A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

Including headlines from Saturday and

By Clare Jerrom, Reg McKay and Alex Dobson.

Workplace will offer no asylum to migrants

Immigration officers will be given powers to search business
premises and arrest suspected illegal immigrants, under proposals
announced yesterday by the government.

The home office said that officers would be allowed to enter
factories or offices where they had reasonable grounds for
suspecting that an offender was on the premises. The employer would
be unable to refuse entry under the proposals, which are part of a
drive to clamp down on the black economy.

The new powers are published in the Nationality, Immigration and
Asylum Bill published yesterday.

Source:- The Times Saturday 13 April page 15

Child sex scandal rocks Catholic city

One of the Pope’s most trusted allies in the college of
cardinals was under effective siege in his home yesterday.

The archbishop of Boston Cardinal Bernard Law repeated his
refusal to resign despite a week of revelations that have stunned
America’s most loyal Catholic city.

This week church documents revealed evidence that in his 18
years in the city he has presided over a systematic campaign to
protect and even promote known serial abusers.

In a letter sent to priests he said he was “determined to
provide the strongest leadership possible” to deal with the

Source:- The Guardian Saturday 13 April page 3

Agency off hook for hiring sex case teacher

There will not be any action taken against Timeplan, the teacher
recruitment agency at the centre of the Amy Gehring case, the
government has decided.

The company admitted that it made “a monumental error” in
failing to respond to warnings that the Canadian supply teacher was
a risk to children.

Teachers’ leaders said last night it was appalling that
the agency got away with negligence on a grand scale.

Gehring was cleared in January of having sex with under age
pupils. But it emerged afterwards that Timeplan had sent her to the
Surrey secondary school attended by the boys, despite serious
concerns by the police and child protection authorities about the
safety of children in her care.

Source:- The Guardian Saturday 13 April page 6

Damilola police accused of fabrications

Police were accused of manufacturing evidence to show a group of
teenage boys murdered Damilola Taylor, the Old Bailey was told

Officers were concerned that the police’s reputation would
be tarnished further following the unsuccessful Stephen Lawrence
murder case by another unsolved death of a black person, the jury

Courtenay Griffiths QC defending one of the two brothers accused
of murdering Damilola described the prosecution case as a “litany
of lies and fairytales.”

The prosecution alleges the two boys were part of a group of
teenagers that stabbed Damilola in the leg with a broken bottle in
November 2000.

Griffiths claims the fatal injury could have been caused by him
falling on to broken glass.

The two boys deny murder, manslaughter and assault with intent
to rob. The jury is expected to retire next week.

Source:- The Guardian Saturday 13 April page 8

Insurers unwilling to provide cover for asylum

Insurers unwilling to cover the network of asylum detention
centres for fear of further riots and fires, could jeopardise the
future of the government’s asylum detention estate.

Private security company Group 4 admitted yesterday that key
facilities at Oakington in Cambridgeshire and Campsfield in
Oxfordshire could close if cover is not found.

Two weeks ago, Group 4 had to evacuate detainees from the
Yarl’s Wood centre at Bedford after failing to secure
adequate cover following a riot in February that caused £97
million damages.

Spokesperson for Group 4 John Bates said: “If insurance cannot
be agreed…those centres may have to close but the immigration
service and the home office can say they will assume

Source:- The Independent Saturday 13 April
page 8

Asylum seekers ‘commute’ on cross-Channel

Channel Tunnel trains are used by asylum seekers to travel in
and out of Britain for holidays and weddings.

Security is so lax they are able to pass backwards and forwards,
they say.

Immigration officials believe that up to 400,000 undetected
illegal immigrants are entering Britain each year and some may be
making return trips.

Source:- The Sunday Times 14 April page 7

Blunkett offers lessons to parents of

Parents of unruly children will be asked to attend parenting
classes in a bid to curb the child’s tearaway behaviour.

Home secretary David Blunkett will announce a new system of
“parenting interventions” to encourage parents of delinquents to
attend voluntary classes before their children end up in court.

