A summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay.

Father who killed daughter is freed

The man who admitted he killed his mentally ill daughter walked
free from court yesterday, after a judge concluded he had “acted
out of love”.

James Lawson suffocated his 22-year-old daughter after she made
numerous suicide attempts. He expressed “relief” at being given a
two-year suspended sentence.

The court heard how in April last year, Lawson helped Sarah take
an overdose of 30 anti-depressant tablets. He attempted to
smothering her with a plastic bag before he placed a pillow over
her face and killed her.

Lawson and his wife Karen had also been suffering

Sarah suffered severe depression and personality disorders and
was barred from a residential home run by Worthing Priory care
trust for allegedly taking cannabis.

Lawson pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of
diminished responsibility.

Judge Justice Nelson said: “The fact that you acted out of love
takes this case out of the norm – in particular the
circumstances of her last days…her mounting despair and her
sense of growing bleakness.”

Source:- The Guardian Saturday 9 June page 17

Parents kept their children in roof

A couple who kept their three children in an attic, could face

Thomas and Elizabeth Riddock admitted exposing their children to
unnecessary suffering, by housing them in a makeshift roof space,
accessible by a ladder through a hall cupboard.

Roof supports had been cut out at the house in Alloa,
Clackmannanshire, to form a bedroom area for the children, with no
windows, the court heard.

Police made the discovery on searching the house for drugs last

The couple admitted a charge of accommodating children in the
attic and a separate charge for cannabis possession. Sentence was
deferred pending social inquiry reports.

Children’s action groups have criticised social workers
for not knowing about the living conditions.

Source:- The Guardian Saturday 9 June page 20

Bullies who killed man must serve 10 years

Two youths who killed a man protecting his mentally handicapped
son as they tried to bully him, were ordered to be detained at Her
Majesty’s pleasure yesterday.

Ray Steadman and Christopher Bryan will have to serve 10 years
and four months before being considered for parole, Judge Martin
Stephens recommended at the Old Bailey.

The pair denied murder but were convicted at an earlier

Timothy Langdale QC prosecuting told the court how the pair
tormented Gary Beardsall and called him a “fat git”.

When Arthur Beardsall defended his son, the pair set upon him,
punching him and kicking him in the head, until he was unconscious
and blue.

The jury heard how the thugs had bullied Gary and his father on
other occasions.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Saturday 9 June page 10

Labour accused after hospital waiting lists

The department of health announced an increase in hospital
waiting lists on Friday, which showed the number of people waiting
for treatment in April went up by nearly 16,800.

In March, there was a fall of 26,000, which was announced in the
first week of the election campaign.

The Conservative party has accused Labour of holding on to the
figures until after the election.

Shadow health secretary Dr Liam Fox said: “Sadly, Labour have
picked up their health policy where they left off before the
election. With the results still drying, they are back to their old

Source:- Daily Telegraph Saturday 9 June page 12

Shock suicide ads to boost Barnardo’s

Children’s charity Barnardo’s will launch a “shock”
advertising campaign this week featuring five death and suicide
scenes, in a bid to promote the charity and raise awareness of
child abuse.

The £1 million six-week campaign aims to draw attention to
work in areas such as sexual abuse and drug addiction. The adverts
will show mocked up photographs of a hanged man, a semi-clad dead
prostitute, a drug addict who has jumped from a building, a drowned
man and a man slumped dead in an armchair with a shotgun across his

All the victims have been subjected to abuse in their childhood,
the captions confirm.

The colour advertisements have been toned down, but at least one
newspaper group has rejected the campaign as too shocking for a
family readership.

The charity claims the campaign shows the “harsh reality” of
much of its work.

Source:- The Sunday Times Sunday 10 June page 10

Bulger killer’s photo hits new identity

A recent photograph of one of James Bulger’s killers,
Robert Thompson, has been circulated by the campaigners who hope to
keep him in prison, undermining efforts to give him a new identity
when he is freed.

The photograph appears to have been taken using a tele-photo
lens. Protesters against his release are said to be planning to
publish the recent photograph on the internet to show there is no
safe haven for the killers.

This would risk prosecution and possible jail sentences as a
high court order issued earlier this year, prohibits publication of
pictures of Thompson and his accomplice Jon Venables.

Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss issued the order to support efforts
to give the teenagers new identities for their own protection after
their release.

Both could be released after a parole board hearing on June

Source:- The Sunday Times Sunday 10 June page 4

Green card plan for migrants

The new home secretary, David Blunkett, is planning a new type
of work permit inspired by America’s green card system, in a
bid to combat organised illegal immigration.

