Powys case leads to child safety fears

Children’s organisations fear young people may be deterred from
reporting abuse as the result of a case where a paedophile was
allowed to move back into the street where his victim lived.

A 10-year-old girl and her family left their home in Powys, Wales,
when her abuser moved into the house opposite after serving five
months of an eight-month prison sentence. No restrictions
preventing the man living near his victim could be imposed because
he had served less than a year in prison.

Jonathan Green, Childline Cymru services manager, said the law
should be changed to prevent the situation arising again.

“Young people see this as a negation of justice,” he explained.

Green said Childline regularly heard from young people in similar
situations and warned it was “reasonable to conclude” that children
could be put off reporting abuse.

Powys Council rehoused the family after realising it was powerless
to act. A council spokesperson said Powys and the police had been
monitoring the situation closely and had taken “all appropriate
action” under existing regulations.

Meanwhile, control of children’s services in Powys has been
transferred to the director of community services.

It follows the leak of an interim report by the Social Services
Inspectorate Wales and the Audit Commission into the council’s
children’s department, which found child protection was inadequate
and staff support poor. Inspectors said that without improvements
the Welsh assembly may intervene.

Powys chief executive Mark Kerr said the report highlighted some
good practice and that the council was taking “decisive steps to
put things right”.

The final report is due in September.

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