A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay.

Climbie killer to appear at inquiry

The woman who killed her eight-year-old niece has been ordered
to give evidence in person at the inquiry into Victoria
Climbie’s death.

Marie Therese Kouao, who was jailed for life in January for
killing Victoria, has been so unco-operative that lawyers for the
inquiry have demanded she appear in person.

They believe Kouao, who has refused even to produce a witness
statement to the inquiry, will find it more difficult to refuse
questions put to her face-to-face.

Her evidence session, which is due to take place in December or
January, is likely to take place in a crown court for security
reasons. Her boyfriend Carl Manning, who is also serving life for
Victoria’s murder, will also have to give evidence, but via a
video link from a secure locations.

The inquiry continues.

Source:- The Times Saturday 24 November page 7

Sarah suspect ‘smartened up’ next

The man accused of killing Sarah Payne considerably smartened
his scruffy appearance the day after the schoolgirl vanished, the
jury was told on Friday.

Roy Whiting’s former employer Terence Heath said when he
bumped into the accused outside his flat in Littlehampton, his
dress sense and cleanliness had improved.

“He seemed very smart, very clean, steam-cleaned in fact,” he
told Lewes crown court.

Earlier in the trial, the court heard how Sarah’s brother
Lee told how he saw a “scruffy and unshaven” man driving a white
van shortly after his sister disappeared.

Sarah’s body was discovered 16 days later.

Whiting denies kidnapping and murdering eight-year-old

The trial continues.

Source:- The Times Saturday 24 November page 9

Britain has the worst drugs problem

The drug problem is worse in Britain than any other European
country, a report has revealed.

The UK is shown to be ahead of the rest of Europe on every kind
of drug taking, and will put David Blunkett under greater pressure
concerning the relaxation of drug laws.

But co-author of the report from the European-funded European
Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, has admitted that
the decriminalisation of all drugs would have little or no impact
on the number of people taking drugs.

Such a move would make health and social problems more

Out of 7,266 drug overdose related deaths in Europe in 1999,
close to half were in the UK at 2,857.

Britain has the highest proportion of users of ecstasy, heroin,
amphetamines and cannabis. Cocaine use, which is more prevalent in
Spain, is fastest growing in the UK.

Source:- The Independent on Sunday 25
November page 2

Law ‘endangers’ abused families

Domestic violence campaigners will urge the government to ban
violent men from seeing their children this week.

The all-party group of MPs on domestic violence wants to amend
the Adoption and Children Bill so that perpetrators of domestic
violence cannot use child contact orders to continue to abuse their
partners or children.

The group will present ‘substantial’ evidence to the
House of Commons on Tuesday showing that some abusive parents use
orders to track down their victims.

It claims 14 children have been murdered in such

Source:- Independent on Sunday 25 November
page 5

Third male jail converted to hold record number of

An influx in the number of women being sent to jail has resulted
in the prison service being forced to convert a third male jail to
accommodate them.

There are a record 4,045 women in prison and the prison service
will announce today that such is the demand for female prison
accommodation, that the 350-place Buckley Hall prison in Rochdale
will be converted over the next few months to hold women

Two other male prisons have already been converted earlier this

Source:- The Times Monday 26 November page 1

Drugs at root of big increase in women

Experts are blaming cocaine and heroin for the past
decade’s rise in crime, which has resulted in the number of
women in Britain’s jails tripling since 1990 to 4,045.

Two in five of all female prisoners are jailed for drug
offences, and drugs are the most common cause for imprisonment. The
second most common is theft – often linked with drug

By contrast only one in 14 male prisoners are there for drug
offences. The most common offence among men is violent crime.

Chris Tchaikovsky, head of the lobby group Women in Prison,
said: “Drugs are the reason why women’s prisons are filling

“If the government thinks you can punish people out of using
drugs, I can tell you from experience you can’t. Prison makes
you feel bad, drugs makes you feel good, ergo the drugs problem
gets worse.”

Source:- The Times Monday 26 November page 4

Silent women will not save violent husbands

Violent men who abuse their partners will be prosecuted even if
the woman refuses to give evidence, it will be announced this

David Calvert Smith QC will publish a policy aimed at stopping
hundreds of men who attack women escaping prosecution. He will say
that cases of domestic violence should not be dropped if the victim
declines to give evidence, as is currently the case.

The change of policy means that police are to concentrate on
collecting evidence to support what the victim says such as witness
statements from neighbours.

Source:- The Times Monday 26 November page 6

Ex-DJ to face child sex abuse questions

A former Radio 1 DJ will be extradited from the Czech Republic
under the paedophile inquiry, which saw the jailing of Jonathan
King last week.

Chris Denning was released from Pankrac Prison in Prague in May
having served a three-and-a-half year sentence for a series of
child sex offences. He has been held in special custody at the
request of the home office, and extradition proceedings were
launched after he refused to sign papers that would have enabled
him to be deported.

He will be investigated by Surrey police as part of the
investigation that led to Jonathan King being jailed for seven
years for abusing schoolboys.

Source:- The Times Monday 26 November page 6

Brown postpones savings plan for babies and

The Chancellor’s plans for government grants for all
babies, and a savings scheme for the poor have been delayed for
fears they are too expensive.

Gordon Brown will publish a second consultation document on the
Child Trust Fund, but no timetable will be given.

All children would receive a lump sum of up to £500 at
birth to be invested until they are 18.

In the pre-Budget report, the Chancellor will announce a series
of pilot studies to test the related saving gateway scheme in which
the government would match savings from low income families pound
for pound.

Both moves are expected to push back implementation of the
manifesto plans until 2004 or 2005.

Source:- The Times Monday 26 November page 8

Scottish newspapers

Doubts over free personal care

Plans to provide free personal care were cast into doubt at the
weekend as two Labour MSPs broke ranks to criticise the policy.

Brian Fitzpatrick, MSP and former head of the Scottish
executive’s policy unit, said he was unhappy about comments
from social workers that the residential sector did not have
sufficient capacity to cope with the expected increase in demand.
Kate MacLean, MSP and former leader of Dundee Council, condemned
the policy as benefiting the most wealthy.

Source:- Scotland on Sunday 25 November page 2

Crisis of confidence a women’s jail

Scottish prison chiefs fear there will be more suicides among
inmates at Cornton Vale, Scotland’s only prison for women, in
the face of collapsing staff morale and rising prison numbers.

Morale is said to have fallen among staff since the departure of
former governor, Kate Donegan and a medical officer, who were
lauded for transforming the prison into a safe haven.

The two had been brought in after a spate of six suicides over a
short period of time. In the three-and-a-half years of
Donegan’s tenure there were no suicides. There have been two
in the four months since her departure. In spite of the
government’s repeated pledges to reduce the number of female
prisoners in Scotland, new statistics, due to be published in the
near future, are expected to show a big increase and Cornton Vale
having to cope with more prisoners than its capacity.

Source:- Scotland on Sunday 25 November page 6

Newborn baby seized

Social workers and police in Edinburgh have seized the newborn
baby of a mother at the centre of an investigation into the deaths
of eight of her other children.

Police are investigating the possibility that the 38-year-old
mother suffers from Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy. The baby
is in good health and in the care of Edinburgh council social work

Source The Scotsman Monday 26 November page 2












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