Workers from abroad will be able to apply for permits to enter
the country and work legally where there is a labour shortage.

Blunkett intends to show his policies are aimed at cutting crime
and reducing the number of bogus asylum seekers.

He believes the work permit scheme will halt illegal immigration
rackets as foreign workers will be given a legal route into
Britain, as opposed to claiming asylum then disappearing.

Source:- The Sunday Times Sunday 10 June page 2

Vulnerable ‘abused by untrained

The care system is under-resourced, staffed by badly qualified
people and allows Britain’s most vulnerable people to be
abused and mistreated.

A damning report from the King’s Fund into the treatment
of older, disabled and mentally ill people reveals a ‘lost
society’ of patients who have been forgotten by the health

According to the study, two thirds of carers have either no
qualifications, or the wrong qualifications for the work they are

People regularly get the wrong treatment for their illness, are
often patronised or ignored and black and Asian patients are often
subjected to racism.

The report also highlights the growth of bureaucracy and that
although there are fewer care staff working for local authorities,
the number of social work managers rose from 15,000 to 19,000
between 1994 and 1999.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 10 June page 10

Boarding school is a form of child abuse, says

Children sent to boarding school are at risk of severe
psychological damage, according to a leading psychotherapist.

The problem has led to a support group being set up for
sufferers of “boarding school syndrome” whose symptoms include
hatred of the opposite sex, intimacy problems and obsession with

Nick Duffell, who has counselled former boarding school pupils,
set up Boarding School Survivors.

This week, Duffell will tell a health conference in London that
boarders cope with the trauma of separation from their families, in
a similar way as victims of sexual abuse do, by burying their

Duffell said children should not be sent away before puberty:
“Boarding school pupils have to develop strategic survival
strategies. Children develop a false self which is brittle but
outwardly confident. As a result, we are breeding emotionally
constipated people.”

Source:- Independent on Sunday 10 June page 8

Camelot slashes £2bn from charity

Lottery operator Camelot has been forced to cut at least £2
billion from its promise to raise £15 billion for good causes
over the next seven years, after a slump in lottery sales.

Despite plans for a major relaunch of the game later this year,
Camelot executives admit privately that the £15 billion target
will not be reached.

In the week before last, the company endured its worst ever
takings for the draw since launching the mid week game in 1997. It
sold £70 million worth of tickets, compared with an average of
£95m in late 1997.

Source:- Independent on Sunday 10 June page 12

Asylum seekers ‘are taking Britons

Well qualified asylum seekers are taking British people’s
jobs, the head of the Immigration Advisory Service has

Chief executive Keith Best said that “the number of asylum
seekers could be a threat to some British citizens” and that some
people will have “their jobs taken by better qualified

His comments have angered organisations, which campaign for
immigrants rights.

Last night Best defended his comments. He said: “You have to be
honest with people about this debate. It is undoubtedly true that
some low-qualified people will feel threatened by highly-qualified
economic migrants, but as a country, we have to decide what to do
with these people.”

Source:- The Sunday Telegraph 10 June page 2

Unions start battle to defend public

The government’s plans to privatise health and education
will be campaigned against by union leaders who represent millions
of public sector workers.

Public sector union Unison will lead calls for Tony Blair to
rethink a key policy to allow private companies to run essential
public services.

Other union leaders have not ruled out industrial action. Bill
Morris leader of the Transport and General Workers’ Union
broke his silence on the issue.

“I for one reject the notion that efficient public services can
only be provided in partnership with the private sector. It is a
belief which is fast becoming an ideology – one which does
immense damage to the morale of hard working, dedicated public
sector employees.”

In a speech tomorrow, Unison leader Dave Prentis will call on
the prime minister to abandon the policy, saying that it undermines
the work of doctors, nurses and other staff employed to run public

Source:- The Observer Sunday 10 June page 2

Fear over Net photo of Bulger killer

An alleged plan to publish a picture of one of James
Bulger’s killers on the internet was condemned yesterday by
the solicitor for the boy.

Dominic Lloyd said he would investigate allegations that more
than one photograph of Robert Thompson was being circulated among
people in Merseyside, who condemn the youth’s release.

It was reported yesterday that campaigners plan to publish the
photograph on the internet, undermining efforts to give the youth a
new identity.

Both Thomspon and Jon Venables have been granted a high court
injunction protecting their anonymity when they are released.

