A summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

Including headlines from Saturday and

By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay.

Bulger report in tabloid was

The mother of one of James Bulger’s killers has made a
formal complaint over a newspaper comment that alleged she said her
son would be dead within a month of being freed.

The Press Complaints Commission has been contacted by Susan
Venables, mother of Jon, saying she never spoke to the News of the
World, which published the report last Sunday. It said that Susan
feared her son would be dead within four weeks of his release.

She is understood to view the report of her reaction as “pure
fiction”, and is seeking a correction and an apology.

Jon Venables and Robert Thompson have both served eight years
for the murder of two-year-old James. They have been granted an
open-ended injunction protecting their anonymity.

Source:- The Independent Saturday 30 June page

Swimming coach is jailed for sex abuse

A leading swimming coach has been jailed for eight years for
what the judge described as an “utterly depraved” campaign of
sexual abuse against young boys.

Michael Drew was involved in attacks on boys as young as 13 over
a 20-year period. Drew, the president of the British Swimming
Coaches Association had publicly pledged to end paedophilia in
swimming, following a scandal with another coach five years

Victims came forward two years ago with evidence of how they had
been abused as children. Between the late sixties and 1991, the
coach abused and fondled at least five boys aged between 13 and 15
at schools and swimming clubs in and around London.

Judge Radford said Drew would be on the child sex register for

Source:- The Independent Saturday 30 June page

Refugees struck by Chunnel train

A desperate bid by two asylum seekers to reach Britain, failed
yesterday as they were critically injured after they entered the
Channel Tunnel on foot.

The Afghans were hit by a train near the French end of the
Tunnel. One is not expected to survive.

Eurotunnel bosses have frequently warned of the dangers of
entering the Tunnel on foot. Four refugees have been killed in the
last 18 months.

Source:- Daily Mail Saturday 30 June page 11

Rapists to serve full prison terms

Serious sex offenders, including paedophiles, will be refused
early release from prison under a crackdown planned by the home

In the fundamental review of sentencing laws, David Blunkett is
expected this week to announce that sex offenders must serve the
full length of their sentence. They are currently released having
served two thirds of their sentence.

Blunkett will also consider moves to order criminals to pay
reparations to their victims and the community as part of their
punishment. This follows successful pilot schemes where young
offenders are ordered to compensate the victims of their crime, and
Blunkett said this is likely to be extended to adults.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 1 July page 1

‘Livid’ unions threaten to snub

Trade unions are threatening a conference showdown with the
prime minister in new row over the private sector involvement with
public services.

They have vowed to block the election of Charles Clarke to a new
role as Labour party chairman, if Blair refuses to budge on the

A union source said: “We are livid about this. There will be a
big row at conference. Unless they are prepared to sit down and
start to talk about a deal there may be a lot of problems, not
least over the supposed coronation of Charles Clarke.”

This week, the Trades Union Congress meets to discuss its

Source:- The Independent on Sunday 1 July 2001 page

Bulger killers stay put for six months

The two men who have served eight years for the murder of
two-year-old James Bulger, will be held for another six months in
the local authority secure units, where they have been held for the
past eight years.

Social workers and families of Robert Thompson and Jon Venables
believe it is in their best interests to stay put until the
controversy over their release has died down.

Even when the two leave the secure units, social workers will
continue to live alongside them in two houses purchased by the home

The boys, both 18, have been given new identities and have been
released on life licence.

Source:- The Mail on Sunday 1 July page 5

All teenagers to be forced to do community

The three million pupils in state secondary schools will be
forced to undertake voluntary work, in a bid to halt the drift to a
“selfish and soulless society”.

From the age of 11, children will have to spend time helping
others in ways such as cleaning ponds, or improving

Government advisers are turning Tony Blair’s plans into
proposals which would ensure nobody left college without having
completed some voluntary work.

Source:- Sunday Times 1 July page 1

Drug czar recants: cannabis use does not lead to

Britain’s first drugs Tsar has changed his view that
cannabis leads to the use of harder drugs.

In a significant u-turn, Keith Hellawell last month said: “I do
not believe in a gateway drug.”

The shift follows David Blunkett’s announcement that a
softer approach would be taken to cannabis possession, with people
now being let off with a warning.

Until now, Hellawell and ministers have opposed
decriminalisation, and rejected calls to downgrade possession of

In November, Hellawell said New Zealand research had convinced
him that cannabis was a gateway to more harmful drugs.

However, last week he said: “That is one piece of evidence. That
does not mean that everybody who smokes 50 joints a year will
automatically be involved with hard drugs.”

He also supported the Lambeth scheme where police caution people
caught with cannabis as opposed to arresting them.

Source:- Sunday Times Sunday 1 July page 1

The church has torn my life apart, says abused

Gerald McEvoy speaks out about his abuse at Father
Hudson’s children’s home in Birmingham, and how the
church tried to boycott his candle business, caused the breakdown
of his marriage and has affected his mental health.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 1 July page 6

Revealed: how the Bulger killers have

Eight years on, the two boys whose murder of a toddler horrified
the nation are being released. Panorama’s Jane Corbin
discovers what sort of young men they have become

Source:- Sunday Telegraph Sunday 1 July page 14

Bulger family spied on killer’s home

The mother of murdered toddler James Bulger, asked her husband
to spy on the secure home where Jon Venables has been living, it
has emerged.

