A summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay.

Woman who left her children for holiday gets

The woman who left her four children at home while she enjoyed a
two-week foreign holiday was sentenced to two years’
probation on Friday.

Amanda Woods was convicted last month after leaving her
children, aged between three and nine, in the care of her
16-year-old sister while she flew to Tenerife. Social services had
previously warned that the teenager was not a suitable childminder
for long-term supervision.

The children were on the “at risk” register and social services
were made aware of Woods’ absence after a fire broke out at
the home.

She was convicted on four counts of negligence at Warrington
crown court following a five-day trial.

Judge David Hale imposed a two-year community rehabilitation
order and said that a jail sentence was not given as the children
had not been harmed. The case was about the “potential for harm”,
he said.

Source:- The Guardian Saturday 11 August 2001 page

UN body blames press for hatred of refugees

The climate of hostility towards asylum-seekers in Britain is a
result of some British politicians and newspapers, an international
body claimed on Friday.

The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
said it was deeply concerned by previous attacks on asylum-seekers.
But it was inevitable given the way asylum-seekers had been reviled
in the country.

The UNHCR’s views on Britain’s treatment of refugees
and asylum-seekers follows other criticisms, including Amnesty
International’s attack on the negative rhetoric of British
politicians and media.

The press deliberately set out to tarnish the name of
asylum-seekers, said UNHCR spokesperson Kris Janowski during a

Referring to the stabbing of a Kurdish refugee on the Sighthill
estate in Glasgow, and other racist attacks, Janowski said: “Three
such attacks in the space of three days is a very alarming
development, but in UNHCR’s view was sadly predictable given
the climate of vilification of asylum-seekers that has taken hold
in the UK in recent years.”

Source:- The Guardian Saturday 11 August 2001 page

Sex offenders list left in supermarket car

A police inquiry was launched on Saturday after a confidential
list containing 200 sex offenders’ names was left in a
supermarket car park.

The document was handed to The Times, after it was
found wrapped in newspaper in a Tesco car park in Lincoln. Police
in Lincolnshire confirmed it was a genuine sex offenders register
usually held on a secure computer.

The register lists names, addresses and dates of birth of 204
offenders. It also contained information as to when the offenders
were due to be removed from the list, with some marked for

Source:- Sunday Times Sunday 12 August 2001 page 2

Murdered asylum-seeker wanted out

The asylum-seeker murdered in Glasgow last week told his family
in Turkey he was fed up and wanted to return home just hours before
his death, it has emerged.

Friends of Firsat Dag say he had suffered racial attacks at the
hands of two white youths during the two weeks he spent on the
Sighthill estate and he was severely depressed before he died.

Dag was stabbed to death as he and a Kurdish friend walked home
from a restaurant in the town centre last Sunday. Police believe
racism is a possible motive.

The death led to protests from asylum-seekers on the Sighthill
estate about racist treatment, and white residents demonstrated
saying council leaders gave refugees on the estate preferential

Source:- Sunday Times Sunday 12 August 2001 page 10

Blunkett orders shake-up in dispersal of refugees to

David Blunkett has ordered an urgent shake up of the
controversial asylum-seeker dispersal system, in a move which to
some will signal a defeat of the scheme.

It follows the stabbing of a 22-year-old Kurdish asylum-seeker
on the Sighthill estate in Glasgow last week, fuelling fears over
vulnerable incomers obliged to move to parts of the country where
they have no community support.

The home secretary is particularly worried about the scandal of
some private firms contracted to the dispersal scheme providing
slum housing for refugees.

As part of a wider strategy, asylum-seekers will be urged to do
voluntary work in order to reduce hostility from local communities,
as they cannot undertake paid work until their cases are

The government will face fresh criticism this week as a report
from Save the Children and the Refugee Council will highlight the
plight of child refugees separated from their family. It will
reveal in some cases, children have fallen through the net and are
sharing accommodation with strangers and in some cases detained in

Source:- The Observer Sunday 12 August 2001 page 3

Council ignored the threat of race violence on

Glasgow Council was warned that outbreaks of racial violence
were inevitable on the Sighthill housing estate in Glasgow just
weeks before a Kurdish refugee was stabbed to death.

The council ignored suggestions from a delegation of community
workers and architects to introduce cheap, quick-fix measures to
lessen the likelihood of attacks, citing lack of funds. It receives
£105 million over five years for housing asylum-seekers
through the Home Office dispersal scheme.

Architect Michael MacAulay said: “We urged them to spend money
on building a community centre, the one thing that the
asylum-seekers wanted above all else. They said they had no money.
We told them that problems would continue to escalate unless
something was done.”

Source:- Independent Sunday 12 August 2001 page 8

Stop jailing your asylum-seekers, UN tells

Britain’s “shameful policy” of jailing asylum-seekers was
condemned by the United Nations yesterday.

