News round up: EastEnders to tackle child sex abuse

Asylum-seekers put at risk by law, warns top judge

Labour’s tough stance on immigration may have forced courts to send asylum-seekers back to their home countries to face “torture or death”, one of the most senior judges in England and Wales has warned.

Lord Justice Sedley, a Court of Appeal judge, accuses the Government of threatening the independence of the judiciary by imposing a rule that obliges judges to dismiss an asylum-seeker’s story if that refugee has fled their home country using a false passport.
Read more on this story in The Independent

£370 ‘a living wage’

A family of four need to earn £370 a week for a basic but “socially acceptable” standard of living, according a new measure of poverty calculated by leading academics. The minimum income standard is based on the views of dozens of people invited by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation to decide what goods and services families need for an ordinary but decent lifestyle.

Read more on this story in The Times

Retirement rules challenged

Age Concern claims that compelling people to stop work at or after 65 without compensation breaches EU equality requirements.

The organisation’s lawyers will argue at a hearing in the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg that the UK Employment Equality (Age) Regulations are contrary to the EU’s Equal Treatment Directive, which bans employment discrimination on grounds of, amongst other things, age.
Read more on this story in The Daily Telegraph

Police chief warns gangs are replacing family life

A leading chief constable has issued a stark warning that tribal loyalty has replaced family ties for an “almost feral” generation of angry young people.

A gang culture based on violence and drugs has become a way of life in deprived parts of many larger English cities and cannot be tackled by policing alone, she says.

Barbara Wilding, the longest-serving female chief constable, said that social breakdown was giving rise to “enormous concerns about the future of young people”.
Read more on this story in The Times

Registering disapproval

For people requiring care, personal assistants are a lifeline. But new research on the views of the employed and employers reveals that the two sides could be heading for conflict over regulation

Read more on this story in Society Guardian

The academy – a fresh approach to youth detention

The intriguing proposal that young offenders should be sent to “academies” is at the heart of a compelling new report that looks for an alternative to the fractured and dysfunctional youth detention system. The report argues that a pilot academy, built in east London for local youngsters, should combine custodial and community facilities, including an intensive fostering programme, bail hostels and a pupil referral unit – all on the same site.

Read more on this story in Society Guardian

EastEnders to tackle child sex abuse

BBC1 soap EastEnders is to tackle the subject of child sex abuse for the first time in a potentially controversial storyline to be screened later this year, involving Bianca Jackson’s stepdaughter Whitney.

An EastEnders spokeswoman confirmed to that the show was planning a storyline that will feature sexual abuse within the Jackson family, involving 15-year-old Whitney Dean, played by Shona McGarty, and her stepfather Tony, who has yet to be seen on screen
Read more on this story in The Guardian

Self-harming in prison: the gruesome truth

In 2006, there were 23,420 recorded incidents of self-harm among a total prisoner population in England and Wales of 78,000.

The good news is that, in 2007, the figure was down to 22,459 among a prisoner population of 81,000.

The interesting news is that almost half of all recorded self-harm incidents in prison were inflicted by women.

The bad news is that the Prison Service does not see this as a particularly serious problem. At least, that is the inference from its treatment of the prisons ombudsman, Stephen Shaw, who has just resigned as the head of an inquiry into the case of a teenage girl who repeatedly tried to take her life while in custody.
Read more on this story in The Guardian

Tory councils told: ‘Say no to Labour’

The Conservatives have told the party’s council leaders to stop cooperating with the Labour government in anticipation of David Cameron winning the next general election.

The campaign is part of a new Tory strategy “to say no” to demands from the centre, and has drawn fierce criticism from ministers, who believe it is “political hubris” and assumes Labour has lost the election two years before polling day.

Read more on this story in The Guardian


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