Monday 22 March 2004

By Clare Jerrom, Lauren Revans, David Callaghan and Alex

Divorce parents urged to talk, not fight
Family resolution pilot schemes and supervised child contact
centres are among new plans to avoid courtroom battles between
separated parents, the government has revealed.
Children’s minister Margaret Hodge said battles in the courts
about contact and residence could be potentially harmful to
Source:- The Times Saturday 20 March page 2
Database plan to foil serial killers
The government is to set up a national deaths database in an
attempt to identify serial killers and prevent a repeat of the
Bristol Royal Infirmary and Alder Hay Hospital scandals, in which
children’s organs were retained without their parents’
Currently, coroners do not have access to a central computer
system, and officials believe an overhaul of the death records
system is long overdue.
Source:- The Times Saturday 20 March page 4
Fathers at risk of postnatal depression too
Mental health experts believe that post-natal depression, brought
about by the unique pressures of fatherhood, is surprisingly common
in fathers.
A new fathers’ helpline is being piloted in Essex which, if
successful, could be rolled out nationally.
Source:- The Times Saturday 20 March page 9
Infant left in care for 5 hours as mother got

A mother who left her 18-month-old child locked in a car last month
in sub-zero temperatures while she spent the night clubbing, has
been jailed for three months.
District judge Alan Berg told Christina Ribas, of Salford, Greater
Manchester, that her behaviour was an act of “pure
The child has been placed by social services with a foster
Source:- The Times Saturday 20 March page 10
Fathers spurn plan to save parents from court battles
Fathers’ groups have condemned measures unveiled by
the government to divert separated parents from courtroom battles
over their children.
They criticised the decision to go ahead with a voluntary mediation
scheme instead of a pilot more closely modelled on an “early
intervention” scheme, which has dramatically cut the number
of court cases in Florida.
Fathers 4 Justice, whose stunts have brought traffic to a
standstill around the country, pledged to step up their campaign
for a better deal for separated fathers.
Source:- The Guardian Saturday 20 March page 10
NHS workforce has more people than

The NHS workforce in England has grown by 224,200 since 1997,
according to an employee census.
The census, taken in September, reveals that the health service has
almost 1.3 million employees – 29 per cent bigger than the
latest official estimate for the population of Birmingham.
Source:- The Guardian Saturday 20 March page 12
Home abusers ‘likely to commit other

Police are failing to make crucial connections between domestic
abusers and other crimes, new research by the Metropolitan Police
has revealed.
A study of over 400 offences and perpetrators finds that at least
70 per cent of those who physically assaulted partners had a
criminal history. A quarter of those who had sexually abused a
partner were also committing offences outside the home.
Laura Richards, a senior behavioural consultant with the
Met’s racial and violent crime taskforce, said it was vital
for police officers to realise that men who beat up or raped their
partners were also “good candidates” for
‘stranger’ rapes.
Source:- The Guardian Saturday 20 March page 13
Planning battle looms as Prescott orders 2m

The government is set to give the go-ahead for more than two
million homes to be built in the UK in an attempt to stem house
price inflation.
Deputy prime minister John Prescott said planning rules would be
relaxed, developers would have to pay windfall taxes on profits to
finance more housing and local authorities would have to designate
more land for housing.
Some of the new land will have to include parts of the greenbelt,
he said. The target will be for between 220,000 to 260,000 extra
homes each year.
Source:- The Observer Sunday 21 March page 1
Ministers to tackle HIV crisis for black

Ministers are to step up the fight against Aids, and in particular
the spread of the disease among Black people in Britain.
A quarter of the cases in this country now involve black people.
Trevor Phillips, the chairperson of the Commission for Racial
Equality, said many African men argue there is no problem among
them because it is a gay disease and African men aren’t
Source:- The Observer Sunday 21 March page 3
Talk to teens about sex, parents urged
Research shows frank discussion helps prevent pregnancy
Parents are being urged to talk to teenage children about sex to
help keep pregnancy rates down.
Gill Frances, vice-chairperson of the independent advisory group on
pregnancy, said families should use topical cases such as the one
involving the Leicester City footballers to discus sexual
The number of parents who are confident they have told their
children enough about sex has fallen over the past four years,
research from the Teenage Pregnancy Unit has shown.
Source:- The Observer Sunday 21 March page 5
NHS pays for first ‘designer’

