A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom, Reg McKay and Alex Dobson.

Tough sex laws to tackle internet

Sentences for child sex abuse and indecent exposure are to be
toughened under sweeping proposals to modernise sex laws, David
Blunkett said yesterday.

The home secretary confirmed the legislation, which is due to be
published in the autumn, would tackle “horrendous” sex abusers such
as internet paedophiles.

The reform will be based on a home office paper, which proposed
a new specific offence of child abuse, relaxing laws on gay sex, a
new definition of consent in rape cases and replacing incest with
family sex abuse to include foster and adoptive parents.

The home office did not confirm which parts of the paper,
entitled ‘Setting the Boundaries’, would be adopted by the

Blunkett said: “We are balancing here the toughening of
protection, particularly for children, while ensuring the law is
fair and non discriminatory, and reflects the 21st
rather than the 19th century view of social policy.”

Source:- The Times Thursday 20 June page 2

Probation criticised over worst offenders

The probation service is failing to supervise offenders posing a
high risk to the public adequately, according to an inspection
report today.

Only 25 per cent of probation supervision plans for offenders
met key national standards, the study reported, and there was a
wide failure to ensure criminals were sufficiently aware of the
effect of their crimes.

In four out of the six metropolitan probation areas in England
and Wales, overall weaknesses outweighed strengths, the chief
inspector of probation Rod Morgan said. None of these areas were
assessed as performing well.

Source:- The Times Thursday 20 June page 10

Abuse guidelines

Priests cleared of child abuse by courts could still be
prevented from working with children, under guidelines issued by
the Roman Catholic Church in Britain.

The guidelines, likely to be adopted nationally, also call for
immediate reporting of any allegations of abuse.

Source:- The Times Thursday 20 June page 10

Education chiefs plan race quotas for

The first ethnic minority quotas in British schools could be
introduced by the city worst hit by last summer’s race riots,
in a bid to heal the rifts caused by classroom segregation.

No single ethnic group would be allowed to take more than 75 per
cent of places in any of the 26 state school sixth forms and three
sixth form colleges, under proposals from education authorities in

If the plan is adopted, all white middle class schools in the
West Yorkshire city and its surrounding towns would have to
allocate a quarter of the sixth form places to ethnic minority

“We will review catchment area boundaries with a view to
ensuring greater interaction between different ethnic groups of
young people,” the proposal, which is part of a strategy for
post-16 education in the city produced by the learning and skills
council and Bradford council’s education directorate,

But after criticism from teachers and politicians yesterday the
council appeared to step back from its plan stressing that the
proposals were only a “working draft”.

Source:- The Independent Thursday 20 June page

‘Lives at risk’ from alcohol abuse

While the government prepares to introduce a strategy to deal
with alcohol abuse, up to 240,000 people could die from alcohol
related problems, according to the Liberal Democrats yesterday.

They warned that department of health spending on the prevention
of alcohol abuse had fallen by 20 per cent last year.

Ministers announced they intended to draw up a strategy for
dealing with alcohol abuse in 1998, but the Liberal Democrats said
a strategy was unlikely to be in place until 2004.

Source:- The Independent Thursday 20 June page

Scottish newspapers

Executive u-turn on plans for surgery without

Justice minister Jim Wallace has announced that controversial
plans to allow psychosurgery to be performed on individuals without
their consent are to be scrapped.

The regulations are part of the Adults with Incapacity
(Scotland) Act 2000 to be implemented on 1 July.

After a public campaign by the Scottish Association for Mental
Health (SAMH), the executive has withdrawn the relevant regulations
and proposes a more detailed debate as part of the Mental Health
Bill to be introduced later this year. SAMH welcomed the
executive’s decision, but said it opposed the law allowing
such brain surgery without consent in any shape or form.

Source:- The Scotsman Thursday 20 June page 9

Day mum told me she had HIV

A full-length feature on the increasing incidence of children of
HIV+ parents focuses on the work of the Waverly Trust and
Barnardo’s Riverside Project.

Source:- The Herald Thursday 20 June page 12

Free school meals bill comes to the boil

On the day the Scottish parliament debates the bill to introduce
universal free school meals, a full-page feature on the pros and

One in five children in Scotland currently qualifies for free
school meals though 20 per cent of those entitled do not take them.
According to the Scottish executive, the cost of the proposals
would increase the free school meal bill to £229.5 million, a
£174.5 million increase on the current costs.

Source:- The Herald Thursday 20 June page 8

Welsh newspapers

Woman who lives in fear

A two-page feature looking at the problem of domestic violence,
and the help that is available to victims.

The story focuses on the experiences of one south Wales woman,
who was forced to leave her home because of the abuse that she
suffered from her partner.

Source:- South Wales Argus Wednesday 19 June pages 22
and 23

Concern grows over care homes

Welsh question time at Westminster was dominated by the current
crisis in council-run care homes.

With reports that 10 care homes are closing each week in Wales
the debate over how to look after an increasing elderly population
took centre stage at the monthly Welsh question session

Shadow Welsh secretary Nigel Evans told MPs that care home
operators were fed up with increased government regulations and
inadequate funding.

Local authorities in Wales must comply with a December deadline
to show how they will meet new government standards and Evans
called on Welsh secretary Paul Murphy to meet with local government
officials to discuss the matter.

Source:- Western Mail Thursday 20 June page 9




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