A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom, Reg McKay and Alex Dobson.

‘Store attack’ girl bailed

An 11-year-old girl appeared in court on Friday after being
arrested for the 36th time this year.

The girl, who was arrested on Tuesday outside a
Sainsbury’s store when officers had to use CS gas to restrain
her, was arrested again outside the store on Friday.

Last month she was photographed attacking a Sainsbury’s
store and a youth court banned her from going near it as part of
her bail conditions.

She appeared before the youth court again on Friday afternoon,
and was bailed until 15 April. She will appear again then to face
charges of assault, criminal damage, theft and breach of bail.

Source:- The Guardian Saturday 6 April page 6

Damilola may have been stabbed, witness

A trauma expert, who said last week that Damilola Taylor had
died accidentally after falling onto glass, admitted on Friday that
he could not rule out the possibility that the boy could have been
stabbed with a broken bottle.

Alistair Wilson called by the defence in the Damilola Taylor
murder trial told the court last week he believed Damilola had died
as a result of an accident after playing with glass. But on Friday
during cross examination at the Old Bailey he admitted it was
impossible to be sure.

Two brothers aged 16 deny murder, manslaughter and assault with
intent to rob.

The hearing was adjourned until Wednesday.

Source:- The Guardian Saturday 6 April page 8

Extra cash fails to cut waiting lists

Extra money being poured into the NHS is failing to reduce the
waiting lists for inpatient treatment at hospitals in England,
according to evidence from health secretary Alan Milburn.

The number of patients waiting at the end of February was
17,600, higher than 12 months before by 1.7 per cent.

But the number waiting over a year fell by 12.7 per cent from
January to 25,800. This figure is 43.3 per cent down on the year

A department of health spokesperson said next month’s
figures would probably show NHS hospitals in England no longer had
anyone waiting that long for treatment.

Source:- The Guardian Saturday 6 April page 9

Paedophile given six life terms

A paedophile has been given six life sentences for raping and
abusing a young girl after he put images of his crime online.

David Paul Randal, of West Bridgford, Nottingham, was the first
offender caught using analysis of the images he produced to
pinpoint the location of his crimes.

Source:- The Independent Saturday 6 April page

Albanian detainees rioted at second asylum

Some of the perpetrators of the riots at Yarl’s Wood
asylum centre could have set fire to another unit only weeks

Staff at Yarl’s Wood centre have told police investigating
the riot that ringleaders in the disturbance launched a similar
attack at Campsfield House near Oxford less than three months

There have been claims that the gang of mostly Albanian men were
“dumped” on the fledgling Yarl’s Wood centre, where newly
recruited staff were soon overwhelmed by rioters.

The centre burnt down in February and there was £38 million
of damage caused.

Source:- The Independent Saturday 6 April page

Sex abuse teacher is jailed

A teacher was jailed for seven years on Friday having sexually
abused children for more than a decade.

John Walker was sentenced for indecently assaulting 12 boys and
seven girls over a 13-year period when he worked at a Church of
England primary school in Oxford.

His local education authority was warned of his behaviour in
1989, and he was forced to leave the primary school following
allegations of sexual assault against children. But he continued to
teach privately for a further 11 years until November 2000, when
allegations about his conduct came to light.

At Oxford crown court last month, Walker pleaded guilty to 35
counts of indecency against children. Twenty similar charges were
ordered to lie on the file.

Source:- The Times Saturday 6 April page 15

Pre-teen births hit new high

The number of girls getting pregnant before they hit their
teenage years has risen sharply according to official figures.

Eight girls aged 11 gave birth during 2000, and a further five
children aged 12 had children during the same period, which is the
highest number of pre-teenage mothers in recent years.

The figures follow news last week that an 11-year-old mother
from Scotland is also known to be a regular cannabis smoker.

Police complained that social services were more interested in
protecting confidentiality than the interests of the girl, and
officers have called for a new system to bypass the Data Protection
Act and allow sharing of information in such cases.

Four 12-year-olds gave birth in 1999 as did two in 1998. But a
decade earlier no 11 or 12-year-old gave birth.

Source:- The Sunday Times Sunday 7 April page 10

CRE warning on black gang culture

Ministers have been accused of encouraging the growth of a
violent gang culture and neglecting the disaffected teenagers who
roam the streets, by Britain’s most senior black race
relations advisor.

Beverley Benard, deputy chairperson of the Commission for Racial
Equality, said young black men turned to criminal gangs for
financial and emotional support because the government was failing
to provide facilities for them.

“What is emerging is the social provision of the criminal
culture – the gang is being seen to step into the vacuum
where statutory provision should be. The gang becomes the family,
the provider of social support,” she said.