Lloyd said: “It would be highly irresponsible for anyone to
consider publishing it. The threat of vigilante action has been
with us for a long time in this case and this makes the threat ever
more real.”

Source:- The Times Monday 11 June page 2

Lottery aids Oldham

Healthcare for ethnic minority communities in Oldham will
improve as a result of one million pounds from the National

Health advice will be given to ethnic minority women living in
some of the most disadvantaged areas of the town, with a grant from
the New Opportunities Fund.

Members of the Asian community suffer from high rates of mental
illness, coronary disease and diabetes, and women in these
communities have abnormally high rates of suicide.

The grant is part of £6 million being distributed by the
fund to eight projects trying to tackle the “root causes” of
inequalities in healthcare suffered by people in deprived

Source:- The Times Monday 11 June page 11

Carers bear burden of waiting lists drive

Unpaid carers are having to cope with the burden of chronically
sick relatives, due to the shortage of beds in the NHS.

Hospitals are discharging patients too early, in a bid to drive
down the waiting lists. Families of the patients are not consulted
to see whether enough support is available, claims the Carers
National Association.

The charity, which represents 5.7 million people looking after
old, sick and disabled relatives, says the government should issue
guidance on discharges to stop the burden falling on hard pressed

“The offensive concept of ‘bed-blocking’ and the
drive to cut waiting lists are clearly a factor,” says CNA chief
executive Diana Whitworth. “We need a more enlightened approach
which places the needs of patients and carers at its heart.”

Source:- The Independent Monday 11 June page

Blunkett acts tough with crackdown on sex offenders and
drug dealers

A crackdown on paedophiles, a reform of the immigration system
and a blitz on drugs will be a priority in Labour’s second term in

The new home secretary David Blunkett signalled the
government’s willingness to consider publishing sex offenders
criminal records, saying that moves to allow “controlled access” to
criminal records would be part of a wide ranging review of policies
to protect children.

Blunkett also pointed to reform the immigration system through
the introduction of the green card system, and promised a blitz on
illegal asylum seekers.

He renewed Labour’s manifesto pledge to crackdown on
paedophiles who use the internet to groom victims.

Blunkett also promised a tough stance on drugs, but insisted the
government needed the help of local communities to tackle “the
biggest scourge of the modern era”.

Source:- Independent Monday 11 June page 4

Scottish newspapers

Refugees should be housed in des res areas

A government adviser on race relations has added fuel to the
debate on the care of refugees and asylum seekers by saying they
should be accommodated in desirable housing areas.

Alistair McIntosh publicly attacked the Scottish executive, the
home office and local authorities for provoking racist violence in
deprived urban areas. McIntosh said: “Dumping asylum seekers in
areas of social deprivation is the wrong decision. These areas have
enough problems of their own.”

McIntosh, a fellow of the Centre of Human Ecology in Edinburgh,
informed his own local authority, Fife Council, about an empty flat
below his own in the coastal village of Kinghorn near Kirkcaldy. He
also accused everyone off being guilty of “innate racism” – a
problem he said that had to be “confronted, challenged and

Source:- The Scotsman Monday 11 June page 1

PR tactics to continue

The high profile campaign to increase payments to private
residential and nursing homes will continue according to Jack
Irvine, the owner of PR company Media House.

Media House, working for Scottish Care, the umbrella
organisation representing most of Scotland’s private home
owners, was severely criticised by first minister, Henry McLeish,
and senior civil servants at the weekend. Over the past two weeks
Scottish Care has threatened to refuse new council-funded
admissions to residential units in Grampian and to evict older
people in Lanarkshire.

The Scottish executive has been critical of the tactics using
vulnerable people in this manner. Irvine states he and Media House
have the full backing of Scottish Care.

Source:- The Herald Monday 11 June page 4

Heating scheme has failed older people

A Scottish executive scheme to install free central heating in
the homes of 100,000 Scots by April 2006 has failed and should be
redrafted according to Age Concern Scotland.

Announced last year, the £350 million initiative has only
benefited 8,000 households so far according to reports by 26 of the
32 Scottish councils with as many as 15 local authorities claiming
that not one property in their area qualifies. The difficulties are
being blamed on over demanding criteria which excludes properties
where partial central heating has already been introduced.

Highland Council described the scheme as “a cruel deception”. A
Scottish executive spokesperson said that priority was being given
to those with no form of central heating and added: “We will
consider proposals to extend the programme to include some people
who already have some heating thereafter.”

Source: The Herald Monday 11 June page 4




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