A summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay.

Bulger fears stop judge naming boys

A judge granted two teenagers, who tortured a boy and left him
brain damaged, anonymity amid the climate created by the Bulger

According to Mr Justice Grigson, it would not be in the wider
public interest for the youths who strung up the 13-year-old boy,
to be named.

The decision follows fears that James Bulger’s killers
Robert Thompson and Jon Venables may be attacked by vigilantes, and
is the first indication that juvenile courts may be more reluctant
to name serious offenders.

Harry Fletcher, of the National Association of Probation
Officers, said: “The last few days have shown how dangerous it is
to name juvenile offenders, and this Old Bailey decision sends a
signal for much greater caution in future.”

The two teenagers were jailed for an attack in Wandsworth last
year, when they strung up Michael Servante and kicked him in the
head. One boy aged 15 was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years and
the other, aged 14 received three-and-a-half years.

Source:- The Times Tuesday 26 June page 1

Newspaper asked to explain Bulger breach

The attorney general told the Manchester Evening News to explain
how it came to breach the injunction protecting the killers of
James Bulger.

Lord Goldsmith decided that an article in the newspaper last
Friday broke the terms of the injunction granted last year barring
publication of the whereabouts of Robert Thompson and Jon

The demand for the explanation is the first step towards taking
high court proceedings.

According to a spokesperson, once he receives the explanation,
the attorney general will decide whether to go ahead with contempt

Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 26 June page 2

Woolf: I did not release Bulger’s

The lord chief justice said yesterday that it was not his
decision to release James Bulger’s killers.

In an unprecedented move, Lord Woolf issued a statement saying
that he was not responsible for the return of Jon Venables and
Robert Thompson to society.

Woolf continued to pass the responsibility to the home

He explained: “It is my task to review the tariffs of defendants
found guilty of murder who were under the age of 18 years of age
when they committed the offence, and who are therefore ordered to
be detained during her Majesty’s Pleasure. I review each
application on its individual merit.”

“It is the minimum amount of time a detainee must serve before
the parole board may consider the case,” he added.

Woolf accused the media of misleading reporting in suggesting he
ordered the release.

Source:- The Independent Tuesday 26 June page

Queue grows for asylum seekers

Asylum applications rose again last month, according to the
latest home office figures.

The number of people seeking asylum in Britain increased by 300
to 5,290. However the backlog of those awaiting an initial decision
on their application fell to 27,300, compared with a record 103,000
in January 2000.

But much of the problem has been shifted to the appeals system,
where tens of thousands of applicants are challenging the decision
to reject their application.

Source:- The Times Tuesday 26 June page 4

Unions to meet Blair on pay and conditions

Tony Blair is attempting to soothe unions’ anger over the
privatisation of public services, and is planning a meeting of
trade union leaders at Downing Street tomorrow.

The future of public services will be discussed at a meeting
with all the secretaries of the public sector unions and the

The meeting has been hastily arranged following a backlash from
trade unionists over the government’s plans to privatise
schools and hospitals.

Downing Street insisted it was not considering whole scale
privatisation of public services, and health minister Alan Milburn
said there would be clear limits for private sector provision.

Source:- The Times Tuesday 26 June page 8

Brown targets child poverty

Gordon Brown pledged to tackle child poverty yesterday as he
announced a series of policy reviews to the Commons.

Brown said lifting one million children out of poverty would be
the centrepiece of next year’s Budget, and the next three
year spending review from 2003-4 and 2005-6.

The Chancellor said there would be reviews of all public
services for children at risk, the voluntary sector’s role in
helping families and health inequalities.

These would take place alongside development of the proposed
integrated children’s tax credit, combining child benefit,
with the means tested working families tax credit and
children’s tax credit.

Brown said that combating child poverty was the best
“anti-deprivation as well as the best anti-delinquency and crime”

Source:- The Times Tuesday 26 June page 10

Family’s plea over jailed drug man

The family of a British disabled charity worker, who was jailed
in India for possessing cannabis, called for his immediate release
claiming he had been the victim of a miscarriage of justice.