In a speech at a conference on youth crime Blunkett is also
expected to remind magistrates they can lock up young offenders
awaiting trial in local authority secure accommodation.

Source:- The Sunday Times 14 April page 28

Peril of the parents who have no time

Parents who do not have sufficient time for their children put
their teenagers at risk of problems such as drug abuse and teenage
pregnancies, according to a study.

Workaholic or distant parents with no time to listen to older
children pose a greater threat than single parents for children
turning to juvenile crime.

Teenagers who felt “connected” to at least one parent were up to
a third less likely to shows some type of problem behaviour,
according to a study to be presented at a conference on Thursday
organised by the National Family and Parenting Institute.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 14 April page 4

Bakewell killer hunt reopens after 28 years

The murder inquiry into the death of Wendy Sewell will reopen
after almost 30 years.

Sewell was bludgeoned to death during her lunch hour in 1973 in
a graveyard at Bakewell, Derbyshire.

Stephen Downing, who has learning difficulties, was arrested and
interrogated for nine hours without access to a solicitor. He
signed a statement he could not read and despite immediately
retracting his confession, he was found guilty of murder and
sentenced to life imprisonment at Nottingham crown court.

Downing’s sentence was quashed in this year after the
court of appeal found his guilt had been decided on “unreliable
confession and unreliable forensic evidence”.

Headed by detective superintendent David Gee, the inquiry will
be supervised by an independent advisory committee comprising a
Crown Prosecution Service representative, a barrister and a home
office adviser.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 14 April page 11

Plan to stop more ‘Climbie’

The hidden world of ‘private fostering’, where
children are sent to Britain with virtual strangers in pursuit of a
better life, will face a crackdown, in a bid to prevent a tragedy
like that of Victoria Climbie.

Up to 10,000 children, many from West Africa, are thought to be
farmed out with relatives and friends in the UK.

In many cases, arrangements are not known to social workers,
leaving children with no checks on their welfare. The risks were
highlighted by eight-year-old Victoria who died at the hands of her
great aunt and her lover, after being sent to live with them from
the Ivory Coast.

The inquiry into the death of Victoria is expected to make
recommendations on closing the private fostering loophole. Health
minister Jacqui Smith launched a review to report later this

Source:- The Observer Sunday 14 April page 14

Security systems help internet paedophiles hide

Internet paedophiles are using a sophisticated security system
to hide child abuse, according to Britain’s high tech crime

Paedophile gangs are adopting previously unseen levels of
security to commit abuse within special internet porn clubs.

The crime unit has taken into care two children believed to have
been sexually abused as part of its internal investigations.

Head of the unit detective chief superintendent Len Hinds said
his officers had evidence that children were being abused “online”,
and that studios in Britain were being used to film sexual assaults
on children.

Hinds said paedophiles were creating their online “cyber
countries” with specialist security officers who vetted all
applicants and policed access to material.

“These groups are incredibly sophisticated in terms of security
and are using high technology to disguise their activity. These
people are closed groups who operate within cyber countries all on
their own.”

“Most worryingly we have identified live abuse taking place and
shown on the internet. We have removed two children so far as part
of our inquiries,” he said.

Source:- The Independent Monday 15 April page

Church says sorry for sex abuse priests

The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland yesterday acknowledged its
mishandling of paedophile priests scandals.

Cardinal Desmond Connell’s missive said he regretted that
abuse against children by clergy had gone unchecked and complaints
had been ignored for years.

The church is setting up an internal audit into child abuse.
Earlier this month the Bishop of Ferns Dr Brendan Comiskey resigned
over his failure to prevent sexual abuse in his diocese by Father
Sean Fortune, who killed himself in 1999.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Monday 15 April page 9

‘One in four teens’ is victim of text
message bullying

One in four teenagers have been victim of bullying via a mobile
phone or computer according to children’s charity NCH.

A report found 16 per cent of young people aged 11 to 19
received threatening text messages on their mobile. Seven per cent
said they had been harassed in internet chat rooms.

