure offenders are disrupted and children are safeguarded.”
Alex Quarton, 24, was found by neighbourhood officers, who were carrying out a welfare check on a vulnerable man, at a flat in Huntingdon on 28 July (2022). He was arrested and officers found wraps of crack cocaine and heroin clenched in his fist and a mobile phone which had fallen from his pocket. Further wraps were found in the sink.
A search of Quarton’s mobile phone revealed he had sent bulk messages to more than 750 different telephone numbers over a six-week period offering class A drugs for sale. The team also visited Quarton’s home in Ullswater and found more than £2,000 in cash, a brand-new Apple Macbook and drug paraphernalia. Two samurai swords were also found.
At Cambridge Crown Court Quarton was sentenced to two years and seven months in prison after previously pleading guilty to possession with intent to supply crack cocaine and heroin, acquire/use/possess criminal property and assault an emergency worker.
PC Chris Winchester, from the Huntingdon neighbourhood team, said:
“People like Quarton are exploiting vulnerable people in our community by taking over their properties to run drug lines. Cuckooing is an increasing issue and we are taking a proactive approach to tackle this in Huntingdon by acting on information received from members of the public as well as our own intelligence to offer support to those who find themselves in a vulnerable position.”
David Stansfield 61 from Bradford and Ian Stansfield 74 from Hornsea were found guilty of numerous sexual offences on four child victims in June 2022.
The judge sentenced them to:
- David Stansfield 16 years plus one year on licence
- Ian Stansfield 21 years plus one year on licence
Both will sign the sex offenders register for life
Detective Constable Stephen Neesham of Bradford District Safeguarding said:
“David and Ian are clearly dangerous men who committed some appalling offences against young and vulnerable victims. We welcome the lengthy sentences handed down today. They reflect the seriousness of the abuse suffered by all the victims and the profound impact that this has had on their lives. All the victims have shown immense courage and bravery in coming forward after so many years. I hope this sends a strong message to any other victims of non-recent abuse to come forward and report this to the police. We will listen to you, and we will investigate. I can promise all victims that reports will be investigated, and we will do all we can to seek justice for them.”
Thomas Singleton, 41, from Suffolk, was also one of the safeguarding leads at the school.
He was arrested by the National Crime Agency in February 2021, after investigators found he had accessed indecent images of children online from his house. Officers seized laptops and a number of digital storage devices from his home.
They also recovered a toddler-sized doll, underwear and clothing for babies and young children, and a silicone sex aid made to resemble a child’s genitals. Singleton does not have any children and when questioned, he could provide no explanation for who the doll and clothing belonged to.
Analysis of his electronic devices showed he had 1,050,448 indecent images of children in categories A-C, 45,216 prohibited images of children, and 52 extreme pornographic images.
Within those were a collection of pseudo-images, which had been created by Singleton by superimposing himself into photos so it looked like he was engaging in sexual activity with children.
A 170 page paedophile manual entitled ‘How to practice child love’ was found on Singleton’s hard drive. The introduction to the document explains that it is ‘a guide to practicing sex with children without fear of doing harm’. It contains a number of chapters which provide advice and guidance on how to sexually abuse children and avoid being detected.
Officers also recovered a number of online chat logs in which he spoke with other like-minded individuals about child sexual abuse. Some chats show him partaking in ‘age play’, where both users participate in a fantasy in which one of them pretends to be a child engaging in sexual activity with the other.
On his devices and stored around his home, Singleton had documents which described child abuse scenarios and could be ‘personalised’ to include names of the user’s choosing. These also corresponded to hand-drawn flowcharts found in his house.
Some of the charts were stored in a folder labelled ‘Tom’s Action Folder’ and described detailed sexual acts between the reader and the subject of the flowchart.
Singleton resigned as a teacher during the course of the investigation. He was charged with eight offences, including taking indecent pseudo-images of a child (categories A-B), making indecent images (categories A-C) and possession of a paedophile manual.
He pleaded guilty to all charges and was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court to six years in prison. He is also subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and has been placed on the Sex Offender Register indefinitely.
The public is urged to “be kind to your mind” as the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) launched the latest Better Health – Every Mind Matters campaign.
Ahead of World Mental Health Day, which began on Monday 10 October, the campaign called on people to do small things which can make a big difference to their mental wellbeing and directs them to free tips and advice.
New research commissioned by OHID reveals almost 7 in 10 Brits report regularly experiencing the ‘Sunday Scaries’ (67%), increasing to three quarters (74%) for those aged 18-24. Work stresses, lack of sleep and looming to-do lists were reported as the top causes of feelings of stress or anxiety on a Sunday
By answering five simple questions through the Every Mind Matters website people can get a personalised ‘Mind Plan’ giving them tips to help deal with stress and anxiety, boost their mood, sleep better and feel more in control.