Monday 15 December 2003

By Amy Taylor, Clare Jerrom and Alex

MPs warn Blunkett: benefits must stay
The government’s plans to remove failed asylum seekers’ rights to
state benefits and take their children into care where necessary
are to be criticised once again by MPs this week.
The home affairs select committee will warn that removing benefits
could create an underclass of asylum seekers, but add that other
new measures need to be found as the current system of removal is
not working.
The government has a duty of financial care to act if children are
destitute regardless of the reason, but this does not extend to
Source:- The Observer Sunday 14 December page 3
Cot death rulings ‘may force return of adopted

A significant number of adopted children may be returned to their
birth parents after successful appeals by two innocent women
charged with killing their babies.
Last week, Margaret Hodge, the minister for children, young people
and families, ordered an immediate investigation into how many
children have been taken away from women who may have been wrongly
jailed for cot deaths.
The move is to get local authorities who have taken children into
care in such situations to review the cases and be ready to return
children to their family if other women have their convictions
Source:- The Sunday Telegraph 14 December, page 2
Millions of mental sufferers ‘being abused’
More than two-thirds of people with mental health problems in
developed countries are denied access to treatment, according to a
new report from the World Health Organisation.
Other findings show that in the Third World these figures increase
with 90 per cent of people with mental disorders receiving no
Source:-  The Independent on Sunday 14 December page 15
Disabled boy faced discrimination
A disabled boy who was not allowed to take part in his school’s
Christmas play or make a Christmas card to take home, was
unlawfully discriminated against a tribunal has ruled.
Lee Buniak, who has a disability that means he has no sense of
danger, was also the only child Jenny Hammond primary school in
Leytonstone, east London, left out of a school trip.
Buniak, aged six, has to be properly supervised or he poses a
danger to himself and others.
Source:- The Financial Times Monday 15 December page 8
£2m relaunch for violence helpline
Victims of domestic violence will be able to ring a single national
helpline from today, in a move aiming to end a long-standing
backlog of calls.
The £2 million initiative brings together separate lines
funded by charities.
It also includes a confidential computerised system to enable
helpline workers to refer callers to spaces in refuges.
Source:- The Guardian Monday 15 December page 15
People with brain injuries ‘left to languish in

People with brain injuries are left to languish in care homes that
do not have the facilities they need, according to a new
The survey, published by the Social Services Inspectorate, of
councils in England and Wales also found that the support provided
to many disabled people in their homes is inadequate.
Source:- The Times Monday 15 December page 16
Mother cleared of killing baby fights to lift ban on her
living with surviving child

A mother cleared of killing her baby last year is calling for an
inquest into his death in an attempt to be allowed to live with her
surviving child.
Nicky Underdown has decided to speak out  in the wake of the
release on appeal of Angela Cannings, who had been jailed for life
for murdering her two baby sons.
Underdown is currently banned from living with her surviving child
by social services.
She was convicted of murdering her son in May 2000, but the court
of appeal quashed her conviction on the grounds of unsafe medical
evidence and she was found not guilty of murder or manslaughter at
a retrial in February.
A judge at a family court hearing in private three months later,
who was not bound by the jury’s verdict, found that Underdown had
shaken her baby to death in a “momentary loss of temper”.
Source:- The Daily Telegraph Monday 15 December page 12
Churches offer hostel for refugees
Churches are to urge the Home Office to close Dungavel detention
centre in Scotland after finding an alternative hostel for the
Labour MPs and children’s charities have backed the move to
close the centre in Lanarkshire, which was criticised by Anne
Owers, the chief inspector of prisons, earlier this year.
As many as 400 children are held at the centre, including some
children aged under four.
Source:- The Independent on Sunday 14 December page 13
Scottish newspapers
Mentors help get young back on right track

The ‘Scotland on Sunday’ is urging its readers to
support NCH and its staff in their Christmas appeal. The charity
needs £700,000 for this year alone for its 60 different
projects, which involve mentoring projects helping troubled
youngsters to get their lives back on track.
Source:- Scotland on Sunday 14 December
First cannabis cafe set to test new law in

The first cannabis cafe in Scotland is set to open next month as
the drug is downgraded to a class C drug. The Purple Haze internet
cafe will have a private members club in the evenings where people
will be able to bring small amounts of their own supply of the
drug. The move will present the first test of how the new law will
be applied in Scotland.
Source:- Scotland on Sunday 14 December
Doctors fury at MMR drama ‘errors’
Doctors and scientists asked to participate in a debate about a tv
drama based on the MMR jab have boycotted the discussion branding
the programme biased and riddled with errors.
The drama, ‘Hear the Silence’, features a mother who
believes her child’s autism has been caused by the triple
vaccination. A Royal Society spokesperson said last night that
members were alarmed at the blurring of the distinction between
fact and fiction. Department of Health representatives have also
condemned the programme.
Source:- Sunday Herald 14 December
We tried to help tragic Agnes four years ago
Neighbours of Agnes Armstrong begged social workers four years ago
to help the woman, it emerged last night. The 83-year-old was found
dead in her home that she shared with her disabled son, Jack, on
Thursday. She had been dead for nearly three months. Yesterday
Armstrong’s nephew demanded an inquiry into his aunt’s death and
the lack of care provided to Agnes and Jack.
Source:- Daily Record Saturday 13 December
Hotline help for battered women
A national helpline for sufferers of domestic abuse will be
launched on Monday. The telephone lifeline will provide access to
emergency housing and help to keep women safe from violent
Source:- Daily Record Saturday 13 December
Welsh newspapers
Call to scrap health targets

Health chiefs from across the border in England are calling for the
Department of Health to scrap the different waiting time targets
that exist between England and Wales.
They believe that the move would provide a better deal for Welsh
patients, who currently face longer waiting lists, even though they
are treated in the same border hospitals.
Source:- Western Mail Monday 15 December page 7

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