The NHS is to pay for a couple to create a ‘designer
baby’ so that its bone marrow cells can be used to save the
life of a sibling.
The mother’s embryos will be tested by doctors to find one
that is clear of the inherited blood disease thalassaemia, which is
potentially fatal.
There have been two previous cases using this procedure, but both
were privately funded.
Source:- Sunday Telegraph 21 March page 1
Immigration cover-up goes right to the top
Internal home office emails have shown that senior civil servants
were aware of the policy of relaxing checks on migrants arriving in
the UK.
The revelation contradicts assertions from immigration minister
Beverley Hughes who claimed it was only junior staff who had
sanctioned the policy.
Hughes will now be under increasing pressure to resign.
Source:- Sunday Times 21 March page 2
Two cards on Mother’s Day
Focus: Same-sex couples have long argued for the right to have
children, adopt them and even have IVF. But what effect does it
have on those children? Olga Craig investigates what it is like to
grow up with mum and ‘spare’ mum – or with dad
and dad
Source:- Sunday Telegraph 21 March page 21
Minister forecasts decline in care home

Stephen Ladyman has predicted that the number of residential care
home places is set to fall as older people demand more independence
and control over their lives.
More older people would demand care in their own homes, and
“extra care” housing – forms of sheltered
housing. But high levels of domiciliary care and support and access
to communal facilities and alarm systems was set to become
“the dominant form of residential care in the future”,
the health minister said.
He warned the residential care home business that too much of it
still had the workhouse mentality, where older people were seen as
“a commodity to be managed until they die”.
Source:- Financial Times Monday 22 March page 2
Immune system discovery could help Aids care
Immune system cells have been created in laboratories by scientists
for the first time in a discovery, which could lead to
revolutionary new treatments for Aids and cancer victims.
Medical experts hope the breakthrough will help in the fight
against certain cancers and inherited disorders that suppress an
individual’s immune system.
Source:- The Times Monday 22 March page 7
Anti-poverty drive to be stepped up
The government’s anti-poverty strategy is having only a
patchy impact on long-term inequalities, particularly among racial
minorities, according to social exclusion unit research.
The research shows that despite the millions spent on reducing
poverty, there are areas where people are 23 times more likely to
be unemployed or economically inactive than elsewhere in
Chancellor Gordon Brown is set to vet cabinet ministers three-year
spending plans to check they meet the government’s goals on
social exclusion.
Source:- The Guardian Monday 22 March page 2
Sack race adviser, peer tells Blunkett
Home secretary David Blunkett is to be questioned in parliament
about his special race adviser following the disclosure that his
aide was opposed to anti-discrimination laws.
Lord Lester of Herne Hill, a former Home Office special adviser,
suggested Blunkett should dispense with Matt Cavanagh’s
Source:- The Guardian Monday 22 March page 3
Cabinet leak exposes conflict on ID cards
The home secretary has been warned by four senior Labour ministers
not to breach a cabinet agreement by accelerating the introduction
of compulsory identity cards, it emerged yesterday.
Leaked cabinet correspondence shows that Jack Straw, Alistair
Darling, Paul Boateng and Patricia Hewitt have stressed that a
second bill should be passed before the scheme is compulsory.
The draft legislation, to be published before Easter, will specify
what personal details will be held on the card as well as outlining
privacy safeguards.
Source:- The Guardian Monday 22 March page 5
Fire fear as prisons go without sprinklers
No fire sprinklers have been fitted in the residential parts of
prisons in England and Wales, a Home Office minister has
Paul Goggins said that despite the fact that 670 fires were started
by inmates last year, sprinklers are not being fitted to the new
women’s prison at Ashford in Kent, or the new prison in
Peterborough due to open next year.
Source:- The Guardian Monday 22 March page 7
Community group’s use of millions in grants

A community group, which has received millions of pounds in public
grants, cannot explain what use was made of the money, according to
a government-commissioned report.
Between 1999 and 2003, the Council for Ethnic Minority Voluntary
organisations received £1.2 million from the Home Office. It
has also been given £1.7 million from the Department of
Health, £2.4 million by the Millennium Commission and £1
million by the Government Office for London.
But the group is now in talks with the Home Office after a review
by the Office for Public Management, which questioned the
group’s finances.
Source:- The Guardian Monday 22 March page 9
Police use curfew to control louts
Nottinghamshire police have become the first in the
country to set up curfew and dispersal zones to target
trouble-making youths.
Officers are picking up and taking home children under-16 found in
the area between 9pm and 6am.
Under powers outlined in the Antisocial Behaviour Act 2003,
officers also have the power to disperse groups of two or more
young people should they feel they are likely to cause
Source:- Daily Telegraph Monday 22 March page 2
24-hour drinking ‘will fuel

Allowing pubs and clubs to open for more hours could lead to a rise
in crime and disorder, according to a leaked report from the
Metropolitan Police.
The Met fears more drink-driving because of the lack of public
transport late at night, a greater disturbance to residents and a
boom in illegal taxis.
Minister argue that more flexible opening hours will reduce
disorder by stopping clubs and pubs emptying at the same
Source:- Daily Telegraph Saturday 20 March page 1
Scottish newspapers
Huge rise in vice girl attacks since city tolerance zone

