Monday 22 September 2003


By Amy Taylor, Clare Jerrom and Alex

‘We had no right to keep Toni-Ann from

Social services officials in charge of the
care of a seven-year-old girl shot while staying in west London
with her father, a convicted drug dealer, said they were legally
obliged to let her stay with her dad.

A Birmingham Council spokesperson said that a
court had granted Toni-Ann Byfield contact with her father,
Bertram, because it was what she wanted.

The child and her father were shot dead at a
flat in Kensal Green last Sunday in what police believe to be an
attack related to Byfield’s past.

Source:- The Independent
Saturday 20 September page 9

Alcohol abuse ‘costing Britain
£55m a day’

Alcohol abuse costs Britain £55m a day
and binge drinking is on the rise, according to a  new government report.

Criminal behaviour, lost working days and the
drain on the health service caused by alcohol abuse leave the state
with a large bill, the study claims.

It highlights that alcohol consumption has
risen by 121 per cent in the last 50 years and that, if the trend
continues, Britain would lead the world drinking league.

Source:- The Daily Telegraph
Saturday 20 September page 8

50,000 children taking

An antidepressant being prescribed to at least
3,000 children in Britain, despite it not being recommended for
their use, can provoke suicidal tendencies, the government’s
regulatory agency warned yesterday.

Guidance to doctors states that Efexor, made
by the drug company Wyeth, should not be given to under 18s.

There are around 50,000 children on
antidepressants in the UK, aged from six years upwards.

Source:- The Guardian
Saturday 20 September page 1

Free asylum children, says film

Ken Loach, one of Britain’s most respected
film directors, has taken part in the launch of a fund to secure
the release of asylum seekers and their children detained at
Dungavel detention centre in Scotland.

Actor and director Peter Mullan is also
backing the bail fund.

Source:- The Independent on
Sunday 21 September page 5

New wave of migrants is gathering at

The levels of illegal migrants coming into
Britain past official check points in France is rising once again
after dropping following the closure of Sangatte refugee camp.

Ferry operators have warned that the number of
illegal migrants are increasing back to levels seen before the Red
Cross centre was closed almost a year ago.

Source:- The Sunday Times 21
September page 14

500 paedophiles to be tracked by
satellite tags

Paedophiles are to be electronically tagged in
the UK for the first time under new plans being considered by the

British company, Sky Guardian, is set to hold
talks with ministers about launching  a trial involving between 100
and 500 child sex offenders.

It is set to launch its device at this month’s
Labour Party conference and to test it on a volunteer MP this

Source:- The Observer Sunday
21 September page 1

New law will curb asylum appeal

Asylum seekers will only be allowed one appeal
against decisions to deport them under government plans to be
published .

The Prime Minister has said that he is aware
that the plans are controversial.

The proposals are to be included in the
Queen’s speech in November and are part of the government’s aim to
bring asylum under control before the next general election.

Source:- The Observer Sunday
21 September page 5

Mentally ill face crisis of  bed cuts

A number of mental health trusts are looking
at cutting beds as the cost of agency nurses and locum doctors is
causing them to run over budget.

Mental health campaigners warn that the crisis
is particularly worrying due to the increasing numbers of young
adults requiring treatment and the lack of expansion of services to
meet their needs.

Source:- The Observer Sunday
21 September page 13

Vigilantes name ‘paedophiles’ on the

Four Britons and one British resident who have
been “outed” by members of a vigilante group on an American-based
website are to be investigated by Scotland Yard.

The vigilante group, Peverted Justice, pose as
young children in internet chatrooms to entrap paedophiles and then
name them on their website.

Source:- The Times Monday 22
September page 11

ID cards must be compulsory, says

The home secretary said that he still hopes to
see legislation introducing a national identity card scheme in the
Queen’s speech this autumn, despite strong opposition from other
ministers, including Charles Clarke and Peter Hain.

David Blunkett confirmed for the first time
that he wants to see a compulsory scheme but admitted that there
was a “vigorous debate” in the cabinet on compulsion, the cost of
the scheme, the technology required and the timing of the

Speaking on BBC TV’s Breakfast with Frost he
also said that he did not know how many unregistered migrants there
were in the country.

Source:- The Guardian Monday
22 September page 4

Scottish news

Drink culture costing UK £20bn a

Scotland’s binge drinking culture, which
costs the nation up to £1bn every year, has placed Britain at
the top of a European list for binge drinking, according to a new

The economic, health and social consequences
of a “culture of intoxification” was costing the UK
£20bn, according to a government study.

Scotland’s share includes £100m
spent by the National Health Service dealing with health problems
caused by excessive drinking.

Source:- The Scotsman  Saturday 20 September

Drug warning for Highland

Seventy per cent of 15-year-olds have been
offered drugs, according to a lifestyle survey conducted among
Highland teenagers.

