By Clare Jerrom, Nicola Barry and Alex
Britain is chastised by UN over law on smacking
The laws in Britain which allow parents to smack children in
their care are a violation of human rights and should be scrapped
immediately, according to the United Nations yesterday.
The government was criticised by the UN Committee on the Rights
of the Child for “taking no significant action” to ban smacking.
The 10-member committee “deeply regretted” the government’s
refusal to update English law on corporal punishment, which is
based on a statute from 1860, and allows “reasonable
The report welcomed moves from Wales to ban childminders from
smacking, but was “extremely concerned” that no similar measures
existed in England, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
It called for the creation of an independent human rights
institute for children or a children’s commissioner for
England, and said there should be a public education programme to
emphasise the negative effects of corporal punishment as well as a
system for statutory child death inquiries.
Source:- The Times Saturday 5 October page 16
Home office set to rewrite Geneva refugee
The government is planning to rewrite Britain’s commitment
to the 1951 Geneva convention on refugees in a bid to reduce the
numbers of unfounded asylum seekers reaching Britain.
Downing Street is believed to be looking again at proposals
first floated by Jack Straw when he was home secretary two years
ago. These would provide European-wide temporary protection
programmes for genuine refugees, without them needing to travel
thousands of miles to Britain illegally in cross-Channel trains or
on the backs of lorries.
The home office is working on a scheme that would allow those
whose lives were at risk to have their claims considered before
they reach Britain, and so travel to the UK safely and legally.
It would allow ministers to be tougher on those entering Britain
with an unfounded claim.
Source:- The Guardian Saturday 5 October page 6
Death leap may prompt reforms
An inquiry called for more robust ways of giving help to
families struggling with disabled children after a devoted mother
leapt from a viaduct with her autistic son.
Social services agencies and individuals were cleared of failing
to prevent the deaths of Helen and Mark Rogan in the independent
report, but it called for stronger support for families struggling
The inquiry commissioned by County Durham child protection
service had nothing but praise for Helen Rogon, a single
The inquest into the tragedy last year heard how she had been
privately terrified of losing her son to care as he grew older, and
more difficult to handle when distressed.
She gave Mark and herself an overdose of pills and after failing
to cut their wrists, she leapt 180 feet from the viaduct with the
The North Durham coroner Andrew Tweddle recorded verdicts of
suicide and unlawful killing.
Source:- The Guardian Saturday 5 October page 10
Refugees’ hotel ship opposed by
Thurrock council has strongly opposed government plans to house
asylum seekers in a barge moored in a port.
Bibby Progress, a former Foreign legion “hotel ship”, could
accommodate up to 620 people and would be docked permanently at
Tilbury , Essex. But Thurrock council has put forward criticism to
David Blunkett’s plans.
“We’re doubtful we could cope with the impact of a large
number of refugee families in one area,” council leader Andy Smith
Source:- Daily Telegraph Saturday 5 October page 11
Union leader denounces Blunkett’s bill on asylum
seekers as ‘apartheid’
The government’s plans to educate the children of asylum
seekers separately from mainstream schools was condemned by trade
union leaders, children’s charities and refugee groups as
“educational apartheid” that would “make a mockery of tolerant
After complaining that local schools had been “swamped” by
children of asylum seekers, the home secretary’s Asylum and
Immigration Bill included plans to educate children of asylum
seekers separately in accommodation centres.
Launching a report, Asylum City, general secretary of the
Transport and General Workers Union, Bill Morris, said the centres
were “detention camps”, and said segregating children for
educational purposes was “morally repugnant”.
Independent Saturday 5 October
Huntley to be protected by 100 police at
More than 100 police officers are to protect a court this week
where Ian Huntley will appear, accused of kidnapping and murdering
Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman from Soham.
Huntley, a former school caretaker, will be driven from Rampton
high security hospital on Tuesday morning in a convoy of police
vehicles for the 65-mile journey to Peterborough crown court.
Uniformed police with powers of arrest will replace the normal
security guards inside the court, and a police helicopter will give
warning of any flashpoints outside.
The precautions are aimed at preventing previous scenes of
violence when Huntley and his girlfriend Maxine Carr, who is
charged with perverting the course of justice, have been in
Source:- The Sunday Times 6 October page 7
Camelot underfunds good causes
Camelot will fall £6 billion short of the sums it pledged
to raise for good causes following a slump in ticket sales, the
government has warned.