Responding to revelations that more than 1,000 refugees are
detained in prisons alongside convicts, the UN High Commissioner
for Refugees Ruud Lubbers demanded an end to the policy.

“Asylum-seekers should not be detained. Many of them have
survived unspeakable trauma and the experience of jail may increase
their suffering,” a spokesperson for Lubbers said yesterday in

Britain is the only European country to jail innocent
asylum-seekers. They are subjected to prison discipline with many
confined to cells for 20 hours a day or more.

Source:- Independent Sunday 12 August 2001 page 1

Asylum crisis – Plight of the lone child

Amelia Hill reports from Sighthill in Glasgow where the murder
of Firsat Yildiz has split a community that once welcomed
asylum-seekers and Martin Bright looks at young Afghans being
abandoned on Kent roadsides.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 12 August 2001 page

Scandal of stranded hospital pensioners

Labour accused over the shortage of money and nursing home
places that leaves patients blocking NHS beds.

Source:- The Sunday Telegraph Sunday 12 August 2001
page 14

Police expect trouble with asylum moves

Police chiefs have warned that the government’s target of
sending home 2,500 unsuccessful asylum-seekers a month could cause
public disorder, and damage relations with ethnic minority

The police are expected to be involved in assisting the
immigration service to remove 60,000 failed asylum-seekers over the
next two years. The Association of Chief Police Officers has said
the work required will put a large burden on some forces. Whereas
750 asylum-seekers are currently being sent home each month, it is
expected that 2,500 will be removed per month under the future

The Home Office is preparing guidelines for the tactics used
during removals, fearing accusations of heavy-handedness.

Police fears have been heightened by tension in Glasgow after
the killing of Kurdish asylum-seeker Firsat Dag. His death has
prompted a review of the dispersal scheme around the UK.

Source:- The Times Monday 13 August 2001 page 8

Beds crisis this winter as homes for elderly

A winter crisis in hospitals and the community is already
looming as beds for older people are running out after the closure
of private care homes.

Kent council has warned the situation is “deteriorating rapidly”
and must be resolved within the next two months.

With care homes closing, older people are occupying expensive
hospital beds, as there is no place for them to go.

Kent’s conservative leader Sandy Bruce-Lockheart has
written to health secretary Alan Milburn three times this year
warning him of the difficulties.

“The situation has gone from bad to worse. It is now becoming
impossible for the county council to place people in nursing homes
at all,” the latest letter read.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Monday 13 August 2001 page

Racist council tenants will face fast-track

Council tenants who racially attack asylum-seekers will face
fast-track eviction under government plans.

Housing law would be reformed to allow local authorities more
scope to repossess the homes of those who commit neighbourhood
nuisance under the proposals.

Radical reform of the housing law is bound to spark controversy
with tenants’ rights groups, but ministers are determined to
act following racial attacks on asylum-seekers.

One attack resulted in the death of a Kurdish refugee on the
Sighthill estate in Glasgow.

Source:- Independent Monday 13 August 2001page 6



Scottish newspapers

Seeking asylum but finding fear

A report about life in the Sighthill scheme of Glasgow from the
perspective of an asylum-seeking family.

Source:- The Scotsman Saturday 11 August 2001

Schoolchildren to be vaccinated against Hepatitis

In the first project of its kind in the UK, thousands of Glasgow
children are to be offered vaccination against Hepatitis B.
Previously such protection has only been made available to
high-risk groups such as intravenous drug users, homosexual men and
health workers. Greater Glasgow Health Board has introduced the
scheme following revelations that cases of the highly infectious
virus have more than doubled in Scotland over the past four

Source:- The Scotsman Saturday 11 August 2001

Minister calls for scrapping of voucher

Malcolm Chisholm, deputy minister for community care, has called
on the Home Office to scrap the voucher system of payments to
refugees and asylum-seekers. Chisholm said: “The negative and
stigmatising effect of the voucher scheme was forcibly drawn to my
attention by asylum-seekers when I visited them in Glasgow in
June.” Chisholm referred to the current review of the scheme by the
Home Office and called for it to be scrapped. However, a Home
Office spokesperson said the scheme may “simply be revised to make
it work more efficiently”.

Source:- Scotland on Sunday Sunday 12 August 2001 page

Prison social work service axed

The Scottish Prison Service is to axe the local authority-run
prison-based social work services in Edinburgh in a move towards
privatising the service. The move, from 31 August, has raised fears
that sex offenders and violent criminals will be left without the
counselling they need. The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities
is deeply opposed to the move and in a paper obtained by The
is severely critical of the Scottish Prison

Source:- The Scotsman Monday 13 August 2001 page 7

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