A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

Including headlines from Saturday and

By Clare Jerrom, Reg McKay and Alex Dobson.

Damilola case review launched

The crown prosecution service and Metropolitan police launched
separate reviews into the Damilola murder case following mounting
concern over the handling of the case.

Metropolitan commissioner Sir John Stevens announced that an
independent oversight panel, chaired by the Bishop of Stepney John
Sentamu, would look at what “lessons may be learned”.

The attorney general Lord Goldsmith also asked the director of
public prosecutions, David Calvert Smith, to work with the CPS
inspectorate to review the conduct of the agency.

The DPP had been asked to make recommendations and consider
whether there any implications for future cases.

Both reports will be ready in the summer.

Source:- The Guardian Saturday 27 April page 5

Thirty teenagers ‘should be jailed to protect

Thirty teenagers in the area where Damilola Taylor died should
be imprisoned immediately to protect the public, according to a
senior police officer.

The group, aged between 13 and 16, are prolific persistent young
offenders in south London, responsible for much of the increase in
street crime.

Superintendent Charles Griggs blamed non-custodial penalties
imposed by the courts for the troublemakers.

“These are the top tier of criminals beyond any sort of help,”
he said. “They have to be locked up to protect the public.”

Griggs said Damilola Taylor’s death had been a wake up
call for police, social services, courts and the education
department, and said several initiatives had been set up as a

Source:- Daily Telegraph Saturday 27 April page 9

Le Pen to Blair: ‘I would send all our
refugees to you’

The French far right leader said he would send all the 1,400
refugees at the Sangatte camp “to Tony Blair by special train” if
he was elected president next week.

Jean Marie Le Pen was responding to an interview earlier this
week in which Tony Blair called him a racist.

Le Pen said: “I am no more a racist than Mr Blair who
doesn’t want to take the immigrants who turn up at

He said if he were in power he would organise a special train
and send them all to England.

Tony Blair’s spokesperson said: “The problem of asylum
seekers is a serious problem. Politicians have to decide whether to
try and deal with it, or whether to exploit it. We’re dealing
with it. Le Pen is exploiting it.”

Source:- The Independent Saturday 27 April
page 3

Climbie inquiry pledges radical reforms

Britain’s child protection system will reach a “turning
point” as a result of the inquiry into the death of eight-year old
Victoria Climbie, it was pledged last week.

Lord Laming, who chairs the inquiry, is expected to make
“radical recommendations” in a report this autumn.

Victoria died at the hands of her great aunt Marie-Therese Kouao
and her boyfriend Carl Manning.

Source:- Independent Saturday 27 April page 9

Blair: parents of tearaways should lose child

Parents of children who persistently commit crimes or play
truant will have child benefit withdrawn under plans being driven
through the cabinet by Tony Blair.

The sanction would cost a family with one child £15.75 a
week in lost benefit, rising to £17.55 for a lone parent with
one child, plus £10.55 for each additional child.

Blair said he was “shocked” by figures which showed 80 per cent
of truants caught in shopping centres were in the company of an
adult, often a parent.

But the plan has alarmed ministers who think it would be unfair
to take away benefits from families struggling close to the poverty
line. Problems of truancy and teenage crime are highest among
single parent and low income households.

Source:- The Sunday Telegraph Sunday 28 April page

Jerry Hall tells parents: never smack your

Texan supermodel Jerry Hall will kick start a campaign for
parents to be banned from smacking their children.

The campaign, led by the NSPCC, will target doting mothers who
wouldn’t see themselves as child abusers, but often resort to
slapping their children occasionally.

The adverts are drawn in the style of the children’s book
by Stuart Trotter, illustrator of the Topsy and Tim stories, and
feature the slogan “Hitting children must stop. It’s simple
enough for a child to understand.”

The ads are backed by a number of celebrities including Hall,
Claire Rayner and GMTV presenter Fiona Phillips.

The NSPCC will release new research on May 8 on parents’
attitudes to smacking.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 28 April page 7

Mowlam: legalise all drugs

Former cabinet minister Mo Mowlam has called for all drugs to be
legalised and taxed, saying prohibition does not work.

Mowlam said: “I am arguing for legalising all drugs because I
don’t think there is any other way.”

She says she became convinced that cutting supply was not enough
on its own on anti-drugs visits to Columbia.

“The thing that hit me was the money that drives it. The money
will go where they can make it. That is the problem.”

“I don’t think we can stop it, and there are a number of
people in other countries who agree with me, and police and social
workers who agree with me. We have to face up to the reality,” she

Source:- The Independent Sunday 28 April page

Church to act over sex abuse

Priests must be banned from being alone with children in the
future, according to the woman in charge of clamping down on
paedophile clerics in the Roman Catholic Church in Britain.

Eileen Shearer says any encounter between a lone man of the
cloth and a child must be ruled out not only because of the
possibility of abuse, but also to avoid suspicion and

Shearer, who was appointed last year to head up the newly
created Catholic Office for the Protection of Children and
Vulnerable Adults, is adamant that the church has to change the way
it conducts its pastoral work with children.

“People might find it difficult but things have got to change,”
she said. “Too much is at stake. It is not safe or appropriate for
a priest to be on his own with a child.”

Source:- The Independent Sunday 28 April page

Trial judge made mistake, says father of

The judge at the Damilola Taylor murder trial will be criticised
by the boy’s father for the way that he directed the jury in
his summing up.

In a television interview, Richard Taylor says that Mr Justice
Hooper made a “mistake” when he ruled that two brothers accused of
murdering his son could not have had time to run from the crime
scene to a place where they used mobile phones shortly

On ITV’s Tonight with Trevor McDonald broadcast tonight,
Taylor praises the Metropolitan police for doing a good job. But
says the judge made a mistake.