Culture secretary Tessa Jowell has warned heads of various
grant-issuing boards to scale down their spending plans on
education, health, charities and arts.
Camelot originally set a goal of raising £15 billion for
good causes by 2009, but that figure was later slashed to
£10.9 billion. It has now emerged the goal has been reduced
Camelot is now set to raise £8.8 billion for good causes
during the seven-year period.
Source:- The Sunday Times 6 October page 7
Charities in crisis as leading companies cut back
Charities are facing a crisis after companies have slashed their
donations to good causes.
Other issues affecting charity finances are the facts that they
have lost hundreds of millions on the stock market, and the
increasingly litigious “compensation culture” imposing extra
The recent slump in the stock market has caused increasing
reluctance among large companies to donate.
The stark effects of the stock market decline on charities was
revealed last week when the RSPCA admitted it was putting all
capital projects on hold for 12 months after losing £8.8
million on the stock market last year, and a further £7
million this year.
The news came just weeks after The Guide Dogs for the Blind
Association said that it had lost £20 million on the stock
market in 2001.
Source:- The Sunday Telegraph 6 October page 6
Prison does work in reducing offences, researchers
Research which found that increasing jail sentences during the
1990s significantly reduced the rates of crime such as domestic
burglary, has announced that prison does work.
As the average sentence for burglary increased from around 12
months in 1992 to 18 months in 1998, the numbers of burglaries
committed fell by 20 per cent, according to Derek Deadman and Ziggy
Macdonald, economists at the University of Leicester.
Source:- The Sunday Telegraph 6 October page 12
Mental health tsar pledges to amend bill
The government’s mental health tsar, Louis Appleby has
vowed to make changes to the controversial bill governing the
treatment of people with mental health problems.
Louis Appleby, the national director for mental health, has
admitted that “views have to be listened to” and “changes made” in
the draft Mental Health Bill, which he concedes is “complicated”
and “hard to read”.
The bill includes measures to detain the mentally ill
indefinitely without any crime being committed.
Psychiatrists, mental health charities, lawyers and patients
have all united against the proposed reforms which they claim will
deter the mentally ill from seeking help.
Source:- Independent on Sunday 6 October page 16
Labour’s new iron curtain for
An end to automatic benefit for most applicants for asylum and a
halt to thousands of people entering Britain from eastern Europe
are among the plans to crackdown on abuses to the asylum system to
be announced today.
In an interview with The Times, home secretary David
Blunkett explains a series of measures to try and make Britain
appear less appealing. The changes are to be added to the
Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill in the final days of it
Blunkett has announced a three-prong attack.. Firstly 10 of the
countries about to join the European Union will be presumed to be
“safe” to stop people applying for asylum in Britain for fear of
their lives in those countries. These will include Poland, Czech
Republic, Latvia, Slovakia and Estonia.
Secondly, applicants applying for asylum inside the UK rather
than at airports or ports will have to prove they are eligible for
support in the same way British citizens claiming support have to.
They will not receive benefits unless they can prove they are
applying for asylum at the earliest opportunity.
Thirdly, fresh measures are to be introduced to prevent the
soaring growth of those people who are given “exceptional leave to
Source:- The Times Monday 7 October page 1
Prisoners to get £5m legal help over
The government will face costs of up to £5 million a year
as prisoners can now have the automatic right to legal
representation at internal jail disciplinary hearings.
The move follows a ruling in July, by the European Court of
Human Rights that disciplinary hearings in the 138 jails in England
and Wales breached offenders’ human rights.
It will be announced today that district judges will visit jails
to hear the cases of offenders who are accused of breaking prison
rules. The scheme will make prison discipline adjudications similar
to full court hearings.
The Prison Service is to announce that in a pilot scheme, four
district judges will start hearings in four jails with the worst
backlog of disciplinary offences.
Judges will go to Moorland Young Offenders Institution, and
Lindholme Prison both near Doncaster, Risley Prison near Warrington
and Gloucester jail.
Source:- The Times Monday 7 October page 2
Low earners to get £1,500 incentive to start
The government is to help millions of families on low incomes by
providing them with £1,500 each to incentivise them to begin
Under the Saving Gateway project, families with an income of
less than £15,000 a year can double their money if they
deposit cash regularly in a new savings account. Once it is rolled
out nationally, the scheme will cover up to 7.2 million people at a
cost of around £700 million a year.
The Treasury will match the savings up to a maximum of £25
a month for each account, which could provide a pot of £3,000
after five years.