Britain’s black community was in crisis, she warned, as a
result of crime and educational failure, and the worst may be yet
to come.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 7 April page 9

Half of all pupils admit breaking the law

Almost 50 per cent of children aged 11 to 16 in England,
Scotland and Wales, admit to having broken the law, according to a
survey of secondary school age children published today.

Also, nearly one in four young men aged 15 and 16 said they had
carried a knife or weapon during the past year, and one in five
admitted attacking someone with the intention of hurting them

The authors of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation report stressed
that most young people were law abiding most of the time.
Vandalism, shoplifting and other less serious crimes were committed
by a large minority of girls as well as boys.

This type of offending peaked among 14-15-year-olds, with a
third of this age group admitting doing criminal damage and a
quarter reporting shoplifting in the past 12 months.

Source:- The Guardian Monday 8 April page 1

Children as young as 13 admit binge

One in four 13 and 14-year -old children regularly binge on
drinks, according to a Joseph Rowntree Foundation report published
this week.

The study of 14,000 children aged 11 to 17 paints a picture of a
large minority of youngsters drinking heavily, sniffing glue,
smoking cannabis and slipping into a broad range of juvenile

The report’s authors were particularly concerned about the
high incidence of drink bingeing. Forty three per cent of boys and
girls aged 14 and 15 had been binge drinking, rising to 59 per cent
of boys and 54 per cent of girls aged 15 and 16.

The report also highlighted the extent of drug abuse among
school children, although this is mainly confined to cannabis.

Source:- The Times Monday 8 April page 5

Abuse protest

More than 150 people protested in Dublin against sex abuse by
Roman Catholic priests.

They also called for Cardinal Desmond Connell to resign. He
referred to the issue as he gave Mass to mark the birth of Edmund
Rice, founder of the Christian Brothers community.

Source:- The Times Monday 8 April page 2

Scottish newspapers

Private jail ‘the most violent in

Scotland’s flagship private jail, Kilmarnock, has emerged
as the most violent in the country. according to Clive Fairweather,
chief inspector of prisons.

In 12 months to 1 March this year, 21 fires were started at
Kilmarnock, and there were 29 assaults on staff – the highest
in both categories nationally. Fairweather attributes the violence
to understaffing with the prison operating 13 staff under
complement at the time of the official inspection. One prison
officer claimed that the reason violence had not been worse at the
prison, which opened in 1999 was through “the goodwill of the

Source:- Scotland on Sunday 7 April

9.3% salary increases for council bosses

The highest paid officers at Glasgow council, Scotland’s
largest local authority, are to receive wage increases averaging
9.3 per cent, more than three times the increase for ordinary staff
and five times the rate of inflation. The awards, effective from 1
April, will result in an increase of £9,800 for the director
of social work bringing his salary up to £109,400 per

Source:- The Herald Monday 8 April

Landmark ruling for lesbian couple

A landmark legal ruling, which gives a lesbian couple the same
parental rights as heterosexuals, is being greeted by gay rights
organisations and condemned by church groups. The decision means
that the women, known only as Pam and Natalie, will have full
responsibility for each other’s children and are considered a
family unit by the courts. The couple are the first lesbian couple
in Scotland to have parental rights granted.

Source:- The Herald Monday 8 April

Welsh newspapers

Swiss experiment cuts heroin addiction

European countries like Switzerland have developed more lenient
approaches to drug taking, and have found that the number of
addicts fell as a result. The Swiss method is to prescribe heroin
to maintain addicts’ supply while keeping them off the streets and
away from crime.

There have been calls for a more liberal approach in Wales, and
former Gwent police chief, Francis Bacon, says that he believes the
legalisation on heroin is the only way to prevent the drug swamping
communities across the principality.

He said that in Switzerland, where they prescribe heroin, they
have an increasingly old and shrinking heroin population, and added
that prescribing it legally would reduce the number of addicts.

Experts who work with addicts in Wales say though that
prescribing the drug should be seen as a last resort, and that the
focus should be on getting people off hard drugs, not prolonging
their habits. Iestyn Davies, director of the Welsh council on
alcohol and other drugs, said: “If all we rely on is maintenance,
there still comes a point when we have to ask ourselves, can we
allow people to be addicts for the rest of their lives?”

Source:- Western Mail Monday 8 April page 5

Boy Thief’s Booster

An 11-year-old boy who has appeared in court 151 times, and is
described as ‘mini crime wave’ by police, uses the headrest in the
cars he steals as a booster seat to help him see over the steering

Police have described the way the boy drives as ‘incredibly
dangerous’. He has stolen a car almost every day for the last two
years and is due to appear in court in Cardiff, again today.

Source:- Welsh Mirror Monday April 8 page 17




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