Lawyers are to seek extra protection for the killers, and one
possibility is formally to serve a gagging injunction on the
Justice for James organisation and its trustees. Lawyers may also
ask for a “vigilante-free zone” around Robert Thompson and Jon

The home office is said to be deeply concerned by the incident,
where Denise Fergus asked her husband Stuart to visit the home.
Stuart Fergus defended his actions saying he picked a time when
Venables was at a parole hearing.

A source claims, however, that a car registered to Fergus was
seen circling the area of the local authority children’s home
on another date.

Source:- The Times Monday 2 July page 1

Mowlam calls for cannabis to be legalised

The former head of the government’s anti-drugs policy Mo
Mowlam yesterday called for cannabis to be legalised, as drugs Tsar
Keith Hellawell claimed he could have been incorrect on his stance
that cannabis use led to cocaine and heroin.

The comments came on the eve of a police drugs trial in south
London where those caught in possession of cannabis are to be
warned and not arrested.

Mowlam said the sale of the drug should be legalised to take it
out if the hand of criminals, and that a tax on the drug would help
to pay for the treatment of addicts.

Keith Hellawell said he had softened his view that cannabis was
a “gateway drug”.

Source:- The Times Monday 2 July page 6

Kinnock calls for special NHS tax

Former labour party leader Neil Kinnock claims the health
service crisis is so severe that the government should introduce a
ring fenced tax to fund it, or risk a slide into private care.

Kinnock said that restoring an adequate service could mean
increasing taxation.

The comments came as the unions battle with Labour’s
proposals to help solve public sector troubles using the private

Source:- The Guardian Monday 2 July page 1

Bulger case family flees revenge attack

The family of one of James Bulger’s killers, has gone into
hiding following an alleged vigilante attack.

Ann Thompson, mother of Robert, said last night that her family
had fled their home for the ninth time in eight years after she was
attacked and threatened five days ago.

Thompson said that since her son was named as one of
James’ killers, her family has been “effectively in hiding,
unable to live anything like a normal life because of the constant
fear of revenge attacks”.

She recognised Thompson’s crime, but said her younger
children were being penalised by being denied a proper

Last night, in a letter to Panorama, Thompson called for the end
to the threats to hunt down and kill Robert.

“Two appalling wrongs do not make a right,” she said.

Source:- The Guardian Monday 2 July page 6

Union boss calls public service policy a ‘cocktail
of confusion’

The government received criticism from one of Labour’s
biggest affiliates who tore into minister for producing a “cocktail
of policy confusion over public services”.

Bill Morris said Blair was just as guilty of starving state
services of cash as previous Conservative governments.

The general secretary of the Transport and General
Workers’ Union said: “We see the main problem, not poor
management, but a cocktail of policy confusion…there have
been 17 strategies in education, 160 public service policy
announcements and hundreds of performance measurements and

He fired the warning as the GMB union claimed discontent over
moves to attract private capital into public services could boil
over at the party conference in October.

Source:- The Independent Monday 2 July page

Young offenders will be ordered to compensate victims
for their crime

Young offenders will be included in Labour’s “two strikes
and you’re out” policy, according to David Blunkett.

The home secretary is to present proposals on Thursday for all
young offenders to be put on a final warning after their first
offence. If they break the law, they will be fast tracked back into
court and could face prison.

Young first time offenders would also have to pay reparations
for the damage they have caused and do community work. They could
also be ordered to accept drugs counselling and obey curfews.

Blunkett will unveil his plans at the National Probation

Source:- The Independent Monday 2 July 2001
page 6

‘Tormented to death’

Six children are being charged with the death of a pensioner who
collapsed after confronting trouble-makers outside her home.

Sheila Bridge died shortly after a row with youngsters including
a boy of 10, who had been tormenting her and other residents at
sheltered accommodation.

Police believe she died as a result of stress form the

Yesterday the children aged between 10 and 14 were charged with

They will appear before Burnley Magistrates court today, and if
remanded in custody will be kept in council-run secure homes to
await trial.

Source:- Daily Mail Monday 2 July page 1

Scottish newspapers

Boy of 11 held after abduction and assault of

Strathclyde Police confirmed they are holding an 11-year-old boy
following the abduction and assault of a four-year-old boy in East
Kilbride on Saturday night. The four-year-old had been playing with
some friends before being led away into the woods. Police confirmed
that in spite of the child’s nakedness no sexual assault had
taken place. The police have now sent a referral to the reporter to
the children’s panel.

Source:- The Herald Monday 2 July page 1

More children contact Childline

Hundreds more children each year in Scotland seek help from
Childline due to sexual abuse or bullying, according to a report to
be published in a few weeks’ time. During the last year there has
been an 8 per cent increase to 2,000 children seeking help for
sexual abuse each year. Almost a third of all calls to the service
are concerned with bullying. During the year ending in March,
Childline in Scotland counselled around 22,000 children. The
organisation is now dealing with 500 calls a day due to the boom in
the use of mobile phones.

Source:- The Scotsman Monday 2 July page 6






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