Friday 4 October 2002

By Clare Jerrom, Nicola Barry and Alex

Puppy love brings out best in insecure

Children of divorced parents and those who are slow to learn
cope better in life if they have a pet than those who have not,
according to research.

Poor readers and those suffering from high levels of stress had
higher levels of self-esteem and functioned better if they had a
pet, a five-year study into the behaviour and feelings of 600
children aged three to 18 found.

Pets provided vulnerable children with a strong sense of
security, but appeared to have little impact on well-adjusted
children, Nienke Endenburg, a psychologist at the University of
Utrecht, who conducted the study, said.

The research will be presented tomorrow at the international
conference in London on the role of pets in child development.

Source:- The Times Friday 4 October page 15

Young Britons top EU cocaine league

The use of cocaine among young Britons is rising faster than in
any other EU country, research has found.

Just over 3 per cent of Britons aged between 16 and 34 claimed
to have tried the drug in a 12-month period, according to a report
from the EU drugs agency in Lisbon.

Four years ago, 6 per cent of Britons admitted to using the drug
at least once in their life time, but the latest data from 2000
shows this figure has risen to 10 per cent.

The level for regular users was lower at around 5 per cent, but
that is still extremely high for European standards, and has risen
by 1 per cent since 1996.

The UK’s former deputy drugs tsar Mike Trace said the
trend was alarming: “Cocaine use is still a minority pastime, but
the UK has seen the biggest leap in consumption in the EU in the
past two years.”

Source:- The Guardian Friday 4 October page 8

Blair attacked over smacking

Tony Blair will face a scathing attack today from a United
Nations committee for allowing parents to smack their children.

Blair’s defence of smacking as a parental right will be
criticised in a report as unacceptable, given the high levels of
child abuse in Britain.

The Committee on the Rights of the Child will also accuse the
prime minister of failing children across almost all walks of life.
It raises concerns over the numbers of children begging, high rates
of teenage pregnancy and plans to exclude the children of asylum
seekers from mainstream schools.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Friday 4 October page 6

Eight rapes linked to freed convict

Eight rapes in the home counties, including three on girls aged
between 10 and 13, could be the work of a convicted sex attacker
who has returned to offending after release from jail, the police
investigating the attacks believe.

Nearly 400 detectives from four forces are hunting the man after
linking the rapes, and an attempted assault in one of the largest
rape inquiries in recent years.

Records of sex offenders sent to prison over the last 20 years
are being checked in Operation Orb after one of the victims
recalled the man saying: “I don’t want to get caught

Source:- Daily Telegraph Friday 4 October page 10

One dead in explosion at sheltered flats

One person has died and two people are seriously injured
following an explosion at a sheltered housing complex in

Around 20 mainly older people had to be evacuated from houses
neighbouring the warden-controlled flats in West Bridgford.

A smell of gas was reported to emergency services before the
blast, police admitted.

Source:- The
Independent Friday 4 October page

Disabled bring record number of court cases

Public services and a range of businesses received a record
number of discrimination claims from disabled people last year, a
watchdog organisation has found.

Just a small proportion of the discrimination across Britain is
revealed in the report, published by the Disability Rights

In the past year, the number of discrimination cases supported
by the commission rose by more than 50 per cent, and many of the
cases succeeded in court.

In one case a man was banned from a nightclub because of a
facial disfigurement, and in another a pupil was banned from a
school trip because of his diabetes.

“The figures and cases speak for themselves,” Bert Massie,
chairperson of the DRC said. “Disabled people continue to face
discrimination in all areas.”

Source:- The
Independent Friday 4 October page

Scottish newspapers

Are you sure your child is safe in their

The nursery business is fast becoming the moneyspinner of the
millennium, yet regulations are changing fast. Do you ever know who
is left holding your baby?

A mother gently passes her baby daughter to a nursery worker,
and in that simple act makes a personal leap of faith.

Source:- The Herald October 4 pages 20 and 21

Young Scots leave home earlier than the rest of

Young people in Scotland leave home earlier to live
independently than the rest of the UK, and there are more Scot
pensioners in both the richest 10 per cent and poorest 10 per cent
in Britain.

Source:- The Herald October 4 page 4

SNP reveal executive spin plans

Jack McConnell was forced into an embarrassing damage limitation
exercise yseterday after it emerged that the disclosure of an
apparent executive spin operation to deflect criticism of its youth
crime policy had been unwittingly revealed by one of his

Source:- The Scotsman October 4 page 13

Welsh newspapers

Hutt urged to lay down the law to Goodway

Welsh health and social services minister Jane Hutt has been
urged to lay down the law to Russell Goodway, leader of Cardiff
council, in the wake of a damming report into social services.

The two were due to hold talks on the highly critical review by
the Audit Commission and the Social Services Inspectorate for
Wales. The report warned that vulnerable children and adults were
being put at risk, and that staff were unhappy with the culture of
the authority, describing it as bullying, arrogant, secretive and

A Liberal Democrat social services spokesperson said that there
had been problems in the department for 10 years, and she said that
she hoped that the minister would now “lay down the law forcibly”
over the need for change.

Source:- South Wales Echo Thursday 3 October page 2

Goodway grudgingly admits failing children

Russell Goodway, the leader of Cardiff council last night
admitted that he had failed vulnerable children in the capital.

Speaking for the first time following the damming joint review
by the Audit Commission and the Social Services Inspectorate for
Wales, he said that the council would redouble its efforts to
improve social services in the city.

Jane Hutt, minister for health and social services at the Welsh
assembly, has given Cardiff just six months to improve the

Source:- Western Mail Friday 4 October page 3

Cartoon help for charity

Britain’s most notorious prisoner wants to use his
artistic talent to help raise money for a hospice in south

Armed robber Charles Bronson is to put forward six of his
cartoon drawings to be considered for an exhibition hosted by the
Hospice of the Valleys later this month.

Luton-born Bronson has spent most of his adult life behind bars
following imprisonment for the first of three armed robberies in
1974. Much of his time in prison has been spent in solitary
confinement for offences committed while in prison, and he is
currently serving a 15-year sentence for taking a prison guard
hostage during a riot.

Christine Macarthy, head of fund-raising at the hospice, said
that as Bronson’s work tended to reflect his time in solitary
confinement, she hoped it would not be too disturbing. She added
that it would have to be assessed when it arrived.

Source:- South Wales Argus Thursday 3 October page

Swansea Council fights anti-social behaviour with threat
of eviction for parents

Parents of children on Wales’s poorest housing estate have
been told to control them or face eviction.

Last month a report from the charity, Save the Children Fund,
highlighted the high levels of poverty and deprivation on the
Townhill estate on the outskirts of the city. As well as poverty
the estate has high levels of crime and drug abuse.

Now Swansea city and county council and south Wales police have
sent a joint letter to residents warning them of the consequences
of anti-social behaviour.

The letter says that legal action will be taken over anti-social
behaviour including the threat of eviction and exclusion from
council properties in Swansea, and residents are being urged to
call the police or housing officers to report bad behaviour.

Source:- Western Mail Friday 4 October page 3

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