Nearly a third of youngsters said they had never revealed their
experiences to anyone.

The charity commissioned the research after hearing anecdotal
evidence about bullying emails.

John Carr, associate director of the charity’s children
technology unit, said: “Online bullying is a modern menace which
needs to be addressed. If we want children to benefit from the good
things IT has to offer, we need to protect them from the risks it

Source:- The Guardian Monday 15 April page 9

Young villains sentenced to a long stretch of

Young offenders should be offered Shakespeare as part of their
rehabilitation, according to a former chief inspector of

Burglars, muggers and drug addicts are being given the choice of
performing a Shakespeare play rather than community service or
having their probation periods extended.

The scheme is successful in America, and former chief inspector
of prisons Stephen Tumin believes it should be introduced in

He said: “Sixty five per cent of prisoners in our prisons
can’t read or write, according to home office figures. That
means that ninety five per cent of jobs are not available to

“If we can get them playing parts in Shakespeare or whatever,
it’s going to get them to read and write, and therefore have
more chance of getting jobs,” he added.

Offenders aged 15 to 17 are working with Massachusetts theatre
group Shakespeare and Company under supervision of probation
officers. The pilot scheme was so successful the programme has been
developed and extended.

Source:- The Times Monday 15 April page 3

Scottish newspapers

Prepare for the rage

A full-length feature on manuals designed to help parents cope
with the turmoil of their children’s adolescence.

Source:- The Herald Monday 15 April page 10

Degree threat to social work course

Edinburgh University is poised to scrap its social work course
at a time when the profession has a recruitment crisis.

The university attributes the decision to a drop in intake of
students by a third. In 1996 there were 303 graduates with a
professional social work degree while in 1999 this had plummeted to
193. The university will continue to provide other social work
courses apart from the degree course and the department will now
become part of the law faculty.

Source:- Sunday Herald 14 April page 7

Asylum seekers moved prior to MSPs visit

A number of high profile asylum seekers have been moved from
Dungavel Detention Centre prior to a formal visit by a cross-party
group of MSPs. Of those removed, many were involved in the recent
hunger strike or attempted suicides. A spokesperson for the home
office declined to comment.

Source:- The Scotsman Monday 15 April

Children’s Commissioner moves one step

The creation of a children’s commissioner for Scotland
moved one step closer when Cathy Jamieson, minister for education
and young people, publicly announced the executive’s support
“in principle” to the creation of such a post. Jamieson added that
much work was still needed to clarify the role.

Source:- The Herald Sunday 14 April page 6

Welsh newspapers

Children’s Commissioner criticised over

Children’s commissioner for Wales Peter Clarke has come under
criticism for his handling of the Clwych Inquiry into alleged abuse
at a school in South Wales.

Critics have accused him of poor organisation and failure to
appreciate the volume of work that the inquiry will generate. The
investigation will look at the activities of alleged paedophile,
John Owen, who taught at the school before becoming a TV

He killed himself last year just one day before he was due to
face criminal charges of sexual abuse of pupils.

There is also concern that some key witnesses have still not
been approached by the inquiry, and the lawyer acting for the eight
alleged victims, Hywel James, said he is disappointed in delays in
getting documents from the commissioner. He is also concerned that
the ceiling of £10,000 placed on the amount of legal support
available to alleged victims may be inadequate.

Source:- Western Mail Monday 15 April page 7

Arthritis care worst in Europe

Wales has the worst level of care in Europe for people suffering
from arthritis, it is claimed.

While some countries have an expert in every town, there are
large areas of Wales without a single consultant rheumatologist and
waiting times can be up to three years in some cases.

Hywel Evans, policy officer for Arthritis Care in Wales, said
that people with arthritis were having to make do with a second
class health service. He said Arthritis Care would be calling on
the Welsh Assembly to develop a national strategy to guarantee
acceptable levels of service for people wherever they live in

Source:- Western Mail Monday 15 April page 1

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