This compares to a national average of 65 per
cent, although the prevalence of drug taking in the Highlands was
not significantly different from the national picture.

The 2002 Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle
and Substance Use Survey found that 24 per cent of 15-year-olds had
used drugs in the month prior to questioning.

Source:- The Scotsman  Saturday 20 September

Report criticises continued focus on
‘Miss X’ case

Politicians and the media are perpetuating the
emotions and trauma of a Borders abuse victim known as ‘Miss
X’ by constantly referring to the case in public, a former
director of social work has claimed.

In a report, Peter Bates said that the actions
taken by Scottish Borders Council in the wake of the case were

The report expresses strong views about
continuing coverage of the case, and Bates, who is now chairperson
of NHS Tayside, highlights that Miss X has a right to expect
privacy, dignity and support.

His report will be considered at a special
council meeting on Tuesday.

Source:- The Scotsman  Saturday 20 September

Teenage runaways found in Paris after
week-long hunt

Two British teenagers have been found in Paris
following a week-long international search.

Amanda McDonnell and Steven Laing left her
home in Spain last week after taking a car, money and credit cards
belonging to her step-father.

Source:- Scotland on Sunday  Sunday 21 September

Asylum HQ plan

The Home Office has admitted that it is
considering plans to extend the controversial Dungavel immigration
detention centre in Scotland.

A new £3m wing to house 44 immigrants at
the centre for families of asylum seekers in Strathaven,
Lanarkshire is being considered by the government

Campaigners have been calling for the former
prison to be closed down.

Source:- Daily Record  Monday 22 September

Mums and Dads learn to tell

Parents are set to return to the classroom to
learn how to read stories to children in a bid to stem illiteracy
in Scotland.

Storysack seminars across the country are
teaching adults how to make stories and rhymes more stimulating for

Source:- Daily Record  Monday 22 September

Don’t come home son

The mother of a teenage runaway is refusing to
let her son come home after he was found safe and well in

Scottish-born Steven Laing, who ran away with
his girlfriend Amanda McDonnell, begged to return home to his
mother in Spain after French authorities found him with the

But Susan Laing told her son to return to
Scotland to answer two warrants for his arrest over unpaid fines.
Steven was believed to be returning to Spain with Amanda and her
mother Carol.

Source:- Daily Record  Monday 22 September

Glasgow has the most one-parent
families in UK

Glasgow households have the highest number of
single parent families, the poorest heating and worst overcrowding
in the UK, according to figures from the 2001 census.

Almost a quarter of homes in the city are
overcrowded, which is double the Scottish average. Around 18 per
cent lack central heating and almost half of all city families are
headed by a single parent, compared with a quarter nationally.

Source:- The Herald  Monday 22 September

Unit for disturbed teenagers likely to
be approved

Glasgow Council is likely to approve
controversial plans to build a unit for disturbed teenagers next to
a nursery and primary school.

Around 400 people have written letters of
objection against the £200,000 proposal for Montrose Avenue in
Carmyle, fearing the home will become a focus for gang wars.

However council planners have recommended
granting planning permission for the block, which will house
youngsters aged between 13 and 19.

Source:- The Herald  Monday 22 September

Child sex victims ‘betrayed by

The victims of child sex abuse are being
betrayed by Scotland’s legal system because tough new
measures to protect them in courts have not been implemented
– four years after they were agreed.

Legal researcher Joyce Plotnikoff and her
partner Richard Woolfson were commissioned by Lord Rodger the lord
advocate in 1995 to research methods into how to bring a sea change
in the way child witnesses were dealt with by the legal system.

Their report took four years to complete and
was presented to the lord advocate Lord Hardie in 1999. His working
group on child witnesses made 44 recommendations, and all but one
were accepted by the Crown Office.

However, four years on, campaigners are
demanding to know why the bulk of reforms have not been

Source:- The Scotsman  Monday 22 September

Qualified refugee teachers step closer
to working in Scottish schools

Public bodies have joined forces in a bid to
overcome the obstacles preventing refugees who are qualified
teachers from entering the profession.

The General Teaching Council of Scotland,
which controls access to the profession, is hosting a meeting today
for delegates including representatives from the Scottish Refugee
Council, local authorities and academic institutions.

GTCS chief executive Matt McIver is expected
to say that the profession in Scotland is essentially “white,
middle class and female” and needs to be developed to reflect

Source:- The Scotsman  Monday 22 September

Welsh news

Heal the children, urges

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan
Williams, has drawn attention to the suffering of thousands of
British children.

In a speech he gave as President of the
Children’s Society, Williams criticised both child protection
and youth systems for failing to tackle the unique needs and
vulnerabilities of many children.

He told the congregation at Canterbury
Cathedral that in spite of corporate sentimentality about childhood
and for all the well meant protocols about the protection of
children, thousands of children within the UK still remained
invisible and their suffering unnoticed.

Source:- Western Mail Monday 22
September page 2
















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