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News round up: children in asylum; vetting and barring; female prisoners; abuse

Brown attacked for not scrapping asylum policy that leaves hundreds of children behind bars at Christmas

Gordon Brown was last night accused of ‘moral cowardice’ for failing to scrap a controversial asylum policy that will see hundreds of innocent children spend Christmas behind bars.

In an open letter to the Prime Minister, the Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg urged him to bring an immediate end to the policy of locking up the children of families who are facing possible deportation.

Read more on this story in the Daily Mail

Child protection worries over lack of powers to vet foreigners

The head of the government’s new vetting agency today raised concerns that foreigners will escape full checks designed to prevent abusers working with children and vulnerable adults.

There are “significant barriers” preventing government officials from obtaining details of criminal offences committed abroad, Sir Roger Singleton, chairman of the Independent Safeguarding Authority, said.

Read more on this story in the Guardian

Female prisoner numbers to be cut by 400, says justice minister

Justice minister Maria Eagle has promised to reduce the number of prison places for women by 400 within two years as part of a drive to develop alternatives to jail.

A total of £15.6m is being spent on expanding community sentences in order to provide a “tough and credible” alternative to short prison sentences for female offenders.

Read more on this story in the Guardian

Mother punched daughter in face

A mother who punched her seven-year-old daughter in the face and arm, causing extensive bruising, told police she could chastise her if she wanted.

Exeter Crown Court heard the 31-year-old, from Torquay, Devon, who cannot be named, had been drinking alcohol when she attacked the child.

Read more on this story on bbc.co.uk

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