At the Old Bailey last week, two brothers were cleared of
murdering Damilola on a housing estate in Peckham, south London, in
November 2000.

Source:- The Times Monday 29 April page 2

Cambodia to deport Gary Glitter over child sex

Officials are to deport Gary Glitter from Cambodia fearing the
convicted paedophile may have set up home there to exploit local

The minister of women’s affairs Mu Sochua said she had
taken the matter to the prime minister Hun Sen after reports that
the rock star had set up home in Pnom Penh. He was photographed by
the Sun newspaper with an 11-year-old girl who arrived at his flat
with her mother.

“At the moment interior ministry officials are checking his
immigration status,” Sochua said. “We do not need to prove he has
committed an offence here. Once the British Embassy confirms his
conviction, he will be blacklisted and deported.”

Glitter was convicted in 1999 and sentenced to four months in
prison for downloading pornographic images of children from the
internet. He was released after two months.

Source:- The Times Monday 29 April page 6

Tories may back Blunkett’s plan for ‘green

David Blunkett’s plans to issue US style green cards to
immigrants may be backed by the Tories.

The government is considering relaxing the rules for living in
Britain for highly skilled applicants and for those with skills the
country lacks.

The shadow home secretary Oliver Letwin said: “I have been
terribly careful not to oppose further economic migration where
we’re talking about people who can make a contribution.”

He said it’s “terribly important” to realise limits are
needed on immigration into a “small and crowded island”.

Source:- The Independent Monday 29 April page

Scottish newspapers

TB scare in nursing home

Over 60 residents and staff at Heather Bank Nursing Home in
Balornock, Glasgow, have been screened for tuberculosis after a
care worker was diagnosed with the disease.

A spokesperson for Greater Glasgow Health Board confirmed the
screening, but said no-one else had shown active signs of TB.

Source:- The Scotsman Saturday 27 April page 4

‘Ghost pupils’ heads lose

Two primary school teachers at the centre of Glasgow’s
‘ghost pupils’ scandal, who were accused of
exaggerating the number of children on their rolls, have lost
appeals against disciplinary action.

Lesley Dalgleish, former head of Mount Florida Primary, was
demoted last year, while Maire Whitehead, head at St Mirin’s
Primary, had received a final written warning.

Both were suspended after emergency services expressed concern
about inaccurate numbers given in the event of evacuation.

Source:- The Scotsman Saturday 27 April page 4

‘Lives at risk’ if prison

Plans to close Peterhead Prison would be disastrous and put
public lives put at risk, warns Clive Fairweather, chief inspector
of prisons.

The chief inspector’s report describes Peterhead as one of
the best prisons in Scotland. Marjorie Simonds-Gooding, an
inspector of prisons in England and Wales, was invited to
participate in the inspection.

Simonds-Gooding praises the work of the sex offenders unit at
Peterhead and the report goes on to warn that the same effective
programme (with only six former inmates out of 167 going on to
re-offend) is likely to be lost if the prison shuts. The Scottish
executive plans to close Peterhead and move sex offenders to
existing jails in the central belt where most of them originate.
Critics of the executive’s strategy hope that the chief
inspector’s report will result in a re-think.

Source:- Sunday Herald Sunday 28 April page 9

Smacking ban could aid abusers

A ban on smacking children could soak up police time on
“trivial” cases and allow serious cases of child abuse to escape
unchecked, according to the Christian Institute in its published
response to the Scottish executive’s proposals.

Simon Calvert, the deputy director of the Christian Institute,
said: “These new laws are totally unworkable and dangerously
intrusive. Instead of tackling real abuse, resources will be
diverted into the lives of ordinary families.”

Source:- The Scotsman Monday 29 April page 2

£5 million for children with special

Children with special needs are to benefit from a £5
million package of support to be announced by Cathy Jamieson,
minister for education and young people, today.

The package will be allocated to 40 projects throughout Scotland
and is designed to encourage inclusion in mainstream schooling and
access to opportunity.

Source:- The Herald Monday 29 April page 6

Welsh newspapers

Failing to help special needs pupils early enough could
cost millions

Education authorities across Wales may have to pay legal bills
running into millions of pounds because of failures to provide
services for children with special needs.

Teaching unions have warned that local authority support
services to deal with pupils with attention deficit disorder,
dyslexia and a range of other conditions are under strain in the

Geraint Davies secretary of the National Association of
Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers Cymru, said that the
system was being pushed to the limit and that legal bills would
have to be paid for out of the education budget.

A spokesperson for the Welsh Local Government Association
admitted that the system was being stretched, but denied that
children were not receiving the help they need.

Source:- Western Mail Monday 29 April page 1

Docs’ warning on Ark appeal

A group of senior doctors in Wales have warned that the planned
children’s hospital for Wales is likely to be a major drain
on resources.

Their warning came as former cricketer, Ian Botham, completed a
mammoth fundraising walk that raised £600,000 for the
Noah’s Ark appeal that has been formed to raise money for the
new hospital.

The three consultants from Swansea are claiming that the
project, which will give Wales its first dedicated children’s
hospital, will result in no new services and no extra
paediatricians. They are concerned that the project, which will be
based in Cardiff, will mean centralisation of services that would
result in investment being lost for other parts of Wales.

Dr Cathy White, a consultant paediatric neurologist at
Swansea’s Singleton hospital, said that she was angry because
there were no new services planned and she feared that people were
being misled. She added that children would still have to go
outside Wales for treatment.

Source:- Welsh Mirror Monday 29 April page 17








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