A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay.

‘They did not love their little girl like

Victoria Climbie’s great aunt and killer gave evidence
without remorse at the public inquiry into the
eight-year-old’s death yesterday.

Marie-Therese Kouao said she was a respectable lady, a good
mother and ” a pure innocent person” falsely accused of a
non-existent crime.

In several outbursts Kouao demonstrated anger at doctors she
alleges killed Victoria by giving her the wrong medicine,
authorities for faking photographic evidence, her co-accused Carl
Manning for making false admissions, and the public inquiry for
asking her questions about her personal life.

Kouao and Manning are both serving life sentences for killing
Victoria and causing 128 separate injuries on the child.

It was the first time a convicted murderer has been called to
testify at an inquiry into the victim’s death. Kouao was
asked to give evidence to shed light on how social workers, NHS
staff and police officers handled the case.

But she responded by protesting her innocence and shouting at
the inquiry, half in French and half English: “The reason that
little girl is dead is because of the doctors…I came here to
try to help other little girls and other little boys.”

Victoria was brought to England by Kouao from the Ivory Coast,
on a promise of a good education and better future.

The solicitor representing Victoria’s parents Imran Khan
said: “What we had hoped for was some remorse, some apology and
some new information that could assist the inquiry. We have had
none of this.”

Source:- The Guardian Wednesday 9 January page 1

Incompetent social workers risk being struck off under
code of conduct

Reforms unveiled yesterday will mean that social workers will
join lawyers and doctors in being struck off for bad conduct.

Negligent staff will be forced out of the profession by a new
governing body, which is setting up the first register of 1.2
million social workers in England.

The General Social Care Council is also introducing a draft code
of conduct to improve standards in the profession.

In future all 80,000 social workers and other care workers will
have to sign up to the code before being allowed on the

Source:- The Independent Wednesday 9 January
page 3

Letwin sees ‘neighbourly society’ as the way
to beat crime

The Conservative party’s crime policy should shift from punitive
“prison works” to restoring the neighbourly society, according to
the shadow home secretary Oliver Letwin yesterday,

In a lecture yesterday to the right wing thinktank, the Centre
for Policy Studies, Letwin embraced Labour’s drive to tackle
anti-social disorder and rebuild communities.

His predecessor Ann Widdecombe denied his speech signalled an
overhaul of Conservative policy. But many observers felt his focus
on the causes of crime marked a shift in Tory approach to social

Source:- The Guardian Wednesday 9 January page 4

Home office urges schools to ban mobile

The government urged headteachers to ban mobile phones in
schools as part of a series of measures to tackle the surge in
mobile phone robberies.

Lord Warner, chairperson of the youth justice board, yesterday
also voiced his determination to tackle the growing gang culture
among young black men that a home office report claims lies behind
the majority of these thefts.

The home office study ‘Mobile Phone Theft’ shows the true level
of mobile phone thefts may be as high as 700,000 stolen handsets
last year.

Source:- The Guardian Wednesday 9 January page 7

Excluded girls ‘are slipping the school

Girls are being excluded from school, but are going unrecognised
because the emphasis is being placed on excluded boys, a report
says today.

Government figures show that about 1,800 girls were permanently
expelled from school between 1998 and 1999 representing 17 per cent
of all exclusions in England.

But researchers have called for urgent action saying this
statistic seriously underestimates the problem.

They claim some girls “opted out” of lessons because of
persistent bullying, with many going to school to register before
spending most of the day away from school. Professor Audrey Osler
of Leicester University, who co-wrote the report, said the
“institutional failure” to tackle bullying among girls in schools
often meant that the scale of exclusion among pupils went

Source:- Daily Telegraph Wednesday 9 January page 5

Man jailed for selling Sarah documents

A man has been jailed for 12 months for stealing sensitive
documents about Sarah Payne and selling them to a tabloid

Christopher Branscombe was offered a job by Alistair Harper, a
solicitor from Haywards Heath, Sussex, who represented
Sarah’s killer Roy Whiting, despite his convictions for

Before Whiting’s trial, he attempted to steal documents
and photographs, which, if published, could have prejudiced the
case, Lewes crown court was told.

Branscombe, who admitted theft, received £5,000 from the
Sun, Mirror and Express Newspapers and used it to buy cocaine. He
arranged to meet a reporter from the Daily Mail, but was arrested
before the appointment.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Wednesday 9 January page 7

Guardian Society

U-turn on disability work plans

Campaigners welcome scrapping of government’s
‘unfair’ proposals

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 9 January page

Speaking out

Support is growing for a network that says hearing voices can be
a positive experience for schizophrenics

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 9 January page

Open access

Role playing and confidence building techniques are helping to
attract more people with disabilities into the civil service

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 9 January page

Charities’ sales

Fundraisers must diversify their income stream from traditional
methods to thrive

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 9 January page

Nervous hosts

How local councils are coping with the increase of unaccompanied
teenagers seeking asylum

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 9 January page

Criminal negligence

Ex-prisoners need more help to find a home, says report

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 9 January page

Violence ‘rife’ in hostels

Young people would rather sleep rough, says report

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 9 January page

Scottish newspapers

Crime rate down in Lothian

Lothian and Borders Police force reported a 1.6 per cent
decrease in reported crime for April to December 2001 compared with
the same period in the previous year. The number of reports made in
the nine-month period totalled 58,176 compared with 59,119 in

Source:- The Herald Wednesday 9 January page 4

Cannabis café can help combat

The opening of cannabis cafes in the UK is a pragmatic move
which could produce revenue income in excess of £1.75 billion
per year to provide addiction services, according to a feature
written by Kevin Williamson, writer and publisher of ‘Rebel

Source: The Scotsman Wednesday 9 January page 10



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