Source:- The Times Monday 7 October page 5
Pensioners turning heavily to drink
There has been a large increase in the number of older people
turning to alcohol, according to research.
More than a million pensioners are drinking too much, figures
from the charity Alcohol Concern reveals. In 1988, 13 per cent of
men aged 65 or over drank more than the recommended limit, but by
2000, that had increased to 17 per cent.
The number of women drinking unsafe amounts of alcohol was 4 per
cent in 1988 and 7 per cent in 2000.
Anne Jenkins of Alcohol Concern has urged there to be more
research to discover whether these people have drunk heavily
throughout their lives or whether they had taken it up as they got
Source:- The Times Monday 7 October page 5
Tory leader risk all on 80s revival
Iain Duncan Smith will pledge to follow in Margaret
Thatcher’s footsteps by applying her principles to public
The Conservative leader will tell his party’s annual conference
in Bournemouth that he intends to tackle schools and hospitals with
“the same energy as Lady Thatcher tackled the economy”.
Reform of the public services was the “unfinished business” of
the Thatcher era.
Source:- The Guardian Monday 7 October page 1
Vetting delay drives ‘thousands’ from
Thousands of social workers, nurses and teachers are leaving
their profession as a result of severe delays on checks by the
Criminal Records Bureau.
Around 5,600 people have been waiting up to seven months to
begin work in children’s homes, hospitals and probation
services, according to the latest figures.
Harry Fletcher, assistant general secretary of the National
Association of Probation Officers, said the rate of departure for
frustrated care professionals could leave social and probation
services and nurseries crippled.
“Many of the thousands who have been waiting for months will
just give up and leave. They cannot live on air or benefits
indefinitely,” he said.
The bureau is struggling with a backlog of 89,000 applications
from its total of 216,000. It faces a shortfall of around 9,000 out
of the 40,000 applications it receives each week.
The average waiting time is now six weeks, with only 50 per cent
of applications processed within the target three-week
Independent Monday 7 October page
Men told: you’re not superman
Long hours, young children, no cash and the trials of keeping
that six pack in shape – the pressures of living up to the
new man image are making Scottish males miserable.
Source:- The Sunday Herald October 6 page 9
Left tackles poverty
Ministers will lay down a series of targets designed to tackle
poverty and lack of opportunity in deprived communities across
Scotland, in a bid to put social inclusion at the heart of policy
Source:- The Sunday Herald October 6 page 2
Vatican accused of abuse cover-up
Two Catholic priests have accused the church hierarchy in Rome
of a cover-up over an attempt to install a priest at the heart of
sexual abuse allegations, as chaplain to a Scottish care home.
Source:- The Sunday Times October 6 page 9
Loneliness blamed for rise in elderly
Drinking too much is a pastime generally associated with the
young and reckless.
But, a survey has shown that the problem is growing among
pensioners, with a 75 per cent rise in the number of women over 65
drinking more than the recommended safe limit in the last
Source:- The Scotsman October 7 page 3
Row over proposals to ban begging
Homelessness campaigners and civil liberty groups have denounced
plans to introduce beggar exclusion zones in Scotland’s
cities, saying they may marginalise people living on the streets
A Shelter spokesperson said: “We need to make a distinction
between rough sleepers and begging.”
Source:- The Scotsman October 7 page 9
Challenge mental health myths
The man charged with improving Scotland’s record on mental
health yesterday predicted that the country could emerge as one of
the world’s most enlightened nations.
Speaking at the start of Mental Health Week, Gregor Henderson,
director of the National Programme For Improving Mental Health and
Wellbeing, said he believed a fundamental shift in thinking among
ordinary Scots was achievable within a decade.
Source:- The Herald October 7 page 4
Children’s charities attack plans to keep asylum
seekers’ children from mainstream schools
Plans to keep asylum seekers’ children from mainstream
schools have come under attack again from leading children’s
Seven leading charities have joined forces to gather support for
amendments to the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill in the
House of Lords.
In a separate move, the Refugee Council will today launch a bid
to defeat proposals that would see some unsuccessful asylum seekers
deported within days of their claim being rejected.
Meanwhile, local people in Newport, south Wales, have expressed
concerns that they are being kept in the dark about proposals for
an immigration-hearing centre in the area.
Reverend Aled Edwards, a leading campaigner for asylum seekers
rights, said that there was nothing to fear from such a centre
being opened and that it was unfortunate that the very mention of
asylum seekers made people react negatively.
Source:- Western Mail Monday 7 October page 2