New figures show that attacks on prostitutes have increased tenfold
since the Edinburgh’s unofficial tolerance zone was
A total of 111 incidents were recorded last year compared with just
11 in 2001, which was the last year of the “non-harassment
Independent Lothians MSP Margo McDonald has proposed a Scottish
parliament bill to allow councils to designate a red light
tolerance zone. She claims the increase in violence shows how
urgently the legislation was needed.
Source:- Evening News Saturday 20 March
Unmarried couples to get new rights
Reforms to Scottish family law are to be unveiled by ministers this
Under the plans, unmarried fathers will get far greater rights over
their children while unmarried couples will get more protection
from the law if they split up, to allow them to enact divorce
Justice minister Cathy Jamieson said the reforms were needed to
protect children who are caught up in disputes between
Source:- Scotland on Sunday 21 March
Race ‘not prime motive for

The shocking murder of Kriss McDonald is likely to have been
motivated by criminality rather than racism, detectives hunting the
teenager’s killer have claimed.
White men as well as Asians are on the list of suspects they are
trying to trace in relation of the abduction and killing of the
Source:- Scotland on Sunday 21 March
Playground violence hits new levels
The sheer scale and ferocity of playground attacks has
reached such a level that Scotland’s schools have been
ordered to compile figures to officially record the number of
violent incidents in schools.
Teachers across the country told the ‘Scotland on
Sunday’ that beatings, victimisation, and bullying are now
commonplace in playgrounds, corridors and school buses.
It is hoped that by recording the number of incidents, the worst
offenders can be singled out.
Source:- Scotland on Sunday 21 March
McConnell calls for more co-ops
Care homes, broadband access and re-cycling are all
targets for a scheme by Jack McConnell to encourage more
co-operatives in Scotland.
A consultation document published yesterday showed Scotland is
lagging behind other countries in terms of co-ops.
The document suggests co-ops could bring broadband to many rural
areas, help fill a shortage of care homes and tackle
Source:- Sunday Herald Sunday 21 March
Deacon tells First Minister: put children first to cut
youth crime

The government has been warned that it needs to shift away from the
“punitive” attack on young tearaways to more supportive
policies which help children avoid becoming anti-social and
Susan Deacon, a former health minister, has reminded first minister
Jack McConnell that executive research commissioned when they were
both in the cabinet revealed clear links between poor experiences
in early life and troublemaking as teenagers. Adolescent crime was
found to be caused by poor maternal healthcare during pregnancy,
inadequate infant nutrition and little nurturing of young
Deacon questioned whether it was the aspiration of the first
minister “to live in a society where police cars patrol every
housing estate and community wardens stand on every
Source:- Sunday Herald 21 March
‘No’ to hostel plans for asylum

The Home Office has refused an alternative arrangement to detention
for failed asylum seekers in Scotland, according to a refugee
Refuge Scotland Group said its plans to build a hostel in Glasgow
were rejected in favour of the expansion of Dungavel detention
centre in Lanarkshire.
The group had offered to house failed asylum seekers in a hostel as
an alternative to locking them up.
Source:- The Scotsman Monday 22 March
Councils want talks with union on nursery nurses

Trade union leaders have been urged to reconvene talks with leaders
of Scotland’s councils in a bid to settle the nursery nurse
Leaders of Glasgow, Edinburgh, East Dunbartonshire, West Lothian,
North Ayrshire, East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire and Fife councils
want the strike settled by local agreements such as the deals
agreed by 11 other authorities.
However Unison has said striking nursery nurses want a national
deal agreed.
Source:- The Herald Monday 22 March
£600k to stop more kids like Caleb

More than £600,000 is to be spent by the Scottish executive to
save children from parents addicted to alcohol and drugs.
The move follows the death of 11-week-old baby Caleb Ness, who was
killed by his brain damaged drug-addicted father.
The executive plans to take steps to improve care for an estimated
40,000 Scottish children who live with at least one parent who
abuses drugs or alcohol.
Source:- Daily Record Monday 22 March 
Welsh newspapers
Superbug spreads among children
Levels of the hospital superbug MRSA have risen rapidly in
children over the last 10 years, according to a new report.
The study published today in the Archives of Disease in Childhood,
found 376 reports of MRSA among children up to the age of 15 years
between 1991 and 2001 in England and Wales.
The antibiotic resistant disease has risen steadily in adults, but
rates among children were thought to be lower.
Source:- Western Mail Monday 22 March page 7
Abuse now out in the open
A half-page interview with Graham Illingworth, who has been head of
NCH Cymru for over 20 years. In the course of the interview, he
describes the changes that have taken place in the development of
child protection, since starting his career as a social worker in
Cardiff in 1965.
Source:- Western Mail Monday 22 March page 10

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