A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay.

Disabled rights may be extended to 40,000

Tens of thousands of people – including those newly
diagnosed with HIV or cancer – may be eligible to receive
benefits and new rights if the official definition of disability be

Having received pressure from disability groups, ministers are
considering broadening the term, which already covers around 8.5
million people.

Only when those people with cancer or HIV are advanced
substantially enough to affect their every day activities are they
included in the category.

Disability minister Maria Eagle said in an interview with
ePolitix website that government, and disability groups have held
“major discussions” on the issue which would mean legislation would

The department for work and pensions estimates that an
additional 40,000 people would enter the category if it were
broadened as campaigners want it to be. These people would then
access benefits such as disability allowance and gain rights to
have services made accessible.

Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 18 December page 5

Judge criticises law on paedophiles

A judge who sentenced Roy Whiting for offences against a young
girl in 1995 criticised the law governing the management of
paedophiles in society.

Retired John Gower also defended the way he sentenced Whiting:
“I have no doubt that the sentence which I passed was just and
proper. I’ve no regrets.”

He dismissed criticism that he had been too lenient in
sentencing Whiting to four years for kidnapping and assaulting a
nine-year old girl.

Gower described the 1997 act, which requires sex offenders to
register with the police as a “kneejerk reaction”, and suggested
that it did not go far enough.

However, he rejected the idea that details of paedophiles should
be made available to the general public.

Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 18 December page 6

Police seize paedophile

One of the paedophiles named by the News of the World newspaper
this week was arrested yesterday.

Scotland Yard said officers detained Tuan Quang Ho at an address
in south London over a breach of obligation to sign the sex
offenders register after he vanished from his address in south east
London in May.

Ho was convicted in 1997 of two counts of indecent assault
against a girl aged 14 and sentenced to 14 months in a young
offenders’ institution.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Tuesday 18 December page 2

Jail chief criticises the ‘blame

The former chief inspector of prisons Sir David Ramsbotham
continues his attack on the government today for its handling of
Britain’s jails.

He says the ministers responsible for the Prison Service are
more concerned with bureaucracy, budget cutting and the blame
culture than trying to prevent criminals offending again.

Ramsbotham, who retired five months ago, says he is “deeply
concerned” that the government has “no strategic plan for the
conduct of imprisonment”.

He claims he was frequently horrified by the things he saw
during inspections and the failure of the Prison Service to improve
conditions for prisoners.

Ramsbotham believes that a “root and branch review” of the
prison system is needed. “Imprisonment is still largely conducted
on Victorian principles of deterrence rather than in accordance
with modern attitudes about rehabilitation,” he adds.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Tuesday 18 December page 5

Father wins right to adopt his daughter

A father has been given the right to adopt his own daughter
after discovering that he was the parent.

Five law lords ruled yesterday that the father, who cannot be
identified, is entitled to adopt the girl as the sole parent. Her
mother will no longer be seen as the parent in the eyes of the

The parents of the girl, referred to as A, had a relationship
between August 1997 and April 1998, and A was born in October 1998.
The father was unaware of the pregnancy until social services
contacted him.

He took the battle to become the sole adoptive parent of his
daughter to the House of Lords after the Official Solicitor
successfully contested a high court ruling that gave him the right
to adopt. The court of appeal backed the official solicitor, but
yesterday the law lords overturned that ruling.

They said the mother’s attitude to the child and her
consent to the adoption meant that in this case the order was in
the child’s best interests.

Source:- The Times Tuesday 18 December page 6

Pay hike gamble for NHS

Doctors and nurses received pay rises up to two and a half times
the rate of inflation last night in a desperate bid by the
government to retain staff in public services.

Inflation is running at 1.8 per cent, but the government gave
family doctors a rise of 4.6 per cent and hospital doctors and
nurses 3.6 per cent.

Health secretary Alan Milburn said: “These pay awards are well
ahead of inflation and are richly deserved. These increases in pay
are needed to get more staff working in the NHS and to keep them
working in the NHS.”

Nurses did not welcome the rise saying they were still running
well behind teachers and police.

Source:- The Times Tuesday 18 December page 1

Scottish newspapers

Domestic abuse increases

The number of domestic abuse cases reported to the police in
Scotland increased by 3 per cent to a total of 36,000 last year. Of
all cases 92 per cent of victims were women while 93 per cent of
abusers were male.

Source:- The Herald Tuesday 18 December page 4









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