Ian Stillman is being held in prison for the possession of 44lb
of cannabis.

Stillman, who is deaf and suffering the effects of an amputated
leg, is unable to survive in the primitive conditions of the jail,
according to supporters and his condition is worsening.

He has already begun an appeal following a summary trial in
Hindi, a language he does not understand, and had to attend without
the use of sign language.

Yesterday his sister Elspeth Dugdale said there was no evidence
the cannabis belonged to Stillman and that he had been unfairly

Source:- Daily Telegraph Tuesday 26 June page 4

Patient fails in fight against electro

A severely depressed woman failed in her high court attempt to
stop her receiving electro-convulsive therapy, against her

The woman, known as Mrs W, suffers from Parkinson’s
disease and severe depression, and is detained under the Mental
Health Act.

She objected to the treatment as she didn’t like the way
it caused her memory loss, according to Paul Bowen acting for Mrs

Mr Justice Munby said there was a lack of any compelling
evidence that Mrs W would suffer any continuing or long term
disadvantages from the treatment, and refused to grant the interim
injunction, to stop further ECT treatment at Derby hospital.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Tuesday 26 June page 5

Social services slow to support mother who killed her
disabled sons, says inquiry

The Isle of Wight social services and health authorities did not
provide adequate support to the family of handicapped brothers
Richard and Robbie Turnbull, an independent inquiry concluded

Janquil Melody Turnbull killed her two severely handicapped sons
two years ago, and was given a two-year suspended sentence after
admitting manslaughter in October 1999.

Melody and her husband Ron cared for the two boys who suffered
cerebral palsy and could do nothing for themselves.

Yesterday’s inquiry report concluded that while Isle of
Wight Council’s social services and health authorities did
not fail in their basic statutory duties, they were slow to meet
the boy’s needs.

It found community care assessments had taken eight months.

The report, commissioned by the authorities involved, also
criticised the local social services’ practice of not
requesting information from local authorities which had handled the
family’s case previously. That meant assessments started from
scratch adding to delays.

The report by Barbara McIntosh, of the Community Care
Development at King’s College London, said the authorities
should have involved the Turnbulls more in planning for their sons
and that communication between staff and the parents could have
been better.

It added staff may not have realised the extent of the stress
the Turnbulls were under.

Source:- The Independent Tuesday 26 June page

Care home in battle to keep refugee doctor

Lawyers were trying to prevent a popular African doctor, working
in a residential home for people with learning difficulties, being
deported today.

Asylum seeker Dr Gerard Santos, who has lived in Britain for
eight years, was arrested by police in Littlehampton, West Sussex,
and told he would be sent back to Benin.

Friends and colleagues of the popular doctor accused the home
office of breaching procedure by arresting him without warning.

Colleagues at the care home where he worked have begun a
“justice for Gerard” campaign.

One colleague said it was outrageous as Santos had been given
permission to work, given a national insurance number, had never
drawn any benefit, renewed his visas on time and reported regularly
to the police.

He has worked as a residential care worker in homes for older
people and physically disabled, and for the past three years has
worked as a team leader in a home for people with profound learning
difficulties and extreme behavioural problems.

The home office claims it has written in September telling him
that an application to stay in Britain had been turned down, but
Santos and his solicitor deny receiving the letter.

Source:– The Independent Tuesday 26 June page

Scottish newspapers

Young warn their voices must still be heard

Young people warned a special day-long event at the Scottish
parliament that their voices must still be heard even after the
creation of a children’s commissioner for Scotland.

Yesterday, MSPs heard from children’s charities and
welfare groups all of whom gave overwhelming support to the
creation of a children’s commissioner. Young people from
throughout the country had also been invited, and warned that the
appointment of a children’s commissioner did not replace the
need to listen to and act on the views of young people themselves.
After initial reluctance, the Scottish executive is now sympathetic
to the creation of a children’s commissioner and the
education, culture and sport committee has been asked to inquire
into the role and what the “added value” might be.

Source:- The Herald Tuesday 26 June page 2







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